Tips & tricks: Discussion Forums

The Northwest website is a great venue for hosting discussion forums.  The following information will detail how to set up a forum and how to manage one.

Threaded comments

WordPress has recently added the functionality of being able to do threaded comments on pages and posts.  What this means is that on any article or blog post someone else can append a comment.  Someone else can come along and comment on the article or they can comment on the recently posted comment.  Commenter number one can return and respond to the person who commented on their comment – and so on.  The comment levels can go quite deep – but this web site has stopped them at 5 levels.  I have added some threaded comments at the bottom of this page so that you can see what it looks like.


To host a discussion forum on one of your posts is a very simple matter.  Create a post, type in the topic you want discussed and invite people to participate.  Remember your posts will appear under the “Blog” section of the site.

In order to set up an ongoing discussion forum the webmaster will need to create a forum section for you on our site.  Discuss your needs with him to work out an optimal solution.


Managing the forums is fairly straight forward.

The first comment that a “non-logged-in” person posts will be held for moderation.  You can moderate the comments on your own posts by going to the “Comments” section of the WordPress editor.  Any new unapproved comments will appear at the top of the list and be highlighted in yellow.  To allow a comment to go through click “Approve”.


Here are some tips:

1. You are able to prevent any new discussion on a topic at any point by stopping people’s ability to comment on that topic.   In the WordPress editing window, below the page content there is a “collapsible” section called “Discussion”.  It has two checkboxes.  To stop all discussion on that particular topic uncheck the “Allow Comments” checkbox and then click the “Update Page” button.


2. You can also hide the entire discussion area for a particular topic – but still keep the topic itself visible.  Below the section called “Discussion” there is another “collapsible”  section called “Custom Fields”.  It has a drop-down box under “Name”.  From the dropdown select the name “hidecomment”.  Then in the box to the right (called “Value”) type a number 1 – and then click the “Update Page” button.  That will hide all of the comments from view.


3. To remove the entire topic from public view altogether you can set the page’s “Visibility” status to Private.  Be sure to click the OK button and then the “Update Page” button.


Below is a sample of threaded comments.

6 thoughts on “Tips & tricks: Discussion Forums

Comments are closed.