The method for managing public forums varies from one webmaster to another, and more specifically according to the actual needs of the site. Some webmasters do not want forums at all, some want free access forums, and yet others prefer to moderate the forums pre-publication, by publishing the messages only after they have been validated by an administrator.
SPIP allows you to determine the operation of your public-facing forums (the forums which are internal to the site’s management team are always managed as open forums for all the editors, and moderated post publication, which means all such forum entries are published internally by default, but can be vetoed at any time later on).
- Disabling the public forums
When the forums are disabled, the interface for making such forum contributions disappears and any old contributions are no longer displayed (they are not deleted from the database, but their display is simply interrupted). This option stops the operation of the forums, even if display of the forums is still coded into the site’s layout (templates).
You can use it either as a permanent measure (the site never provides discussion forums) or as a temporary setting (suspend forums activity to discourage a relentless spammer or to go on a troll-hunting expedition ... or simply if you are transferring your site to another server and don’t want to lose any contributions in the process).
- Post-publishing moderated forums
When forums are moderated a posteriori, contributions are displayed as soon as the users have submitted them. You are then free to use the forums follow-up page provided by SPIP to moderate these messages with various degrees of severity. a posteriori moderation is the default mode for SPIP.
- Pre-publishing moderated forums
In a priori moderated forums, user contributions are submitted and stored in the system but not immediately displayed. Administrators must use the forum follow-up page provided by SPIP to validate (or reject) each message.
- Forums accessed by subscription
If the forums are accessible by subscription, users wishing to contribute must register by providing their e-mail address. They then receive their site identification credentials by e-mail, so that they can log in in order to submit comments to the forums. For editors who already have access to the private site, this identification corresponds to their usual login credentials.
This mode is a compromise between the need for responsibility (participants must provide a valid e-mail address) and the absence of a priori moderation (once they are registered, these users can post their contributions directly).
Furthermore, this mode allows you to exclude users who misuse forums (black-listing). In fact, when you delete (via the forums follow-up page) a contribution posted in the "by subscription" mode, you can have access to the "file" (extremely small) of the author of that contribution. You can simply dispatch that author "to the dustbin": his identification will not work any more and he will not be able to obtain a new one with the same e-mail address.
Warning: the "forum by subscription" mode requires that your host supports automated e-mailing. If this is not the case, perhaps you should change your host ;)