Archive Extension for Postponed Meetings

Normally in ProposalSpace calls are automatically archived by the system one year after activation. But things aren’t exactly normal right now, so we’ve decided to extend that period for a year.

The extension applies to calls activated January 1, 2019 through April 30, 2020 with a submission deadline on or after January 1, 2020.

For example, let’s say you activated your call January 1, 2020 and originally had a submission deadline of April 1, 2020, but you needed to extend the deadline a year to April 1, 2021. Normally the system would not allow you to accept submissions after December 31, 2020 because that’s when it would automatically archive the call. Now, however, the system won’t archive the call until December 31, 2021, giving you plenty of time (hopefully) to extend the deadline.

Hopefully this change will allow meetings that had to be postponed enough time to keep their calls open without having to pay for an extension. If you’ve had to extend your deadline by more than a year, please let us know and we’ll be happy to work something out.

Also, note that this change only affects calls that are automatically archived. You can still manually archive a call any time you like.

Stay safe and healthy.

New Feature: Publishing Module Customizations

Call admins can now select specific questions to use for session titles, role-user names, and role-user organizations in the Publishing Module.

Previously the system made its best guess which questions to use. (Basically it used the first question in the main submission form for the session’s title, the first question in each role form for an individual’s name, and the second question in each role form for that individual’s organization.)

screenshotNow you can select which field(s) to use for each value. Just click the Settings… link next to the field you want to change. (See screenshot to the left, which shows the Settings link for the Session Title field.)

screenshotFor session titles, you can select from any question in the main submission form that uses a text field. (See screenshot to the right, which shows an example of questions that can be selected from the call’s main submission form.)

For each role, you can select one or more questions from the role form to use for both the role-user’s name and organization.

For example, if your presenter form has a Full Name question, you can just select that question and nothing else. If, however, your form uses two questions (e.g. First Name and Last Name), you can select both fields. You can even sort the questions so that the last name comes first.

The same goes for the role-user’s organization: You can use a single field from the role form or multiple fields, sorted however you like.

If you select more than one question, there is even an option to separate the answers with commas, which comes in handy if you want to display the last name first (e.g. Smith, Jane) or the organization with the name (e.g. Jane Smith, ABC Co.).

One other thing to note: The question(s) you select for the role-user’s name field not only affect how the information is displayed in the session’s details, but also how each role-user’s name is displayed in the search form’s Person field.

Making Lemonade

We recently heard of a fantastic idea for making the best of a bad situation and wanted to pass it along!

It seems an organization was forced to cancel their annual conference at the last minute due to the novel coronavirus pandemic (like many these days). Attendees made it clear they expected full refunds and the organization felt it could not risk angering its members if it did not give them their money back. Giving every attendee a full refund, however, would have meant the organization would end up with no revenue to offset their own non-refundable expenses, causing a huge loss for the organization.

Instead, the organization decided to offer a "re-fund" option, which encouraged attendees to donate all or part of their registration fees back to the organization.

Although most attendees did not choose the option, there were enough who did. In the end, the organization was able to cover a good portion of the costs it was still on the hook for.

Do you have an idea like this for making the best of a bad situation? Please let us know, either in the comments below or by contacting us.

New Feature: Messaging Module Draft Recipient List

The Messaging Module now includes a feature that allows call admins to view the list of recipients for a message before the message is sent!

screenshot of linkJust create your message like you always have. When you go to preview the message, you’ll see a link at the end of the "To" header (right) indicating how many messages will be sent. Click that link and a window will open with a list of the recipients and how many copies each will receive. (Recipients receive one copy per proposal, so someone with multiple proposals would receive more than one copy of the message.)

The link is also displayed for draft messages on the main Messaging Module page.

After a message has been sent, the link is replaced with a list of actual recipients and the delivery status for each one.

New Feature: Labels in the Messaging Module

Call admins can now use proposal labels when defining message recipients in the Messaging Module!

screenshot of labels option in Messaging ModuleWhen you create a message for proposals, you’ll notice the "To" section (right) now has a "Labels" option to the right of the status and recipients options. (Unlike the status and recipients options, the Labels option is optional and only displayed if your call actually has labels. Also, it’s only available for messages to proposals, not reviewers.)

To use the new labels option, just click it and select the label(s) you would like to include in your selection criteria. As before, the "Total emails to be sent" counter will immediately update to reflect the number of recipients that match your criteria.

If you select more than one label, it’s important to understand that a proposal will only be considered a match if the selected labels are a subset of the proposal’s labels. In other words, a proposal’s labels must contain all of the labels you provide. For example, if you want to send a message to all proposals labeled "a" and "b", a proposal labeled "a", "b", and "c" will be a match, but one labeled just "a" will not. Nor will one labeled "a" and "c".

As always, if you have any feedback—especially ideas for improvement—please don’t hesitate to let us know!

New Feature: Proposal Labels

Have you ever wanted to organize your call’s proposals using your own taxonomy? Well now you can, with labels!

Call admins can now create and apply custom labels to any proposal. They’re completely under your control. You decide what to call them and which proposals to assign them to. You can then use them to find proposals according to the labels they’ve been assigned.

And the best part? They’re included as a core module at no additional cost and with every call, new or existing!

For now, labels can only be used with the Tracker’s search function. They’ll soon be available in a lot more areas though, like the Messaging Module and Data-export Tool. We’ve also got plans to extend them to user profiles and to make them available to review chairs and reviewers. (We’ve also got plans to add tags to the system, but that’s an entirely different topic that I’ll cover in another post.)

To get started, pull up any call and click Settings -> General -> Labels in the navigation. From there, you can create new labels and edit and delete existing ones.

screenshot showing proposal labelsWhen you’re ready to apply labels to a proposal, just pull up the proposal in the Tracker, click the ellipsis button immediately below the proposal’s title (see screenshot detail, right), and select the labels you want to use.

There are two ways to find proposals using a label: From the Labels page or from the Tracker’s search feature.

  • From the Labels page:

    screenshot showing link in Labels pageEvery label listed on the Labels page shows how many proposals are associated with it (see screenshot detail, right). Clicking that text performs a search of all proposals that use the label.

  • From the Tracker’s search feature:

    To include a label in your search criteria, preface the label with "Label:". For example, to search for proposals labeled "Poster", use: Label: Poster. If the label has more than one word, surround it with quotes. For example, for "Poster candidate", use: Label: "Poster candidate". (Pro tip: Searches are not case sensitive, so using Label: Poster is exactly the same as Label: poster, label: Poster, or label: poster.)

    You can also include labels with other search terms. For example, to search for proposals labeled "Poster presentation" and containing the phrase "financial planning", use label: "poster presentation" financial planning. (Pro tip: Order doesn’t matter, so financial planning label: "poster presentation" would give you the exact same results.)

We’ll keep everyone posted on our progress adding labels and tags throughout the site. In the meantime, let us know what you think!

New-Message Feature Now Available in Archived Calls

Just a quick note to let everyone know that you can now send messages via the Messaging Module for calls that have been archived.

Previously this feature was disabled, but we had a request from an organization that wanted to send a notice about their upcoming call to everyone who submitted a proposal for their previous call. The previous call had been archived, so the only way they could send a message was to use the data-export tool to download the email addresses, which they could then use in a standard email client.

We agreed that was too many hoops to jump through for a pretty common practice, so we unlocked the New Message feature for archived calls. Now you can use the Messaging Module to contact authors or reviewers for any call, including those that have been archived!

Expanded Feature: Default Answers in Role Forms

Call admins can now use profile information for default answers in role forms!

Previously, the only two questions in a role form that could be auto-filled with information from a user’s profile were name and organization—both of which were hard-coded into the form. And with any other question you could only define static text for a default answer.

Now, the question-settings dialog has an additional Default Answer option for all text questions, including name and organization. You can still provide specific text to auto-fill the answer, but now you also have the option to select a data element from the user’s profile.

autofill settingIn the example to the right, the email address from a user’s profile will be used to auto-fill the question whenever someone is added to a proposal.

Currently, the following profile information is available:

  • name (first, last, and full)
  • organization
  • email address
  • phone number
  • address (street, city, state, zip, country, and full)

We’re hoping to expand the list, so if you’re a call admin and would like to have access to other information in user profiles just let us know!

BTW, when you create a new role, name and organization are still included by default as the first and second questions, with full name and organization as their default answers. Now, however, they’re fully customizable like all other questions, meaning you can move them to other positions in the form, change their default values, make them optional, etc.

Most importantly, if we just allowed profile information to be filled in automatically whenever someone adds someone else to a proposal, that would potentially give any user access to the profile information of any other user. To get around that, we’ve added a second component to give users control over whether their profile information is available. autofill privacy settingAll accounts now have a setting to enable or disable access to their profile information for the autofill feature (left). The default for all accounts is to not autofill information, so if you would like to take advantage of this new feature, just go into the Privacy Settings area of your Account Settings and check the box to turn it on!

Simplified Publishing Module Implementation

We’ve made implementing the Advanced (JavaScript) version of the Publishing Module even easier!

Now, instead of five lines of code, you only need to add two: one for the JavaScript code and the other for the container to hold the sessions.

We’ve even made the changes backwards compatible, so you don’t have to worry about updating older implementations!

Detailed instructions are on the Publishing page in your call’s settings. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page and click "How to Embed/Link to the Publishing Module" under "Setup".

As always, if you have any questions or need any assistance, please don’t hesitate to let us know!

New Feature: Proposal Histories

At the heart of ProposalSpace is the ability for teams to work on proposals and to manage calls. That collaborative environment, however, has sometimes made it difficult to track down exactly who made a change or took a particular action.

So we added proposal histories.

Now, every change to a proposal is logged. Log entries include the action taken, who took it, when it was taken, and if applicable, what the value was before the change.

history screenshotIf you’re an author, you’ll see a History link under the proposal’s Table of Contents, directly above the Print link (see screenshot, left). If you’re an admin or review chair, you can access a proposal’s history via the Tracker. In either case, clicking the link will pop up a window with actions listed in chronological order. (Note that the actions displayed are based on a user’s role: authors see all changes to a proposal’s content along with key admin actions, while admins and review chairs see all changes and all admin actions.)

We hope you’ll find this new feature useful. If you have any ideas for improvement, we’d love to hear them!