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Discussion Settings for sticky dots

The 'Sticky dots' tab is for configuring the 'Sticky dots' feature which is then controlled from the toolbar. The use of Sticky dots in a Discussion is explained further below.

The Sticky dots tab lets you specify

  1. Sticky dots by color, quantity per participant and meaning
  2. Allocation targets i.e. the objects dots can be stuck on
  3. Sort control, i.e. whether only the Leader or all participants can sort topics 'by Sticky dots'

Sticky dot control  becomes available in the Discussion toolbar when at least one dot is defined with a quantity > zero.

1 Specify Sticky dots

Facilitators can specify up to 5 different types of Sticky dots as to their color, quantity per participant and meaning. Facilitators can also allow or prevent cumulation of multiple dots of the same type on one target item.

By default, only one dot is offered for specification. Add more dots with button ADD ANOTHER STICKY DOT. 

  • Color
    Select the color of the Sticky dot from the drop down. MeetingSphere's default color scheme emulates the traffic light metaphor i.e. Green meaning something positive like "Go", "Good" or "Like", Yellow meaning something intermediate like "hold" or "unclear" and so on. Change the color scheme if the default does not work for your purpose or cultural background.

  • Quantity
    Specify the number of Sticky dots each participant can (but need not!) allocate. Any number > zero enables the Sticky dot control in the toolbar.

  • Meaning
    Sticky dots may mean anything from the popular "Like" (whatever that may mean in your context) to very specific qualifications such as "non-negotiable" or "more info needed" or "strong argument". The "meaning" of the Sticky dots is given on the Sticky dot bar from which the dots are dragged to their targets.  

  • Allow multiple allocations
    Switch ON to allow participants to allocate several dots of the same type to one item (topic or comment).

    Be aware that participants can stick different dots on one item in any case, as that may make perfect sense and the system does not check for logic. Example: If Green means "Like" and Yellow means "more info" then Facilitators should be clear in their instruction whether participants may ask for "more info" on comments (or topics) they "like" or if they should only "like" items which are perfectly clear and on which they do not require "more info".

2 Allocation targets

Define on which objects Sticky dots can be 'stuck':

  • Topics (Default: no)
    Participants can stick (drag & drop) Sticky dots on topics.

  • Comments (Default: no)
    Participants can stick (drag & drop) Sticky dots on comments, i.e. contributions to the discussion.

3 Sort control

By default, sorting by Sticky dots is reserved for the Facilitator. Select 'Participants sort independently' to delegate sorting to users.

The 'Sticky dot sort control' button  becomes available in the toolbar once Sticky dots have been allocated.

Note that sorting 'by Sticky dots' is limited to topics. Comments cannot be sorted since their place is fixed in the discussion thread. Many comments would lose their meaning if placed out of that context.

Using Sticky dots

Usually, Sticky dots are allocated as a separate step in a Discussion. Facilitators control the allocation and display of Sticky dots via the Sticky dots control  of the toolbar. The control becomes available when at least one Sticky dot has been specified with a quantity > zero.

While allocation is in progress, participants can reallocate their points by dragging & dropping them directly onto another eligible item or withdraw their points from an item by returning them to their Sticky dots bar which sits below the workspace instruction above content. 

Sticky dots control offers the options that are relevant in the situation:

Start 'private' allocation
Starts allocation as a private activity in which participants allocate their set of sticky dots each 'by themselves' seeing only their own allocations.

Recommended if participants shall give their view uninfluenced by others.

Start 'joint' allocation
Starts allocation as a joint activity in which participants allocate their set of sticky dots individually but allocations are immediately visible to all.

Recommended if participants - for whatever reason - shall be aware of the overall situation i.e. the sentiment of the group as it builds or unfolds.

Stop and show allocation
Ends allocation and, if allocation was 'private', reveals the results to all.

Hide sticky dots
The Sticky dot bar and allocated dots are hidden (not removed!).

Show allocation
Displays the Sticky dot bar and allocated dots.
Remove selectively
If you have selected items, a dialogue will ask you which sticky dots you want to remove from these items. Removed dots are returned to the Sticky dots bar.
Clear Sticky dots
Returns all Sticky dots to the Sticky dots bar.

There are two fundamental modes in which to use Sticky dots:

Private allocation is a discrete process step in which participants can see their own allocations but are blind to the allocations of others. The sentiment of the group only becomes clear when allocation is stopped and results are displayed.

Use private allocation when participants shall make up their own mind rather than follow others.

Joint allocation is a fluid process where the current opinion of the group is visible to all throughout. Participants can reallocate the sticky points they have placed. "Stop and show allocation" merely disables (re)allocation but has no effect on the display of results as these have been visible all the time.

This is useful for negotiation processes or consensus building where participants can reallocate (or withdraw) Sticky dots as the conversation progresses. Example: Participants can withdraw their Sticky dots "Require more info" once information has accumulated sufficiently on the flagged items.

Facilitators will sometimes use the two modes in combination, for instance

  1. Start private allocation to get a true picture where participants stand
  2. Stop and show allocation to discuss results
  3. Ask participants to, for instance, "Please provide information on the highlighted items"
  4. Start joint allocation so that individuals can retract their requests for "more information" when their requirements are satisfied

Other use scenarios include a successive removal of dots from items by the Facilitator as part of a facilitated process. Example:

  1. Start private allocation to get a true picture of where participants stand
  2. Stop and show allocation to discuss results
  3. Sort by topics by Sticky dot
  4. Discuss topics starting at the top
  5. Facilitator removes Sticky dots once the topic has been "done" under that aspect; the topic drops from the top of the list

In this scenario, removal by the Facilitator returns the Sticky dots to the participants' sticky dot bars. However, this is of no consequence as (re)allocation is disabled. 

Moreover

  • If items carrying sticky points are deleted, the allocated points are returned to the relevant participants' Sticky dot bars

  • If a topic with dots is merged as a duplicate
    • AND comments are a valid 'allocation target', the Sticky dots remain stuck to what is now a comment
    • AND comments are not a valid 'allocation target', the Sticky dots of the duplicate are added to those of the "original" topic as the duplicate is now considered a part (or synonym) of that topic

      Tip: You can "trick" the system into a certain behavior by temporarily enabling or disabling comments as an 'allocation target' for Sticky dots: Enable to let merged topics keep their dots. Disable to aggregate dots at the topic level.

  • If the quantity of Sticky dots is reduced in the settings, this will only affect not-yet allocated Sticky dots. Allocated dots
    • remain allocated
    • cannot be reallocated by participants to other items but only be returned to the Sticky dots bar where they "vanish"
    • can be deleted by the Facilitator highlighting the relevant items and selecting "Remove selectively" from the Sticky dots control menu
  • If an 'allocation target' is disabled in the settings, this will only affect not-yet allocated Sticky dots. Allocated dots
    • remain allocated
    • cannot be reallocated by participants to other items but only be returned to the Sticky dots bar where they "vanish"
    • can be deleted by the Facilitator highlighting the relevant items and selecting "Remove selectively" from the Sticky dots control menu
  • Sticky dots are not copied along when their item (i.e. topic or comment) is copied to another MeetingSphere workspace or the operating system's clipboard.

  • Sticky dots are duplicated when an item carrying Sticky dots is duplicated within a workspace. This increases the number of Sticky dots in circulation and - if one of the duplicates is subsequently deleted - causes the allocating participants to end up with more than their originally assigned number of Sticky dots when these extra Sticky dots are returned to the Sticky dot bar. Once again: Produce duplicate items only if you must. They are hardly ever worth the hassle!

  • If you have restricted the comments participants can see, for instance, to contributions of their 'team', that restriction only applies to the contributions, not allocated Sticky dots: Participants will only see the contributions of their 'team' but all dots allocated to those contributions, regardless of who allocated those dots.