Quick Start Guide

So you’ve started your own forum, now what?

Once you’ve created your own forum it’s time to start setting up. This quick start guide is designed to get you going with the basics of managing your forum.

Posting in your Forum

Posts are the core feature of forums, they let people ask questions, make comments and generally interact with the other users on the forum. To make a post you can either a) start a new topic, or b) reply to someone else’s topic.

Starting a New Topic
To start a new topic is easy, just click on the “Start New Topic” button found next to the Topics heading. When you start a new topic you need to give it a subject, or description, so people know what you’re going to be writing about. Then just fill in the Message and click “Submit Post”. Your new topic should be created and the post should show up instantly (unless we hold it for spam detection!).

Replying to a Topic
Replying to someone else’s topic is also easy, if you find a topic you are interested in and want to make a comment or reply, then just go to the bottom of the page and find the “Reply” section. This is the same as starting a new topic except you don’t set the subject, enter your message and click “Submit Post”.

Editing Your Own Posts
If you are a member of a forum, but not an Owner or Moderator, then once a post is submitted you can only edit it for a short period of time if you want to change the contents, after that time your post is locked and only editable by a Moderator.

Spell Check
You can also spell-check your post before you submit it by clicking “Check Spelling”, this will read your post and make suggestions by underlining words – click on the words to see the spelling suggestions and to make changes.

Note: You must be signed in to post a reply or start a new topic.

Moderating Posts in your Forum

If you are an “Owner” or “Moderator” you have the ability to moderate posts in your form. The simplest way to do this is open the topic and click the “Edit” link at the bottom of each post, on this page you can edit the content of the post.

Moderating Topics in your Forum

As well as editing the content of posts you can also manage the topics in your forum. The main topic moderation options are: a) Deleting a Topic, b) Closing a Topic, c) Sticking a Topic, or d) Moving a Topic. These options can all be found at the very bottom of the page when you are viewing a topic.

Deleting a Topic
Very simply this let’s you delete a topic and all the posts within it – users will no longer be able to see this content and it won’t show up in your forum. We suggest you delete the “Your first topic” topic that is created automatically when you create your forum. To do this, click on the topic, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click on the “Delete entire topic” link, under “Topic Admin”.

Closing a Topic
Closing a topic is different than deleting a topic, in that you are stopping people from adding more posts to the topic but the topics that already exist are still visible. This is good when a topic has reached its natural conclusion and you want people to be able to read it, but not write any more posts. To do this scroll to the bottom of the Topic page and click “Close topic”.

Sticking a Topic
Making a topic sticky means that you think a topic is important and that it should always be shown at the top of the topics list. Normally topics will move down the page as they get older, but sticky topics will always remain at the top. This is often used for rules, or introductions to forums, that you want people to read. To make a post sticky scroll to the bottom of the topic page and click “Stick topic”.

Moving a Topic
If you have created additional forums to divide your topics then sometimes your forum members will post topics in the wrong forum. The move topic feature simple lets you move topics from one sub-forum to another if it’s more appropriate. To move a topic scroll to the bottom and look for the Move button, this will only be active if you have additional forums.

Changing the Topic Subject
If you want to change the subject of a topic, then click the “Edit” link under the first post in a topic and you can edit the subject, the click “Edit Post” to save your changes.

Changing Your Forum Settings

The forum settings are accessed through the “Dashboard” link in the top right corner of the page when you are logged in as an Owner. Here you can change the name, description, website address (URL), create and delete sub-forums and change other parameters of your forum.

General Settings
Forum Title – the title of your forum shown at the top of every page, you can change this to be whatever your like – e.g. “John’s Car Forum”.

Tagline – the tagline appears under the forum title and is also shown on every page of your forum, this is a very brief description of what your forum is about – e.g. “The Best Cars of the 1950’s and 60’s”

Description – the description is a longer description of what your forum is about and is what will also appear in search engines if people are looking for your forum.

Forum Address – this is an advanced feature that allows you to change the address (URL) of your forum to your own domain e.g. www.johnscarforum.com

Time zone, and date & time formats – these settings just control how dates and times will appear in your forum and often do not need changing.

You can change the appearance of your forum using themes. Themes change the look of your forum so it can better suit the subject of your forum. As forums.com is only very new we are still in the process of creating a range of different themes – please check back soon.

User Management

You can view all the users that are part of your forum by click on “Users”. If you click on the user’s name you can view and edit their profile, if you open a user profile and click “Edit” you can change the role of the user within your forum, for example by making them a Moderator. The various user roles are:

Blocked – this role will block a user and restrict them from interacting with your forum.

Member – this is the default role of a user on your forum and allows them to read, post and interact with your forum.

Moderator – this role allows you to grant users additional privileges to edit posts and topics as described elsewhere in this guide.

Administrator – this role has the same permissions as a Moderator but is also able to Create, Edit and Delete Forums.

Owner – this role is the role that the person who created the forum is granted, in additional to moderation privileges this also allows a person to change the settings of the forum through the Dashboard.

Forum Management

If you would like to split your forum into different section to allow people to more easily browse and access relevant topics then you can create sub-forums. For example, in the case of John’s Car Forum, the owner may like to create sub-forums such as “Cars of the 1950’s”, “Cars of the 1960’s”, “Later model cars”. Users can then browse and post in the forums that most interest them.

Creating More Forums
To add a new forum, in the Dashboard click “Forums”, fill out the details of the new forum under “Add Forum” on the right side of the page and click the “Add Forum” button”.

Re-ordering Forums
If you’d like to change the order of the forums as they appear on the forum home page then click on “Edit Forum Order” button on the right side of the page. Using your pointer you can drag and drop the forums in to the order you’d like them to appear.

Editing a Forum
To edit a forum simply hover your pointer over the forum name and click the “Edit” link.

Deleting a Forum
To delete a forum hover your pointer over the forum name and click “Delete”. On the next page you will have the option to either delete all the topics and posts in the forum, or alternatively move them to another forum. If you choose to delete the posts, rather than move them, they will be lost permanently. To finalize the forum delete click the “Delete Forum” button.

Note: You must have more than one forum to be able to delete a forum, if you only have one forum then the “Delete” link will not appear.