User Manuals

Learn how to use WordPress – and take advantage of its advanced features.

  • Setup, Usage & Integration

Setting up a support forum using bbPress

Setting up and using bbPress is really easy once you know how and is a great way to provide a support forum for your users.

Check out these bbPress forums to get ideas of how you could use it for your support needs:

  1. WordPress forums
  2. Dropbox Forums


Click on a link below to go to the section you want to read:

  1. Getting started
  2. Creating your forums
  3. Adding a link in your top navigation to your forums page
  4. Adding a topic
  5. Managing topics
  6. Adding a reply
  7. Managing replies
  8. Forum roles and how to change a user’s role
  9. bbPress widgets
  10. Intro to Forums Settings


Back to Top

Getting Started

To get started all you need to do is install and activate the bbPress plugin on your site.

bbpress Activate

Here’s an example of a support forum:

Wordpress

Let’s show you how easy it is to set up and manage!

Back to Top

Creating your forums

1.  Go to Forums > New Forum once you’ve activated the bbPress plugin.

bbpress forum dash

2.  Add your Forum title and forum description.

 1. Forum title. 2. Forum description.

1. Forum title.
2. Forum description.

  1. Forum Title: Choose the text you want to display at the title of your forum.
  2. Forum Description: Choose the text you want to describe the uses or content for your forum.

3.  Adjust your forum attributes.

 1. Forum or Category. 2. Open or Closed. 3. Public, Private or Hidden.

1. Type: Forum or Category.
2. Status: Open or Closed.
3. Visibility: Public, Private or Hidden.

 

  1. Type: Can be forum or category. Categories can only contain forums and you can use categories to organize your forums.
  2. Status: Used to control if the forum is open or closed.  Once a forum is closed no one is able to start new topics or reply to a topic.
  3. Visibility: Controls whether your forum is public, private or hidden.
    • Public: Anyone can see the forum.
    • Private: Only logged in users can see the forum.
    • Hidden: Only Moderators/Admins can see the forum.

Parent:

Forums can have a hierarchical structure and you can use this to organise your forum i.e. you can make a forum a sub-forum of another Forum or a child of a category by selecting a Parent.

Order

The order determines what the order the forums appear on your forums page.

4.  Click Publish when happy with changes.

For my example I’ve kept all attributes the same except assigned this forum the order 1 so it appears at the top of my forums page.

Attributes 1

5.  Repeat this process, from step 1 to 4,  to create all your forums.  All the forums you create are listed on Forums > All Forums.

Here’s what my completed forums look like:

Forums

 

Here’s a comparison of options for organizing the hierarchy of your forums.

1. Forums without a hierarchical structure:

Forum 1

 

 

2. Forums with a hierarchical structure using categories:

Forum 2

Back to Top

Adding a link in your top navigation to your forums page

By default, your forum is located at:

http://yourdomain.com/forums/forum/yourforumname

and your forum page is located at:

http://yourdomain.com/forums/

You can create a link to your forums page using a custom menu as follows:

1.  Go to Appearance > Menus.

Menu dash

2. Give your menu a name – ‘Main’ will work great!

3. Click on the ‘Create Menu

Create new menu

4.  Create a custom link for home by adding your site URL, the name Home and click Add To Menu.

Menu links

5.  Create a custom link for forums by adding your forums URL, the name Forums and click Add to Menu.

forum links

6.  Select the pages you want to add to your menu then click Add To Menu.

7.  Now drag/drop the menu items to change their order in your menu.

Here’s what my menu now looks like:

Structure

8.  Once you’ve finished changing the order click Save Menu.

9.  Now to display your new top navigation on your site you just need to select Main from under the Primary Navigation drop down menu and then click Save.

Location

Back to Top

Adding a topic

Once your forums are created you and your users can add topics to the forums.  Topics are the issues that are being discussed on your Forum.

Topics can be added directly from the front end or from inside the WordPress dashboard via Topics > New Topic.

In most cases topics are added using the front end editor as follows:

1.  Go to your forums page on your site.

2.  Click on the forum you want to create a topic in.

forums

If you’ve just set up your Forum it will have no Topics yet.

forums how to

3.  Add your topic title, your topic content and click Submit.

Topic New

Tags:  You can add tags to organise topics.

Topic Type: Topic types are Normal, Sticky and Super Sticky.

  • Sticky posts stick to top of the Forum which it is in.
  • Super Sticky posts stick to the top of all Forums.

Notify me of follow-up replies via email:  You select if you want to receive email notifications of replies.

Back to Top

Managing topics

As a Key Master, administrator or moderator you have higher administration privileges in your bbPress forum.  This allows you to manage topics from the front end and from within your dashboard.

Logged into your account you’ll see Edit, Close, Stick to Front, Merge, Trash and Spam displayed at the top of a topic when viewed in the front end.

Here’s a summary of how you use each:

Edit:  Allows you to edit a user’s topic.

Close: Used to close a topic when the issue has been resolved or dealt with.

Stick to Front: Allows you to stick the topic to the top of your forum.

Merge:  Used when you want to merge topics together.

Trash: When you want to delete a topic.

Spam:  To spam a topic.

Topic post

Back to Top

Adding a reply

Replies are the responses to topics that are being discussed on your Forum.

Replies can be added directly from the front end or from inside the WordPress dashboard via Replies > New Reply.

In most cases replies are added using the front end editor as follows:

1.  Click on the topic you want to respond to.

Topic reply

2.  Add your reply and click Submit.

Topic reply 2

Back to Top

Managing Replies

As a Key Master, administrator or moderator you have higher administration privileges in your bbPress forum.  This allows you to manage replies from the front end and from within your dashboard.

Logged into your account you’ll see Edit, Split, Trash and Spam displayed at the top of a reply when viewed in the front end.

Here’s a summary of how you use each:

Edit:  Allows you to edit a user’s reply.

Split:  Used when you want to split replies.

Trash: When you want to delete a reply.

Spam:  To spam a reply.

Topic reply post

Back to Top

Forum Roles and how to change a user’s role

Only logged in users can participate in bbPress forums unless you have allowed Anonymous Posting in Settings > Forums.  By default, bbPress doesn’t allow Anonymous Posting because you can have issues with spammers.

Their level of access in your forum is controlled by the forum role you’ve assigned them.

The default bbPress Roles are:

  1. Super Admin – can create and edit forums across a WordPress Multisite network. Able to edit other users’ topics and replies, and has access to moderation tools.
  2. Key Master – Whoever has the highest WordPress capability on a site is automatically assigned the role of Key Master.  On a Multisite installation it is the Super admin user and on a single WordPress site installation it is the administrator.   Able to edit other users’ topics and replies, and has access to moderation tools.
  3. Administrator – can create and edit forums on that site. Able to edit other users’ topics and replies, and has access to moderation tools.
  4. Moderator – can create, edit and delete topics and replies. Can manage Tags, and moderate a Forum.
  5. Editor – can publish and edit their own topics and replies An editor cannot edit bbPress Topics and Replies of others.
  6. Author – can publish and edit their own topics and replies.
  7. Contributor – can publish and edit their own topics and replies.
  8. Subscriber – can publish and edit their own topics and replies
  9. Participant – This is a WordPress Multisite role only.   This allows the user on one site of a network to participate in a forum on another site on your network without having to register on the other site. Participants can publish and edit their own topics and replies.
  10. Spectators – Can view the forum, but cannot contribute.
  11. Blocked – Prevent them from being able to view (and contribute) your forums.

You can change a user’s forum role as follows:

1.  Go to Users > All Users.

Users All

2.  Select the user, choose their new role from the ‘Change role to’ dropdown menu and click Change.

Users forum role

Back to Top

bbPress Widgets

You can access your widgets by going to Appearance > Widgets on your dashboard.

Widgets dash

bbPress comes with seven widgets that you can add to your sidebar:

 1. (bbPress) Forum Search Form 2. (bbPress) Login Widget 3. (bbPress) Recent Topics 4. (bbPress) Topic Views List 5. (bbPress) Forums List 6. (bbPress) Recent Replies 7. (bbPress) Statistics

1. (bbPress) Forum Search Form
2. (bbPress) Login Widget
3. (bbPress) Recent Topics
4. (bbPress) Topic Views List
5. (bbPress) Forums List
6. (bbPress) Recent Replies
7. (bbPress) Statistics

 

  1. (bbPress) Forum Search Form: Provides a simple way to search for specific content within your entire forum.
  2. (bbPress) Login Widget: A simple login form with options to add links to your sign-up and lost password pages.
  3. (bbPress) Recent Topics: Displays a list of the most recent topics.
  4. (bbPress) Topic Views List: Displays a list of registered optional topic views.
  5. (bbPress) Forums List: Displays a list of forums with an option to set the parent.
  6. (bbPress) Recent Replies: Displays a list of the most recent replies.
  7. (bbPress) Statistics: Displays some statistics from your forum.

 


Back to Top

Intro to Forums Settings

You can customise your settings for greater control over your bbPress forums by going to Settings > Forums.

Settings forum dash

Here’s an overview of the Forums Settings options:

Forum User Settings

forums user settings

 

Disabling editing after:  Controls the length of time all users, other than Key Masters, Administrators and moderators,  have to return to a topic or reply they’ve submitted to make further edits.

Throttle posting every:  Sets the minimum time between posting new replies in your forum.  This is important for preventing spammers and for controlling disruptive users.

Allow anonymous posting:  Enabling anonymous posting means any site visitor can post a new topic or reply without the need of logging into your site. They are still required to enter a name and email to post, but will not be required to create a username or password and won’t be shown in the list of WordPress Users.  By default, bbPress doesn’t allow Anonymous Posting because you can have issues with spammers.

Auto Role:  Designed to automatically assigns the default role to new, registered users upon visiting the site.

Revisions:  Controls is revisions are logged.

Favorites:  Allows forum participates to ‘favorite’ any topic so they can review them later for their forum profile page.

Subscriptions:  Enables participants to be able to subscribe to email notifications.

Topic Tags:  Allows you to assign tags to topics.

Search: Allows forum wide searching.

Post Formatting: Add toolbar & buttons to text areas to help with HTML formatting.

Auto-embed links:  Allows users to quickly embed videos, images and other content such as Tweets, YouTube videos and Scribd into a topic or reply using their URL using oEmbed.

Reply Threading: Allow nested replies up to a  specified number of levels deep.

Per Page and Per RSS

per page RSS

 

Per Page and Per RSS page: controls how many appear.

Forum Root Slugs, Single Forum Slugs, and Forum User Slugs:

Slugs