What is it?
The Community Forum provides an area for users to engage in conversation with one another, share files, and subscribe to their favorite topics. Topics can be organized into Forum Categories, and multiple Forums can exist with the ability to be moderated by an ASA or Administrator.
How to Access
Navigate to Community > Community Forums.
Configuring the Community Forum
1. Once in the Community Forum management area, click on Categories to add a new category. Categories can have an unlimited number of forums, and can help keep your forum list organized as it grows. Examples of categories include Annual Conference, Website Feedback, or Resources.
2. To add a new Category, click on the New plus sign in the top righthand corner of the page. Some clients prefer to use one category to house all of their forums in to get started.
3. Give the Category a name, then Save.
4. Next, assign permissions to the Categories you've created by clicking the Permissions icon in the top righthand corner.
5. Check the appropriate boxes to give certain Groups permission to access forums within each Category, then save.
Now that your Categories are in place, move on to creating forums within them. Forums are the place for member discussion and file sharing.
6. To create a new Forum, click the New plus sign in the top righthand corner.
7. Configure the settings in the Basic box, including:
- Forum: The name of the Forum goes here.
- Description: Add a short description of the Forum's purpose.
- Category: Choose the appropriate Category for the new forum.
- Published: Set the Forum to Published if you want it to begin showing in the Forum List.
8. Next, add the Advanced Settings.
- Moderated: If Moderated is set to "Yes," that forum can be assigned a moderator who would help keep the forum appropriate and on topic. More than one moderator can be assigned, and each moderator will be listed at the bottom of the forum page.
- Review: If Review is set to "Yes," forum topics and posts must be approved by a moderator before they display in the forum. This is one level beyond notify, as it gives the forum moderator the ability to deny posts that are inappropriate or off topic.
- Notify of New Topics: If Notify of New Topics is set to "Yes," members with access to that forum will be notified each time a new topic is posted there. This way, instead of relying on users to log in to your site on their own, an email will go out automatically with the forum name, content of the post, and a link to log in.
Auto Subscribe to New Topics: If Auto Subscribe to New Topics is set to "Yes," members with access to the forum will be notified each time a new topic is posted in the forum, or a comment is made on an existing post. NOTE: We advise against using Auto Subscribe. This is the highest level of forum involvement, and many users may want to log in to their profile to modify their personal notify and subscribe settings.
9. Forum permissions are broken down based on group, and allow different groups varying access to a specific forum. Groups can have the ability to Read a forum, but not the ability to Reply, for example. Depending on your association, it might be appropriate to give the public access to read your forum, but not to reply (as that’s a member benefit). Here is an example of how forum permissions might be assigned.
10. If your forum is set to Moderated, assign a moderator by clicking on the Moderator icon in the top righthand corner.
Select the Moderator(s) you want to add.
11. Finally, view or update Global Configuration if applicable.
The Basic Settings tab allows you to set the overall configuration for your community forum. Here you can give the board a specific title, like Community Forum, Bulletin Board, or something specific to your organization. You can also set the message that will appear if you ever take the forum offline, and configure whether you want the forum to be searchable via the Site Search. Finally, select the order in which forum posts will appear, whether the last post should appear at the top, or the first post should appear at the top.
Under Advanced Settings, configure your preferences on Email Subscriptions, which will allow users to subscribe via email to individual forum topics. Next, decide whether or not you want to allow users to Favorite a topic, and toggle Karma off or on which will allow forum users to vote a post "Up," or "Down." You can also turn the Board Summary page off or on, which will show forum summary information - like number of topics and posts within each forum - and create a list of bad words to filter out of the forum.
Adding a Community Forum Menu Item
Once the forum has been configured, allow groups access by adding the forum as a Menu Item on your MemberClicks site. To create a menu item for the Community Forum, navigate to Website > Menu Items and select the menu you want to add the menu item to. Click on the "New" plus sign in the top right hand corner.
Under Select Menu Item type, select Community Forum > View Forum List.
Give the Menu Item a name (ex. Community Forum), generate the Alias by hitting the Tab key, then select the menu item under which the Community Forum should appear. If the forum should have a menu item of its own, select Top, then Save.
Lastly, assign the menu item permissions by clicking on the white permissions lock at the top of the Menu Manager page.
Here, select the groups who should be able to view this menu item. If the public shouldn’t be able to access any forums, leave the Public box unchecked, then Save.
From the member perspective, the community forum is an area to bring up new topics (forums), or to reply to existing ones.
The forum categories displays on the main Forum page, and within them, specific forums related to those categories exist. Inside of each forum, members can post, view, and reply to Topics.
Forum Category: Events
Forum: 2015 Annual Conference
Topic: Conference Luncheon, Conference Notes, Places to Stay
Within a particular topic, users can reply to the topic, subscribe to the topic, or mark the topic as one of their favorites.
- Replying to the topic would add a new response to the topic list. Replies can include file attachments, which is perfect for meeting minutes, conference notes, etc.
- Subscribing to a topic means that anytime a user replies to a specific post, anyone who has clicked "Subscribe" will receive an email with a link to the forum post. Users can view a list of My Subscribes, where they can quickly un-subscribe from any topics no longer relevant to them.
- Favoriting a topic will add the topic to a user’s My Favorites list. This list is available anytime under My Posts, and can act as a running list of topics a user is interested in revisiting later. Unlike "Subscribe," users won’t receive emails when they favorite a topic, so this is a less intrusive way of staying up to date on topics relevant to you.