New Forum - 2016 Release

To add the New Forum to your site, please contact the support team.


From your forum dashboard, you’ll be able to manage and change all the settings for your Vanilla forum.

In the dashboard top bar, you have quick access to the forum with the Visit Site button, your Profile page or to Sign Out. In the Dashboard sub-heading, you have access to your forum analytics. By clicking the different boxes, you can hone in on specific information. Popular discussions, active users, pageviews and more are also listed.

In Getting Started and Help & Tutorials, you’ll find many informative video tutorials to help you best build and configure your forum. Additionally, a more extensive list of tutorial videos (33 in all) is available to view here.

Introductory video tutorial here.


Banner: Here you can add a title and site description to be displayed on your forum home page. To represent your brand, you can easily upload a banner, logo and favicon.

Homepage: Your homepage is what users see first. You can choose from different layout options for your discussion, category and homepage. The default homepage is All Discussions.

Themes: Only the default theme is available. If you wish to apply an alternate theme, please contact the support desk as it will need to be tested.

Messages: With this feature, you can add a message, for your members, to appear anywhere in your forum. Enabled messages will be viewable only when logged in as a member.

You can watch a video tutorial here.


Users: The Users page contains a browsable list of all your members. You can search for a specific member using the search box. With any member, you have the option to edit and delete. The edit function allows you to change the role of a member and even ban them. When choosing to delete a member, you are given the options of keeping or erasing their content.

Roles and permissions: Roles determine what your forum members are allowed to do and every member is assigned a role. You can also create a Role with the Add Role button.

If you wish to pre-approve all posts by a certain member role, tick the box below Require next to Approval. All comments then made by that role will appear in the moderation queue for you to manually approve before they are public. A message will appear in the lower left of the screen alerting your member to this.

You can watch a video tutorial here.


This section contains settings to limit and control spam.

Moderation Queue: Comments that require pre-approval by an admin before being posted will be listed here.

Change Log: Every edit or delete action taken by a moderator or administrator is recorded here. You can click “Restore” to undo any change.

Banning: You can ban IP addresses, email domains and words from usernames using this tool.

Flood Control: To prevent spam, you can limit the number of discussions & comments users can post within a given time period. You can also create a maximum and minimum comment length.


Categories: Categories are used to organise your discussions. From this page, you can view, add and edit your categories. Or you can choose to completely turn them off by selecting the Don’t use Categories button.

To add a new category, click the Add Category button. Once you’ve added your title and description, you have the option to customise your user permissions.

Permissions: Permissions allow you to determine how your users will interact with the category. Some options are:

Announce: Makes the discussion “sticky” so it never sinks.

Close: So no new comments can be added.

Sink: Prevents new comments from bumping the discussion to the top of the list. This option allows discussions to go away without them being closed.

Edit and delete a category: You have the option to edit and delete any of your categories. If you delete a category, All posts will be deleted unless you choose to move the orphan discussions to a replacement category from the drop down menu.

Organise Category: You can easily change the hierarchy of your categories by clicking and dragging. Move your cursor over the category row until the grab hand appears, click and hold, then drag the category up or down and let go.

To nest a category, follow the same directions but drag the category beneath and to the right of the category you wish to nest it within.

You can watch a video tutorial here.

Advanced: In the Advanced section, you can choose how many discussions and comments you want displayed per page, if and when users can edit their posts, how often comments should refresh and when to archive discussions.

You can watch a video tutorial here.

Tagging: An important Addon is the Tagging function. To enable Tagging, go to Addons. On the setting page, you’ll see the tags that have been created, how many times they’ve been used and have the opportunity to delete them as well.

Tags only apply to discussions. Tags are added when you create a New Discussion to post. When tags are used, they will form a “tag cloud” under the left column sidebar and will be searchable.

You can watch a video tutorial here.


Discussions are grouped within the categories (if categories are enabled). To start a new discussion, click on the New Discussion button beneath your user profile. Provide a title, select the category and add the discussion text.

*Using the rich text editor, you can add images, emoji, links and stylise fonts.

*To mention a user, place the @ symbol before their username - they will then be notified.

*To bookmark a discussion, select the star. You will then receive a notification when new comments are added.

You can save comments as drafts, by clicking Save Draft button.

Admins and moderators have the ability to edit, announce, sink, close or delete any discussion listed on the Discussions homepage, by clicking on the gear icon.


Plugins: Plugins extend the functionality of your forum. Enabled plugins are highlighted in yellow. To disable a plugin, just click the Disable button. Disabled plugins will be listed in the Disabled tab and can be enabled at any time.

Menu Bar Link: To add a link in the menu bar, go to Plugins, select Add Menu Item. Click the Settings button. You can now add a menu link title and page link.

You can watch a video tutorial here.


Outgoing emails: Enter here, the “From” email address to be used when contacting your forum members with notifications.

You can watch a video tutorial here.

Member User Guide

When your member logs into the forum for the first time, they are asked to create their account and select a username.

Once they click Connect, they are directly logged into the forum and can begin posting.

Every member has a profile which allows them to their adjust notification preferences, view their discussion and comment histories, post a status update and add a profile picture.

By clicking on their username, a member will be able to add/edit their profile picture. Below their profile, are links to their Notifications, Inbox, Discussions and Comments.

On their profile activity page, they can also post a public status message in the Activity feed which other members can comment on. Activity posts cannot be edited only deleted.

Members can private message each other by selecting their Inbox and clicking the New Message button. In the recipient field, add the username (it will auto-fill as you go) of the member they wish to message. To add more people to a private conversation, open the message and enter their usernames in the Add People to this Conversation box on the left hand side under their user profile.

Members can start discussions by clicking the New Discussion box. Using the rich text editor, they can add images, emoji, links and stylise fonts. If mentioning a user, place the @ symbol before their username and they will then be notified.

To bookmark a discussion, select the star. They will then receive a notification when new comments are added.

When on the Home or Discussion pages of the forum, a mini notification toolbar will be beneath their username. Here, a member will be alerted to notifications, emails, bookmarks and by selecting the gear icon can update their preference settings.

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