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Forums

Forums in AR5 are organized into three levels: forum, category, and topic. A forum page contains a list of categories, a category page contains a list of topics, and a topic page contains a topic post and reply posts.

Although a forum may contain several categories, hundreds of topics, and therefore hundreds of pages, every page in a forum except for the top-level forum page is a virtual page, created automatically by AR5, that doesn't appear in your page tree. This means that your page tree needs to include only one forum page in order for your site to have a fully functioning forum. Setting up a forum begins with creating that one forum page in your page tree. To do this, set the "page type" field to "forum" when first creating the page (see Creating Pages). You can also turn an existing page into a forum by editing its page type under its info tab

Once you've created a forum page, you'll be able to access it from the pages menu or pages index just as you would any other page. However, forums can be more quickly accessed from the content menu—go to content > forums and select your forum. 

On a forum's details page, you'll see more tabs than on a regular page. The two additional tabs, "categories" and "posts," are used to manage forum-specific content. A forum page also has an extra "forum" card under the info tab, below the usual "page" and "meta & sitemap" cards.

Note: Forums require that other community features such as members and profiles first be configured. Contact us if you're interested in getting started with these features.

Adding Categories

After adding the forum page to your page tree, you'll want to add some categories to your forum. Categories are the containers for topics, and are controlled by the administrator. Your list of categories is what will appear by default when you first go to the forum page on the front end. Create categories by going to the categories tab on the forum's details page, and clicking the add button at the bottom of the page. In the card that appears, give the category a name and, optionally, a short description to be displayed below the category name in the list of categories on the front end. 

Checking the available checkbox makes a category "closed," which means that users cannot create new topics in the category nor post replies to existing topics in the category, but can still read all existing topics and posts in the category. Leave this unchecked when first setting up categories.

Once you've created categories, you'll need to publish them individually by clicking "publish" on each category in the list. Categories that are not published will not appear on your site.

Adding and Configuring Forum Blocks

In addition to the standard lists of categories (at the forum level), topics (at the category level), and posts (at the topic level), other blocks are available that display different aggregate lists of topics or posts according to various criteria. The available blocks are as follows:

  • Recent Posts - The newest posts in the forum.
  • Recent Topics - The newest topics in the forum.
  • Popular Posts - The most popular posts in the forum, as determined by up and down voting by users. 
  • Active Topics - The topics with the most posts over a specified number of daysho.

You can enable and control these blocks by editing the "forum" card, found under the info tab on a forum's details page. What follows is an account of the options available for forum blocks.

Under the heading corresponding to each box, a label field is available where you can include a heading to be displayed above the block on the front end (you may well choose to use the same labels that we use on the back end). 

Below the label field are two checkboxes, labeled "forum" and "category." These correspond to the top-level forum page and the second-level categories pages. Checking one of these boxes will cause the block in question to appear on that level of the forum. 

The items field, available on all four blocks, determines how many posts or topics appear in the block.

The word count field, available on the Recent Posts and Popular Posts blocks, determines how many words to include from each post in the block.

The days field, available on the Popular Posts and Active Topics blocks, determines how many days' worth of posts should be included in the block.

Lastly, an option to control the default sort order of posts on topic pages (third-level in the forum) is available. 

Forum Moderation

Management of the user-generated content in your forum happens on the forum's details page in AR5, under the posts tab. 

There you'll find a filter panel and table. The buttons in the filter panel correspond to the forum's categories; select one or more categories to display posts in the table below. You can limit the posts to topics only or replies only using the "sort" selector. Date controls are also available, as well as a "records per page" selector. 

Note: When selecting and deselecting categories in the filter panel, the records table will automatically update to reflect your changes. When using the date filters and the other selectors, however, you'll need to click the "go" button before your changes will be applied.

Clicking from the results table through to a post's details page will allow you to edit that post's content (for instance, if you needed to remove profanity), unpublish the post (if you want to remove it from the forum), or delete it. In the case of a topic post, a "replies" tab is available where you can see all the replies to the topic. You can also close a topic by checking the checkbox labeled "closed." A closed topic remains available for viewing on the front end, but doesn't allow users to add any additional replies.

The columns in the posts table are as follows, from left to right. Unless otherwise specified, links in the table are links to the post's details page.

  • ID: The automatically generated unique ID of the post. 
  • Created: The date and time that the post was created.
  • Member: The ID and name of the member who created the post. Includes a link to the back-end details page for the posting member.
  • Topic: The ID of the topic to which the post is a reply, if applicable. Includes a link to that topic's back-end details page.
  • Body: The body content of the post. Hover over the snippet that appears in the table to see the whole body.
  • Up: The number of upvotes that the post has received.
  • Down: The number of downvotes that the post has received.
  • Abuse: Whether the post has been reported by another user for abuse (see Rules and Reporting, below).
  • Del: Whether the post has been deleted from the front end by the user who posted it. When a user deletes a post on the front end, it remains visible in the CMS for administrative purposes.
  • Pub: Whether the post is published. 

When setting up your forum, it's a good idea to create a set of rules and make them easily accessible to your forum's users, either by including them as a section on the forum page itself, or by creating a separate page for them and linking to that page on your forum page. A set of forum rules ensures that all parties have a consistent set of criteria to work from when judging whether or not a post is welcome on the forum. 

When users see a post that they judge to be in violation of the rules, they can report the post to the moderator using the link labeled "Report Abuse." When a user clicks this link, a text area will appear where the user can include a comment with their report. 

When the user submits the report, the comment will appear as flagged for abuse to that user on the front end, and to the moderator on the back end. A notification of the report, including the reporting user's comment, will be sent to the moderator's email address.

You can set the moderator's email address, which applies site-wide, by navigating from the admin menu (in the AR5 primary navigation) to websites > [your website's name]. Once there, under the Info tab, you'll see a card labeled "Website" and, in that card, a field labeled "moderator email." Include only one email address here. If you wish to send moderator notifications to more than one address, you can create an email account that forwards to as many addresses as you choose.

If a post that's been reported is found to be in violation of the rules, you as a moderator have some options. You can edit the post, either to remove the offensive content and leave the rest, or to replace it with some standard message to the effect that it's been deleted by the moderator for violating the rules. You can unpublish the post, removing it from the front end entirely. Or, lastly, you can delete the post from the back end, removing it from the front end and the CMS simultaneously.

Release Notes

Release Notes

5.1.0.5

5.1.0.5

3/6/2015 12:00:00 AM EST
1 years ago

AR5 Users,

The latest update to AR5 is now here, bringing with it a number of improvements to our suite of tools for front-end design. Themes have been expanded to include more types of page content, and you can now create and define custom module styles that you can apply, on the fly, to modules on the page. Let's take a closer look.

Video Tutorials

These short video tutorials provide an introduction to Agency of Record.