There are three main tasks you will need to do to manage your forum.
#1... Define permissions for what different groups of users are allowed to do.
#2... Write posts and Replies to the Forum
#3... Moderate the Posts of your Members. This includes Preview, Approve and Assign Posts that have been written by others.
In this article,, we will cover the first two tasks. Then in the next article, we will cover how to Moderate Member Posts.
#1... Define Permissions for Kunena Categories with Joomla User Groups
As a moderator and administrator of your forum, it is important to understand the different privileges given to different forum user groups which in turn are related to privileges granted to their associated Joomla User group.
The most common forum set up is to allow the public (all viewers) to read our forum, but only allow “registered users” to post comments, questions and start new topics. These new posts may or may not be reviewed by a Category Moderator. Category Moderators are appointed to the categories by a super user who is also a Global Moderator in that they can moderate posts in every category.
However, this is not the only possible option. You can have some categories that guests do not see... only registered users and moderators see them. You can have other categories that not even registered users see... only moderators see them. You can have categories that guests and registered users see, but that neither group can post to. To define these various levels of privileges, you need to have a clear understanding of both Joomla User Groups and Kunena Forum User groups – because Kunena Forum uses BOTH sets of groups. Let’s look at the Joomla User groups first.
Joomla User Groups
In the Joomla Control Panel, click on SITE > USERS, GROUPS. There you will see that Joomla divides site visitors into 8 official user groups. Joomla has five front end user groups (or groups that only have access to the front end of the website). These are Registered, Guest, Author, Editor and Publisher. Joomla also has three back end user groups (or groups which also have access to various parts of the back end of the website). These are Manager, Administrator and Super User. As the Super Administrator of the website, you can assign any registered user to any group you wish. Assigning a person to a group gives them specific privileges – some of which are defined below.
Joomla Front End User Groups
Guests: These are viewers who have not registered on your website. They typically can view forums, but they do not have any privileges. Although it is possible to allow unregistered users to post questions and comments, it is generally not a good idea as spammers often use this weakness to attack and possibly shut down your website.
Registered Users: The Registered User Group comprises those users who have completed the registration process. A crucial part of this process is proving that they are human by requiring that they fill out a CAPTCHA form. Once a person registers, they can log in to the website, view all Content that is set as Registered Access as well as all Public Access Content. By default Registered Users are able to configure their own User Profile in both Joomla and Kunena,
Author: A Registered User can be added to the Author User Group by the Super User. The Author Group inherits the access permissions of the Registered User Group and in addition, its members are allowed to create new Content Items (or Articles) for the Front-end of the web site. This group submits new content - but they cannot directly publish any content. When content is submitted by an Author level user, they receive the message, “Thanks for your submission. Your submission will now be reviewed before being posted to the site.” They can edit only their own articles but only after that article has been published and is visible.
Editor: A Registered User can be added to the Editor User Group by the Super User. The Editor User Group inherits the access permissions of the Author User Group and, in addition, its members are allowed to edit all published Content Items for the Front-end of the website, and to review and edit (where appropriate) any new Content Item that has yet to be published. Still, Editors cannot, publish any articles, not even their own.
Publisher: A Registered User can be added to the Publisher User Group by the Super User. The Publisher User Group inherits the access permissions of the Editor User Group, and in addition, its members are allowed to publish new Content Items to the Front-end of the website.
Three Joomla Back End Groups
Manager: Managers are the same as Publishers, but with Backend access, just like Administrators and Super Users. But their access is limited to the content management areas of the back end. They can access the Article Manager to edit any content, access the Category Manager add, delete and edit Categories, access the Media Manager to add or delete images, access the Featured Articles Manager to edit which articles appear on the HOME page and access the Menu Manager to create new menu items. But they cannot access the User Manager, the Extension Manager, the Module Manager or the Plugin Manager.
Administrator: This group allows access to most administration functions. An Administrator has all the privileges on the back end of a Manager, but they also have access to install/delete components, modules and plug ins. They also have User Manager access.
What Administrators cannot do is change, edit or install Site Templates or make any changes to the sites Global configuration options. When an Administrator accesses the User Manager list, they will see all users at their access level or below. In other words, they can modify any user EXCEPT a Super Administrator. Also, they cannot create additional Super Administrator level accounts, only a Super Admin can do that.
Super User: This group allows access to all administration functions. Only another Super User can create or edit a Super User account. Full access to ALL AREAS is given to Super Users. Because of this, you'll need to give a bit of thought to who you want to grant this highest level of access to.
Three Places to Define Kunena User Groups & Forum Privileges
One of the best parts of Kunena Forums is that you can have different sets of privileges for each different category. But this flexibility can cause confusion for beginning forum administrators. We will therefore review the three ways user privileges can be defined. Kunena Forum Privileges (which are also called permissions and/or access) can be set globally for the entire forum, which includes all categories. Or they can be defined for just a single category. In addition, they can be defined by any given user. Thus, there are Global Privileges, Category Privileges and User Privileges.
Kunena Global Privileges
To set Global Privileges, go to Components, Kunena Forum, Configuration, Security Tab:
Allow Guests to Post/Write?
Permitting Guests to post/write is generally not wise as it can lead to spamming. It takes less than one minute to register. Thus most forums set Allow Guests to Post to NO. This means that unless further defined below, ONLY REGISTERED USERS will be allowed to write new topics and post questions or comments to existing topics.
Registered Users Only?
If Registered Users Only is set to yes, then Guests will nor even be allowed to view any forum categories. Therefore, if you want Guests to be able to at least read or view your Forum, you must set Registered Users Only to NO.
Kunena Category Privileges
Kunena uses the Joomla user groups such as Registered User, Author, Editor, Publisher, Administrator and Super User to define different levels of access to different Kunena Categories. To set Category Privileges, go to Components, Kunena Forum, Category Manager and click on a Category. Then click on the CATEGORY PERMISSIONS tab:
Should you use Access Level or User Groups?
There are two different ways to set Category Privileges for a given category. The simplest way is with Access Levels (such as is shown above). Access Levels allow for only five group levels – public, guest, super user, registered and special. Click on the User Groups option and you will see more groups to choose from. In fact, the whole screen changes if you click on User Group. (see image, next page)
A major benefit of using the User Group option is that you have access to the “Manager” option – which we will use below to match up with the Kunena “Moderator” option. In other words, you can assign a person to be a Manager of your website and a Moderator of you forum and they will have access to all of the tools they need to properly perform their moderator role.
Assign a Moderator to a category with the Category Manager
The last tab in the Category Manager is Moderation settings. Kunena forum allows every category to have a different moderator. If there are no moderators assigned to a category, then the super user for the website becomes the moderator for all categories on the forum.
Kunena User Privileges
The third way is to set individual privileges for a selected user. To set User Privileges, go to Components, Kunena, Users:
Notice that there is no “New user” button. This is because all Kunena Users first have to register through the Joomla User registration process. They are also assigned to Joomla User groups by the Joomla Super User. They are then automatically added to the Kunena User group.
Kunena User Group Types and Assignment
The User Manager is only used to place Users in specific Forum Roles. Select a User and click EDIT to open the User Edit page. Then click on the Moderation Tab:
Global versus Category Moderators
Here a moderator can be defined as a Global Moderator for all topics or a specific moderator for a specific category in the forum. So there are two types of moderators, Global Moderators and Category Moderators. Global Moderators, like Super Users, have access to all categories. Category Moderators only have access to a pre-defined category. You must first create a category before you can assign a category moderator to it.
A member can be assigned as a moderator to more than one category by holding down the Control Key as you click on the categories you want to assign the member to:
Category Manager LOCKED Setting
Click on the Category Manager, Category Settings tab to see the Locked function. If the LOCKED function is set for NO, then all registered users can post to this specific forum. If it is set to YES, then only Kunena Moderators and Administrators can post topics to this category. Viewers other than moderators can read this category, but can not post to it.
Category Manager Review Posts Setting
Go to Categories and click on a Category to edit it. Then click on Category Settings. If you want a moderator or the super user to review posts and questions before they are posted on the forum, set this to yes. If set for no, then all questions are immediately posted to the forum.
If review posts is set to yes, a registered user then submits a new topic (in other words a question) to a specific category. However, the question is not publicly displayed in the category, until it is approved by one of the Category Moderators. After the moderator approves the new topic, the moderator has the option of leaving the topic in the existing category, which is unlocked, in which case any registered user may respond to the question. OR the moderator can move the topic to a locked forum in which case only moderators and administrators can post replies to the question.
Recommended Category Settings
To keep it simple, set Global Privileges to No for Guest posting. Set all of your categories to Public for viewing, registered for posting and YES to moderation. This will allow you as the Super User to screen all posts before they are viewed. It will also allow you to keep your forum organized by moving posts to their most appropriate category. Finally, if you need help, assign either Category moderators to help you with a specific category or assign global moderators who can help review and approve all posts.
Privileges Configurations for Special Cases
Below are suggested solutions for two common forum arrangements:
Case #1: Restrict a Category so only moderators can see and post (Moderator Help Forum Category)
A Moderator Help Forum allows you to have a category that is only viewed by moderators and administrators so you can discuss issues relate solely to the management of your forum. To create this category, go the Kunena Category Manager and click on NEW. First, with the Joomla User Manager, assign all moderators a specific Joomla User Type – such as Managers. Second, with Kunena Category Manager, restrict viewer access to the site to that selected User Type. Third, set the category to locked so that only moderators and administrators of that category have access to post on it. Fourth, with Kunena User Manager, make sure all moderators have access to moderate that category.
Case #2: Allow All to See a Category, but only Moderators Post to that category
This is for categories you want the public to be able to view, but to avoid confusion, you only want moderators and administrators to post to this category. The category is set for LOCKED = YES, but viewer access is set for EVERYBODY.
Assign Ranks to Users
Go to Kunena Forum, Rank Manager. Kunena comes with several “ranks” by default. Members start out as New Members but can gain more status as Junion Members after making 20 posts.
Reduce the number of posts required to help members rise through the ranks more quickly. You can even define different ranks such as Apprentice and Master.
Below are what some of the commonr Kunena Forum terms mean.
Quote - If you wish to quote someone's post whether in whole or in part you simple press the 'Quote' button located beside the 'Reply' button underneath each post. The is very useful if you wish to make light of or expand upon a prior post. Once you press the Quote button you are brought into the same editing environment that you use to edit or create any other post. At this point, you type your response directly to that quote. When you are done, press the 'Submit' button.
Reply Topic - This button functions the same as the 'Reply' button with the exception that your subject line will autofill with the subject of the original post (OP). This may come in handy if you replying to a long post whose subjects may have changed over time but you want to reply to the Original Post. When you are done replying, press the 'Submit' button.
Create a New Topic
To start a new topic, navigate to our Index page so you can see the list of our current categories. At the top of the list is a button labeled 'New Topic'. Click that button to start your own topic. Simply type your message and press 'Submit'. Now you have your own topic in the list.
Format your post
Kunena forum uses Bulletin Board Code. BBcode uses 'tags' to 'mark up' your text. Each 'tag' has an opening and closing 'tag' denoted within brackets. An opening tag will look like [ ] and a closing tag looks like [/ ]. Notice the slash in the closing bracket is the only thing that is different. If you forget the slash, the forum will interpret your closing bracket as an opening bracket. The easiest way to 'mark up' your text is usually to type it out first, then select it, and press the appropriate button at the top of the editor. For example, if you wanted to make 'some text' bold you would type it out 'some text', then select 'some text' with your mouse, and then press the 'B' icon in the toolbar located just above the Message area (where you are composing your message). You will now see: [b]some text[/b]. When you preview or submit your message it will be displayed as 'some text'. Alternatively, if you know them, you can type the tags manually right along with the rest of your text or use the buttons at the top of the editor to insert the tags around your text.
6 Simple Examples of BBcode
[color=red]Red Text[/color] or [color=#FF0000]Red Text[/color]
Post a Video to your Forum Message
Embedding a video in your post gives us the ability to show the video in our forum without having to follow a link to some other website to see the video. Let's say you want to post the following Joomla video in your message. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JX7167Nn0R4
You could just post the link to the video by using the Bbcode URL brackets above. But this would take viewers away from our website and they might not ever come back. So to post the videos inside of our website, first put your cursur where you want the video to go in your message. Then click on the Video Icon which is on the far right of the second row in the Text Editor to open this screen:
There are two different ways to insert a video into your message. You could click on the Provider Drop Down arrow and select You Tube. Then copy and paste the You Tube ID into the ID slot, then click INSERT VIDEO. Or you could copy, paste the entire URL into the URL box, then click INSERT VIDEO.
At the top and the bottom of every topic you will find the 'Subscribe' button. Pressing this button subscribes you to that topic so that any responses to that topic will generate an email notification to your email address stating that a new post has been made along with a link directly to said post for your convenience. You can also manage your subscriptions in your profile.
Add Images to Kunena Topics
The ability to add images to posts is an important way to clarify questions and comments. Unlike Joomla articles, Kunena Forum posts do not use a Media Manager to organize images in a separate folder from the post. Instead, images are added directly to the post from your home computer. You should still create the posts in the same two step fashion that you create a Joomla article. First, write a document, including images where needed. Then make a copy of the document placing the images as JPGs in an images/post folder and replacing the images in the copy with with text like image01, image02. The result is a text only post with images in a separate folder on your PC.
Then create a new post and use the Attachments and Insert buttons to insert your images where needed – as is shown below.
Go to Kunena Forum Home page and log in. Then click on New Topic. To add an image to a Kunena Post, click on the ATTACHMENTS button at the bottom of the message box. Then click Add Files. Then navigate to the image in your File Manager and click on it to select it. This places the image JPG as an attachment to the message but does not insert it into the message.
To change the image to an insert in the post, put your cursor where you want the image to go, then click on the INSERT tab that will be visible once an image has been loaded in the ADD FILE field box. Repeat to add more images to this list.
When you click INSERT, code for the image is placed where the image will go. Then click on SUBMIT. Then view your new post to make sure the image was inserted properly.
Upload a PDF to your Forum Post
To include a PDF as an attachment to a Forum post, first go to the Kunena Forum Configurations page and click on the UPLOADS tab. Then scroll down to the Files section. Increase the Maximum file size from 120kB to 2000kB.
Then click Save and close. Next go to the Forum, log in and click on NEW TOPIC. Then click on the Attachment button and navigate to a PDF in your File Manager. Then click Insert to insert the PDF into your message. Below is what a PDF file looks like after it has been added to the Kunena text editor:
Click Submit. This is what it looks like in your forum post:
Click on the double arrows in the upper right corner of the PDF. Then click Download to verify that the PDF can be uploaded to your home computer.
In the next article, we will review how to moderate the forum posts of new members.