accessWhen you publish a Social Paper, you have the option to make it public or private. By default, it is public, but at any time you can switch it to private so that it is accessible by you alone, or to individual members of the Commons, or to members of selected groups on the Commons.

Your “Access” controls are visible in a “Settings” panel on the left hand side of your Writing desktop.   By default, the panel  is visible, but it can be toggled to appear and disappear, using the gear icon (see below) at the bottom of the page, to give you more space to write.


The “Access” section of “Settings” panel, pictured at right is only available for papers you have written, and only when you are in edit mode.

I Want My Paper to be Totally Private

When you first publish a paper, you will might want to ensure that your paper is looking the way you want it to before exposing it to others. If you choose “Private” and do not specify any individuals or groups, your paper will be visible to you alone. (Alternatively, you can leave your paper in “draft” mode to ensure privacy.)

member sharingPrivate Sharing

The whole point of Social Paper is to get feedback on your work, so at some point you’ll want to start sharing. You can still keep your paper “Private” and add individual members of the Commons to the list or share your paper with groups on the Commons to which you belong.

Scroll down to the respective text boxes and click to receive an alphabetic list of Commons members or groups, and select the ones you want.

Depending on their email settings, members will receive notifications about your paper, including a link, so that they can go directly to your paper.  Below is an example of an email notification:

email note

Only those explicitly given access will receive notification and be able to read your paper.

Public Sharing

groupsIf you want to share your paper publicly, anyone (regardless whether they are members of the Commons or not) will be able to read and comment on your paper. Comments from outside the Commons are subject to approval by the author to protect against spam.

Public sharing allows you to share your work with colleagues around the world.  Search engines will index your work, and you may get comments from people you do not even know.  You may want to explicitly share with colleagues at other colleges and universities by sending them an email with a link to your paper.

Group Sharing

You may also select Commons groups when you share your public or private papers.  Your paper will be visible in the group’s Papers area and paper activity will appear in the group’s activity stream on its home page. Individual members can still elect to Follow your paper to receive separate email notifications on the paper’s activity.

Social Paper URLs

If your paper is public you may notify colleagues that you have a paper available for review by sharing its URL. For private papers the URL will only work for members with whom the paper has been shared.

All public papers will appear on the Social Paper Directory, and on your “My Papers” tab (https://commons.gc.cuny.edu/members/{memberName}/papers/).  Logged-in members will be able to see private papers here as well, if permission has been granted on an individual or group level.

How to Discover and Follow Papers on the Commons

If an author gives you permission to access a paper or if the paper is public, you can go one step further and “Follow” a paper.  This makes it easier for you to find it again, if you move away from the page.  And it also ensures that you will be notified when others make comments on the paper.  There are several ways to discover and follow papers.

Follow via Direct Links (from email notifications, My Commons, etc.)

All Social Papers have unique (and configurable) URLs.  As mentioned above, an email notification will provide a direct link to a paper.  My Commons will also provide a direct link to a paper (depending on permission settings).   When you click on a link to a paper, the paper will display in “Reading” mode and a “Follow” button will appear to the right of the author’s name (see below).  If you are already following a paper, the button will appear as “Unfollow” and clicking it will remove it from your personal list of “Followed Papers.”

follow 1

Follow via a Member’s Commons Profile

If you are interested in the work of specific member of the Commons, go to her/his Commons Profile pages.  Here you will see a “Papers” tab which lists the papers s/he has published and the papers s/he are following.  To the right of each paper is a “Follow” button.  Clicking will add it to the list of your own “Followed Papers.”

follow 2

Follow via a Group’s  “Papers” Tab

As mentioned above, papers can be shared explicitly with groups, either publicly  or privately. When you share a paper with a group, it will appear on the Group’s “Papers” tab, highlighted below.  If you are a member of the group, or if it is a public group, you will see the “Follow” or “Unfollow” buttons which function the same as described above.  If you are an author of one of the papers in the list, you will also see a “Delete” button.  Be careful with this button as it will delete your paper from the Commons.

If you would rather stop sharing with a group, go back to your paper’s settings panel. Regardless of whether you are sharing publicly or privately, you can deselect the group and it will not appear on that group’s page.

follow 3

Follow via the Social Paper Directory

All Social Papers are aggregated in the Social Paper Directory, and displayed according to permission levels.  (Please note that you must be logged in to the Commons to see private papers to which you have access.)  The directory also has the three buttons mentioned above – “Follow,” “Unfollow,” and “Delete” and the functionality is the same as described above.

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Social Paper Help Pages

  1. Social Paper
  2. How to Create a Social Paper
  3. How to Share and Follow Social Papers (current page)
  4. How to Comment on Social Papers