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Collaboration – Start here

We have tried to make collaboration as easy as possible so that members of the network in addition to networking and general discussions can work together in project groups.

We have looked both at:

  • The structure: enabling various projects to coexist and to be made visible to each other and to the other members of CAN in order to foster cross-fertilization and further collaboration. The use of tags will be quite critical to find our way into the knowledge base, projects, documents, and to pull together all the resources related to project related topics.
  • The toolbox:  to search the knowledge base, co write documents, create and organize project groups, chat. And we will be looking to constantly improve the toolbox.


Project groups & project management

Project groups are dedicated work spaces where members collaborate on projects. In project groups they can gather the information they need or produce and they can showcase their projects and activities so that they become visible to each other and to the whole network. Group tagging makes it easy to find all groups working on a set of issues, and to see the activity of these groups. See a sample group here.

  • To create project groups see How to create a group. Each project group has a forum for discussions, can create a set of custom description pages, and work documents, upload files, all available from the group's navigation menu.
  • To manage a project we advise you to create a project management board following the instructions in How to insert a Trello Project Board. This allows to embed a Trello board to make it accessible and visible within a group's custom page or Doc, making it easily available for project group members via the Docs list.
  • Project boards allows you to showcase one or various projects, to create, assign and follow tasks, and move things around in a very intuitive way. Boards can also be used for FAQs and Support. See how it looks and test it here: Sample Project Board

'Simple' docs

We are using Docs as the basis for group and project collaboration. Docs can be used as such for blog type dicussions, FAQs or wiki type articles, they can also be configured to host a chat, collaboratively edit documents via embedded Titanpads, or collaboratively manage projects and tasks via embedded Trello boards. For the moment this is not fully automated, so it requires some minor set up by group and project admins. Make sure you read and follow the instructions carefully.

Editing of docs can be opened to multiple people (from group admin only to all logged in users). But they cannot edit a doc simultaneously as one editor may override the work of the other, so edit is blocked to others once someone is editing. So Docs in their simple form are not adapted for simultaneous collaborative drafting and editing document. If this is what you would like to create see How to create Collaborative Docs below.

Collaborative and simultaneous drafting and editing of documents

Real time chat or discussions

  • Start a TogetherJS chat by clicking the green tab in the admin bar at the very top of the screen.

Optimizing tags

Tags are keywords that help other members of the network find documents and pages related to the main topic or topics of your doc, and for workgroup members to gather everything related to their project or workgroup/organization. They are most effective keeping the following points in mind:

  • The total number of tags should be five or less.
  • All tags should be about something that can help people find your document easily when looking for the topic.
  • Tags should include the short name of your project and workgroup/organization if there is one involved, so that all the documents relative to them can easily be found.
  • Tags should consist of only one or two words, not a phrase (if a phrase comes to mind, split it up into two or more simple terms and make those into tags).
  • It is a good idea to use tags that already exist – refer to the tags on the list of docs of your group that may be applicable to your doc and project!

The search functions of buddypress are not optimized. We are working to get things to improve.

We think this set of tools may be enough for a start. Let us know your thoughts. Please ask your questions and post your comments below.

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