Discussion Forums and Blogs allow to create a public space on your website - a place where site visitors may leave feedback, discuss questions, raise issues, comment on your personal posts. The Forums and Blogs may be moderated, and come with many advanced features like RSS feed, word censoring, search, email and cell-phone based posting, ability to pin postings and comments and others.
Each Forum/Blog has two levels. On the first level we have Postings or Threads (in Forum) or Entries (in Blog) and on the second level we have Comments. In each Forum/Blog you can have an unlimited number of Postings and each Posting can have an unlimited number of Comments to it. The number of comments may be displayed next to each Posting.
The access to the Forum or Blog may be restricted. You can allow read-only access to the Forum or Blog, require that messages be approved before they are posted, or may allow visitors to post messages without approval. You can define different access to both Postings and Comments for the two types of users: registered and anonymous. Registered are the users who own websites with your website solution provider. They are required to sign in to your Forum/Blog with their website user name and password. Alternatively, anonymous are those users that do not own website accounts and post only with their name and email address.
The Forums/Blogs can be moderated by the site owner and/or a list of moderators. The moderators can approve messages, move or delete postings, as well as edit the postings.
To add a Forum or Blog simply reach for the top menu and select Add Content > Forum/Blog. Green rectangles will appear to indicate the locations where a Forum or Blog may be added. Choose a location by clicking on a green rectangle and a popup will be displayed with your Forum/Blog settings.
The Forum/Blog is an advanced feature with many options, and it may be difficult to configure them all at once. That is why we have identified the most basic settings and positioned them on the top. All advanced options appear in several drop-down section panels that may be expanded by clicking on the View Options links.
Basic Forum/Blog Options
The Layout dropdown allows to choose between Forum and Blog layout. Some of the options in the panels further down are only available for one of these layouts.
The Title is displayed at the top left of your Forum/Blog.
From the Navigation dropdown you can select the type of navigation displayed if the number of messages in your Blog/Forum becomes more than the Items per Page.
Advanced Forum/Blog Options
In the Display panel you can tweak the appearance of the messages in your Forum/Blog. Some of the options here may not be enabled in the particular layout you have selected.
In the Access Permissions panel you define the access to your Forum/Blog as well as the list of moderators.
From the Add Posting dropdowns you may define whether Registered and Anonymous users should be able to add postings. If you select Allow - Instant Publish, any posting will be displayed to all other viewers instantly. If you select Allow - Requires Approval, each posting has to be approved by the site owner or moderator before it becomes publicly available. The moderator / site owner may edit the posting before approving it, or may delete it.
If you select Disallow, the selected user group will not be able to add postings.
The Add Comments dropdowns are the same as Add Postings, but refer to Comments.
In Edit Own Postings dropdown you can allow or disallow the editing of postings for registered users (anonymous users are not allowed to edit postings).
Next in the Access Permissions panel you can select the list of Moderators that will have access to Approve, Edit, Delete, or Move the messages inside this Forum/Blog. The moderators do not have the rights to edit the Forum properties or assign other moderators.
To select a moderator from a list of existing registered users, fill in the moderator's name or email in the Look Up field. The users found will be displayed in Users List. To move a user from the Users List to the Current Moderators list select the user(s) and click (Add). To remove a moderator select his name/email in Current Moderators and click (Remove).
Moderators may administrate the Forum/Blog after logging into it with their website username and password. After logging in, for each posting or comment they will see an icon. Rolling over the icon will display the options to pin, disapprove, edit, cut, copy and delete the posting / comment. Postings awaiting approval will be marked with a red icon. Pinned postings will have an icon.
In the Special Features section appear the Forum/Blog most advanced settings.
The Date Format defines the format in which the date of the postings will appear in the Forum/Blog.
The Search checkbox enables the option to search in all the Forum/Blog postings and comments.
The RSS Feed checkbox enables the RSS feed for the postings in this Forum/Blog. When selected, you can define the RSS options like Visibility, Mode, Number of postings and the Sorting.
When visibility is set to Public, an RSS link will be displayed at the bottom of your Forum/Blog.
Inside the Show First box should appear the number of characters displayed in the Forum/Blog summary view (the full post will appear on click of the post title).
Word Censoring option allows to filter or block postings with obscene content. You can define the list of Forbidden Words (put each word on a separate line) and select the Action to be taken when such words are found. Word filtering is applied to all postings added in the Forum/Blog.
After you have finished setting up your Forum/Blog properties, you can press Add and then publish the page by clicking the Page is not published red label on top. Visitors will now be able to view/post information on your Forum/Blog.
To post a new message click on New Entry (Blog) or New Thread (Forum). This will open a new message panel, where you can enter your login/password (or just a name and optional URL/email address if you want to post anonymously). Then enter the title of your posting and the posting itself. The posting can be edited by a simplified version of a Text and Images editor, where apart from basic formatting controls you have an option to add smiley faces as well as comment text (by selecting the text you wish to comment and press button).
You can add a Short Description for each message. This description will be used to generate the page's description meta-tag, which will help to improve your site's SEO.
If you want to post more messages using the same username/password, you can check the remember password checkbox.
If enabled in the Forum/Blog settings, your photo will appear in the comments. In order to upload your photo, select My Account from Control Panel on top right. Your photo will be automatically resized.
Each forum/Blog posting has a PermaLink allowing you to link to each separate posting. To get the link right click over PermaLink and select Copy ShortCut (IE) or Copy Link Location (FireFox).
If you have a custom domain name setup for your web site, the RSS and PermaLinks will show up under your custom domain (for example: http://mydomain.com/fb_rss_123456 and http://mydomain.com/pc_url_123456).