A collection of useful tips to improve how you use Business Catalyst solution in your business.

Controlling access to types of content in BC Forums

The question put to us was " We are looking at the possibility of rolling out a discussion forum for Members on the website but wanted, at least initially to limit New Topic Creation so that only ourselves had that ability.   We have set the forum up to require moderation so that new topics need to be approved before publishing but wanted to know if there was a way to remove the ability outright?"

Our response to this is:

Generally a forum is meant to be an open discussion and you really want to limit the level of control otherwise it really isn’t a forum. On the other hand you don’t want open slather otherwise you can end up with a lot of rubbish or it can become so unstructured that people can’t find what they are interested in. The level of control offered through BC is not inconsistent with many forums and does offer a good solution.

Your choices are:

  1. Limit access to a restricted audience by way of putting it behind a secure zone – this requires users to login and subject to how your secure zone membership is controlled this can offer a very good control without appearing to be limiting. It also can give the “members” a sense that they are privileged in being allowed access to an open forum.
  2. You limit creation of new TOPICS to only those approved. Now this may seem limiting but what it does provide is some structure to your forum – so long as you develop the list of topics up front reasonably comprehensively. By doing so people will know where they can post their new post. Invariably this is the approach adopted on most forums. What you can do is even have a topic called “Suggestions for new Topics” – if someone posts something in here you think worthwhile you can easily create the topics (this is assuming you don’t allow posting of new topics).
  3. You set moderation to require approval on all posts and topics or only required for the first time they post. Now this is largely set based on whether you have your forum inside a secure zone. If the forum is inside a secure zone then moderation is not really justified and we recommend to not use moderation.

Now in answer to your specific question about removing the ability to post a new topic altogether – yes this is readily achieved with a change to the module layouts for the Forum module. In the Topics Page layout there is a call (twice) to {tag_newtopic…} that shows the button linking to creation of a new topic. All that is required is to remove that call altogether.

Tags: Module Forums

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