You can use tools entirely within Discourse to create a ‘Doodle’-like poll which automatically shows users the dates and times in their local timezone. So now there’s no need to use an external service like Doodle when trying to determine the best time for a meeting.
Create a post or a private message for the poll to go in. Whether you use a post or a private message will depend on whether this is an open meeting or one where you want to specifically invite certain individuals.
Using the ‘Insert date/time’ tool in the Discourse composer toolbar, create the date/time options you will put into the Poll. Initially these options can just be put into the post text in the composer, you will copy and paste them into the Poll later.
For example, here are some dates created in this way. Note that if you hover the mouse over them it shows you the date/time in a selection of timezones (you can configure which timezones are shown using the Advanced button in the date/time tool dialog box). Another neat thing is that you can directly edit the data in the date/time, copy and paste them, etc which makes it very quick to create multiple date/times.
The text that is automatically created in the Composer looks like this:
But it will be shown on the right hand side in its fully rendered form like this, and this is what users will see in the Poll.
Select the text of all the options in your list and Copy them to the clipboard (Ctrl+C, or right-click and select Copy)
Create a Poll using the ‘Build Poll’ option, again from the Discourse composer toolbar, this time you need to access the dropdown from the menu:
- Choose ‘Multiple Choice’ or ‘Single Choice’ according to whether you want users to be able to choose several available options, or only one preferred option.
- I would suggest to also select Results ‘Always Visible’ so that people can see what other people have chosen (unless you don’t want them to).
- You can also tick ‘Show who voted’ which would seem sensible for a poll on meeting times, but maybe there are times you don’t want that.
- And of course you can choose to ‘close the Poll automatically’ at a given time so that people have to respond by a deadline in order to vote. (you need to scroll down slightly below ‘Show who voted’ to see that checkbox)
- Paste the copied text into the large text box ‘Enter one poll option per line’
(Incidentally you can create a poll on anything, not just dates/times - there are lots of other features in the Polls tool, so feel free to experiment, maybe by sending Private Messages to yourself or colleagues.)
- Here is the finished poll.
One of the neat advantages of this over Doodle is that people can still reply in text form under the poll, which can be helpful if there are other parameters to consider such as location, videoconferencing needs, AV arrangements etc. And of course the record of the decision is right here in your Discourse instance rather than being scattered around the web on other people’s computers!
For organisations which are extensively using Discourse as their ‘organisational operating system’ this is another way to bring more of the organisation’s ‘memory’ into Discourse.