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Working with Discussion Boards
The discussion board feature provides topic discussions on your website. A site or membership user with Add Topic permission creates a topic and posts a starter question. Site visitors can then reply. Ektron supports an unlimited number of discussion boards. A discussion board consists of a hierarchy. The following example shows the hierarchy with sample data, to illustrate how each element is used.
On the website, if you click a discussion forum, its topics appear. If you click a topic, its posts appear.
In the Workarea, a discussion board appears as a top-level folder () in the folder structure. Forums appears under them. If you click a discussion board, its subjects and forums appear in the right panel.
To implement a discussion board into your website, place a Forum server controla server control uses API language to interact with the CMS and Framework UI to display the output. A server control can be dragged and dropped onto a Web form and then modified. on a Web page. Then, select a discussion board. All subjects and forums within that board appear on the Web page. You cannot selectively suppress subjects or forums. Keep this in mind when determining the contents of a discussion board.
To view a discussion board, select it from the folders display. When viewing the board, you see all of its forums. Click any forum to see its details.
An administrator determines the following discussion board features.
IMPORTANT: Some fields appear only when editing a discussion board’s properties.
br, hr, b, i, u, a, div, ol, ul, li, blockquote, img, span, p, em, strong, font, pre, h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, address, embed
NOTE: If you want to allow users to insert WMV files into their posts, add the embed tag.
bmp, conf, doc, gif, jpe, jpg, jpeg, png
siteroot/Workarea/threadeddisc/themes/standard.css. Alternatively, enter a path below the site root folder to your custom CSS file in the path box.
NOTE: If you edit a CSS file, you should save it under a new name. This prevents your changes from being overwritten during an upgrade.
Effect of this Field on the Website
Check this box if a site visitor must sign in to post to the discussion board. If the user cannot access a login screen, the user cannot post. If this box is unchecked, site visitors can post without signing in.
Effect of this Field in the Workarea
If this field is checked, only users with Add Topic or Edit Topic permissions for the discussion board can create or reply to posts. See also: Modifying Discussion Board Permissions.
Effect of Assigning Taxonomy Categories to a Topic
When a discussion board server control is placed on a Web page, its display includes a taxonomy icon.
When a site visitor clicks this icon, taxonomy categories are displayed. When the user selects a category, the user sees its subcategories followed by all forum posts assigned to that category. The following example shows a discussion board’s posts organized by taxonomy category.
NOTE: You can also add a subject by selecting a discussion board then selecting New > Subjects.
Subjects are sorted alphabetically unless you use the Sort Order field. The Sort Order field accepts a number and uses it to sort a discussion board's subjects. The lowest numbers appear near the top of the page.
To access the Sort Order field:
- Save the discussion board.
- Click the discussion board in the Workarea.
- Click View > Properties.
- Click the Subjects tab.
- Modify the Sort Order field as needed.
When you delete a discussion board, its subjects, forums, and posts are also deleted. Once deleted, they cannot be retrieved.
Discussion boards have a Permissions Screen that lets you determine functions users can perform. (See Managing Folder and Content Permissions.) Because discussion boards have different functions than folders, the Permissions Screen is slightly different from regular folders.
In addition, each Forum has permission settings. By default, a forum inherits permissions from its parent discussion board, but you can break inheritance and customize forum permissions.
To access a discussion board’s Permissions Screen, navigate to and click the board. Then, click View > Permissions ().
Only Administrators group members can access the discussion board Permissions Screen.
The following example shows a discussion board Permissions Screen for regular users. Membership users have fewer permissions.
When you create a discussion board, it inherits permissions from the parent folder. But from then on, it is disconnected from the parent folder’s Permissions Screen, so subsequent changes to the parent folder’s permissions have no effect on discussion board permissions.
The Permissions Screen inherits the following initial values from the parent folder (Parent Folder Permission—Discussion Board Permission):
NOTE: Because there are no corresponding permissions for the discussion board’s Moderate and Post/reply permissions, their initial value is blank.
For example, if user JSmith has permission to perform all functions for a folder, and a discussion board is created in that folder, JSmith initially receives the default permissions for the discussion board. You can modify these permissions.
The following table lists permissions you can grant to regular users. A subset of these permissions can be granted to membership usera user with limited privileges, such as writing to a community forum, but not having the same privileges as a forum moderator, or an administrator who has access to the Workarea. (A community user is the same as a membership user.)s.
Allows user to
Can be assigned to membership users
View forums and posts; cannot submit a post
Edit a topic’s title (Editing a Topic Title)
Add new topics (Adding a Topic to a Forum)
Delete a topic (Deleting a Topic)
Approve and delete posts and topics. Also, receive notifications when a post is reported using the report post feature; only applicable if the forum’s properties field Moderate Comments is checked. (Moderating from the Control Panel)
NOTE: Everyone who has Moderate permission will receive notifications when a post is reported. See also: Setting Up Post Reporting
Create a new forum (Creating a Forum)
Edit a forum (Editing a Forum)
Delete a forum (Deleting a Forum)
By default, membership users are assigned these permissions:
They cannot be granted Edit or Delete topic nor Add, Edit, or Delete forum. However, if a membership user creates a new topic, that user can delete it.
To modify a membership user's default permissions:
After you remove a user, discussion boards do not appear in that user's Workarea.
You can change the number of topics or posts shown on a page by changing the
ek_PageSize value in the
This value affects other Ektron pages.
A discussion board's Terms & Conditions convey your expectations to its users. If you add Terms & Conditions, anyone posting to the board sees the following screen the first time a post or reply is sent to a forum. Users can only post after agreeing to the Terms & Conditions.
NOTE: You cannot add Terms & Conditions when creating a discussion board—you can only add them after a discussion board has been created.
To add terms and conditions text to a discussion board:
This section explains how to create and edit discussion board subjectThe highest level of a discussion board's hierarchy. You must create at least one subject for each discussion board. Each subject contains one or more discussion forums.s.
A forum is a thread within a discussion board. For each forum, you define:
- At least one subjectThe highest level of a discussion board's hierarchy. You must create at least one subject for each discussion board. Each subject contains one or more discussion forums..
- You are a member of the Administrators group or have Add Forum permission for a discussion board
The Smart Desktop has a Forum Topics and Posts category, which indicates how many posts currently require your approval.
A discussion board can also be locked. If a board is locked, a message on this screen indicates that. In that case, no posting is allowed to this forum regardless of this setting.
- You are a member of the Administrators group or have Edit Forum permission for a discussion board
- You are a member of the Administrators group or have Delete Forum permission for a discussion board
Authorized users can delete any forum. When you do, its topics and posts are also deleted. Once deleted, they cannot be retrieved.
You can use the discussion board permission features with any forum. See also: Modifying Discussion Board Permissions.
When you first view a forum’s Permissions Screen, you see a check box that lets you maintain inheritance or break it. A forum initially inherits (that is, copies all permissions from) its parent discussion board’s permission settings.
To later restore inheritance, check the box. When you do, the parent discussion board’s permissions overwrite any forum-specific changes, and the forum reverts to a read-only state. While inheritance is enabled, you can only make permission changes at the discussion board level.
If you are not using forum authentication and want to block a site visitor from posting, use the Restricted IP feature.
NOTE: In addition to using Restricted IPs for a specific forum, you can access the Restricted IP feature from the Workarea > Settings > Configuration > Discussion Board > Restricted IPs. If you have more than one forum, this lets you select the discussion boards to which the Restricted IPs are applied.
The User Ranking feature lets you recognize active forum contributors. You can create a ranking system that moves a contributor to the next level after submitting a specified number of posts. This is known as a ladder system, which lets forum contributors build credibility. For example:
To each rank, you can assign an image that appears below the user’s name on any post. The image also appears on a user’s forum profile.
IMPORTANT: Contributors must submit at least one post before you can move them to the ladder system.
You can also create ranks that are independent of the ladder system. Such ranks have no relationship to a contributor's number of posts. For example, after a forum user acquires Ektron Developer Certification, the user is assigned the Ektron Developer rank.
You can move contributors from a non-ladder rank to the ladder system and vice versa. Whether or not a contributor is in a ladder system, Ektron keeps a tally of posts. So, if a user is moved into a ladder system at any time, he is assigned the correct rank.
To add a user rank:
NOTE: You can also access the User Ranks screen from Workarea > Settings > Configuration > Discussion Board > User Ranks. If you have more than one forum, this screen lets you pick the discussion board to which a rank is assigned.
A user’s rank appears below the user name on any submitted post. To change a user’s current rank, you must know what it is. To change a user’s rank:
The discussion board’s Email Notification feature generates email for registered users when certain forum activities occur. For example, you want to be notified when a new forum post is created. When that event occurs, registered users receive an email with a link to the new post. After the messages are set up, you don’t need to do anything—everything happens in the background.
You can create an email message to be sent when these discussion board events occur.
An editor lets you apply XHTML formatting the message. To create a message:
Message text can include variables that retrieve information about a new post or topic. The variables are surrounded by at signs (@). For example:
@appPosterDisplayName@ has created a thread you have subscribed to.
In the email, this text might read:
Alan Administrator has created a thread you have subscribed to.
Use these variables in discussion board email notifications.
A topic is a specific issue to be discussed in a forum. For example, in a medical research forum, a topic might be New Cancer Treatments. Before creating a topic, you must create a forum into which to place it. To view a topic from the Workarea:
If an option is underlined, you may perform it; if not, you cannot. For example, if a post’s status is approved, approve is not underlined because the topic is already approved.
When you create a new topic, its first post is created from the topic message. If you add a topic but are not a forum moderator, you only see the topic in the Workarea after it is approved.
NOTE: You also can create new topics from the OnTrek user interface (Support > Support Forums).
To create a topic:
Announcement—topic always appears at the top of the list. If a list has more than one announcement, they are sorted by date with most recent on the top. The announcement icon () indicates its priority to the left of the title.
Sticky—topic appears near the top of the list, just below announcements. If a list has more than one sticky topic, they are sorted by date with most recent on the top. The Sticky icon () indicates its priority to the left of the title.
Normal—topics follow Announcements and Sticky topics. The Normal icon () next to the topic indicates its priority.
The only aspect of a topic that you can edit is its title.
A topic needs approval if created by a user without moderate permissions for the forum. Unapproved topics only appear in the forum upon approval. In the Workarea, an unapproved topic is surrounded by a yellow border.
To approve a topic:
In a forum, topics are sorted by priority, which determines a topic's sequence within the topic list on the site. You can set a topic’s priority when you create it. A forum moderator can change a topic’s priority. To set a topic property:
Locking a topic prevents users from posting a reply to it. For example, you might create an announcement, but don’t want people to reply to it. Or, you might decide that a topic has had enough discussion and want to stop further replies. If a topic is locked, only Administrator user group members can post to it, or edit or delete posts from the website or the Workarea. To lock a topic:
When you delete a topic, its posts are deleted, too. When deleted, they cannot be retrieved.
When a new topic is created, a first post is also created from the topic's message. Posts to a topic are replies to the first post. You can search posts by clicking Search.
You can edit the text of a post but you cannot edit its title.
Quoting a post means that your reply begins with the original post. You can then add comments and even edit the quoted post. For example, you can include only the portion on which you are commenting. To quote a post:
Add your comments below the quote.
You can attach a file to a post. The Attached Files field displays allowed file types. The list of file extensions and maximum file upload size are defined for the discussion board. See Also: Creating a discussion board.
Administrator's note: By default, the Insert Embedded Video button does not appear on the editor toolbar. To learn how to add it, see Modifying Editor Plug-ins.
To move a topic and its associated posts in one forum to another, the forum to which you want to move the topic and posts must exist.
You can configure Ektron to replace unwanted words in a post, such as obscene or indecent words that should not appear on your site. You also can fix commonly misspelled words. For example, the can replace teh.
The Replace Words feature works with exact matches but does not append words. For example, if you replace car with auto, the sentence I bought the car from the cartel becomes I bought the auto from the cartel. Note that "cartel" did not change to "autotel" even though "car" appears in "cartel."
If you want the Replace Words feature to modify words that contain a word you want to replace, use Regular Expressions. A Regular Expression, often referred to as regex, is a pattern of metacharacters placed around a word that describe a string. Used for string manipulation, regex lets you detail a succinct description of a group of words without having to detail each word in the group.
steak|stakefinds steak or stake.
NOTE: In addition to using Replace Words for a specific forum, you can access the Replace Word feature from the Workarea > Settings > Configuration > Discussion Board > Replace Words. If you have more than one forum, this allows you select to which discussion boards the Replace Words feature is applied.
IMPORTANT: This topic applies to the eWebEdit400 editor only.
An emoticonan icon that is used to express an emotion in text communication. is an icon used to express emotion in a forum post. In the post editor, click the emoticon () symbol.
You can also enter a few characters that resemble the image. For example, to insert , enter
O:\). While working in a post, the user only sees the text. But when the post is saved, Ektron converts the text to an emoticon. In all subsequent work with the post, users see only the emoticon. You can add new emoticons at Settings > Configuration > Discussion Boards > Emoticons.
Users with forum moderate permissions can do so from the Control Panel by clicking the Moderate link.
Users must be assigned the Moderate permission.
When defining a forum, you can check the Moderate Comments field. If you do, forum posts must be approved before they appear on the website. There are 2 ways to approve a post.
You can let site visitors report inappropriate posts, such as spam or offensive posts.
When you set up forum post reporting, you add a Report Post button to the bottom of each post to let site visitors report posts. When a site visitor clicks Report Post, an email notification is sent to all forum moderators. Any moderator can review the post and decide to edit, delete, or leave it alone.
NOTE: Your Ektron Web server must be set up to send emails. See Installing Ektron.
To edit the report post message, go to the Workarea and choose Settings > Configuration > Discussion Boards > Messages and select ReportForumPost.
This section explains how to manage a discussion board on your site.
The Control Panel lets logged in users view your profile, read, reply to, and delete private messages. It also lets users with moderate permissions moderate the forum. The Control Panel button is located at the forum level.
The Inbox view appears by default. From it, you can...
IMPORTANT: When replying to a private message, you add your response to the existing message. Only one message is created.
If a user who lacks moderate permission for a forum adds a topic, it needs to be approved. When viewing topics on a Web page, those requiring approval have a different background color.
From this screen, you can click Approve next to the topic’s title. You could also click the topic’s title to view it and click Approve on that screen.
On first click, items are sorted first by numeric (1-10) values, then by alpha values (A to Z). Click a column title a second time to sort the items in reverse. When first viewed, the list is sorted by Last Post date and time.
Forum topics can be deleted by users who created them or users with the Moderate permission. This includes Membership users.
WARNING! When you delete a topic, its replies and posts are also deleted.
Generally, anyone browsing a discussion forum can view contributor information by clicking the user name. However, if the forum server control’s
HideUserProfile property is
true, non-administrator users cannot see the profile, even if the Private Profile setting is set to Public. See also: Forum.
Administrators can see the profile, regardless of the
HideUserProfile setting. The profile contains the following user information.
Users can determine if their profile is viewable via the Private Profile drop-down box on the Membership Registration screen and the Edit Profile screen.
NOTE: The Membership Registration screen appears where your developer inserts the Membership Server Control.
If Private Profile is set to Private, profile information is suppressed. If it is set to Colleagues, only a user’s colleagues can see the person's profile. If set to public, everyone can see a user’s profile information.
If you want to suppress the display of user names as an administrator:
If the user is a membership user, go to Settings > Community Management > Memberships > Users and select a user.
You can output a forum as an RSS feed by clicking the RSS feed button (). Each level of the forum has an RSS feed button. This lets you output a specific topic as an RSS feed.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?> - <rss version="2.0"> <!-- Generated by Ektron --> - <channel> <title>Ektron Medical Center Forum</title> <link>http://test/webform.aspx</link> <description>Ektron Medical</description> - <item> <title>Research</title> <link>http://test/webform.aspx?g=topics&f=108</link> - <description> <![CDATA[ Latest medical research ]]> </description> <pubdate>Mon, 7 Feb 2012 09:56:00 GMT</pubdate> </item> </channel> </rss>
To review forum subscriptions, go to the Control Panel and click Notifications in the lower left corner. A screen indicates each discussion board level to which you have subscribed.
To delete a subscription, check the corresponding box and click Delete.
Logged-in users can send a private message to the person who created a post or reply. Only the sender and receiver can view private messages. This requires both users to be an Ektron or membership user.
A Community Group can have a discussion board, which supports community-based discussions that are limited to forum members. All discussion board features are available to a community group forum. See image below.
To use a group discussion board, first add it to the database. Each group needs to do this once. To add a group discussion forum database:
Ektron provides 3 server controls for use with discussion boards.
After creating at least one hierarchy of discussion board elements within the Workarea, place a Forum server control on a Web page. If you want to require site visitors to authenticate, that Web page should also contain:
NOTE: Add text below the Login server control to remind site visitors to enter their email address at the User field.
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