A community forum is an online discussion site. It's sometimes also called a 'board' or 'forums'. It may contain several categories, consisting of forums, topics and individual posts. The content on a community forum is often created by the users or members of the site. They are used for support, to share ideas and for a variety of different topics.
The forum as a whole contains various categories (broad subject areas), which themselves contain forums (more specific subject areas) which contain topics (conversations or discussions) which are made up of individual posts (where a user writes something).
Usually the community home page has a list of categories and forums, with basic statistics for each - including the number of topics and posts, and which member posted the most recent message. This can be replaced with an activity stream which shows a stream of the latest posts, photos and other items shared.
When you click on a forum's name, you are taken to the list of topics it contains. A topic is a conversation between members or guests. Each topic starts out as a single post and grows as replies and comments are added by different users.
To start a new topic simply click on the + New Topic button (you may need the right permissions to do this).
Threads can be ordered in many different ways. The default is to have the topic with the most recent activity at the top. But you can easily change this ordering, for example to have the topic with the most posts at the top. Simply click on Filter menu at the top right of the topic list. The Filter menu will provide you with the options you need to sort the current page
When there are more topics to display than will fit on a single page, you may see the 'Page' box, which contains page numbers. This indicates that the list of topics has been split over two or more pages. This method of splitting lists of items over many pages is used throughout the community.
'Sticky' topics are topics determined to be important by moderators or administrators. They are listed at the top of the topic list and remain 'stuck' to the top of the listing, even if they haven't had any posts recently. Their purpose is to keep important information visible and accessible at all times.
To read a topic, click on its title. Each post in a topic is created by a member or a guest. You'll see some brief information about the member who created the topic to the left of post message.
To post a reply to an existing topic, click on the Post Reply button. If this button does not appear, it could mean that you are not logged in as a member, or that you do not have permission to reply, or that the topic has been closed to new replies.
There will also be a Reply box at the bottom of the page. This is where you can quickly enter a reply as well. If you click the Quote link on any reply, the content of that post will automatically be added to the Reply box for you. Clicking Quote on multiple posts allows you to multi-quote those posts in a single reply.
To view information about a particular member, click on the user name. This will take you to their public profile page. You will be able to communicate with them by sending private messages.
The navigation bar at the top of every page has links to help you move around. A 'breadcrumb' area at the top left shows where you are now. A form on the right allows you to quickly login. This allows quick movement from one section of the site to the other.
Once logged in to the forum you will also have a members profile where you can edit / modify your profile, image and banner.
You may be able to change the styling of the community by using the style changer in the bottom left of the page. This lets you choose different styles which change the color scheme and appearance of the community.
If this option does not appear, the board cannot be restyled.