This is a guest post by Maxim Kuzmich, the co-founder of StiltSoft, a small team of “hackers” and fans of products by Atlassian. StiltSoft develops the Talk and InPlace Editor add-ons for Confluence.


Raise team collaboration to a higher level

Good documents are never written alone. Think about how you normally create an engaging document – usually you have one or more technical writers working to create content, while several readers provide feedback on the usefulness and clarity of that content.

Confluence makes this collaborative process as easy and convenient as possible with features such as – @mentions, email notifications, page sharing, and commenting – just to name a few.

Out-of-the-box commenting works well and facilitates in-depth threaded discussions. However, there are times when you might want to discuss some minor issues relating to specific sections of a page, and you want those discussions to display in-line.  Enter Talk!

Don’t just comment on pages – Talk them over!

Talk adds even more flexibility to the collaboration possibilities in Confluence. With Talk you can start discussions on any sections of a page and get down to solving the important issues.

Let’s take a look at the basic functions of Talk:

1. Creating a new discussion in edit mode

Just add a Talk macro to any location of the page and enter a question to trigger a discussion.

2. Participate in discussions in the view mode

You can jump into a discussion without switching to edit mode.

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3. Edit and delete responses

If you make a mistake during typing a reply, or it is no longer relevant, it’s easy to edit or remove it.

4. Receive e-mail notifications for new Talks and responses

All pages watchers receive notifications of new discussions and replies. If you have “Autowatch” option enabled in your profile, then after adding your comment you automatically become a watcher and will be notified of the discussion progressing.

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It’s always possible to encourage new participants in discussions with @mentions. Just type @ and the name of a user.  Any user that is @mentioned in a discussion will automatically become a watcher of the page and start to receive e-mail notifications for all Talk discussions on that page.

If you find the expressive means of a plain text not enough, you can use the good old wiki-markup. It makes highlighting phrases and adding links to discussions easy.

How can your team use Talk?

Let’s look at some examples of ways you can use Talk:

Technical writer and the team

Elena is a technical writer in a small development team. She collects information from all her team members to create convenient and useful product documentation within Confluence.

When Elena writes some part of the text, which may not be clear enough to the reader, she starts a Talk discussion with the question “Is everything clear here?” . When Elena doubts that she had accurately documented the information provided by the developer, she @mentions someone else on the team who might be able to help in Talk – “@Bill Is everything correct here?”.

Bill then receives an email notification, and jumps right into the page where Elena needs help.  Anyone wishing to follow the documentation writing process can choose to receive email notifications about the new discussions on the page. They can always help Elena in order to prove that their team provides only the best documentation.

Employee and manager

Fernando is the Head of a small distributed team of system administrators. All of his employees reside in different countries and have different time zones. At the end of the week, each employee writes a report to Fernando on a Confluence page outlining the work completed during the week and any problems encountered.

Fernando adds questions that arise while reading his employees’ reports as comments on the page. Often these reports can create a few questions that require an answer from the employee. In this case the communication becomes really confusing as the number of comments on each report pile up. There were times when Fernando had to call his employee late at night or early in the morning in order to understand a comment that was made to a report.

Now Fernando can use Talk to ask questions about specific incidents or tasks performed, in-line on the page where they are documented. This saves the employees’ time – now they always understand exactly what Fernando is asking them.

See it in action

Try Talk today!

Play before you pay: You can see how Talk works right away in the StiltSoft Sandbox.

Start Talking with your team now: Download the plugin from Atlassian Plugin Exchange or start a free 30 day evaluation.

Need more info? Information and prices can be found on StiltSoft’s website. You can also ask any questions or give feedback.

New to Confluence? Get up and running in minutes with a free 30-day download trial. Don’t want to install anything? Try Confluence OnDemand.

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