Managing Forums​

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?

Creating forums

To create a forum, go to your Champ dashboard and click on Forums:

Champ sidebar - forums

Once there, you’ll see a list of your current forums.

Click on Create New Forum on the upper right hand side:

Create a new forum button

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:

New forum screen

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.

Setting permissions

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).

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:

Adding permissions with tags

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.

Locked

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.

Deleting forums

The option to delete a forum is available at the bottom of the forum settings page:

Deleting a forum

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.

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