Community News and Tips: Are you using the right GeoNet content tool?

Blog Post created by timothy_hales-esristaff Employee on Aug 31, 2016

Last week we shared How to answer questions, post comments and follow the Guiding Principles and for this week's Community News and Tips, we'd like to share a few quick tips and best practices on how to pick the right content tools to start discussions, share stories, ask questions and collaborate. 


By following the tips below you can learn: 

  • The difference between GeoNet's main content tools: Status Updates, Discussions, Questions, Documents and Blogs.  
  • How to determine which tools to use and when 


As you look into creating your own content and collaborating within the community, it is important to use the right content tool. When you use the correct content tool it will help you create better content, gain higher visibility, and receive more responses so you can accomplish your goal and solve your issue.


GeoNet provides several content tools; however, we are going to look at the most frequently used ones.  


Status Updates 


  • What it is: Status Updates tool lets you share quick updates and what’s going on right now with others in the GeoNet Community. You can add links, pictures, or @mention a person, a place, or a piece of content to increase the visibility of your update. These updates are limited to 140 characters, so you’ll want to keep these brief. Note that Status Updates are only visible from the activity stream of the place you post it because it's not one of the filter options on the content page. 
  • When to use it:  The best way to use it is when you have a short update, link or message to share with your group or the broader community. 
  • Example:  



  • What it is: The Discussions content tool is designed to allow you to have a deeper, topical conversation  where you are seeking different point of views and there is no specific solution to the issue. Discussions also have more formatting, editing and commenting capabilities that Status Updates so you can expand on your topic and have a more detailed conversation. 



  • What it is: Questions is designed to enable you to ask a question that requires a specific solution. The Questions functionality allows you and administrators to mark the correct response to the question. This puts the correct response at the top of the questions for other to find a solution faster. 
  • When to use it:  Use Questions when you are seeking a specific answer to a help solve an issue. 
    • Note: If you're trying to have an open discussion and not solve a specific issue, you should not use the Questions tool. It's best to use the Discussions tool for general conversations and feedback (see Discussions section above).
  • Example: Story Map Zoom Level   
  • For additional Questions tips, we also suggest checking out: Community News and Tips: How to ask questions and get answers



  • What it is: Documents come in two varieties:
    • 1) Collaborative native documents you write directly in the community
    • 2) uploaded files from your local machine.
    • Both are used to convey information to the community. However, the native documents within GeoNet allow multiple authors and can tack changes.  
  • When to use it:  Good examples Documents are meeting notes, how-to guides, code snippets, knowledge articles, etc. Uploaded files can be used in lieu of a collaborative document if you already have the document locally. 
  • Example: Python and ArcGIS Pro 1.3: Conde



  • What it is: Similar to Documents, Blogs are intended to convey information to the community. Blog content is normally static and does not require frequent updates. Each user within the community has their own blog in addition to certain places within the community that a blog post can be written. 
  • When to use it: Use Blogs when you are trying to share a story, opinion or thought leadership.
    • Note: If you're trying to share meeting notes, how-to guides, code snippets or knowledge articles, it's best to use Documents (see Documents section above). 
  • Example: UC Updates Day 5: Closing Session, UC and GeoNet Awards, Open Q&A  and Fun with GIS 202: Roots & Shoots  


Still not sure which one to use? Ask us! 

Learning to use the right GeoNet content tool does take practice and some tools and uses do overlap, so we encourage you to ask us for help and get additional tips in the GeoNet Resource Hub group.  


Thanks for following along and stay tuned for next week's tip!