There are a few settings in the AdminCP under the Forums app you may want to review. These are global settings that apply to all member groups.
Each of these sections are discussed below, along with what each setting is for
The first of these are forum settings. So anything which affects the forum view outside of the topic itself.
RSS feeds enable a feed option for members to subscribe to get updates on activity in your forums.
General Forum Settings
All other settings in this section are related to the layout of the the forum and topic listings. Each of these can have a default set, and you can also choose whether or not to allow your members to choose which view mode to use.
The forum view comes in one of 3 views.
Table - This is the traditional view of forums you may be used to seeing around the internet, and is used by default on a new site
Grid - Displays forums as cards in a grid, with optional header images
Fluid - A simpler dynamic listing of topics, with a filter box in the sidebar of your forum.
Note that when using fluid mode, this will only display up to three levels deep, and is intended for use with sites that have fewer forums, and less complex hierarchies.
Here you will find various settings that relate only to forums that are set as a "Questions" style forum. These settings are self explanatory in nature
While most settings here are self explainatory, the 'popular now' setting we will go into in a little more details
The 'popular now' option allows for intelligent flagging of topics that are popular right at that moment. Rather than relying on historical replies, the system keeps track of the number of posts in a topic within a certain timeframe so you can call attention to a topic that is about a current event or getting a whole lot of interest right this moment.
So with the example above, any topic which has had 10 posts in the last 60 mins would be highlighted as popular on the forum.
The topic summary section allows you to add a summary on any topic which meets the criteria you have chosen. For example you may wish to show the top posts in a summary on any page that isnt the first page.
Topic Summary Settings
Below is an example of how this looks within a topic, when placed in the sidebar