My review of different collaborative tools.

A couple of day ago I wrote about my search for a good collaborative tool for idea/argument sharing. I’m looking for a tool which makes it easy to contribute yes and no arguments (without having to login) and later on, vote on the best arguments. I was recommended four different tools and here are my opinons about them, after some testing:

MixedInk: From the start, this looked like the most promising site. However, I identified three problems:

  • It doesn’t allow for the Norwegian characters Æ, Ø and Å. Since I wanted to use this connected to the Norwegian blog Europabloggen, this makes the tool useless.
  • Users/writers need to sign in in order to contribute. I would prefers if it was possible to write arguments, without being member or having an user account at MixedInk.
  • MixInk didn’t work well with Firefox, which is the browser I use. I had to open it in Safari in order to get the “write and edit” window up.


  • Seems to work better as a feedback site, rather than a place to compare different arguments for or against an issue.
  • The site is confusing. It says I have 10 votes left (no votes have been used), while when I signed up, it said I could have 100 votes a month. What’s up with that? I need more than 10 votes, but I’m not willing to pay for it.


  • I really like Doodle to figure out when my friends or contacts have time to meet, but for this kind of task, Doodle doesn’t work that well. It seems to work best with a smaller group of people (even though in the FAQ it says that between 1000-2000 can participate, but it will slow down the page).
  • However, it might be that it could work when I have gathered all the arguments, and Doodle could only be used in for the polling.


  • Seems to be a great site, but I must admit, too complicated technically for me.

In other words, I haven’t found the tool I’m looking for.

6 thoughts on “My review of different collaborative tools.

  1. I don’t see what’s so difficult about using IdeaTorrent (or did you mean installing it? I have not tried that). Just log in (you can even use OpenID), and click on the arrows to vote or on “Submit your idea” to do that. Or if there’s already an idea up that you would want to solve differently just click on “See the X comments or propose a solution >> ” and write your own solution.

    Not sure if you can set it to not demand that people log in, though, but I’m sure that is either possible or will be soon.

  2. Can’t you use some combination of WordPress plugins? Stars for voting, build in wikis etc.? Not a simple solution, but it might do the job.

  3. @Torgeir, thanks, I’ll look into Ethernet.
    @Børge. I thought I had to download it in order to use it, but after you mentioned that I could log in, I tried that (didn’t see that at first). But from what I understand, when I log in, I’m only able to submit ideas to the IdeaTorrent itself, not to my own subject. I might be wrong.
    However, another problem with IdeaTorrent is that you have to log in to submit ideas. I think that works well for a small community of committed users, but if you want to start a debate about Norwegian YES and NO arguments, I think a log-in will create an extra barrier.
    @Jon, there might be some WordPress plugins that could do the job, I haven’t checked yet. Ideally, I wanted to find a sollution where I could do both things on one site (submit arguments within the two categories and vote on the best arguments), but it might be that a combination of wiki/Google doc plus Doodle/ the voting tool in WordPress could work out fine.

  4. Torgeir’s suggestion of is brilliant. Go check it out. No login required. Just start typing and collaborate in real time with as many other people you like. Each typer’s contributions will be marked in different colours. 😀

  5. I’ve now tested EtherPad, and linked to it from the blog here.

    EtherPad is super simple, which is good, but I wished it had some more tools in the “dashboard”, such as “insert link” (now we must use html if we want to include a link in an argument).

    I’m using PB Works (earlier PB Wiki) quite frequently, which is my favorite wiki tool, but users need to sign in in order to use it, which I’m not interested for this case.

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