by Elly Madrigal, Client Operations Manager
Due to a high demand from Solvers, InnoCentive has launched another form of communication to allow Solvers and Seekers discuss Topics around a specific Challenge. You may have noticed that there is a new button on the IAVI Challenge, "Functional envelope trimer of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus" (located under the Global Health Pavillion), called "Discuss Challenge". Specific Topic areas in this forum include: (1) an Introduction to IAVI, (2) Funding, (3) Collaboration, (4) Prizes, and (5) Confidentiality, plus any other Topics that you may want to discuss. We invite you to take a look at the forum and add to the discussion if you have any questions or comments around the Challenge and/or the IAVI organization.
For those of you that have not been involved in a Forum, it is basically a message board for Solvers and Seekers to communicate with each other. Typically, information is communicated in one direction, through the Challenge posting and Press Releases. However, with the Challenge Forum, Solvers can now ask questions directly to the Seekers, but with some caveats.....we'll get into those caveats below.
For those of you that have been involved in a Forum, please no trolling, spamming, flaming, baiting, sock puppeting, double posting, or foul language. You've seen it before.
Wikipedia defines an Internet Forum as "an online discussion site...... People participating in an Internet forum can build bonds with each other and interest groups will easily form around a topic's discussion, subjects dealt within or around sections in the forum." The InnoCentive Forum is a simple structure where Topics are started and Solvers and Moderators can reply to each one of those Topics, similar to replying to an email or instant message. To start, click on each of the topics, read the initial post and follow up replies, and add your question or comment to the discussion by clicking "Create New Reply". If you want to discuss a new Topic, click "Create New Topic" on the main Forum. It's very simple.
Registration, Confidentiality & Public Discussion
Now here are the caveats that I mentioned earlier. While the Forum was built to allow communication between Solvers and Seekers, it is considered a "semi-public" Forum. To get to the Forum, you are required to be registered as a Solver, so the identities of the usernames on the forum are known by InnoCentive, but not by the IAVI moderators - maintaining the anonymity between the Solvers and Seekers. Once you are in the Forum, all Solvers on the InnoCentive website are able to access the discussion topics. You can ask questions on general approaches on your Solution to the Challenge, but you don't want to ask or reveal specific details on your approach. Remember, 170,000+ Solvers can access this, so you don't want to spill the beans! But if you feel that your question would help all Solvers, or you'd like some insight on how IAVI would like you to approach the Challenge, feel free to post your questions. Now, if you have specific questions on your own specific submission, use the Project room and send a message to the Program Manager. S/he can answer your question specifically in a private environment.
On this Forum there are 6 moderators. Five moderators work directly with IAVI in various groups - program management, communications, and technical. They will be able to answer any questions you may have on the Challenge. From InnoCentive, I am the moderator, and will be administrating the Forum.
How to find the Forum
To get to the forum, you should go to the Challenge, and click on the "Discuss Challenge" button. You will also see some short cuts on the Abstract and in the Project Room that look like this.
To discuss the Challenge from within the detailed Challenge description, click on the "Discuss Challenge" button on the page. Please remember that confidential information should not be shared in the Forum.
We hope you'll go to the Forum and ask the questions you need to ask. This Challenge has a high award amount of $150,000 plus the potential to collaborate with IAVI on future work. We've even extended the deadline twice to allow Solvers to ask whatever they want. It's a good cause, and we want the Challenge solved as much as you want that money!