Questions submitted to OOI’s HelpDesk will now be shared and answered on OOI’s community forum on Discourse.  This move was initiated in January 2021 as a way to make such queries more transparent, with the hope that the answers would help inform the broader OOI community and possibly initiate a dialogue among OOI data users themselves.

“HelpDesk questions range in complexity, depending upon the experience of OOI data users.  By posting basic questions about accessing data to detailed queries about particular data, we hope to provide a resource for users at all experience levels,” said Jeff Glatstein, Senior Manager of Cyberinfrastructure and OOI Data Delivery Lead.  Members of the OOI Data Team, comprised of representatives from all of the OOI arrays, answer questions relevant to data collected by the arrays. The platform offers the team a way to quickly engage with questioners and vice versa.

The team expects that some of the questions submitted will spark discussion amongst the data users themselves. “Having the questions presented on an open forum like Discourse provides an opportunity for OOI data users to share their knowledge and lend insight into specific data-related questions,” added Glatstein.

In addition to the HelpDesk, Discourse contains an FAQ section, and discussion sections for sharing of data tools, innovations, and findings, known data issues, and other areas where users’ exchange of information can be helpful.  The implementation of Discourse was recommended by the OOI Facility Board as a means to encourage exchange between members of the OOI community. OOI’s forum is modeled after the Pangeo Discourse, which is a successful community of scientists and software developers working together to improve scientific research.

All OOI data users and potential OOI data users are encouraged to try out, then bookmark, Discourse. By sharing knowledge, questions and answers, OOI can join the ranks of helping to advance scientific research through engaged dialogue and collaboration.  See you online!