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My users have requested the ability to start threaded conversations around documents in a document library.

This can be achieved with a third party add-in, http://www.hhogdev.com/Products/Document-Discussion-2010/Overview.aspx. This is OK, but the products not really a 'prime time' component for serious production use.

I've seen the "Create Document Workspace" option, but it makes a copy of the document in another location.

I'm having a hard time believing that SharePoint, a collaborative platform by design, wouldn't have the ability to discuss and work on a document collaboratively?

Surely there is a way to allow users to discuss a document together?

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Yes, there is - there is the "Create Document Workspace" option.

Alternatively, you could use a lookup column on your Discussion list to refer to a particular document in a document library.

You could also modify the 'Properties' form on the document library to display any discussions that refer to it.

Or alternatively you could allow attachments on your Discussions list, though that probably loses you the version control on the document.

Also, don't underestimate the utility of Word itself for collaborating on a document (assuming it is a Word document) - comments and document tracking are actually quite useful.

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The closest you can get with the out-of-the-box way is by creating a Team Discussion List through the Discussion Template. You can add a topic and it supports attaching files to a single topic. You can attach your documents to this item and initiate a discussion with the team members over the item.

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