SHOW ME (6:56)

You can add a discussion forum gadget to a page on your Wild Apricot site so that members can post messages and reply to other messages. Adding a forum page provides your members a place to congregate, collaborate, and discuss ideas.

You can create as many discussion forums as you wish, each on its own page. You can limit access to a forum by placing it on a page with restricted access. Even if you place the forum on a public page, you can still use the discussion forum gadget's settings to control functionality for public visitors and members.

For instructions on inserting, moving, and deleting gadgets, see Gadgets.

You cannot add a discussion forum gadget – or any other singular gadget – to a page template or system page, or to a page containing another singular gadget.

You can add a forum summary gadget to a page to display a summary of the activity in multiple discussion forums. Using the forum updates gadget, you can display a list of the most recent forum updates.

You can embed a Wild Apricot forum on another website using widgets.

Adding a discussion forum to a page

To add a discussion forum to a page on your site, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Site pages (under the Website menu) and create or begin editing the site page where you want the discussion forum to appear.
  2. Click the Gadgets icon to display the list of available gadgets.
  3. Drag the discussion forum gadget from the list, and drop it where you want it to appear on the page. You can insert it into a section within a layout, or above or below a layout.
    When a layout cell or placeholder is empty, a Drop gadget or layout here prompt will be displayed. When you drag a gadget over an empty layout cell or placeholder, it turns green, indicating that you can drop the gadget there. When you drag a gadget above or below a layout, a prompt will appear indicating that you can drop the gadget before or after the layout.
  4. After you have dropped the gadget in the desired location, hover your pointer over it and click the Settings icon.
  5. From the gadget settings panel on the left, choose the desired settings for your discussion forum. You can choose the forum name, enter a description, pick a category, and decide what kind of visitors can read, respond to, and post forum topics. For more information, see below.
  6. Click Save to save the changes to the page.

For instructions on restricting access to the page, see Page access and visibility.

Adjusting discussion forum settings

Now that you have added a discussion forum gadget to a site page, you can adjust the discussion forum gadget settings to control the appearance of the page and the ability of visitors to read, respond to, and post forum topics.

Gadget settings appear in a panel on the left side (which can be hidden to maximize the page design area). To display the settings panel, you position your pointer over the gadget – while editing a site page – then click the gadget's Settings icon.

The following discussion forum gadget settings are available.

Forum name

The name used to identify the forum within the settings for the forum updates gadget and forum summary gadget.

User picture field

If you want to display a picture above the member's name in forum messages, you can select a picture field from your contact or membership database. You might, for example, allow members to chose avatars to represent their online identity.

If member pictures are enabled, the member's picture will be displayed in their forum posts unless the picture field is restricted under their privacy settings.

Default order for replies

You can set the default order in which forum replies are listed (newest to oldest or oldest to newest). Visitors to your forum will have the option of changing the order for each forum topic.

Forum description

You can provide a brief description that will appear for the forum on the forum summary gadget, and optionally, on this gadget as well.

Show on this page

You can control whether the forum description appear on this gadget as well as the forum summary gadget.

Category

If you have multiple forum pages, you can assign each one to a category. The categories are used to group forums on a forum summary page. To create a new category, click Add new, then type the category name in the field below.

For each type of visitors, you can control whether they can view, comment on, or post forum topics. You can set access permissions separately for public visitors, and for each membership level and member group. If you restrict permissions by both membership levels and member groups, then members will be granted the highest permission assigned to the levels and groups they belong to. For example, if you provide read-only access for Bronze members but full access to members of the Steering Committee member group, then a Bronze member who is also a member of the Steering Committee will be granted full access.

You can choose from the following permission settings:

No access: Cannot read forum topics.

Read: Can read topics, but cannot reply or create new topics.

Read, comment: Can read topics and reply to them, but cannot create new topics.

Read, comment, create topics: Can read topics, reply to them, and post new topics.

Public visitors (non-members) can never create new topics. Administrators in admin view can always view, reply to, create, modify, and delete topics. In public view, administrators are subject to the same restrictions as others at the same membership level.

Margins

The amount of space – in pixels – that appears outside the gadget. You can set top, bottom, left, and right margins separately.

Advanced options

For designers and developers familiar with HTML and CSS, the following advanced settings are available:

HTML ID
A unique identifier by which the gadget can be referenced within custom CSS or JavaScript code. The identifier is automatically generated but can be replaced with a more readable or memorable one (e.g. MyDiscussionForumGadget).

CSS class
The name of a CSS class defined on the CSS customization screen.

Inline style
CSS code to control the behavior or appearance of the gadget. For example, you could enter width: 250px; to control the gadget width.

Enabling anti-spam settings

To prevent automated software – known as spambots – from bombarding your forum with spam posts, you can enable Wild Apricot's anti-spam Captcha feature. With Captcha enabled, visitors to your forum would have to enter a set of characters – proving them to be a person rather than a program – before being able to submit a forum topic or reply.

To enable Captcha for forum posts, go to Settings, and click Anti-spam settings (Captcha) under Security. On the screen that appears, click the checkbox beside Forum topic/reply then click Save changes.

Some spambots can use OCR technology to bypass Captchas, so you might consider restricting forum replies to logged in members. If you continue to receive a lot of spam, contact us and we'll try to identify and (at least temporarily) block the spammer's IP address.

Adding a title and description

You can add a title and description for a discussion forum by inserting a content gadget ahead of the discussion forum gadget.

Within the content gadget, you can format the title and description using text styles.

For more information on inserting text and using text styles, see Using the content editor.

Changing colors and fonts

You can change the colors and text styles used on your discussion forum from the Colors and styles screen.

You can modify the following elements using the following color and style settings:

Any changes you make will be applied to other gadgets that use the same settings.

Modifying the forum topic system page

You can customize the forum page that appears when visitors create, view, or reply to forum topics by modifying the Forum topic system page.

To customize the forum topic system page, follow these steps:

  1. Hover over the Website menu and select the System pages option.
  2. Within the system page list, select Forum topic.
  3. Click the Edit button.

Now, you can modify the system page in a number of ways. You can:

  • Change the page template from the page settings on the left.
  • Hover over the blue box – the system gadget that displays the actual forum topic – and click the Settings icon to display the settings for the system gadget.
  • Click the Gadget or Layout drop-downs to insert gadgets and layouts above or below the system gadget.

When you are finished modifying the forum topic system page, click the Save button.

Customizing forums using CSS and JavaScript

You can customize your forum discussion pages and gadgets using CSS customizations and global JavaScript.

To add CSS customization, hover over the Website menu and select the CSS option. From the screen that appears, enter the appropriate code for your customization, then click Save to preview your customization within the preview area on the right. When you are finished making your changes, click Cancel to close the screen.

To add global JavaScript to your site, click the Settings menu then click Global JavaScript under Site settings. In the code box that appears, enter your JavaScript then click Save.

Removing the last update author

Using CSS code, you can remove the name of the author of the last update from discussion forums.

Removing the name from the forum topics page

To remove the author's name from the forum topics page, use the following code:

.WaGadgetForumStateTopicList td.lastReplyTD span
{
display: none;
}
Removing the name from individual page topics

To remove the author's name from individual topic pages, use the following code:

.WaGadgetForumStateMessageList table.forumMessageTable td.left a
{
display:none;
}
Removing the name from the forum updates gadget

To remove the author's name from the forum updates gadget, use the following code:

.itemAuthor
{
display: none;
}

This customization will also remove the author's name from the recent blog posts gadget.

Removing the author and the date

To remove both the author and the date of the forum post from the forum updates gadget, use the following CSS code:

div.itemInfoContainer
{
display: none;
}

This customization will also remove the author and date from the recent blog posts gadget.

Changing the Deleted user label

When a contact is removed from your contact database, their forum posts will be attributed to Deleted user.

To change the Deleted user label within the forum topic list and forum summary gadgets, copy and paste the following code on the Global JavaScript screen:

<script type="text/javascript">
jq$(document).ready(function(){
jq$('.WaGadgetForum .lastReplyAuthor').each( function() {
var textNode = $(this);
textNode.html(textNode.html().replace("Deleted user", "New label"));
});
});
</script>

where New label is the label you want to appear in place of Deleted user.

To change the Deleted user label within forum topics, copy and paste the following code on the Global JavaScript screen:

<script type="text/javascript">
jq$(document).ready(function(){
jq$('.WaGadgetForumStateMessageList table.forumMessageTable td.left .boxBodyInfoContainer .inner').each( function() {
var textNode = $(this);
textNode.html(textNode.html().replace("Deleted user", "New label"));
});
});
</script>

where New label is the label you want to appear in place of Deleted user.

Using a discussion forum

When you visit a discussion forum page, the options available to you may depend on whether you are a member, and if so, on your membership level. If you are not already logged in, you will be prompted to sign in using your Wild Apricot credentials when you try to add or reply to a forum topic.

Who can do what in a forum?

Who can do what in a discussion form depends on whether they are an administrator, a member, or a public visitor (i.e. not logged in as a member). The available functionality is summarized in the table below.

FunctionAdministrators?Members?Public?
Post new topicsIn admin view: Always
In public view: Depends on gadget settings
Depends on gadget settingsNo
View or reply to topicsIn admin view: Always
In public view: Depends on gadget settings
Depends on gadget settingsDepends on gadget settings
Modify or delete topics/repliesIn admin view: Always
In public view: Only their own
Only their ownOnly their own replies
Insert image or file/attachmentYesYesNo
Make a topic stickyIn admin view onlyNoNo
Subscribe to forumOnly for themselvesYesNo
Change frequency of notificationsYesYesn/a

Adding topics

If you are authorized to create new forum topic, a Create topic button will appear above and below the topic list.

After clicking this button, you can enter the subject and the body of the new topic. You can use the content editor toolbar to format the body text, and add pictures, documents, links, and tables. Administrators in admin view can also add ArtText or modify the underlying HTML. Once you are done composing the topic, click Create. The topic will now appear on the main forum page.

Normally, the topics you post will identify you using your first and last name. If member pictures are enabled, your picture will be displayed unless the picture field is restricted under your privacy settings. If you chose to hide your entire profile from others in your privacy settings – or if you are not a member – the topic will identify you as Anonymous. If you restricted access to both your first name and last name in your privacy settings, you will be identified as Anonymous member.

Replying to a topic

To reply to a topic, display the topic then click the Reply button.

After clicking this button, you can enter the body of your reply. You can use the content editor to format the text and add links. Once you are done composing your reply, click Post.

To comment on a particular reply within a topic, click the Quote link above the reply. This will include in your message the text of the reply that you are commenting on. Once you are done composing your comment, click Post.

Attaching files to topics and replies

When adding or replying to a forum topic, members can attach documents and images. The supported document types are: TXT, PDF, DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX, PTT, PPTX, ZIP, CSV. The supported image types are: JPG, JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIF, TIFF.

To attach a file to a forum topic or reply, click the Choose files button beside Attachments.

You can attach up to 20 files, with a single file size limit of 20 MB.

Once you choose your files and post the topic or reply, they will be displayed at the bottom of the topic or reply. Image files will be displayed as thumbnails, and document files will be displayed using their file names.

To remove an attachment – before posting or while editing the topic or reply – click the X beside the file name for documents, or hover over an image and click the X.

Changing the order of replies

To change the order in which topic replies are displayed, click the Show latest replies link or the Show oldest replies link. You can set the order differently for different topics, and your choices will be remembered between visits.

Creating forum stickies

On each forum page, topics are ordered by the date of the most recent message. If there is an important topic or announcement that you want everyone to see, you can make it "stick" to the top of the forum – appear ahead of all other topics.

You can make a topic sticky when you are creating or modifying it, but only from admin view. To do so, click the Stick topic to top of forum checkbox. You can also set a time limit after which the topic will no longer be sticky.

Within the list of forum topics, sticky topics are marked by a pushpin icon.

Subscribing to a forum

Members can subscribe to your forum, or to individual topics within the forum, so that they receive email notifications of updates.

After receiving the notification, a member can visit the forum to view the new topics or replies.

Only members can subscribe themselves to a forum or forum topic – the subscription cannot be set up by an administrator. However, once the member has subscribed, either the member or an administrator can set the frequency of the email notifications. Members are not subscribed by default to any forums.

Subscribing to the entire forum

To subscribe to the entire forum, a member visits the forum page and clicks the Subscribe to forum link above the topic list.

The member will subsequently receive email notifications of updates to any of the topics in the forum, with links to the new or updated topics.

To unsubscribe to a forum, the member clicks the Subscribed (Unsubscribe) link that appears in place of the Subscribe to forum link, or clicks the Unsubscribe link in the email.

Subscribing to a forum topic

To subscribe to just one topic in a forum, the member views the topic then clicks the Subscribe to topic link above the topic messages.

The member will subsequently receive email notifications of replies or updates to this forum topic alone, with the full text of the reply or update.

To unsubscribe to a forum topic, the member clicks the Subscribed (Unsubscribe) link that appears in place of the Subscribe to topic link, or clicks the Unsubscribe link in the email.

Frequency of email notifications

By default, email notifications of forum updates are sent on a daily basis. Either the member or an administrator can change the frequency of the email notifications from daily to weekly or immediately.

Daily forum notifications contains a summary of the previous day's updates. Weekly forum notifications are sent on Sunday night/Monday morning, and contain a summary of the previous week's updates. For more information on the timing of forum notifications, see Automatic emails schedule.

The forum date, time, and format shown to the public is also based on your organization's timezone and date/time format.

Changing forum subscription settings

Either the member or an administrator can change the member's forum subscription settings.

By members

To change their forum subscription settings, members follow these steps:

  1. Go to their profile.
  2. Click the Email subscriptions link.
  3. Click the Edit profile button.
  4. In the Forum subscriptions section, members can unsubscribe their existing subscriptions and change the frequency of forum update notifications.
    To unsubscribe to a forum or forum topic, members uncheck the checkbox beside the forum or topic name.

    To change the frequency of the update notifications, members click the dropdown and choose one of the following options:

    Daily
    A summary of forum updates for each day is sent the following day.

    Weekly
    A summary of forum updates for each week is sent on Sunday night/Monday morning.

    Immediately
    Notifications are sent immediately after an update is made (though the actual delivery could be delayed a few minutes or longer depending on the email server load).
  5. Once finished making changes, the member clicks the Save button.
By administrators

To change forum subscriptions for a member, an administrator:

  1. Finds the member in the contact database and displays the member's details.
  2. Clicks the Email settings and log link.
  3. Clicks the Edit button beside Email preferences.
  4. The administrator can now unsubscribe the member's existing subscription and change the frequency of the forum update notifications. An administrator cannot subscribe a member to a forum.
  5. Once finished making changes, the administrator clicks Save.

Managing forum topics and replies

SHOW ME (4:04)

In public view, you can only modify or delete the topics or replies that you have posted. In admin view, an administrator can modify or delete any topics or replies. Administrators can also move and merge forum topics, move forum replies, and create a new topic from a reply – all from admin view. To view the forum in admin view, go to Site pages (under the Website menu) and display the page where the discussion forum gadget appears.

Modifying topics

To modify a topic you have posted, display it then click the Edit link above the first message in the topic thread.

To modify a topic in admin view, display it then click the Select action drop down and choose the Edit option.

Deleting topics

To delete a topic you have posted – including all comments and replies – display it then click the Delete link above the first message in the topic thread.

To delete a topic in admin view, display it then click the Select action drop down and choose the Delete option.

Once deleted, a forum topic cannot be restored.

Moving topics

To move a forum topic (and its replies and comments) from one forum to another, display the topic then click the Select action drop down and choose the Move option.

From the dialog that appears, choose the forum you want to move the topic to.

Subscribers to the original topic will continue to be subscribed to the topic in its new location. The URL of the original topic will be redirected to the new location. Subscribers to the destination forum will receive an email notifying them of the new topic.

Merging topics together

You can merge two forum topics within the same forum or between forums. To merge topics, display the topic you want to append to another topic, then click the Select action drop down and choose the Merge option.

From the dialog that appears, choose the target topic with which the original topic will be merged (and the forum name, if the target topic resides in a different forum).

The original topic (along with its replies and comments) will added to the end of the target topic. Subscribers to the original topic will automatically become subscribed to the target topic, and subscribers to the target topic will receive an email notification of updates to the topic.

Modifying replies

In public view, you can only modify the replies that you have posted. In admin view, an administrator can modify or delete any replies.

To modify a forum reply – either in admin view or public view – display it then click the Edit link above the reply.

Deleting replies

In public view, you can only delete the replies that you have posted. In admin view, an administrator can delete any replies.

To delete a forum reply – either in admin view or public view – display it then click the Delete link above the reply.

Moving replies

To move a reply to another forum topic, display the topic in admin view then click the Move option above the reply.

From the dialog that appears, choose the forum topic you want to move the reply to (and the forum name, if the topic resides in a different forum).

Subscribers to the selected topic will receive an email notification of a new reply.

Creating a new topic from a reply

To create a new forum topic from a reply, display the topic in admin view then click the Move option above the reply.

From the dialog that appears, choose Create new topic.

In the field that appears, enter the name of the new topic then click the Create topic button.

Subscribers to the forum will receive an email notification of a new topic.

Forum topic limits

Subject
500 characters

Body
50Kb or 51200 characters

Author name
100 characters