How do I use my website’s discussion forum / message board?

Please note, this guide only applies to websites which have a discussion forum installed.

A discussion forum allows your visitors to view and participate in message threads.

We will customise the exact layout, styling and features according to your own website’s requirements, but it may look similar to this:

In this example above, the forum index screen shows the latest activity on each thread, as well as an envelope icon next to unread messages.

 

How do users access my forum?

There are three types of discussion forum:

  1. Open to everyone, without registration needed.
  2. Restricted access, with users self-registering (with or without your manual approval of each registration request).
  3. Restricted access, with you manually creating an account for each user who requires access to your forum.

In the case of option #3:

Follow our guide for adding new users to your website, but ensure you give them the “Subscriber” role:

We DO NOT recommend using the automatic “Send the new user an email about their account” option. Instead, we recommend choosing a password for the user, then sending them a custom email, perhaps including your own welcome message and a link to your forum. This will reduce the chances of confusion or the email going into their spam folder.

If you have other modules installed, such as an events module, you may have to fill out some additional details too, before the profile can be saved.

How do I add moderators to my forum?

Moderators have permission to administer your forum, such as removing inappropriate posts.

Go to your “Users” menu and you will see a list of login accounts on your website, including their “Forum Role”:

A “Participant” is a user that can post and reply to message threads, so they’re an ordinary user.

A “Keymaster” is a user that has control to moderate the forum (e.g. delete messages that are inappropriate).

Normally, everyone with a website account will be assigned the “Participant” role automatically.

To add more “Keymaster” users:

  1. Click on an existing user in the list (or create a new user first if they don’t already have a website account).
  2. In the “Edit User” screen, scroll down to the “Forums” heading, and choose “Keymaster” in the drop-down menu:
  3. Then click the “Update User” button.
  4. This user will now have access to moderate your forum.

 

What management tools are available in my forum?

When you’re logged into the forum as a “Keymaster”, you’ll see additional options, which are not available to ordinary users.

These features normally include:

  • The option to “bin” (delete) topics and replies (highlighted in red below).
  • The ability to edit posts, for instance to remove any inappropriate content (in red below).
  • See an edit log for each post, which tracks any changes that have been made.
  • See more about the user by clicking on their profile name.
  • See a user’s internet IP address, to help with security (shown in green below).

 

Alternatively, you can manage your forum via the website editor (the back-end). You will see these menu items:

Go into these screens and you can edit / delete any topics and replies here too.

‘Keymasters’ will also typically receive an email notification when new topics or replies are published.

 

What features are available to forum users?

The following features are normally enabled:

  • The index page will display an icon next to unread topics, allowing users to quickly see new threads.
  • Forum users can edit their own posts for a short time after publishing their messages, normally for five minutes, just in case they need to correct a mistake immediately after posting.
  • Forum users can subscribe to threads, which sends them an email if any replies are made.
  • Users can change their email address and password, by clicking on their profile name, then clicking on “Edit”:

 

If you would like a discussion forum setup on your WordPress website, please contact us for a quote!

in Website Editor / WordPress

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