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Your First Forums

Introduction

If you're here, this means you want to know how to build your own forums, right? Well, you have come to the right place!

In this guide, we aim to jump right in, show you how, and get you started. We will go through the basics of creating your own working forum, and show you just how easy these are to create (no, honestly!). 

First Open

When you first install the software, the first thing you will notice is something that looks like the following image. By default, there is already one forum added named "A Test Forum" and a welcome topic. Don't worry, you don't have to keep these. We just added them in there to show you something more than just a blank page.

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Stock Install

Deleting Content /Forums

First of all, lets get rid of the content within this forum. We first need to log into the AdminCP, where we can start building. To do this, sign in on the top right, then click on your name. You will see a link to the AdminCP here. Click this and log in.

Now we are in the admin CP, we need to get to the forums section. Point at the 'community' section on the left, which is the chat bubble icon, then select forums as shown.

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Getting to Forums

Now you are in here, you will see the test category, which is added on a default install. Click on the menu on the right, and select "Move / Delete Content". 

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Move / Delete

It is important to note, this is not deleting the forum or category itself, but deleting the content from within it, such as posts and topics.  You will be shown a popup when you select this option. Here you can choose to delete the forums/topics, or delete them. By default, delete is selected. 

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As we are looking to get an empty installation here, we will go ahead and delete. This will leave us with a completely empty forums application, ready to create our new set of forums.

 

The Fun Forum

Our Aims

As we all know, creating communities is fun! So for the purpose of this demonstration, we will create "The Fun Forum" (feel free to copy this awesome idea, or create your own!).

We advise first of all, you get together what categories and forums you want to see on your site. To give a very brief explanation of these, a category is a container for forums. A forum is where topics are created by your members.

So, here is our plan for our fun forum. Categories are shown in Purple, then forums in blue under each category. Lets jump right in, and get started!

General
-Introductions
-Chat
-Site News


Hobbies
-Sport
-TV and Movies
- Tech Chat


Staff Area
-Moderator Chat
-Admin Chat

Creating Categories

Now we know what we want to see, we can go ahead and get our 3 main categories of General, Hobbies, and Staff Area created. To do this, click on the "Create New" button in the top right

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Create New

By default, this will be creating a new category. We are happy with this as this is what we would like to do. Add the name of your first category, then save at the bottom

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New Category

When we click on save, we are asked to set permissions. On the left you see each user group. Select the checkbox for "See forum" on each group you wish to be able to see that section. In our case, this will be all of them.

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Category Permissions

Now we have created our first category, we can create the other 2. Rather than clicking create new, we will this time click on the copy button. This is helpful if you have made changes on settings that you wish to be the same on multiple items.

Click the dropdown at the side of the General Category you created, and click on copy. Then type in the name of the next category. Do this again till you have all 3 categories.

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Category Copy

We should now have all three categories created, ready to add forums to.

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Categories

Adding Forums

Now we have our categories, lets go ahead and add some forums. To do this, click the + button next to the General category that we created, to create a new forum.

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Click + to add forums

You will notice this is the same screen as when we created our categories. Only this time, discussions is selected for the 'Type'. Add the name of the introductions forum, and a description for this. Once done, leave everything else as default and click save

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Discussion Create Screen

When saving a discussion forum, you will see there are more permissions, such as who can create new topics, reply to them, or download attachments. You will want to bear these in mind when it comes to creating your moderator chat, and admin chat forums.

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Forum Permissions

When you create your first forum, you will notice that you are put within the category. You can click the category name if you want to go back to the full list.

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Click Back to Full List

Use the copy feature  or click on the + at the side of categories to create all the forums mentioned in the "Our Aims" section. Pay special attention to the permissions when you create your staff areas. You only want your staff to be able to see  these.

Rearranging Items

Once you have done, you may wish to rearrange some of the items to better suit your needs. This can be easily done by clicking and holding your mouse button over the anchors on the left, then dragging to the position you wish.

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Drag/Drop to Rearrange

Summary

If you now go to the front end of the site, you will see you now have the forum we set out to create. 

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Ready to Go!

You will see more guides available under Suite Applications>Forums on the left, for this application. These contain more detailed guides on specific settings, along with some more site specific examples and tips.

As with all areas of our suite, if you are unsure where to find something, and cannot find how to do this in our guides, please feel free to submit a ticket to our support team. We are always happy to advise you on how to get the best from your Invision Community Suite.

Edited by Marc Stridgen

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