The forum is often the lifeblood of the online community - the place where you can tell stories, ask questions, discuss any number of issues, give tips and advice, listen to others' issues and passions. It serves as an alternative to posting on your own wall, is immediate and spontaneous and is likely to be seen by a wider section of the community not just your friends and followers.
One big plus of forums, compared to group chat for instance, is that conversation can be threaded and organised into topics, making it much easier to find information of relevance.
Campfire is set up so that every Guild has its own forum (also reached from the Guild front page) as well as six separate forums for Campfire Community matters. Click on the top level menu 'Forum' for the overall view.
So that's a total of 21 forums in all, but the beauty of the way we've set it up in Drupal (the software we're using to build the site) is that you can really treat it as one big forum. The key to this is viewing it via the second tab 'Active Topics' which will offer you all topics across all forums as if one big list.
You will then see the latest comments in by default chronological order by most recent post, detailed who posted them, how many comments in the thread, last post and which forum they belong to, in one thread. Any topics with a sticky will have a black icon with three white dots and all new, unread posts will have solid back speech icon.
Click on a topic thread to open it and read posts in chronological order. There's a 'Last Post' button to take you straight to the latest on the thread. You will find a window to write in a new comment at the foot of the thread or you can click the reply button below any individual post if you want to make a direct comment in context (it will offer you the entire content of the person's post on which you are commenting which you can edit down to the relevant section before posting)
You can also like the post or follow it (to receive notifications) by clicking the right arrow.
It is possible to follow the entire topic by clicking the follow right arrow on the first post on the thread.
There is also the capability to go back and edit a post later, or flag another member's post if offensive to report it, which we hope you won't have to do too frequently.
You can refer to the page's 'breadcrumbs' at the top of the page at any point to see where you are and give you the option to go to a wider forum view
ie Forums | Campfire Community | Campfire Community Discussions | Subscription levels.
Your member Profile wall also has a handy tab 'My Forum Activity' which shows you (again, in chronological order) a resumé of your own posts and which thread and forum they belong to, allowing you several jump off options.
How to reply to a post
There are two options. The 'quick reply' option at the top of the thread takes you down to a blank reply box (which can also be found by just scrolling to the end of the thread if, say, you are reading all the posts) which is ideal for a more general reply. The second option, hit the reply icon (with the two arrows) to one specific post if you want to reply quoting some of the specific words of that post (which can be edited so you're only replying to the relevant bit and not needlessly quoting that member's entire post)
You can add a URL for an image already online in the 'image' box or add your own via 'upload'
We would advise :
In the image properties box, making sure the size of the image works for the page, ideally no wider than 800 pixels if landscape and 500 pixels wide if portrait format.
Unlock the padlock icon as a locked icon can stretch images when viewed on mobile
Border, HSpace, VSpace and align can be left to default unless you want to get really adventurous..
You are also able to edit your posts
Dive in and enjoy!
I wrestled with how to set this up for quite a few months and decided that the way it's set up now actually gives you the 'one forum' view effectively by the use of the 'active topics' view. Maybe we should offer this as a default setting? In fact the beauty of it is that you really have the choice of seeing it all as one in this view or being able to 'specialise' if you want, particularly via the Guilds entry points.
Once we get a few more members onboard, it will really show off this format, I expect.
You will still be able to see the unexpected new topics, as they'll be in your 'active topics' view.
Best of both worlds?