Confluence Retirement

In an effort to consolidate USGS hosted Wikis, myUSGS’ Confluence service is scheduled for retirement on January 27th, 2023. The official USGS Wiki and collaboration space is now SharePoint. Please migrate existing spaces and content to the SharePoint platform and remove it from Confluence at your earliest convenience. If you need any additional information or have any concerns about this change, please contact myusgs@usgs.gov. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
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The CDI comes together in multiple places online.

Where is the community, why are community members using certain tools, and how best to reach our community? 

Where: Tool selection

The CDI uses several different tools for community activities. 

Requirements for the CDI community include:

  • A way to allow participation of non-USGS members.
  • A calendar of events.
  • A place to document what has happened in the past (titles, summaries, recordings, slides, products).
  • A web call platform for monthly virtual meetings that will accommodate over 100 people and both USGS and external attendees, and the ability to record to a common format.
  • A web call platform for smaller group meetings.
  • A way to inform members of infrequent news, such as monthly meetings, RFP or workshop news, or consolidated monthly news. 
  • An informal, high frequency of interaction, discussion site.
  • A platform for community commenting on the Request for Proposals.
  • A voting platform for the Request for Proposals.
  • A proposal submission system for collecting and analyzing RFP submissions.
  • A way to engage new potential members.
  • Interactive polling during virtual or in-person events.
  • A place to document funded project outputs.
  • A way to coordinate tasks among the CDI facilitation team.
  • A place to share working documents for the facilitation team.

Where: Tools in use

myUSGS Confluence Site (CDI Wiki) 

https://my.usgs.gov/confluence/display/cdi/Home

A way to allow participation of non-USGS members; A calendar of events; A place to document what has happened in the past (titles, summaries, recordings, slides); A platform for community commenting on the Request for Proposals.

The wiki is our main hub of information and our record-keeping mechanism. The front page is meant to quickly guide a user to the relevant information (note this needs work). Meeting notes, recordings, slides, forum discussions, calendar, and Request for Proposals information and commenting platform are on the wiki. The wiki has robust options for different permissions for the general public versus CDI members or subgroups. 

Wiki HOW DO I... parent page - a page linking to instructions about templates, managing the calendar, requesting account support, and using the wiki forum

Zoom

https://zoom.us/

A web call platform for monthly virtual meetings that will accommodate over 100 people and both USGS and external attendees, and the ability to record to a common format; A web call platform for smaller group meetings.

Zoom is no longer used by CDI (April 2020). USGS users must use Zoom for Government now. 

Sli.do

https://www.sli.do/

Interactive polling during virtual or in-person events.

We use the free version of sli.do for monthly virtual meetings, the visual display of live-polling is very good. For our biennial in-person workshops we purchase an event license. Other CDI members have mentioned that they prefer Mentimeter.

SimplyVoting

https://www.simplyvoting.com/

A voting platform for the Request for Proposals.

SimplyVoting has been our voting solution since FY19, when we stopped paying for a customized USGS internal RFP system. Although some features are much more user friendly, there is some inflexibility - most notably that ballots cannot be set up to assign a variable amount of votes to different statements of interest. A strict ranking ballot using the Borda count method is used. Users say that it is more difficult to rank 15 proposals than to distribute 15 points. We evaluated other, less expensive third party apps but Simply Voting was the only one we found that would explicitly allow for "up to n" ranked statements, and the user support and raw data returned are more than satisfactory.


Election Buddy

Used in FY2021 RFP process because of Cumulative Voting option (distribute 15 votes).

Mailman listservs

https://listserv.usgs.gov/mailman/listinfo

A way to inform members of infrequent news, such as monthly meetings, RFP or workshop news, or consolidated monthly news.  

In November 2019 we started using the Mailman listservs instead of the other USGS Bison Connect listserv option. This gives us more member self-service for adding and removing, and a better administrative interface with more options. 

A page describing Mailman Listserv details is available to CDI coordinators signed into the wiki. (link)

Microsoft Teams

Part of the USGS office.com o365 suite

An informal, high frequency of interaction, discussion site.

Microsoft Teams is an application similar to Slack, which allows informal, frequent, asynchronous communication. It is integrated with the rest of USGS office tools which means we are "going to where the users are" instead of asking them to use a new app. Unfortunately, non-USGS members, of which there are many, do not have access to this platform. See section "Explanation of how we use the Confluence Forum versus MSTeams" below.

Information about joining the MS Team is at this page: Join the new CDI Microsoft Team

Confluence Calendar

https://my.usgs.gov/confluence/display/cdi/CDI+Calendar

A calendar of events (that can be viewed by all of CDI, whether USGS or external members).

After the USGS was migrated from Google Calendar to Microsoft Outlook, we found it better to keep track of CDI events on the Confluence calendar, because of our external-to-USGS members. Anyone can view all upcoming CDI events. A logged-in CDI member can hit "subscribe" and get a link to view this calendar within their own environment (for example, USGS Outlook Calendar on the Web). The refresh time for seeing changes to the wiki calendar on one's own calendar is not immediate, but has appeared to happen within a couple of hours. A user can also choose to "watch" the calendar on the wiki and receive email updates to event changes. 

Confluence Calendar information

Microsoft Planner

Part of the USGS office.com o365 suite

A way to coordinate tasks among the CDI facilitation team.

Planner is a trello-like task manager for teams. The CDI facilitators group their tasks into buckets (communications, wiki and webpage, request for proposals, workshops and events), and stay informed of each other's progress by referring to tasks during our weekly CDI planning meetings. 

To do: Planner use guidelines

OneDrive and Sharepoint

Part of the USGS office.com o365 suite

A proposal submission system for collecting and analyzing RFP submissions. A place to share working documents for the facilitation team.

Prior to migration, Google Forms, scripts, and Google Drive were used for RFP submissions, automated creation of cover pages and email notifications. As of December 2019, the USGS migration team is attempting to recreate this functionality on a USGS Sharepoint site. 

OneDrive is used to access a Shared Library for the CDI Internal Team. The Shared Library is not connected to any specific user and will persist even if individual users depart the USGS.

As of this time there is no replacement for externally-accessible forms like Google Forms. 

ScienceBase

https://www.sciencebase.gov/catalog/item/520e8340e4b08494c3cb34ec

A place to document funded project outputs.

Each CDI funded project has a ScienceBase "item" (or page) on which there is a brief plain-language summary, and links to outputs. CDI ScienceBase item information is read into the USGS usgs.gov webpage.

Drupal for usgs.gov

https://www.usgs.gov/centers/cdi 

A way to engage new potential members.

The public-facing USGS webpage is a brief summary of the CDI, intended for those that are new to CDI. The site also lists news, publications, and other things that are standard in the USGS web environment. 

As of December 2019, the public website needs an update, particularly with respect to display of funded CDI projects. 

Twitter/Hootsuite

https://www.twitter.com/USGS_CDI 

https://hootsuite.com/

A way to engage new potential members. An informal, was to send out high frequency of announcements and interact with members. 

CDI maintains an official USGS twitter account that is subject to government social media rules. CDI facilitators must be trained in social media use before getting access to the account. USGS social media must be implemented through Hootsuite. 

Other

Possible other tools to use: AirTable (https://airtable.com/): An online relational database to manage projects, outputs, and members. 

CDI would benefit from a member management database, also known as CRM (customer relationship management) in order to quickly see relationships between people, groups, and projects. 

Explanation of how we use the Confluence Forum versus MSTeams

Confluence Forum

The CDI has been using the Atlassian Confluence platform since about 2013. The Forum is a place where announcements can be posted and commented on. The platform is better for semi-permanent posts, which can be linked to from an email or teams chat. The forum is publicly available and internal links should not be posted. To-do: Figure if the forum can be subscribed to for new posts only.

MSTeams

Microsoft Teams is a Slack-like tool that became available to USGS employees. The platform is suitable for informal conversations and frequent posts that USGS employees can visit at any time. The MSTeam is was not available to those outside of the Department of Interior when it was first adopted in December 2019, but as of April 2020, external members may be invited. It is up to the owners of the Team to make sure internal-only information is not posted in the team.

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