Internet Forums are a great way for your membership to interact and support each other!
To start using Internet Forums on your site, you will need to set up a basic structure specific for your membership association. The structure looks like this:
CATEGORY > FORUM > TOPIC > POST
You will set up the first two tiers, CATEGORIES and FORUMS, and then encourage your members to add TOPICS and POSTS.
For example, if your association provides support and networking for people living in a foreign country, you may set up a CATEGORY called FAMILY LIFE that includes FORUMS for NEIGHBORHOODS, SCHOOLS and THINGS TO DO.
- THINGS TO DO
You may have another CATEGORY for GOVERNMENT that has FORUMS for TAXATION, REGULATIONS and WORKING ABROAD.
- WORKING ABROAD
Your association members will post TOPICS within each of these FORUMS and your membership can post their helpful replies.
SETTING UP YOUR CATEGORIES AND FORUMS
The idea is to build a structure that gives your membership a place to have their discussions. You are not limited in the number of CATEGORIES or FORUMS you set up and a little planning will help organize the information in a way that is most beneficial to your members!
- To get started, go to the Admin Backend and select Forums. From there you will be able to set up your CATEGORIES and then add FORUMS for each one.
- For each CATEGORY, expand the Permissions area and be sure View and Change are selected for Users and Members to allow them to Post and Comment
ALLOWING NON-MEMBERS TO POST TO YOUR FORUM
All Members and Users will be able to post to the Community Forum. If you want to open up the site to allow others to Register and Post, you will need to make sure that option is available on your site.
- To turn on self-registration, go to your Profile menu and select Full Settings. From there, access controls for Users and set Self Registration to True.
SETTING UP RESTRICTED FORUMS
You can also set up private (hidden) Forums within the site that restrict both viewing and posting to only registered Users/Members with a User Level of Staff or Superuser.
- To set up a hidden Forum, go to the Admin Backend and select Forums. From there, access the Forum and select the Hidden checkbox.
BE SMART: These Forums, while Hidden from the general public, are NOT 100% secure. Like any online information, think about what you post before you put it onlne.