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Forums: Manage Forums


The forums is the central focus of most communities allows users to create topics for discussions.


Terminology

Category
An organizational container that holds various forums. You cannot create topics in a category as its only purpose is to hold forums to make them easier to manage.

Forum
A forum is where users will actually create topics and are contained within categories. Forums are generally on a specific subject matter or purpose and contain all topics and posts created by your members.
For example, you may wish to create a category called Pets and put forums under this category called Dogs, Cats, Scary Reptiles, and so on. In this example, Pets would simply hold the Dogs and other forums where your members would actually participate.

Subforum
This is a special term given to a forum within a forum.

Topic
A topic is created by a user within a forum.

Post
When another user replies to a topic, it called a post.


Managing Categories and Forums

As you can see from the above definitions, categories and forums are managed by the administrator. This is done from Admin CP --> Forums.

This page lists all the top-level categories and forums that you have created.
You can add a new category or forum using the buttons at the top, or edit an existing one by using the dropdown menu on the right.
You can also reorder categories and forums by clicking and dragging on the arrow icons on the left.

By default, subforums are not shown in this list. You can show all forums (including subforums) by clicking the "Show All" link. Alternatively, you can click on any subforum name to see the forum it is within.


Creating/Editing a Category

Because a category is simply a container to hold and organize various forums, creating a category is very simple.

Simply enter the name you wish to call this category and select the various view permissions. These view permissions define who can see this category.
Since a category will not show if all forums within it are hidden, it is generally safe to simply check the first box in the list labeled "Global Permissions (All current and future permission sets)" which will make this category visible to all current and future additions to your permission settings



Creating/Editing a Forum

  • Basic Settings
    The forum name and description show on your community home page to identify the name of the forum and provide a brief overview of what kind of topics to expect within it.

    Forum Parent - This is the category which the forum should show under. Also note that any forum can also hold subforums so you can create multiple levels of forums on your community.

    Forum State - An active forum is one that can be interacted with as normal with members that have the proper permissions. Switching a forum to Read Only overrides all other settings and no member, not even administrators, will be able to post within this forum. The icon of the forum on your home page will also visible change to indicate it is read only.

    Treat this forum as a category - By selecting this option, all posting within this forum will be disabled and the forum will only be able to act as a category container for other forums. This is useful if the only purpose of this forum is for organization of other forums rather than as an actual place to post topics.
  • Redirect Settings (Optional)
    These are optional settings which can be enabled if you want a forum to show up looking like a regular forum but clicking into the forum actually redirects users to another we page.
    You may wish to use this function to create a forum called "Pre-Sales Questions" which, when clicked, will redirect a user to your main web site's contact us page rather than prompting the user to read posts or start a new topic

    The Redirect URL indicates the URL (starting with http://) to send the member when clicking the forum. Redirect clicks is a count of the number of times a user has clicked this link. You can edit this count as you see fit.

    When you select Yes to enabled redirect, if the forum already had any posts within it, they will no longer be accessable. The system will not delete them so you can always shut off redirection to access those posts.

  • Permission Settings
    You can further customize how your member see information within this forum.

    Hide Last Post Info - Normally, IPB will show a short title of the last topic to have a new post in it along with the author of that last post. You can use this setting to disable displaying that information if you want a higher level of privacy.

    Allow members who can see the forum but cannot read topics to see the topic list - This setting provides a "middle-ground" between not being able to read a forum and being able to see only the topic listing. A member who can see the forum but does not have the permission to read topics within a forum would normally see a permission denied error when attempting to visit the forum. When you enable this setting, members will be able to see the list of topics within that forum but will get a permission denied error if they attempt to read a topic. Note that if a user does have permission to read topics this setting has no effect.
    You may wish to use this setting to create a "teaser" forum in which a member can see topic titles within a forum but would have to register or upgrade their account to actually be able to read them.


    Custom Permission Denied Message - By default, if a member tries to access a forum, start a topic, or reply to a topic and does not have permission to do so IPB will generate a generic permission denied message. You can enter a custom message in this box to override that generic message.
    You may wish to use this setting to provide additional information to a user about why they got a permission denied message. You could also use this space for promotional purposes to encourage unregistered visitors to sign up to your community or for existing members to upgrade their membership.

  • Postable Forum Settings: Options
    Note: any settings in this section which mention they are subject to group permissions means that both the member's group settings and the forum setting must be enabled to access any specific setting.


    HTML / BBCode Posting - BBCode are the special tags used in most community software such as [ b ][ /b ] (for bold) to format a members post. HTML posting can also be enabled here if you want members, who have permission, to be able to post full HTML.
    It is a security risk to enable HTML posting. Do not enable HTML posting for members in a user group with HTML permission unless you 100% trust those members. IPB cannot protect the security of your community if HTML posting is enabled as all protections to filter post content are unavailable with this option enabled.


    Quick Reply - Adds a small text box to the bottom of a topic page to allow a user to quickly add a reply to the topic without having to visit the full add reply screen.

    Polls - You can enable the option for members to attach polls to topics in this forum and configure if votes in those polls (without a corresponding reply to the topic) should "bump" (make topic most recent) the topic in that forum.

    Topic Ratings - A member can optionally rate a topic 1 - 5 stars and the average of those ratings are displayed on the topic listing.

    Post Count Incrementation - If disabled, posts in this forum will not add to the member's post count. This is useful for test forums or other areas where you would not want posts to count toward a member's overall post count.

    Minimum posts to post/view - You can set a forum to require that a member's post-count is over a certain number to be able to view the forum or post within the forum. Leave this setting blank for no restriction.

    View other member's topics - By selecting this option only the original started of a topic and moderators/administrators can see the topics in this forum. You would enable this option if a forum is to be a place for private discussion between the community staff and the member.
  • Postable Forum Settings: Moderation
    This section control various options within this forum to control posting, access, and assist moderators in managing the content within this forum.

    Enable Posting Moderation - Moderated posts are visible to moderators/administrators but are hidden to all other members until approved and set visible by the moderators. You can also enter an email (or multiple emails separated by commas) for moderators to be notified if a new topic is pending approval.

    Forum Password - Setting a password for a forum requires that all members (except those selected as exempt groups) enter the password to that forum before accessing it. IPS generally suggests using the permission system rather than password-protected forums to control access for ease of management and security.
  • Postable Forum Settings: Sorting and Ordering
    This section controls the default sorting of topics when a member clicks to view a forum. Note that members can override these settings to their own personal liking when viewing the forum. The default settings here are the most popular options.

Permission Matrix

The Permission Matrix associates the various permission sets with this forum. The rows indicate the permission sets available and the columns indicate the permission you are assigning to that set for this specific forum. The columns defined are:

Show Forum - This forum is shown in the forum listing to those with this permission set
Read Topics - Topics within this forum can be seen and read
Reply Topics - Replies can be made to existing topics
Start Topics - New topics can be started
Upload - File attachments can be uploaded to posts
Download - existing file attachments can be downloaded

Examples

Creating an Announcements Forum - You want to create a forum which everyone can read but only administrators can post in such as for announcements: check the Show Forum and Read Topics column for all permission sets and check all permissions in the row for the admin permission set.

Members Only - You want to create a forum that Guests (visitors not logged in) can read but you have to be a member to post in: check the Show Forum and Read Topics column for all permission sets and check the whole row for admins, moderators, and member permission sets. Leave only the Guest permission set with just Show/Read checked.

Staff Only - You want to create a private forum that only moderators and administrators can view for private discussions: check all boxes in the row next to the moderator and administrator permissions but leave all others unchecked. This forum will be invisible to everyone but moderators and administrators.



Forum Rules

You can configure individual forum rules for any forum, which will display at the top of the topic listing for that forum.

To set this up, go to Admin CP --> Forums and, for the forum you wish to add rules for, select "Forum Rules..." from the dropdown menu.


Moderators

Forum-level moderators are different from super-moderators (defined at the member group level) in that you can assign individual members or member groups to a specific forum. You can also, in very fine detail, define what those moderators can and cannot do.

If you plan on having a group of moderators that will have moderator privilege throughout your community without any restrictions, it is generally easier to skip this functionality and instead create a member group with super-moderator privileges. Refer to the member group documentation in the AdminCP for more information.


Adding Forum-level Moderators

To add a moderator at the forum-level simply check the boxes next to the various forums you wish to add that moderator to and then enter the member name (or select the member group) in the box at the bottom of this page. When you select Go, IPB will prompt you for various options and settings for the new moderator.

Managing Existing Moderators

To edit permissions or remove a moderator, select the Show Moderator Options link. This will show the moderators assigned to various forums and you can click the menu for each moderator to access options.
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