The Fair Witness Cheat Sheet

The following is a list of the different found within the Conference Manager and Topic Manager. Next to each page I listed the part(s) of your COW that it allows you to change. Remember, if you have any fair witness-related questions not covered by this tutorial, feel free to join the Workshop conference in COW.

The Conference Manager

  1. Change Conference Configuration: Allows you to define your COW as class or conference, to define the access as private or public; you can dictate who is a fair witness and who is not (there may be multiple fair witnesses to one conference), and you can specify the name and e-mail of the head Fair Witness.
  2. Create New Topic: Allows you to write the name of a new topic and its index number. You may also create links to related topics by typing their index numbers, and, if you wish, you may make the topic private and initialize the list of users who have access to this particular topic.
  3. Arrange Topics: In this page you can do three basic operations. You may 1. delete a topic, 2. renumber a topic, and 3. rename a topic. Note that by renumbering more than one topic you can effectively shuffle your topics around.
  4. User Access List: Here you define the list of people who are allowed into your conference. Note that if you make any topic private, it will require its own access list, which you define through the Topic Manager. You may create the list at once or add/remove a single person at a time.
  5. Edit Comment: This is the short description that COW users see when they go into the Change Hotlist page and click on your conference's name. This description need not have your name or your e-mail (those parts will be included automatically).
  6. Edit Welcome Message: This is the message your conference's participants see upon entering the conference's main page. Use general text entry procedure (like posting a message) to create your Welcome Message. Remember, if you use the Preview option you must click BACK and Change Message for the changes to take effect.
  7. Back to Conference: This button simply takes you back to your conference and reloads the page to adjust for the changes you just made.

The Topic Manager

  1. User Access List: This list is separate from the access list to the entire conference. You may create a branch of your conference (a topic) that only certain members (like instructors, for example) can enter. Creating this list is identical to the process you would use to make the conference access list.
  2. Edit Topic: This page allows you to change four things about a topic. 1. The topic name, 2. the list of related topics, 3. the type of access (public or private), and 4. the Topic message. Note that if you go into the Edit Topic page and declare the topic private, you must then go into the User Access List page to define who has access into this private topic.
  3. Freezing Conversations: This page gives you a list of all the conversations in the topic and allows you to freeze or unfreeze (thaw) them. Frozen conversations do not disappear. Participants simply cannot write any new responses to them.
  4. Hiding Messages<: This is not actually a button in the Topic Manager. It's just a reminder that as fair witness you have the right to hide or unhide anybody's posted message, not just your own.
  5. Arrange Topics: This is the same page you reach through the Conference Manager. See above.
  6. Conference Manager: This button takes you up one level to the Conference Manager.
  7. Back to Topic: This button reloads the topic page, showing you whatever changes you just made.


Maintained by Aaron Rosen | Comments may be sent to