By Jim Lynch  |  Posted 2005-02-15 Print this article Print

: Other Tools"> The admin page also has other tools available. Here you can easily create user groups and dole out privileges based on membership in these groups. You can also create and edit the title of folders (sections) in your forum as well as permissions in each folder. The Profiles tool lets you add, remove, or edit fields available to users in their profiles. The Forum Settings tool is only available to the official Administrator of the forum. You must be logged in as the administrator to use this tool; no sysops are allowed access to it. This tool lets you change the title of the forum, the forums email and description, and also the forums keywords. You can also change the default style (or theme) of the forum as well as the default emoticons and language of the forum. You can also edit the post-edit timeout time as well as the maximum length of a post. You can also toggle on or off the ability of users to create polls in your forum as well as the minimum search word length. You can also edit the session cut off time and toggle on or off the stats display at the bottom of the message frame in the forum.
In addition to that you can also enable/disable the guest account as well as login guests automatically. Finally, you can also enable/disable attachments in your forum. And you can also edit the allowed size of attachments in your forum. The default size is 1MB. And you can also opt to allow embedding of attachments in messages or signatures if you want.
As you can see the Forum Settings tool is quite powerful and controls some of the forums most important features. The Start Page tool lets you edit the text that appears on your forums start page. Or you can edit this yourself directly in the config files. Either way is up to you. The admin tool comes with a nice WYSIWYG toolbar that lets you easily change the text formatting without having to bother with HTML. The Forum Style tool lets you create new styles (or themes) for your forum. Be careful using this tool if you are what we call "design challenged." In other words, dont come up with a color scheme that makes your forum hard on the readers eyes or you will cut down on participation. Nobody wants to read orange text on a black background or other crazy color scheme. Be warned also that you can become addicted to playing with the Forum Style tool as you try to find just the right style for your forum. There are so many different ways you can customize what your Beehive forum looks like. And if youre good with CSS, you can even create your own specialized themes without using the tool. You have the option of setting up a global word filter and forcing it on everyone in the forum. While we think that its good to have this option available, we also think that its generally a good idea to let users control their own personal word filters rather than trying to implement a one-size-fits-all type filter. However, in some forums it may be worth using the global filter. Thats a judgment call that you will have to make for yourself. In the top frame, there is a drop down menu called Forum Links. You can add/remove links to other forums or web sites in this list by accessing the Forum Links tool in the admin page. Its very easy to type in a title and URL for whatever sites you want to link to. In our case we opted to link to the ET and PCMag forums as well as various Beehive forums and also our other Beehive forum called NASCAR Fury. The View Log tool lets you easily see what you and your sysops have been doing to manage the forum. All admin actions are listed here so it makes it very easy to keep an eye on your sysops and to know if you have a renegade sysop that needs to be dealt with. Theres also Forums tool section on the admin page that lets you pick which of your forums want to be the default forum as well as allowing you to easily create a new forum. And you can also edit the default settings for a new forum. Continued...

Jim manages the PC Magazine and ExtremeTech forums, and is responsible for building community in the forums on both sites. He started managing PC Mag's forum on ZiffNet on CompuServe many years ago. He then transferred the staff and expertise to the Web. He left ZDNet when it moved to San Francisco and came back to Ziff after the split from ZDNet, right before ExtremeTech launched. You can get more background at his personal site:

His favorite movies include Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Three Musketeers (1973 version), Dune (Sci Fi Channel version), and gobs of others. He can't live without his iPAQ Pocket PC—,he uses it at the gym and everywhere else—,and his DVD collection features more than 200 films. His favorite game is Tribes (PC), which is more than three years old but he still plays it all the time.

Jim likes interacting with the folks in the forum and the content. 'I Love both of 'em,' says Lynch. 'It's what makes the job fun and interesting.'

You're welcome to visit Jim's site for more information about him.


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