Setting up Forums

Apr 27, 2014 11:58 am

Forums can either be set up so that they are entirely locked down and require a login to access them, or so that site visitors can view them, but only logged-in members can post. Locking down the forums entirely is similar to restricting any other module using membership.

The following describes setting up the forums module for the second type, in which all visitors can view the forums, but members must log in to post. Usually, a link to a signup form should be included on the login screen, which you can add to the Membership Login module layout.

  1. Make sure that the Membership and Forums modules are turned on.
  2. Switch to the Membership Module in the Blue interface.
  3. Open the Restrictions tab.
  4. Click the Add a new Restriction button.
  5. Create a new access level. Enter a name for the access level in the Name field and click Save.
  6. Switch to the Groups tab.
  7. Click the Add a new Group button.
  8. Name the new group and make sure the access level you just created is checked in the Restrictions section.
  9. Click Save.
  10. Switch to the Forums module.
  11. Create categories, forums and topics for the forum. For more information on each of these, see the help documentation.
  12. Switch to the Green interface.
  13. Open the Layouts module, Pages tab.
  14. Click the Add a new Page button. Select the blank template, and name this new page (i.e. “Forum_Login”).
  15. Click the Insert a Page Layout icon in the toolbar above the page contents and insert the [[Default]] page layout into this new page. This should be the only thing in the this page's contents.
  16. Check the Make this Page Layout a Display Type checkbox.
  17. From the Membership Access list, select the access level just created.
  18. Click Save.
  19. Create another page layout by clicking the Add a new Page button. Name this new page (i.e. “Forum_Page”).
  20. Once again, insert the [[Default]] page layout into the page contents.
  21. Check the Make this Page Layout a Display Type checkbox.
  22. From the Login Display Type drop‐down list, select the display type created in the previous steps.
  23. Click Save.
  24. Open the Display Type tab by clicking on it on the top of the screen.
  25. Click Edit next to "Forums."
  26. From the drop‐down list on the screen that appears, select the second page layout you just created (in steps 19 – 23).
  27. Click Save.

May 1, 2014 7:15 pm

Is there (or will there be) a template available to us with the layout of this NEW forum style? Very nice!

May 1, 2014 7:17 pm

is therem a way to allow users to "Subscribe All" to be subscribed to all forum topics as an alternative to subscribing to each individually?

May 1, 2014 7:23 pm

Is there a way to be notified of ANY NEW post to any of the forums? I understand if subscribed to a topic, I would get a notification of a CHANGE, but what happens when a NEW topic is added. It would be nice to get a notification of that as well.

May 1, 2014 8:47 pm

Originally Posted by pberg
Is there (or will there be) a template available to us with the layout of this NEW forum style? Very nice!

Hey Paul, we appreciate the feedback on the forum! The forum style will be available in the ecosystem as quickly as possible -- stay tuned to the forums, I'll be sure to make a new forum post regarding the theme.

Originally Posted by pberg
is therem a way to allow users to "Subscribe All" to be subscribed to all forum topics as an alternative to subscribing to each individually?

We are working on this, more subscription options will be available in an update shortly.

Originally Posted by pberg
Is there a way to be notified of ANY NEW post to any of the forums? I understand if subscribed to a topic, I would get a notification of a CHANGE, but what happens when a NEW topic is added. It would be nice to get a notification of that as well.

Currently your best bet for all forum updates is checking the 'Recent activity' on the top of the main forum page.

Any changes to topics or post will bump to the top there if you wanted to stay up to date with the latest on the Accrisoft Forums (*note; the red burst means changed within the hour, and the yellow flame means it's a trending topic).

May 2, 2014 11:52 am

Thanks Justin

I have a couple clients that are using a Listserv (like Mailman) and I would like to migrate then to using the Forum because it is a better way to organize and archive discussion threads. They use the Listserve frequently and find it convenient, easy to use, and a valuable asset to the organization.

The professional organizations are comprised of busy business people and they are unlikely to mindfully remember to log into a Forum periodically to check for new posts. They will however take action on whatever falls into their email inbox.

One organization makes the access to the Listserv a function of their company registering for an annual meeting. If they register for the meeting, they have access to the Listserv for the following 12 months. If they don’t attend the following meeting their company is denied access and dropped. Any company that attends is allowed to have any of their employees sign up for Listserv access as well.

I have found that there needs to be easy interactivity for discussion to occur. If there is not a critical mass of subscribers getting posts, the Listserv dies in its activity.

What I am hoping is to make the Forum more “Listserv-like” if the following enhancements and feature requests could be incorporated. They key is to keep people advised of ongoing discussion so they are aware and contribute.

1- People will want to be notified of any NEW topic that is posted. It would be important for them to have an e-mail sent notifying of each new topic. It is very unlikely that they will periodically check the forum manually to see “whats new”. Adding the notification of NEW topics would be one feature request

2- To gain instant interactivity on any and all topics after each annual meeting, there would need to be a SUBSCRIBE TO ALL TOPICS option so they will get ongoing communication should anyone post to an existing topic. It is highly unlikely that they will click through all topics and subscribe

3- I am assuming I can use the membership module to refresh the list of current subscribers based on their company being registered for the meeting. I would somehow like to tag companies so their people will either be allowed or denied access to the Forum. Any thoughts you haver on how to easily administer this would be appreciated. I would like to initially apply a SUBSCRIBE TO ALL TOPICS to member and let them opt out if they do not want to follow a particular topic. Generally,, they will want to follow all topics, or if they find the emails annoying, unsubscribe from notifications

4- Lastly would be to have the ability to format the notification emails. They seem to come in plain text now and it would be nice to have them look a bit better to the recipient.

With the above implemented, the Forum would be enough "Listserv Like" so it would be readily adopted by the group. I understand that they will not be able to “reply” to an email if they want to broadcast their response to a post or create a new post. They will have to go the Forum itself to reply or post. I think they will do that since the link it included right in the e-mail they receive from any existing or new topic added to the Forum.

May 2, 2014 1:21 pm

Originally Posted by pberg

4- Lastly would be to have the ability to format the notification emails. They seem to come in plain text now and it would be nice to have them look a bit better to the recipient.

Freedom already has the ability to format the notification emails. Go to Green > Configuration > Email tab > Edit the Forum Change Notification email. There are two subtabs available: HTML and Text. Simply edit the HTML tab and build whatever style of Email you would like within the WYSIWYG editor.

May 2, 2014 11:56 pm

One other feature option would be the ability to share a file along with the post. Sometimes people have a word doc or pdf or something that they would want to share with the group as an "attachment". I don't know if this is possible with a Forum, but if anyone has thoughts how this might be easily accomplished either through a Forum or some adjunct software/service, I would be interested in your ideas. Thanks