6 Add a Community Forum

Adding a community forum is one of the best ways to help the members of your community network ask questions and share information. This chapter includes the following four sections:

6.1 Add a Community Forum

6.2 Create your Forum Categories

6.3 Manage your Forum

6.4 Moderate your Forum

6.1 Add a Community Forum

A forum is a place where members can ask question which are organized by topic. Forums are useful not merely for educational or social websites, but also for stores offering products and services. In this chapter, we will show you how to add a free forum creation tool called Kunena forum to your website. More than 4 million business websites now use Kunena forum – making it one of the most popular tools in the Joomla Extension Directory.

The Importance of Organizing Questions by Topic
A community forum is one of the most important ways to create a more interactive website. Unlike a blog which is organized more by date than by topic, a forum is a way to organize questions on a particular topic. A forum allows members of a community to post their own TOPICS, also called threads, which can be anything from questions and comments to entire articles and links to websites and videos. Other members of the community can then respond to the topic with further questions or comments. The Forum discussion is organized by placing Topics within Categories much like Joomla articles are organized into categories. Within the categories are the actual topics or questions. Other common aspects of forums includes a “Profile” page where users can download an image of themselves and provide basic information about their background and interests.

Why Kunena Forum?
Choosing a Forum component is an important decision for any website manager. A forum is not only an important way for registered website members to ask questions, but also an efficient way for other viewers of your website to learn from the questions of others and see how well those questions have been answered. In short, an easy to read and easy to use forum can inspire confidence in your viewers. The biggest problem with Kunena Forum is its complexity. We will therefore try to overcome the complexity of Kunena by providing this detailed set of instructions on how to set up, simplify and manage Kunena as well as a series of tips for improving the appearance of Kunena.

Kunena has several important advantages. First, it is integrated with the Joomla database. This means existing Joomla members are already Kunena Forum members. There is no need to create a separate account. Second, Kunena comes in over 40 languages. Third, it comes with several security features not found on other forums. Fourth, it offers the ability to moderate posts before they are published on your forum.

In order to make the process of learning Kunena a little easier, we will devote an entire chapter to Kunena Forum. We have broken down the process of building a Kunena forum into 7 steps.

#1...Review and Install Kunena

#2...Review Kunena Sample Forum Terms and Structure.

#3... Activate the Joomla Registration Form

#4...Create our own Categories and Topics

#4... Customize the Kunena Forum Menu

#6... Make Changes to the Appearance of the Forum

#7... Forum Moderation Functions, User Groups and Privileges

We will cover the first three steps in this article. The next articles will cover adding categories, customizing the Kunena forum menu, appearance and forum moderation and Member Help tips.

#1... View Demo and Install Kunena
To see what Kunena Forum looks like, here is a direct link to the official Kunena Forum.



Click on the Board Categories Drop Down arrow to see how the official forum is divided into several categories:


Forum Structure
At the top is the name of the first top level section (Kunena – To Speak). This top level section includes a single sentence. Note that there are no dashes before the name of this section. Also there are no actual Topics inside of this section. Inside this section is a single category called Official Announcements – which has all 149 topics.

The next top level section is called Community Self Help. It has a couple of sentences to explain what this section is about. But it has no actual topics. Inside of the Community Self-Help section are four categories. These are General Questions and How Tos, Installation Issues, HTTP 500 Errors and Customizing Kunena. Inside of the Customizing Kunena Category are three sub-categories: General User Contributions, User Written Modules and User Plugins.

6.2 Create your Forum Categories

In this article, we will replace the sample Kunena categories with our own Forum categories. However before we do this, we should make a few changes to the Kunena Configuration Settings.

Kunena Configuration Settings Changes

Go to Kunena Configurations to change and or hide the following:

General Tab:

Change Forum Title from Kunena to College in the Clouds Forum

Change Enable RSS Feeds from Yes to No.

Change Display Page Creation Time from yes to no.

Front End Tab:

Change Show Announcement from Yes to No.

Change Show Moderators from Yes to No.

Change Message Reporting from Yes to No.

Users Tab:

Change User Statisitcs and Karma from Yes to No.

Change User Status from Yes to No.

Change Allow favorites from Yes to No.

Change Personal from Yes to No.

Change Signatures from Yes to No.

Change Social Providers from Yes to No.

Security Tab:

Change Guests see user list and profiles from Yes to No.

Change moderate new users from 0 to 2.

Change guests to see stats from Yes to No.

Change image minimum posts from 10 to 1.

Ranking tab

Change ranking from Yes to No

Extra tab

Userlist Settings

Change from Yes to No: Online status, number of posts. Kkarma, join date, last vsit date. profile hits

Statistical Settings:

Change all from yes to no.

Poll Settings: Change from Yes to No.

Then click Save and Close.

Options for Custom Forum Categories
It will be easier for readers to understand the structure of your Forum and the structure of your website if they are similar. One option is to make the forum categories identical to our website categories. Each of our courses, books and websites are typically divided into nine categories. Another option is to create a single forum for 10 of our courses and then use each course as its own category. In a moment, we will demonstrate both of these options. But first let’s look at how the categories were created for the Kunena Sample Content. Go to Kunena, Categories:


The Main Forum is called a Section. Welcome Mat and Suggestion Box are categories that both have the Main Forum as their Parent. Click on Main Forum to see how it is made:


A Section has no parent. You simply give it a name. Then scroll down the page where you can add a Description and a Category Header:


Then click Save and Close. Next click on the Welcome Mat category to see how it was made:


Each category has the Main Forum for a Parent. Alternately, it can have another category for a parent. Then scroll down and add the Description and Category Header:


Now that we have a rough idea of how to create sections and categories, let’s create our own.

6.3 Manage your Forum

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.

6.4 Moderate your Forum

In this article, we will review how to moderate posts of new members.

Write posts and Replies to the Forum
To post a new topic or submit a reply to an existing topic, you first need to register for our website by clicking on Register in the main menu. Once you have registered, click on Login in the main menu.

Before you post, fill in information on the PROFILE tab. Click on Profile in the Kunena menu. Then click on the EDIT button. Then click on the Avatar Image tab. Then click on BROWSE and navigate to an image of you that is about 250 by 250 pixels and has a file size of less than 100kB. Then click SAVE to save your Avatar image:


Next click NEW TOPIC in the Kunena menu:


Use the Category Drop Down arrow to select the category you want to put your new topic in. We will add a new topic to “How to use this forum.” Then type in your Subject Title, click on an Icon if you want, then type in your message (you can also copy it from a Libre Writer document and paste it into the Message Box.