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About the forums

June 2010

All the versions of this article:

Warning: the forums are no longer hosted on this site, so this article is no longer up-to-date. It is nonetheless retained as an archive, as the section relating to moderation is still valid.


Forums in each language

The forums are activated here for each section. In fact, in all of the articles of the site, we leave the "basic" configuration for forums (i.e. activated and moderated after posting), they are simply not displayed in the templates; but this then leaves the possibility to "play" with the forums in each page depending on future developments (for example: resetting the "notation" system of the FAQs).

To create a "forums" section, just use the private space to assign it the keyword "Forums". All articles published in that section will adopt the characteristic interface for the forums.

On spip.net, the forums are theme-based. The theme is the title of the article hosting the forum:
-  in order to develop a "logical" classification of the forums, number the titles of the articles (e.g.: "1. Installation", "2. Using the private zone"...);
-  do not hesitate, in the article text, to provide one or two paragraphs of description for the subject being handled in that forum.

N.B. The section of forums for the language are displayed in the left-hand column of all pages in the section.

Moderating the forums

Whenever you create the forum article, you are automatically noted as being the author of that article (basic SPIP functionality). If you leave things like that, you will receive an email for each message posted in the forum for that article. This can prove to be useful for monitoring the forum; it can also become painful if the forum is very active (several messages per day). It’s up to you to determine if you want to receive these forum monitoring messages or not.

To no longer receive these emails, just remove yourself as author of the article. N.B. In the same fashion, you can add anyone else as an author if they wish to receive those emails.

From experience, we know that the SPIP forums become heavily populated VERY quickly. The new presentation is intended to make them easier to view (especially for searching for questions already posed). To facilitate the documentation archive function of these forums (I have a problem, I’ll go look to see if the question has already been asked and solved), two points of moderation are recommended:
-  the questions (the messages at the top level, which start a discussion thread) must have an explicit title (this way, the big table that summarises all of the question is legible, otherwise there will be threads for which the cause is unknown...); the questions which do not have titles must be deleted (there is a large bold warning at the top of the page where you post messages, so it should be fairly obvious...); N.B. this does not apply to response to the questions, since these automatically adopt the notice "> The question", usually enough for navigation;
-  check that the questions are posed in the right forum (from experience, we know that some users post any-old-place); there again, you’ll need to relocate misplaced items.

Whenever you delete a message for one of these two reasons, if the question is an interesting one (clearly formulated, subject not yet treated in the forum), you can report a message with the corrected or replaced title in the right forum; in this case, it is recommended that you specify that is is a reporting, citing the original message as a quotation (<html><quote>...</quote></html>).

For the rest, the forums dedicated to SPIP do not generally pose any moderation problems, but rather can become a little too animated. By and large, there are two types of messages to watch out for:
-  messages which denigrate an ISP or commercial product; this type of message, quite habitual in many internet fora, can attract unwanted threats of litigation; if the message seems to you to be directly defamatory in nature (like: "the OnlineBeast ISP is absolute crap"), try to sweeten it a little... ask the message author to reformulate the message as a well-argued critique ("The OnlineBeast ISP doesn’t run SPIP properly because of this or that reason..."), which actually becomes useful information to other participants;
-  messages suggesting a technical solution based on PHP code that introduces security risks to websites (such as attaching the database with passwords directly embedded in the template file); at a minimum, immediately post a follow.up message, with bold warnings or flashing red text to explain that the suggested piece of code absolutely NOT be used by webmasters.


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