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Organizing and Configuring your Drupal Forum

Forums are wonderful tools, but to be truly useful they require you to make organizational decisions. In Drupal, your choices about organization will influence the Forum's configuration. As an example, take a look at a section of the Drupal.org forum.

image0.jpg

In this illustrations, a number of minor headings are grouped underneath a major heading called Support. A major heading, such as Support in this example, groups discussion threads of a similar nature. These groupings are called containers.

Inside each container are the actual forums. For example, under Support, the forums are Post installation, Before you start, Installing Drupal, and Upgrading Drupal.

If you click one of these forums, you’re presented with a list of topics.

So containers hold forums, and forums hold topics. Note that containers are optional. If you want, you can create forums and not put them in containers at all. As an example, look at the illustration above — and imagine that the container (Support) is missing: The page would consist of no more than a list of forums.

To help you decide whether you need containers, consider how many forum topics you want and whether they can be easily categorized. If you’re creating only three forum topics, for instance, you probably don't need containers.

Creating containers

To create a forum with containers, follow these steps:

  1. From the Dashboard menu bar, choose Structure→Forums.

    This opens the List tab of the Forum settings page. Because you don't yet have any containers or forums, you see this message: There are no existing containers or forums.

  2. Click the Add Container link.

    This opens the Add Container form.

    image1.jpg
  3. Enter a title for your first container in the Container Name text box.

    For this exercise, Drupal Help is used.

  4. (Optional) Enter a description of this container in the Description text box.

    This text shows up under the container title. While including a description is optional, it’s a good idea to do so because it provides site visitors with information about what sort of forums the container, er, contains.

  5. Click Save.

  6. Add more containers by repeating Steps 2 through 5 until you have all the containers you need.

    For this example, three containers were created: About the Book, Drupal Help, and Drupal Sites.

When you finish, all your containers will show up under the Structure→Forums→List tab. From this page, you can:

  • Re-order your containers by dragging them in the list.

  • Edit container information by clicking Edit.

  • Delete a container by clicking Edit container and then the Delete button.

Creating forums

To create a new forum, follow these steps:

  1. From the Dashboard menu bar, choose Structure→Forums.

    This opens the List tab of the Forum settings page.

  2. Click the Add Forum link.

    This opens the Add Forum form.

    image2.jpg
  3. Enter a title for your forum in the Forum Name text box.

    If you’re using containers, the topic should fit under one of these. In the example a forum called Look at my site was built. It’s a place where visitors to our site can post the Drupal sites they build and get comments and praise.

  4. (Optional) Enter a description of this forum in the Description text box.

    This description will appear on the forum page. The description is optional, but it does help your visitors understand what should be posted in this forum.

  5. If you’re using containers, choose the appropriate one from the Parent drop-down list. Leave this selection as <root> if you’re not using containers.

    For this exercise, a container named Drupal Sites from the Parent drop-down list is chosen.

  6. Click Save.

  7. Add more forums by repeating Steps 2 through 6 until you have all the forums you need.

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