Forums: A step by step guide

Posted by michal-frackowiak on 25 Aug 2006 09:27, last edited by Helmut_pdorf on 07 Jun 2015 06:58

Tags: admin create forum permissions setting tag

rating: +49+x

Here is the german version on our Handbook: Forum Schritt für Schritt !

This document describes how to set up a forum for a Site - step-by-step.

Introduction

Every Site on Wikidot can contain an autonomous, fully-featured forum. The forum is also used to add features to the Site such as page comments and page discussions. The forum can be also used to produce news feeds (RSS) and build the whole news infrastructure.

However, the forum is not enabled by default. Below are the steps required to set the forum up and possibly enable per page discussion.

Before you read this how-to you can look at Site Structure document to learn a bit about forums.

Setting a forum

Step 1 - Go to the Site Manager

Go to the Site Manager (by default available at the page admin:manage). There should be a link on the side bar of your pages.

fh1.png

Click on Forum & discussion » Settings.

You must have an administrator role within the Site to be able to do this.

Step 2 - Activate the forum

The instruction in Step 2 used to say "If your forum is not yet activated, click on activate forum now."

However this step is no longer necessary; from January 2011 onwards the forum is activated automatically when you create your site.

Step 3 - Nesting level

Decide if you want to have a linear discussion or threaded/nested discussion structure for your forum. Read more at the Site Structure document. Save options if you change the default settings.

Step 4 - Set up the structure

Before a forum can be used you must define categories the threads/topics would fall into.

Within the Site Manager click on Forum & discussion » Structure. There should be a group called Hidden that will contain deleted threads and per-page discussions, but this is not enough.

Look at Wikidot Community Forum to have an idea what the groups and categories are. Groups are top-level containers for categories and categories are containers for threads.

Suppose you want to create one group to hold two categories: General discussion and Help requests.

  • Within Forum & discussion » Structure click on create a new group.
    fh3.png
  • Enter e.g. "Forum discussion" as the name and "General forum discussion related to site «your-site-name»". Click save within the dialog window.
    fh4.png
  • In the new group box click on add category. A dialog will appear. Enter "General discussion" as a name and something (or nothing) as a description. Click save within the dialog window.
    fh5.png
    fh6.png
  • Add another category called "Help requests" with the same method as above.
  • You can move groups/categories up or down by clicking links move up and move down.
  • You can also delete empty groups and categories.
  • If you have finished, click save at the bottom.
    fh7.png

Warning: the category names should be long enough not to make problems with other short category names! A good proposal is a minimum length of 3 or more characters!

For individual categories there can be separate nesting level settings. Read more about it here.

Now your forum is almost ready.

Step 5 - Set permissions

By default only the Members of your Site are allowed to post and start threads.

If this is not what you want, you can extend permissions to all Wikidot Users (with valid Wikidot.com accounts).

fh8.png

You can also allow everyone (including Anonymous Users without Wikidot.com accounts) to use the forum. Use this with caution.

If you want Users to modify/edit posts, check/uncheck proper options. It is best to leave this option to the authors of the posts so every User is allowed to edit his/her own posts and not edit others.

Forum categories can have separate permissions or inherit the default settings.

fh9.png

So:

  • Check/uncheck permissions for all forum categories or rather configure the default permissions that forum categories will use
  • Save changes

Step 6 - Make links to the forum

All the forum pages are now created, but there are not yet any links that lead to them. It is best, then, to add links to the forum pages.

Simply include links to forum:start and forum:recent-posts somewhere, e.g. copy this code:

+ Forum

* [[[forum:start | Forum]]]
* [[[forum:recent-posts | Recent posts]]]

to your side bar (located at nav:side by default).

Or if you use the top-bar pull-down menu, you can insert:

* [[[forum:start | Forum]]]
 * [[[forum:start | View categories]]]
 * [[[forum:recent-posts | Recent posts]]]

to the top-bar source page which is by default located at nav:top.

And…

CONGRATULATIONS! Now you have a working forum!

Allowing per page discussion

It is quite easy to allow discussion and comments bound to individual pages. There are two ways you can do it:

Using a Comments module (recommended)

Simply put the Comments module at the bottom of a page just like it is done on this page. People will be able to add comments directly below the page content.

Linking to the forum

Simply go to Site Manager » Forum & discussion » Per page discussion. If you enable the option for specific categories, each of the pages will contain the button, discuss, at the bottom. No comments will be visible within the page.

Forum Page Structure

If you activate the forum for your wiki, several pages are created automatically. These pages are normal wiki pages, and there is nothing miraculous about them. Their functionality is encapsulated by certain modules that should be elucidated below. Please - do not change these pages if it isn't necessary!

The Forum Start Page

displays an overview by category in tabular form.

[[module ForumStart]]

The Forum Category Page

displays all threads of a certain forum category in tabular form, ordered by date of their respective most recent posts.

[[module ForumCategory]]

The Forum Thread Page

the view of a single forum thread.

[[module ForumThread]]

The Forum Recent Posts Page

This displays all forum posts ordered chronologically.

[[module RecentPosts]]

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