What is it?
Forums are channels within the community that allow you to add topics, pose questions, share ideas, and post comments. They are a great way to encourage discussions and collaboration within your organization.
Use a Forum channel to provide a place for people to ask questions, and provide a space for people to ask questions. Active forums encourage people to share knowledge, start discussions, ask questions, and solve problems collaboratively.
Forums are built for having discussions, asking questions, ideation, or issue reporting. Here are some additional examples of effective uses for forums.
IT support forum
An IT support forum could be created to capture IT*related questions. Questions are submitted to the forum and answers are shown in line, allowing everyone to see the answer. People can also search the forum to see if the question they are asking has been answered before. Once a question has been answered, it can be marked as answered/concluded which pins the solution to the top of the page, so you don’t have to scroll through the entire forum to find it.
Marketing departments commonly use forums to provide a space for other community members to request collateral. Using Moderation along with the request forum lets moderators preview requests and ask for more information when required. A great example of how this feature can be used is for requesting materials like business cards or tradeshow brochures.
Features and functionality
The following are features available for all Forum Channels
- Title: This is the name that will appear in navigation, search, widgets, and on the channel, itself.
- Description: Create a brief description for people to learn more about the purpose of the Forum channel.
- Locking: A forum channel can be locked preventing new posts from being created. An individual post can be locked as well, preventing further comments. This is useful to close out conversations that have completed, or cutting off conversation in case of abuse.
- Forum topics: When you create a Forum channel you will be prompted to select the type of topics you want the forum to include. You can choose to limit the forum just to questions or you can select all the provided options to permit all topic types. This feature also allows you to create widgets in other areas of your community that display just one type of forum Topic. For example, you may want to add a widget to a customer service space that shows all forum discussions in your community labelled with Ask a Question but not the discussions, ideas, or issues.
- Location: This feature allows you to choose where the Forum channel will reside in your community.
- Hide from navigation: When this feature is selected, no one will be able to see this channel. However, you can still access the channel through the site manager or by its URL.
The following options have their own dedicated support documents. Please follow the links for more information:
- Email Content
- Anonymous Commenting
- Pinning Content
- Read Tracking
- Search Box
- Channel Color
- Channel Template
How to create a Forum channel
If you have decided to include a forum in your community you’ll need to create a Forum channel to house all your forum discussions. Remember, you can add as many Forum channels as you need to keep your discussions organized and targeted at specific audiences.
Step 1: Open the Control Panel
In the top right corner of your screen there is a gear*like icon. Select it.
Step 2: Select Site Manager
After you select the Control Panel icon, your Control Panel will appear. Select, Site Manager from the list of options.
Step 3: Open the menu
Select the arrow on the right side of the Add button to bring up a menu of options.
Step 4: Select Forum
From the list provided in the Channel menu, select Forum.
Step 5: Complete the fields and choose from the options
Once you select a Channel, complete the required fields and select any desired options.
Forum channels have a unique set of options for choosing which discussion types to include. Select any or all the checkboxes as desired.
For a description of the other fields and options go to the Channel Features and Functions article.
Step 6: Select Add
Once you complete the fields and select your preferred options, click the Add button at the bottom of the screen.
Step 7: Confirm the new Forum channel has been added
A new Forum Channel will appear in your site manager. Confirm the details and location.
Best practices / Tips and tricks
Specify/Restrict Forum type
The type of posts allowed in a forum instance can be enabled/disabled. This allows you to indicate and focus the kind of conversation you expect to have on that Forum
Create a Template
A forum can have a Channel Template created on it so you can tailor the content with specific information from users.
Assign a unique email address
By assigning a unique email address to a Forum channel, you can email in your requests, ask a question, and submit ideas even if you only have mobile email access.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I sort the categories within a channel?
Each channel will have filter bar at the top that allows you to sort based on resolved and unresolved, the type of topic, and frequency. In a large forum this will help you narrow down the content you are looking for. It is also ideal to use Labels to assist with searching for topics. Each Forum channel has a Search This Area bar that is specific to only that channel.
I received an initial notification that new content was posted in the channel but no subsequent comment notifications within the initial message.
This happens if you are only subscribed to the Channel. To receive all notifications of comments posted in a specific forum topic, you will need to manually go to the post and select Follow from the sidebar. Remember, if you have commented on the post, you will automatically receive notifications.
What Access level is needed to resolve forum topics
Anyone with Full access or above will have the option to mark comments as resolutions to Forum Topics. They can also unmark them.