Inspired by the Notes feature, Discussions build a more communal experience by allowing precisionFDA users to pose discussion topics, and members of the community to juxtapose their answers.

A discussion topic functions much like a note, in that it supports rich text formatting and attachments. Under each topic, each participants is allowed to post exactly one answer, also richly formatted and with attachments. This model of interaction encourages people to write a single answer as their thesis to the posed topic. Additional lightweight commenting is enabled on both the discussion topic and individual answers, so that the community can give quick feedback and further stimulate the discussion. Users can also upvote discussion topics or answers, to mark their interest and in some way help others prioritize what they read first.

The Discussions section of the website lists all the discussions. Click on a topic to list all the answers. Click "Read answer" to see more details about an individual answer, or click "Join" to register your participation in the topic (even if you don't submit an answer). Click "Followers" to get a detailed list of users who have joined the discussion.

Creating a discussion

To create a new discussion, click "Start a discussion" under the Discussions section of the website. Enter a discussion title and fill in the rest of the content using Markdown syntax. You can save your edits even if you are not completely finished writing. Later, when you return to this topic, you can click "Edit discussion" to continue editing. To attach an item (such as a file, an app, a job, a comparison, or an asset), navigate to the page of that item and click "Attach to...", then select the discussion topic and click "Attach".

The new discussion is initially private, and accessible only by you. Once you done editing and you have attached all items, click "Publish" to make the discussion public. The publishing wizard will guide you through the publication process, asking you if you'd like to publish the attached items. For more information, consult the Publishing section.

Writing an answer

To write an answer in a discussion, navigate to the discussion and click "Write an Answer". The process is similar to writing a note or a discussion: fill in your answer using Markdown syntax and click "Save" to record your changes; attach items by visiting an item and clicking "Attach to..."; and finally publish the answer by clicking "Publish".

You can always revise your answer at any point, and manipulate its attachments. If at a later point you attach a private item to a public answer, you must make sure to separately publish the item, by visiting the item and clicking "Publish".

Commenting & upvoting

You can comment on any discussion or answer by clicking "Comment". Comments are displayed from oldest to most recent. Comments are meant to be short and thus do not support rich text formatting.

You can also upvote any discussion or answer by clicking "Upvote". This will increase a counter of votes for that item. Votes can often help other community members prioritize what discussions or answers they read.