Baobab manuals: Forum
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Forums are a slow-motion form of a chat (see "Chat") and allows a more structured dialog. Forums are designed to build online communities of people with similar interests. Also known as a "discussion group", "board" or "newsgroup", a forum is an asynchronous (not in real time) service. The other members reply on their own schedule, and do not need to be present while you are sending. Every forum is also dedicated to some specific subject.
The forum serves as a consultation process within the working group. Within the forum you can obtain opinions, add clarification to certain working papers or support certain procedures. If a forum folder is added to a working group, it is visible to all working group members. You must also add writing authorization for the users accordingly (see "User profiles" and "Article folders/Editing the folder profile for an entire working group").
Creating a new topic in the forum
To add a new topic in the forum you need authorization. Select the "Forum" folder from the left-hand navigation tab.
Select "New topic" from the action tab. A form will now open where you can enter the title of the topic as well as a description. The description serves as the basis of discussion for your working group. In a few sentences, explain here what you wish to be discussed in the forum. When you have completed the fields you can save the entry. After saving you will receive confirmation that the topic has been added to the forum.
The overview page – the start page of the forum within the working group – shows the title of the topic, the date, the author, the number of hits, the number of additional related forum entries and when and from whom the last entry was received. You can sort the columns individually, either alphabetically or chronologically. You can create multiple topics in a forum folder. This is recommended when you wish to support an opinion and clarification process for different topics concerning your working group. If this is the case, you can add a forum topic for each topic area.
Adding a new entry in the forum
To add an entry to a forum, first select the relevant topic. You do this by clicking on the title of the topic. If entries have already been made, they will be listed here. You can add a new entry by clicking on the "New entry" button in the action tab. A form then opens. The title is already shown in the overview, but you can change it if you wish. You can now enter your text in the HTML field. As in a word processor, you can use various text tools (such as underlining) and apply formatting in this field. By running the cursor over the various symbols you can see what functions are available. If you have already written the text in another programme, you can use the copy and paste function to enter the text easily.
When you have filled out the fields, click on the "Save" button in the action tab. You will now receive confirmation that the entry has been saved. The page will then show you the current status of the forum with all published entries. Unlike in a chat, the entries within a forum do not depend on time, which means that each member of the working group can make an entry in the forum at any time. The discussion history is always available for the members of the working group to view.
Using a chat makes sense when the members of a working group are logged in to Baobab at the same time. In this case it is recommended that users are notified beforehand.