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Liferay Social Office
A suggestion to improve the social office featureset regarding finding know
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After discussing this at the liferay europe convention I'd have a (possible) suggestion regarding the liferay social office for an improvement. I'd be glad to hear everyone's opinions on this. I've also shot this idea into Jira as a possible improvement (http://issues.liferay.com/browse/SOS-1249) but thought it might be better for the forum to see if anyone agrees with me on this suggestion.
Looking at the current social office options I've noticed that there are two types of features in the social office.
There are those features (such as chat) that give control to the end-user regarding who they want to socialize with (i.e a user can decide they only want to chat with their friends). The user can be as open or as closed in these features of the social office as they desire.
On the other hand there are social office features such as the knowledge scoring (finding those users with expertise on a certain area) where everyone can find the most knowledgable people on a given subject. In features such as these the active participant (with the high participation / knowledge score) has no control over who can see his expertise / knowledge. This presents a problem because the most knowledgable person might get swamped with requests that he can't answer due to time constraints.
Working for a university I'd like to open the discussion if there shouldn't be some way to allow users (and / or administrators) to regulate access to such social information as who has the most expertise on a certain subject. Although we're all for openness of information we do not want our 20000 students to start directly contacting our most knowledgable third line technical support (simply because they do not have the time to handle all such questions, their time is spend fixing underlying issues). I can imagine similar worries arise for any organisation that works with a first / second / third line support system or knowledge workers in general that are not directly accessible (due to time constraints) for all users with questions. The knowledge these people have is certainly something you'd want to have unlocked in liferay and found through a social office. However whenever people search for the most knowledgable people on a certain subject these people should not 'pop-out' in social search results.
As such we'd like to suggest / open the discussion that social features should always have the option (customizable) that certain users will be found by a limited set of users / in a limited way. This would mean you could ensure certain, especially very busy knowledge workers, would only show up to certain groups or roles when their area of expertise is searched for. This would be a change for functionality such as "Finding the right people with the right knowledge." The reason I'm making this suggestion (as I hope is clear by now) is that the most knowledgable person is not always the right person to find when you have questions. The right person needs a mixture of knowledge and to have such a role as to have time to assist you. However the knowledge of the most skilled workers should be found through liferay. After all, since their knowledge is extensive this would hopefully solve a lot of problems without anyone having to be contacted. Just not having the information in there would solve the problem of them being found, but would greatly diminish the value of their knowledge.
If this improvement request should instead be posted as a suggestion / for discussion on the liferay project forums let me know. I'm still under the (hopefully correct) impression suggestions related to the social office or marketplace should be put under the appropriate forums.