14 Friendica forums and community pages
fabrixxm edited this page 6 years ago

Forums are proving increasingly popular on Friendica. They provide a good way of finding people who share your interests - and communicating with them. They are also very flexible. You can view forum contributions in your stream or go to the forums’ own pages to read them. You can post or comment straight from your network page – or do so wall-to-wall within the forum itself.

One very cool feature distinguishes Friendica forums from conventional web forums – they are, to a large extent, dynamic. When you cross-post to one or more forums from your network page, people who aren’t members of those forums can join the discussion for that particular thread – those people being your other contacts, who can see the post when it is issued in your general, public stream.

Newcomers to Friendica often find forums particularly attractive as places to find and post content even when they don’t have any personal contacts yet.

Finding forums

The Friendica Global Directory has a special page for forums and community pages here: http://dir.friendica.com/directory/forum

Joining forums

To join a forum, simply treat it as you might treat a person. Go to its profile page and hit the “Connect” bar to start the process. Type in your own Friendica address when asked to do so, e.g.: me@myfriendicaserver.com . Normally, you will become a member within seconds, since most forums accept new members automatically.

Posting to forums

There are two main ways of posting to groups/forums on Friendica - assuming you are already a member of the respective forums.

  1. You can click on the forum’s avatar in your stream or from your Contacts page to visit the forum and post wall-to-wall in the editor boxes there. Only other forum members will then see your posts in their streams.
  1. You can mention the forum in a public post from your stream by typing @myforum. Everyone you know will then see it, but it will also go to the forum and be seen by other forum members who aren’t necessarily among your personal contacts. (Note that @-mentions in comments don’t redirect threads to forums. Only thread initiators can trigger cross posting.)

So it depends on how many people outside the forum you think should see the post. For instance, if you wanted your post to a Politics forum to be read by everyone you know, you would issue a public post and mention @politics. You might occasionally also do this if you felt the Politics forum needed to become better known in your community. This can be good practice - as long as it’s not overdone.

Conversely, if the post were only intended for the forum, you would simply go to Politics and post wall-to-wall. The latter option wouldn’t hide the post from the world (anyone could go to the forum page). But it would avoid clutter in your friends’ streams if you knew that most of them weren’t interested in the specific topic.

Keeping your stream lean

If you join a forum and it suddenly grows very big and clutters up your stream, there’s a solution. Just edit your contact settings for that forum and set it to Ignore. You will still be able to post to the forum by @-mention or wall-to-wall, and you can read everything by visiting the forum’s own page. But forum threads will then no longer automatically show up in your general network stream.

Diaspora members

People using Diaspora accounts can join and participate in Friendica forums, but unfortunately, things aren’t quite as straight forward for them.

First, find the ID of the group you wish to join. This ID address will look like an email address. If you’re not sure what this ID is, click the “Connect” button and copy it from there. Enter this ID in the search box of your own ‘pod’ and add the group you wish to join from the results page there.

This group will auto-follow you back...but on some pods, this can take some time. Once you’ve got the notification that we’re following back, you can then contribute to the group by mentioning the group in a post.

Due to Diaspora bugs, it is more reliable to view the groups profile page on your ‘pod’ and use the mention button there than it is to @-mention from a post.

Creating your own forum

There are two places to create a forum: on the server you normally use or on a special site of its own. Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages. Forum management is simpler if the forum is on your usual site, but handing a forum over to a new owner is easier if it’s on a site of its own. This may prove important at a later date if you’re running a popular forum, but no longer have time to look after it.

Either way, you’ll be creating an account on the respective server.

There are special considerations for doing this on your usual server – so if you’re creating a new site for the forum, you can skip the next section (about delegation).

Delegation

To make forum management easier if you are creating a forum on the site you normally use (i.e. for your personal account), do this:

Log off.

Register a new account for the forum using the same email address. Wait for the confirmation email, then log on using the new identity.

Now issue a contact request to your other identity – your personal one. Then log off again.

Go to your personal identity and accept the contact request. Log off yet again – and log on once more with your forum identity. Visit http://YourDomain.com/delegate (replacing YourDomain.com with your own domain name). You should now be able to appoint yourself (as a person) to help moderate your forum.

Sounds complicated – but it’s really quite straightforward, and there’s a significant advantage to the approach: In future, you will only have to log on with the forum identity to change settings. You can perform all moderation tasks from your personal account (where you will discover a new Manage tab for the purpose).

Of course, from now on you must use nicknames rather than your email address to log on to your accounts – either the forum nick or your personal nick, depending on ‘who’ you need to be. If you try to log on using your email address, the system can’t know which account you want to use.

Settings

In the settings for the forum account, choose Community/Celebrity Account under Advanced Page Settings. This will automatically approve all connection/friend requests as read-write contacts. But you can still block or delete contacts that violate your forum’s spirit or conditions of use. (To create a more closed and confidential forum, select Private Forum as the account type and Friends as the default group for new contacts. You will then have to approve members.)

Also review the security and privacy settings. It’s usually advisable for a forum to publish its profile in the global directory and to display its profile to the public.

It’s important to allow posts to the profile page. Generally, tagging should be allowed, too.

Notifications

For forum accounts, you may wish to switch off most email notifications.

Announce your forum

If your forum is set to publish its profile in the global directory, you are already visible in the forums/community pages section there.