Once again, I must thank Dr. Mike for pointing me to the Simple Forums plugin at Yellow Swordfish. This is an amazing plugin that basically allows you to include a pretty powerful forum right into a blog on WPMu. You can see it in action on the Yellow Swordfish site here, or take a look at a version I am playing with at WPMuEd.org (more on this site to come shortly).
There are a host of features, a couple I particularly like are the following:
- It integrates seamlessly with a WordPress theme as a separate page, so if you have a class blog and want a powerful forum here is an excellent option
- It has advanced permissions to control who can post and/or see the forum
- It can integrate with the blog it is installed on so if you want to have more in-depth conversations about a blog post it can carry over to a forum –very cool!
- It automatically integrates users from the blog, allowing all registered users to post without an additional sign-up
- It has a simple spam blocking feature built in
- It has RSS and e-mail subscriptions for individual topics as well as the entire forum -wow!
- It allows for avatars, and can grab gravatars as well
- An admin interface in the WP backend that is simple and intuitive
- The forum itself is highly customizable with a series of skins to boot
- Best of all, the developer Andy Staines is tirelessly supporting users and working on integrating their feedback into the future builds–he is pretty remarkable
And did I mention that this is a plugin!!! A fact that truly amazes me given all the functionality and seamless integration at work here.
That said, there is one simple hack you need to do to get it to work with WPMu, and here it is:
You need to edit the following lines on sf-includes.php file in the plugin so that WPMu can recognize the users:
This is not be offered as a sitewide feature for all sites on UMW Blogs, but rather as an option for users on a site-by-site basis as a plugin they can activate.
There is one issue of WPMu that makes this plugin a bit difficult that I haven’t entirely gotten my head around yet, and maybe someone out there has figured it out. In the Simple Foums Options (under the Manage tab in the WP backend) their is the ability to “Show Login/Logout/Register if allowed:” I couldn’t check this option, and I realized it is because you can’t allow users who have not signed-up for a blog or username in a WPMu environment to to register for specific blogs independently. They must first have a username at the minimum. Not too big an issue, but since I am running multiple domains I need to find a way to allow any user to sign-up for an account yet keep it distinct from UMW Blogs, hmmm…I have to think on this more though–any ideas or experience with this out there?
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