Discussion threads


Assignable and resolvable discussion threads are one of Flat's unique features. They let your team collaborate more effectively by keeping important discussions where they belong – alongside the work. Discussion threads are prominently displayed on a topic's page, so they can't be missed; assignable, so balls don't get dropped; and resolvable, so your topics don't get cluttered.

Key concepts

In Flat, discussion threads aren't streams of comments like a group chat in Slack, Teams, or Discord. They're first-class objects with a built-in lightweight life cycle, enabling better collaboration in several ways:
  • Your team can have multiple independent conversations on the topic in parallel without them being confusingly interleaved like they would be in a group chat.
  • A thread can be assigned to a particular team member, so it's clear to them (and everyone else on the team!) who is accountable for following up. Assigned threads are shown prominently in the workspace on the topic's card, and also in the assignee's "My threads" view.
  • A thread can be resolved, which hides it from view by default to keep the topic uncluttered while maintaining a permanent record of the conclusion.

Use cases

Discussion threads are designed to be lightweight and flexible and can model all sorts of day-to-day activities on your team. Below are a few examples.
These are just a few examples of how your team could use discussion threads. It's OK to experiment, find the practices that align with how your team likes to work, and evolve your practices over time.

Requests for help or clarification

Imagine a junior member of a team is working on a topic and is confronted with an ambiguity or problem. They open a discussion thread on the topic posing their question and assigning it to someone more senior, perhaps their manager or a project manager. Once they sort out the answer, they can resolve the thread.

Sign-off processes

Imagine a team where a senior manager needs to approve all new blog posts before they're published. The team doesn't want to add a "Manager Approval" stage to their workspace. because there are many other topics in that workspace that aren't related to the blog and don't require manager approval. Instead, the team adopts a norm where, before publishing to the blog, they assign a thread to the manager requesting their approval.

Follow-up reminders

Imagine a team has a meeting about a topic and identifies a follow-up item. The person responsible for following up decides to open a thread on the topic and assign it to themselves. That way, they won't forget about it, and the team can discuss it further if need be.


Creating and replying to a thread

To create a thread, visit the topic's page and click New thread toward the upper right corner, then type your initial comment and submit. To reply to an existing thread, click on the thread to open the reply box.
The comment editor is the same rich text editor used for topic descriptions. It supports Markdown-style shortcuts, emoji, topic references, and more.
Type @username in a comment to mention a teammate. They'll be notified that you mentioned them, but think of a mention as just an FYI. To track that they're accountable for following up, check the box to make them the thread assignee.
You won't lose unsubmitted comments when you refresh the page or navigate away. Flat keeps track of your draft comments as you write them, so you can continue where you left off when you return.

Assigning a thread

To assign a thread to teammate, click on the thread and check the Assign to checkbox, then pick the assignee's name from the dropdown and submit. The assignee will be notified that they're accountable for following up, and the thread will appear in their "My threads" view.
A thread can have only one assignee at a time. That ensures it's unambiguous who's accountable for following up.

Viewing open threads

Open threads are displayed prominently on the topic's page in the discussion panel on the right side.
In addition, when a topic has one or more open threads that are assigned to a team member, a summary is depicted in the workspace on the topic's card, making it easy to see when a topic has a discussion that's awaiting follow-up.

Viewing resolved threads

To view resolved threads for a topic, visit the topic's page and click the text toward the upper right corner that states the number of threads that have been resolved.
The text that states the number of threads that have been resolved will only appear if there's at least one resolved thread.

Reopening a thread

To reopen a thread after it's been resolved, visit the topic's page and view its resolved threads. Posting a new comment on any resolved thread will reopen it. Alternatively, to reopen a thread without posting a comment, click Reopen.