Masthead CMC Magazine / May 1, 1996
 Creating Web Communities, by Damon A. Chaplin

The Bulletin Board

The bulletin board in Axis is a fairly standard conferencing system. You can browse through the messages, search for messages on various attributes, post messages, and reply to messages from others.

If you are a registered user, Axis keeps track of which messages you have read on the bulletin board so you don't have to see them twice.

Each particular discussion, or 'thread', is kept separately. Each thread is displayed as a hierarchy, with messages placed beneath the messages being replied to.

There is also some rudimentary support for an Issue Based Information System (IBIS) (Yankemovic 1990). When replying to messages you can select the IBIS type and relationship of your response. For example, if you are disagreeing with the original message you would choose Argument: Objects-To. Since each thread is displayed hierarchically with IBIS types preceeding each message, this enables the structure of the argument to be seen at a glance. The argument may also be stored in this way in the knowledge base so that the rationale behind any decision can be seen in future.

The major difference from conventional conferencing systems comes from the Create Answer command. This is used when a discussion has reached a conclusion and it is felt that the resulting solution would be useful in future. It lets you gather together the salient points and save them in the ^Recent Answers list, ready to be filed away into the knowledge base. Thus the solution is made permanently available to all members of the community, and can also be updated or discussed again at any time. --

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