Setting up a Drupal forum
You need special privileges,usually administrator rights, to be able to set up a forum The forum module of Drupal is quite basic, but if you don't anticipate a large user group then this module will get you started. Once you have gained some experience you may wish to explore and install the advanced forum module.
Setting up a forum is a two part process. First set up up the forum, via administer > forums. The privileges to do this may be restricted solely to administers. A forum can comprise a number of forum topics, or other (sub) forums / containers
Optionally you can also set up a container. This is used to group together several related forums.
You cannot add forum topics to containers
Next attach a forum topic via create content > forum topic. Again only users granted permission may add forum topics. A forum topic may consist of (sub) topics and is the start of a threaded discussion.
Any member may now add their comments (threads), or replies, to the various forum topics. They will need to be logged in to do this.
The name given to a forum (or container), is in fact used as a taxonomy term. Forums have their own taxonomy vocabulary.
- The forum topic page is a node (just like an ordinary content page), and so should be located in the menu structure. The only difference is its content type
- Unlike a content page, the forum topic page, appears to have no provision to add taxonomy terms, instead this is replaced by a forums drop down menu; which as already pointed out, is a taxonomy term.
- You cannot create a forum topic without attaching it to a forum(taxonomy term).
Add a forum (or container)
Containers appear in the breadcrumb trial, in which in effect mixes a taxonomy term with a node list. For the moment their use is to be discouraged
You must have the privileges to do this. Go to administer > forums and select the add forum tab. Enter a name for your forum and provide a brief description. Next, use the parent drop down menu to locate the new forum. This may be root, another forum, or a container. The parent of the first forum to be set up, can only be attached to root.
When you have finished, save the form.
If the forum is likely to be wide ranging, its probably a good idea to split the forum into a number of sub forums.
To group forums together, you can optionally set up a container. The procedure for setting up a container is identical to setting up a forum. The only difference is you cannot attach a forum topic to a container. To set up a container, select the add container, instead of add forum, and complete the form as before.
The example below, shows two forums, website organisation and Web design. A container has been created for web organisation as this is divided into a number of sub forums. Web design on the other hand does not have a container.
Forums have their own vocabulary of taxonomy terms
Return to the forums page and select settings where you can decide in which order to display the posts. For now select the date - newest first option. For those members following a topic, this has the advantage of keeping the latest comments at the top of the page. Optionally you can also set the hot topic threshold, and the number of topics per page.
Save the configuration
Its important you set up the correct permissions for the forums and do not miss this step out. The ability to add new topics and forums will normally be restricted to authenticated users, accorded to the users role. You may for example wish to restrict the addition of new forums to administrators, but allow a wider group of users to add new forum topics. Go to Administer > User Management > Permissions. Under "Forums Module" on the permissions list, click the check boxes under the "Authenticated User" column to enable the following permissions only for registered users of your site:
- Create Forum Topics
- Delete Own Forum Topics
- Edit Own Forum Topics.
This will ensure that only authenticated users of your site are able to create and manage forum topics. Also check the boxes to enable the "Access Comments" permission under "Comments Module" for anonymous and authenticated users. Authenticated users create forum topics by clicking "Create Content" and then choosing "Forum Topic" from the list.
Click the "Save Permissions" button.