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Using FirstClass conferences



About conferences
A conference lets a number of users exchange information online. You can send a message to a conference just as you would send a message to another user. You can also open a conference and read the messages posted there by others. When a conference contains unread mail, its icon is flagged and it displays the number of unread items that are inside.
Conferences can be created by your administrator, or by yourself or other users. On your Desktop, you will only see those conferences which you have created or placed there, or of which you are a member. You can also see any subconferences within a conference of which you are a member. If there is another conference that you want to see on your Desktop, ask the conference owner to make you a member.
7202010_20004_0.png        Note
If your organization has used FirstClass prior to version 12.0, you may have a Conferences container on your Desktop, containing public conferences. Clicking the Conferences application button on the navigation bar opens this container and hides all objects in the tree view that aren't conferences.
The conference owner determines what you can do in a conference. For example, you may only be able to read messages in a conference that covers personnel policies, but be able to send messages to a conference that deals with a project that you are working on. In this case, the personnel conference serves as a way to broadcast information. The project conference lets everyone involved in the project discuss it.



Addressing messages to conferences
You can address a message to a conference just as you would to another user. To automatically address a message to a conference, open the conference, then create the message.



Sending messages from conferences
In some cases, you may want a message to appear to come from a conference rather than from you personally. This is useful, for example, if you have a conference set up as a help desk.
To send a message that appears to come from a conference:
1       Open the conference.
2       Choose Message > New Message Special > New from Conference.



Replying to messages in conferences
If you simply reply to a message in a conference without specifying recipients, the reply is sent to the conference's default recipients.
To reply to just the conference that contains a message, choose Message > Reply Special > Reply to Conference with the message selected or open. To quote the whole message, choose Message > Reply Special > Reply to Conference with Quote.
To reply so that the reply appears to come from the conference itself, choose Message > Reply Special > Reply from Conference with the message selected or open. To quote the whole message, choose Reply > Reply Special > Reply from Conference with Quote.



Approving messages in conferences
A conference may be moderated. This means that either all messages sent to the conference, or messages with attachments, cannot be read until a moderator opens and approves them. Unapproved messages appear in italics in the list of conference items.
Only someone given permission to act as moderator for a conference can approve messages.
To approve a message, choose Collaborate > Approve.
7202010_20004_0.png        Note
Approve is a toggle command.



Creating conferences
7202010_20004_0.png        Note
If You just want to create a simple shared area, you can create a workspace instead. Creating a workgroup is more straightforward than creating a conference. The tradeoff is that you have more control over conference behavior.
You can create conferences just as your administrator does. If you have trouble getting your conferences to work as you expect, contact your administrator.
To create a conference:
1       Open the container where you want the conference.
2       Choose File > New > New Conference.
3       Select the template you want your conference to use.
The template Copy View Properties copies the layout of the container in which you are creating this conference.
The conference is created with the default name selected.
4       Type the name you want to give your conference and press Enter/Return.
After your conference has been created, you can:
•       open it to customize the view
•       update conference properties on the Info form.
5       Set conference permissions.
Setting conference permissions
To specify the permissions for your conference:
1       Select or open the conference.
2       Choose Collaborate > Permissions.
3       Update the Permissions form.
We recommend that you select "Do not publish in Directory", so that your conference isn't in the Directory. This lets you name the conference whatever you want, without worrying about finding a unique name, and prevents users who shouldn't be seeing your conference from knowing about it.
Your changes are saved automatically when you close this form.
Giving users access to your conferences
You can make your conference available to users by:
•       creating the conference in a container to which they have access
or
•       making them members of your conference.
This puts a link to your conference on their Desktops.
To make a user a member of your conference:
1       Select your conference.
2       Choose Members from the context menu.
If the conference Permissions form is still open, you can click Members instead.
3       Click Add Member.
7202010_20004_0.png        Shortcut
With the members list open, you can open a list of users, such as the Directory, select users, and drag them to the members list. You can also select a plain text list of user names (one per line) and drag them.
4       Select the user.
To see a selected member's profile, click Profile.
To remove a selected member, click Remove Member.
81203_42935_18.png        Tip
You can click the column headings in the members list to sort the list, just as you can in other lists. This lets you display the member names in alphabetical order.
Setting up mail handling rules for your conferences
You can set up mail rules that tell FirstClass how to handle mail received by a conference.
Providing information about your conferences
To provide other users with information about a conference:
1       Choose Collaborate > Permissions with the conference open or selected.
2       Click About.
3       Update the About form.
Your changes are saved automatically when you close this form.
To see conference information, users can select your conference, then choose Collaborate > About.



Subscribing to RSS feeds
You can create rules that import items from Internet RSS feeds into conferences. FirstClass checks for new items in these feeds on a regular basis. For each new item that it finds, it sends a message to the conference with an embedded link to the feed item.
To create a rule for importing items from an RSS feed:
1       Open the conference.
2       Choose Collaborate > Rules.
3       Click New RSS Feed on the Rules & Resources folder's toolbar.
4       Fill in the RSS Feed Info form.


Subscribing conferences to Internet mailing lists
You can use conferences as access points to Internet mailing lists.
When you subscribe a conference to a mailing list, messages sent to the mailing list will appear in the conference.
Each mailing list has its own instructions for subscribing. In some cases, you send a subscription request and the mailing list returns a reply saying the conference is subscribed. In other cases, you must respond to the mailing list's reply before the conference is subscribed.
To subscribe a conference to a mailing list, send the subscription request, as instructed by the mailing list, from the conference.
If you need to respond to this reply, reply from the conference.
Writing to mailing lists from conferences
Some mailing lists let anyone write to them. In this case, you and others using a conference can just send messages to the mailing lists, or respond to mailing list messages in a conference.
Other mailing lists only let registered users write to them. These mailing lists consider the actual conference to be the registered user, not you or others using the conference. This means that you cannot send messages directly to a mailing list, or respond to mailing list messages directly from the conference. To write to these mailing lists, you must send the message from the conference.
Sending commands to mailing lists
As well as sending messages to mailing lists, you can send commands such as help commands or requests for information about who is subscribed. These commands must also be sent from the conference.