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4.4.3 - Forum Behavior

To help breakdown what each of the Forum Behavior items mean, I decided to post a brief explanation of how they work. The reason I have combined these items and now use a drop down list is to make setting up a forum a more intuitive process instead of having several checkboxes that each require a postback. While I will gladly listen to any conversation around potential changes, I don't see this ever being completely overhauled.

  • Public - Users who can view the module can view Public Forums (Must be logged in)
  • Private - Users must be able to view the module and have View permissions assigned on a forum (via the forum permissions grid) to view a forum marked private.
  • w/ Posting Restrictions - Users who can view the particular forum must also have "start thread" or "reply" permissions in order to post.
    • "Start Thread" - Users can start new threads and reply to existing threads in the particular forum.
    • "Reply" - Users can only reply to existing threads and cannot create new ones in the particular forum.
  • Moderated - Users must have their posts approved in a moderated forum w/ the exception of:
    • Module/Site Administrators
    • Forum Admin (Special module permission option)
    • Moderators (Global module permissions option, or a moderator of any forum)
    • "Trusted" users. (Note that all the types above are considered "trusted")
    • "No Moderation" - This must be set in the forum permissions grid per role/user.

Because of the items above, we have the following possible combinations:

  • Public Moderated
    • All users who are logged in and can view module can post here.
    • If users are not trusted, posts require approval by a moderator unless they belong to a role that has "No Moderation" checked in permissions grid.
      • Commonly used configuration in many online communities, allows unauthenticated users to view and helps avoid inappropriate posts.
  • Public Moderated w/ Posting Restrictions
    • All users who are logged in and can view module can post here if they are in a role that has "Start Thread" or "Reply" permissions checked in the grid.
    • If users are not trusted, posts require approval by a moderator unless they belong to a role that has "No Moderation" checked in permissions grid.
      • Only use if you need to seperate "Start Thread" & "Reply" permissions or you only want certain roles to be able to post.
  • Public No Moderation
    • All users who are logged in and can view module can post here.
    • All posts are automatically approved.
      • Commonly used configuration in smaller online communities where subject matter doesn't need to be monitored.
  • Public No Moderation w/ Posting Restrictions
    • All users who are logged in and can view module can post here if they are in a role that has "Start Thread" or "Reply" permissions checked in the grid.
    • All posts are automatically approved.
      • Only use if you need to seperate "Start Thread" & "Reply" permissions or you only want certain roles to be able to post.
  • Private Moderated
    • Only users assigned "View" permissions in the permissions grid can view and post here.
    • If user can see forum, they can post to it.
    • If users are not trusted, posts require approval by a moderator unless they belong to a role that has "No Moderation" checked in permissions grid.
      • Not commonly used, most private forums do not require moderation because the viewing audience is already limited.
  • Private Moderated w/ Posting Restrictions
    • Only users assigned "View" permissions in the permissions grid can view and post here.
    • To post, users must be in a role that has "Start Thread" or "Reply" permissions checked in the grid.
    • If users are not trusted, posts require approval by a moderator unless they belong to a role that has "No Moderation" checked in permissions grid.
      • Only use if you need to seperate "Start Thread" & "Reply" permissions or you only want certain roles to be able to post. Remeber, limited viewing.
  • Private No Moderation
    • Only users assigned "View" permissions in the permissions grid can view and post here.
    • If user can see forum, they can post to it and all posts are automatically approved.
      • Commonly used configuration when needing to restrict view access but don't need to monitor subject matter.
  • Private No Moderation w/ Posting Restrictions
    • Only users assigned "View" permissions in the permissions grid can view and post here.
    • To post, users must be in a role that has "Start Thread" or "Reply" permissions checked in the grid.
    • All posts are automatically approved.
      • Only use if you need to seperate "Start Thread" & "Reply" permissions or you only want certain roles to be able to post. Remeber, limited viewing.

Remember, not only can you assign permission in the forum grid by role, but you can also add individual users now to avoid having to add a single person to a role. The grid also enables/disables columns depending on the forum behavior type selected. This should also aid in usability. An example of the forum permissions grid with a user added to the grid can be seen in the screenshot below, Figure 1.0.


Figure 1.0

Viewing Figure 1.0, you can also see there are several columns which may require more of an explanation. The first is "Add Attachments", which allows users to add attachments to their posts. In order for users to be able to add attachments, the setting under Forum Administration -> General Settings must be enabled. Only then will this column be active for you to select. There are a couple other things to note here:

  • Users must be able to view & post in the particular forum to add an attachment.
  • If attachments were enabled at one time and then turned off nobody will be able to add attachments regardless of previously set permissions.
  • DNN Core folder permissions still apply. This means there must be at least one folder users can read to add existing attachments, and one to write to if they wish to upload attachments.

The next column is the "Pin Thread" column. Regardless of forum behavior, users can only pin threads if this is enabled for them, or their role. Also, only the original post in a thread can have the "Pinned" checkbox set. This means also that a user must be in a role that allows them to view & start a new thread (or simply post if no restrictions are set for forum behavior). The final column is the "Lock Thread" column, which has the same guidelines as the "Pin Thread".

While the permission grid at the forum level allows for ultimiate flexibility, you still need to be aware of the parent in the permission hierarchy, being DNN Core tab and module permissions. The module permissions for the forum module are also expanded upon, due to the flexible API provided by the DotNetNuke Core. An example can be seen in Figure 1.1.


Figure 1.1

As you can see in Figure 1.1, two additional columns are added to the module permissions grid. The "Forum Admin" column allows users in selected roles to administer the forum module without giving them complete edit permissions on the module. This avoids users doing things such as changing module permissions or module settings but allows them complete control over all other aspects of the module. This is considered one level below "Edit Permissions" on the module level because users with "Edit Permission". The "Global Moderator" column allows moderators to be assigned to every forum, be it moderated or not, so they can edit, move, split, approve posts in all forums they can view. This is similar to the permissions of the "Forum Admin" except these users cannot alter things found in the Admin control panel of the module.

Please note that regardless of the permissions at the module level, be it "Edit Module", "Forum Admin", "Global Moderator", users can only view private forums if they have been given the permissions at the Private forum level. What is right for you? That question can only be answered based on your requirements. The information in this post should serve as a good outline to help you decide.

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