General

What It Means To Participate – General Questions

A Thoughtexchange is a tool that allows communities to have meaningful and productive online conversations.

What you need to know as you take part in a Thoughtexchange:

  • There are three steps: Share, Star and Discover.
  • Participation is confidential. Your thoughts and stars will be public, but we’ll keep it private that it was you who shared them.
  • Participating in a Thoughtexchange gives you a voice in the decisions that affect you.

Please explore the frequently asked questions below to learn more.

General Questions

What is a Thoughtexchange process?

Leaders use our tools because they want to hear what you have to say. In this process you will take part in four activities. You will:

  1. Read and think about a few questions.
  2. Answer those questions in your own thoughts.
  3. Assign stars to your thoughts and those of others to show which thoughts you value.
  4. Learn what is important to the whole group.

Is that a big deal?   We don’t know of any other way to have this kind of discussion with so many people in different places at the same time.  We think it’s a very big deal, and we hope you agree.

What are the steps in a Thoughtexchange process?

A Thoughtexchange Process is like an online townhall meeting and has 3 steps:

  • SHARE – where everyone shares their thoughts.
  • STAR – where everyone sees each other’s thoughts and adds stars to them.
  • DISCOVER – where everyone’s thoughts and stars are shared publicly.

As you participate it’s important to understand:

Your thoughts and stars are public, but we’ll keep private that it was you who shared them.

Why use Thoughtexchange?

Meetings or surveys do not give everyone the chance to speak and learn from each other.

  • Live meetings have limited attendance because of issues of time and distance for participants. Even though people wish to attend, busy schedules mean they just can’t make it.
  • Surveys can reach more people than meetings but you aren’t able to learn from what others are saying.

Thoughtexchange uses technology to engage more people than can attend or participate, even if they do attend.  We also go far beyond a survey by allowing you to share your thoughts and then review and prioritize yours and others’ ideas.

From these priorities and insights, leaders can make decisions and move issues forward that are in line with the priorities of the group.

Why would I want to participate in this process?

Participating gives you a voice in a topic that someone (likely an organization like a school district, municipality, non profit or a business you are involved in) believes is important to you.

Thoughtexchange makes it possible for large, diverse groups to:

  • contribute ideas, and
  • negotiate priorities among those ideas.

Your participation will help inform and improve the decisions made by the organization that invited you to participate.

Is that a big deal? You bet! We don’t know of any other way to have this kind of discussion with so many people in different places at the same time.

Why have I been invited?

Our customer (which is an organization like a school district, municipality, non profit or a business that you are connected with) wants to know what you think.

It’s more than a simple survey and nobody is trying to sell you anything.

You can participate from the comfort of your home or local coffee shop and make a difference in your community or organization.

How did you get my email address or cell phone number?

We send invitations via email and text messaging on behalf of our customers who want you to participate in a conversation they believe is important to you.

  • Our customer has a relationship with you.
  • They want you to be a part of the conversation.
  • They provided your email address or cell phone number so that we could invite you to join the conversation.
  • We do not use your email or phone number for any other purpose.

Will you be sharing my e-mail address?

We will keep your address confidential and will not share it with anyone else. You can opt out at any time by clicking the opt-out link in any email we send you.

Your e-mail address will not be shared or sold to another third-party.

If you self-register for a Thoughtexchange process, you are agreeing that we can provide your email address to our customer whom you already have a relationship with.

For more information please review our Terms of Use.

Is my participation confidential?

Yes, your participation is confidential but your thoughts and stars will be viewed by others. We will not share the link between you and your thoughts and stars with anyone, including our customers. In short, they will not know who shared what thought or who assigned which stars.

Are there any exceptions to this? Yes, if we have your consent, if we are required by law, or if we feel morally obligated to do so to prevent or report an illegal act.

For more information please review our Terms of Use.

What is the Thoughtexchange privacy policy?

In order for Thoughtexchange to work best, we need you and others like you — as many as possible — to participate fully. We want you to feel free to speak freely and honestly, without fear. For this reason, we are committed to protecting your privacy.

During participation your thoughts and stars will be viewed by others but we will not share the link between you and your thoughts and stars with anyone, including our customers. In short, they will not know who shared what thought or who assigned which stars.

Are there any exceptions to this? Yes, if we have your consent, if we are required by law, or if we feel morally obligated to do so to prevent or report an illegal act.

For more information please review our Terms of Use.

What is your Terms of Use policy?

Your input is really important to us.

A Thoughtexchange Process is all about sharing your thoughts and hearing what others have to say. We believe that making your thoughts and stars available for others to see is an essential part of the process.

When you participate in a Thoughtexchange process you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.

Your thoughts and star assignments are owned by you. The thoughts you shared and the stars you assign may be seen publicly but your name will not be publicly associated with those thoughts or stars.

In short, we keep private that it was you who shared your thoughts and stars. We’re committed to protecting your privacy.

For more information please review our  Terms of Use.

What do I do if the clickable link in the email doesn’t work?

In the rare case when you click on the clickable link in the email and it doesn’t open up a browser, we have an easy fix for you.

First, scroll to the bottom of the invitation email and look for the text that looks similar to the information in purple:

This email has been sent from the Thoughtexchange system for Process X(ProcessX - #134)
If you have problems with the link above you can copy and paste the text below to your browser: http://thotex.com/7jmZCDyQwjPS?warn=THIS_LINK_IS_CUSTOMIZED_FOR_YOU_SO_PLEASE_DO_NOT_SHARE_IT_WITH_ANYONE_ELSE

(The text in the email won’t be purple, but that is the information that you need.)

Now, follow these steps once you have found the text you need:

  1. Select the text that begins with ‘http’ and ends with ‘ANYONE_ELSE’
  2. Press the “Ctrl” and “C” keys simultaneously to copy the link
    • if you are using a Mac, press “Command” and “C” instead
  3. Open your web browser and select the text in your browser’s address bar
  4. Press delete so that the address bar has no text in it
  5. Press “Ctrl” and “V” simultaneously to paste the URL you just copied into the address bar
    • if you are using a Mac, press “Command” and “V” instead
  6. Now press the Enter key to open the welcome page for the Thoughtexchange process

What kind of information do you collect about me?

We collect three main types of information in a Thoughtexchange process:

  • Your input – the thoughts you enter and the stars you assign
  • Your identity – your name and email address
  • Information that connects your input to your identity

A Thoughtexchange Process is all about sharing your thoughts and hearing what others have to say. We believe that making your thoughts and stars available for others to see is an essential part of the process.

The thoughts you shared and the stars you assign may be seen publicly but your identity will not be publicly associated with those thoughts or stars.

For more information please review our Terms of Use.

What do you do with the information you collect about my identity?

You own your information.  Our fundamental starting point is that you own all of your personal information and the thoughts and other input that you provide to us.  You only grant us a license to use your information.

The thoughts you shared and the stars you assign may be seen publicly but your name will not be publicly associated with those thoughts or stars.

Our customer needs to know who they are having the conversation with so they will see your input as it relates to the demographic you selected.

For more information please review our Terms of Use.

I left and came back and Thoughtexchange knew it was me. Why?

We have found it is important that participants know they can be identified as the source of a particular thought, because they will answer more carefully than they would if they were anonymous.  We have also found it to be critical to be able to give you back your thoughts along with thoughts of others for assigning stars, in order to show that we have heard and care about the thoughts that come from you.

The thoughts you shared and the stars you assign may be seen publicly but your name will not be publicly associated with the thoughts you share or the stars you assign.

I keep receiving reminder emails, how do I make them stop?

There are a number of ways to stop receiving the reminder emails.

If you want to participate but don’t want to receive reminder emails

  • On a desktop, laptop or tablet PC – reminder emails will stop once you enter one thought or assign one star
  • On a phone – reminder emails will stop once you walk through the process and reach the done page

In both cases, you can always go back and add more thoughts or stars at your convenience.

If you do not want to participate in the process at all you can:

  • click on the opt-out link in the invitation email, or
  • choose not to participate from the Welcome Page and then click on the opt-out link

I received two invitations. Do I complete both?

There are a few reasons why you might receive more than one invitation. In all cases, you may respond separately to each invitation or choose to respond to only one.

Here are a few of the reasons you may have received more than one invitation:

  • If you are related to the group running the Thoughtexchange in more than one way, you may have received more than one invitation.
  • If you are a parent with children in more than one school, you would have received an invitation from each school.
  • If you are a parent and also an employee, you would have received an invitation from your child’s school and a separate email from the school or district where you work.

How do you stop people outside the stakeholder group from participating?

We don’t have any guaranteed way to stop someone from participating but we don’t think this is a big concern because:

  • First, we don’t believe that people outside of those directly involved would take the time to seek out the process and participate.
  • Then, if they did share some thoughts, wouldn’t that be a good thing? After all, the organization you are associated with is looking for all sorts of ideas to be brought to the table. In most instances, it really doesn’t matter where those ideas come from.
  • And finally, we generally ask a demographic question that helps us get a really clear idea on who is saying what. Our analysis will show any patterns and outliers that could possibly impact the integrity of the process and filter appropriately.

What does “Bad Thing Happened” mean?

We work hard to make our software run smoothly, so that you can share your thoughts and assign your stars without any problems.

Occasionally, however, there might be a glitch. Maybe the Internet’s not working well, or maybe there’s a bug we didn’t know about.

If a message pops up with the words “Bad Thing Happened”, you’ve come across just such a glitch.

We’d really like to know what happened. If you’d like to help us track down the issue, please take a screenshot and email it to support@thoughtexchange.com.

Then, simply click the restart button to start again.

We save your thoughts and stars often.  There’s a good chance you will be able to carry on exactly where you left off when you restart. Sometimes though, we may not have been able to complete a final save before the “Bad Thing Happened”.  We apologize if you find yourself having to share your last thought or assign your last stars again.