Read this first
Champ (the application) organizes your forum site into many forums.
For example, you can organize your forums into separate forums like so:
- Pre-sales Q&A
- After-sale customer support
- Feature requests
By separating out your discussions into separate forums, you’ll be able to keep discussions (ie. topics) better organized.
Your users will also be able to find relevant topics much easier, allowing them to dive into the appropriate discussion rather than sifting through multiple posts that don’t concern them.
How to organize your forums
Because the organization of your forums will determine how things will look, you should put some thought into how you want to organize discussions.
You should also consider what you want your forums to achieve.
Are you creating forums:
- Where customers can ask for support?
- Where customers can ask each other for help?
- Where you can answer questions before they purchase?
- Where your customers can hang out and share their experiences with your product?
To create a forum, go to your Champ dashboard and click on Forums:
Once there, you’ll see a list of your current forums.
Click on Create New Forum on the upper right hand side:
You will be brought to a forum where you can specify a forum title and the settings for the forum that’s about to be created:
Once you’re done filling in the details, click Save and your forum will be created.
A forum must have a name. If you don’t enter a name, the system will display an error message.
Forums can be set with specific permissions.
For example, you may want a private members only forum. Or maybe you want a forum to be read only — sort of like a place where you can make announcements. Or perhaps you only want a particular forum to be open to moderators who are helping you manage your online community.
Whatever the case may be, Champ’s forum settings allow you to have the flexibility you need to restrict access to the forum itself.
In the add a forum form, you’ll see eight (8) permission settings and one (1) visibility setting. Here’s what each of these mean:
Anyone can view
This means that any user, logged in or not, can view the forum’s posts. However, only moderators can post into the forum.
Anyone can view and post
This is the most open setting available, and allows anyone to read and post into a particular forum. If a user is not logged in, the post will be created as an anonymous post.
Note: IP addresses are logged into the system for all posts.
Anyone can view. Registered users can post.
In this mode, any user (anonymous or registered/logged in) can read the contents of the forum. However, a user must be registered and logged in to post or reply.
Registered users can view
Only users that are logged into your Shopify store can view posts in forums with this setting. However, only moderators are allowed to create posts.
Anonymous users will see a message stating that they do not have permissions to view posts.
Note that a user can view posts in forums with this setting if they register for an account in your Shopify store and login. No specific approval process will be required for them to gain viewing access.
Registered users can view and post
With this setting, registered users will gain the ability to post to a forum. Similar to the above, only registered users will be able to see the forum’s posts.
Again, any user that registers for an account and logs into your store will gain immediate access.
For more manual control of who has access, use Registered users with tag (see below).
Anyone can view, only registered users with tag can post
This setting is ideal if you only want to allow certain users (with your specific tag) to post but let every one view. Please see below (“Registered users with tag can view”) for additional instructions.
Registered users with tag can view
This setting is ideal for forums that you want to grant access to for specific users.
We recommend that you organize your users that you manually approve by adding a specific tag to their customer profile in Shopify.
Read how to edit a customer in Shopify: https://help.shopify.com/manual/customers/manage-customers#edit-customers
We recommend that you use a namespaced tag like “champ-approved” in order to minimize conflicts with other processes that might also use tags to differentiate and organize customers.
If you’re creating a forum, the option to add the specific tag will not appear until the next screen:
Registered users with tag can view and post
Similar to the above, this setting option will grant registered users who have a specific tag (in their Shopify customer record) to also post in the forum.
This is the ideal setting if you’re looking to create a private members only forum.
Anyone can view topic titles, only registered users can post and view own topic
This allows topic titles to be viewable by anyone, but topic threads can only be viewed by moderators and by the original author. This setting is useful for private lesson websites, for example.
Forums that are no longer used should be Locked. This will not allow anyone but moderators to view and post to the forum.
Anonymous users and logged in users will not be able to see the forum at all.
Hide forum from user
Select this option if you wish to hide a forum from showing in the list of available forums.
Organizing forums with categories
You can organize forums into categories. When you do this, Champ will separate out forums in the user view so that forums that are in the same category are shown together.
Forums that do not belong to any category are displayed at the bottom of the user view.
To begin using categories, click on Settings in the app’s dashboard.
To enable categories to show, you need to ensure that “Display forum in separate categories” is checked:
You can edit the name of the categories and sort as needed. The sort order you see is what will be displayed in the user view.
Once you’ve added your categories, you will need to set category for your forums. Go to each forum, and you will see a dropdown select option at the bottom. Select the category you want, or leave it at the first option to leave the forum uncategorized.
Remember to click Save to persist the changes.
Once categorization is active and your forums are categorized, the user view will look something like this:
Forums sort order
To learn how to sort forums, please refer to our customization guide.
The option to delete a forum is available at the bottom of the forum settings page:
When you delete a forum, any containing posts will also be removed. This is a permanent process and cannot be recovered.
We recommend that you Lock and hide a forum instead of deleting a forum permanently.
Other ways to restrict access
There are two (2) other ways to restrict access to your forums.
Both of these ways impose a site-wide restriction — which means that any forum page will be restricted (eg. /community/champ).
1. Site-wide password protection
You can set a password, similar to how you can set a password to your Shopify store, to restrict access to your entire forum pages.
Go to Settings, and head to the Password protect section:
Enter a password and your site will now require all visitors to enter the password before allowing access.
A cookie will be set in the user’s browser to remember that a user has already entered the password. However, if you change the password, the user will have to enter the new password in order to gain access again.
2. Restricting access to logged in users only
You can restrict forum access to only logged in users.
Go to Settings, and under Forum path you will see a checkbox to Restrict access to forum pages to logged in users.
If you enable this option, users will be required to log in first before gaining access to the forums.
Forum specific moderators
You can also restrict moderator access on a forum-by-forum basis. The typical use case for this would be to have community members acting as moderators. You would want them to be able to edit posts in one or a few specific forums, but you don’t want them to be able to moderator the entire forum.
A few things you need to know:
- Anyone who is tagged with “champ-admin” will have forum-wide access.
- “champ-moderator” will grant any user moderator access, unless the forum has a moderator tag assigned to it.
When you assign a moderator tag to a forum, only users with that specific tag will be granted moderator access.
To modify a forum’s moderator tag, go to the forum settings in the dashboard:
Leave this field empty (and don’t forget to save) to allow anyone with “champ-moderator” to be able to moderate.
Sort order for forum topics
By default, Champ shows the latest posts in a topic last. This is called ascending chronology of the posts. You can reverse this and set Champ to display the chronology in descending order.
When you set Champ to reverse the chronology, Champ will show the Quick Reply text area field (where users can add posts to a topic) at the very top of the thread:
This option is set at the forum-level. Go into the forum you want to show in this reverse chronology and you will see a setting that lets you set the order of how the posts are displayed in the topics:
Remember to click Save when you’re done.
Setting noindex meta tag
You can specify whether you want search engines to index your forum page and topic pages.
Note: The forum page is the page which shows the list of topics. The topic page is the page of the topic itself with all the associated posts for that topic.
To get started, go to the app’s dashboard and click on Forums, and select the specific forum you want to set the noindex meta tag setting for:
Once there, look for Visibility setting:
Remember to click Save after you’ve set the setting.
Note: If you add the noindex meta to the forum page only, search engines will still be able to index individual topic pages. To prevent search engines from indexing anything, both options must be enabled.
If you want to set the setting for a specific topic, remember that you can do that too by logging into your forum, selecting the specific topic, and specifying the setting there:
Note: Specific topic settings will override parent forum settings.
There are some advance settings you can set for forums.
Require admin/moderator approval will require all posts to be manually approved (under the particular forum) before it is visible to users. Note: If you toggle this setting to active and then later to inactive, any posts created during the time it was active will still require approval.
Enable image preview for topics will display an image, if it is available, from the first post of a topic as a preview thumbnail when a user is browsing topics within that particular forum.
Display permalink in topic will show a Share button that allows users to share a permalink to a particular topic. Note: To ensure that search engines do not assume you are duplicating URLs, Champ inserts a canonical link tag within the header to let crawlers know which is the “original”.
Custom page title will set a custom page title for this particular forum.
Custom meta description allows you to set a custom meta description (in the HTML code) for this forum.
All of these settings are set at the forum level.