With the help of forums, you can specify content structures for the threads and posts in your forum. The forums can be nested as you wish and the different types of forums can be combined as you wish.
When you start the software for the first time after installation, you will notice that there are already two forums by default. Don't worry, you don't have to keep them. They are sample forums that you can rename or delete as you wish.
WoltLab Suite Forum includes three different types of forums, each with different functionality and appearance:
- Category: With the help of categories, other forums can be grouped and thus meaningfully summarized, while categories themselves cannot directly contain threads and posts. Categories also allow the user to collapse individual sections in the forum structure.
- Forum: Forums contain threads and posts, the primary content type of each forum. These show information about the number of threads, posts and the last post.
- External Link: This forum type redirects the user to a specified URL when called. External links can be used to redirect users to a specific part of your website or even to an external website.
Typically, you first create one or more categories that roughly summarize certain topics. Then, individual forums and external links can be assigned or subordinated to these categories.
The management of the forums can be found in the admin panel under Apps → Forums → Forums. There you can manage the existing forums as well as create new forums if required.
Tip: Forums can be quickly and easily sorted and regrouped using Drag and Drop in the listing.
To create a forum go to the admin panel on Apps → Forums → Forums and click on the button Add Forum.
The following input fields are available when creating a forum:
|Type of Forum||Select the type of the forum.|
|Title||Enter a title for the forum.|
|Description||Enter a description for the forum.|
|Enable HTML code in forum description||Enables the use of HTML code in the forum description.|
|Meta Description||Optionally enter a meta description for the forum. Otherwise the meta description will be generated automatically from the stored forum description.|
|Link URL||(only for forum type External Link) Enter the target URL for the link.|
|Parent Forum||Select the parent forum or category.|
|Display Order||Defines the order in which the forum is displayed.|
|Hide forum on the forum list||Hides the forum in the listing of the forums. In this case, users can only access the forum via a direct link.|
|Archive (disallow new posts)||(only for forum type Forum) Makes the forum an archive, no new threads and posts can be created in the forum.|
|Count users’ posts||(only for forum type Forum) Posts from this forum are counted in the post counter in the user profile.|
|Display sub-forums on the forum list||(only for forum type Forum) If this forum has subordinate forums, they are displayed as a small icon below this forum in the list of forums.|
|Posts are searchable||(only for forum type Forum) Activates the possibility to search the contents of this forum using the search function.|
|Posts are used to calculate similar threads||(only for forum type Forum) Ensures that threads from this forum are included when searching for similar threads.|
|Users can ignore this forum||(only for forum type Forum) Users can hide this forum.|
|Enable post marking as “Best Answer”||(only for forum type Forum) Users can mark posts in this forum as “Best Answer”.|
|Threads are private||(only for forum type Forum) Ensures that threads created in this forum can only be seen by the respective author and moderators.|
|Filter and Sorting Options||(only for forum type Forum) Optionally you can define special filter and sorting settings. Leave these input fields unchanged if you want to use the default settings defined in Configuration → Options → Forum.|
|Style||(only for the forum types Forum and Category) Optionally you can select a special style to be activated when the forum is called.|
|Custom Icon||(only for the forum types Forum and External Link) Special icons can be selected to display the forum in the list of forums.|
The automatic inheritance of permissions is one of the most central and useful features of the entire permissions system. Behind this is a core element of the assignment of rights for subsections of the website, e.g. when setting up protected forum areas.
The establishment of an “internal forum” described in the following section is a good example of the effectiveness or usefulness of this function.
According to this principle, any number of forums can be individually assigned permissions, whereby in the end a decisive problem emerges: It is complex and, with an increasing number of forums, simply becomes confusing.
At exactly this point, the inheritance of permissions comes into play; it allows permissions to affect subordinate elements as well. It is therefore sufficient to grant the desired rights to the top element of the respective hierarchy.
Please imagine a simple house in the following. You can remove the entrance door and at the same time you can lock each room. Anyone who lives there can unlock the individual rooms with a key and go inside, leaving a third person out. But this also means that residents are constantly busy unlocking and locking the doors. It is therefore much easier to fit the entrance door with a lock, which means that you only have to open one lock to be able to move freely around the house. The only requirement is that you have a matching key for the entrance door, the other rooms are then automatically available to this person.
Applied to permissions this means that it is sufficient to set the permissions for a category, the subordinate forums are implicitly assigned the same permissions.
Moderators are users as well as user groups that are granted permissions for moderative actions - such as deleting posts - in certain forums. The functionality is identical to the normal permissions.
Example: Setting up an Internal Forum#
Usually you will find special subareas in forums that are only accessible to team members and are used for internal communication or agreements. For obvious reasons, it is desirable that these areas are neither visible nor accessible to third parties, with the exception of the team members themselves.
This is where the user group Everyone comes into play, especially the property that every user without exception is a member of this group. In the first step, this group is denied access to the desired forum, so absolutely nobody (not even you) can access this forum anymore.
In the second and last step, you add the user groups that will eventually have access to this forum. In this example the groups moderators and administrators are explicitly granted access.
You are already done with saving these permissions, neither guests nor “normal” users can see this area or read its contents. In the future it will be sufficient to add new team members to the corresponding user group so that they also get access to the protected area.