Discussion Forum

I planned some time ago to add a discussion forum to the site, but I had been trying to identify a WordPress plug-in which would enable visitors to contribute to the discussions without registering, along the same lines as the native comment function. However, the only plug-in that will allow this mode of working seems well off the pace in terms of look and usability, and I think that it is better to go with a product that is technically superior and allows easy registration. In the long run, registering and thus having a single identity on the site is probably a better option for visitors anyway.

I have therefore set up a forum using wpForo, and it can be accessed through the ‘Forum’ link on the top menu of any page. You can browse freely without being logged in, but in order to start a new thread (‘topic’) or add a reply to an existing thread you will need to have registered and be logged in.¬† Registration simply entails clicking ‘Register’ on the the Forum top menu then selecting a username, entering your email address, and choosing a password. In order to control spam, all new registrants have to be approved by an administrator before they can log in and post; my aim is to approve all valid registration requests within 24 hours (I’ve already revived several phoney ones). Note that although you can still add comments to other pages on the site without logging in, if you are logged in then you will no longer need to enter your details, since the user registration covers the whole site.

You can use the forum to directly ask me a question if you wish, but my primary motivation for setting it up was to enable wider communication and discussion among¬† site visitors. I would encourage visitors to register and use the forum freely. The full forum rules can be found here, but I’m expecting that very little management will be required beyond warding off would-be spammers.

I have tried to keep the set-up simple, and I hope that using the forum will prove straightforward. If you would like to suggest changes, just let me know. You can subscribe to the forum as a whole, to be notified by email whenever a new topic is posted, or to an individual topic, to be notified of replies on that specific thread. RSS feeds can similarly be set at forum or topic level.

You will have five minutes after posting to edit or delete a new topic/reply. I have set up a ‘Topic for Visitor Testing’ to which anyone who wants to have a ‘play’ can add, change, and delete replies to their heart’s content, or tell me what you think about the forum and how it is set up. In these early days I’m very happy for people to add their own test topics if they want to try out that functionality. I cannot claim (by any means!) to have tested all aspects of the system, so please do email me if anything isn’t working as you think it ought to.

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