Getting Started - ModeratorDISCUS Administration Instructions


This tutorial is intended for moderators new to this discussion board program. This covers basic procedures of setting up your topics using the Page Manager, the User Manager, and the Access Manager. We strongly recommend the Discus Resource Center as a source of ideas on how to set up your topic.

This tutorial will be most valuable if you are actually performing the actions as you are directed in this tutorial. For this purpose, we recommend that you open a new browser window to access your board or that you print out a hard copy of this tutorial before proceeding further.

This tutorial goes into depth covering basic information that you as a moderator will need to know to utilize the Discus program fully. It will take approximately 20 minutes for a new user to complete this tutorial. We suggest that you do this tutorial in one time block with minimal interruptions. Once you get the feel of the program, you will be able to figure out most everything for yourself without consulting tutorials or instructions.

Logging In

1. Log in to the administration program

All administration functions are accessed and used through the administration program. Moderators may log in to the administration program by clicking the "Administration" link from the discussion board. Moderators must supply their username and password, which are initially established by the board administrator, in order to log in.

Once your username and password has been supplied, you will see the administration program Main Menu in the left frame and the first screen of the Page Manager in the right frame.

2. Locate the administration instructions

Upon logging in, the administration instructions are accessible from the Main Menu. To access the administration instructions, click on "Administration" under the "Instructions" section. This brings you to an index of all administration instruction pages. This tutorial is part of those administration instructions.

Setting up a topic

Pages which contain subtopics and messages are created and edited using the "Page Manager." The Page Manager will be the functionality that you use most to administer the board as a moderator, so it is essential that you gain familiarity with the functionality therein.

3. Choose a topic to edit

Upon logging in after changing your password, you should see the first screen of the Page Manager in the right frame. If not, click on "Page Manager" from the Main Menu. You are presented with a list of topics that you are permitted to edit (the superuser determines who is allowed to edit what topics). From that list, choose any topic you wish to edit by clicking on the topic name. We recommend that you choose a topic designed for test messages if such a topic has been created.

When you have chosen a topic to edit, you will be presented with the Page Manager interface to edit the first page in that topic. The Page Manager contains a lot of functionality to manipulate subtopic and message pages. Scroll down the Page Manager to get an idea of what functionality is available. Here is a quick tour of what you will see.

4. Change the layout of the page

If subtopics are not displayed on the page you are editing, you will not see the subtopic editing options in the Page Manager and you won't be able to the following steps in this tutorial! To ensure that subtopics are displayed on the page you are editing, click "Page Layout" from Quick Options (or scroll down the page to the Page Layout section). Check the box next to "List of subtopics" if it is not already checked. Note that the selection under "Available Templates" will change as you check and un-check elements. To save your change, click "Change Page Layout."

5. Add your first subtopic

After completing step 6, you are guaranteed to see "Subtopics" as an option under Quick Options. Click that link, or scroll down the page to the "Subtopics" section. You will see any existing subtopics (if there are any). What you want to do is to add a subtopic, so scroll down to "Add a Subtopic."

Your first subtopic will be created to hold all subtopics and messages you will create in the future. Think of this first subtopic as creating a "directory" for your future subtopics in this tutorial. (This does not technically happen but it is the best explanation for what you are trying to accomplish. You can then mess around entirely within this area so you don't accidentally destroy the work that other moderators have created.)

For the "Name" of the subtopic, enter "Frank Smith's first subtopic" (substituting in your own name). For the options under the name, leave "New discussion page" and "Private Index" checked -- we'll see later what these options do. Also, leave "Edit new subtopic once created" checked, as this will place you directly into your new subtopic once you have created it. Click on "Add this Subtopic" to create the new subtopic.

6. Create a bunch of subtopics

Upon completing step 6, check the navigation bar at the top of the screen to verify that your position is now within the subtopic you just created. If not, use "Quick Navigation" to navigate into the new subtopic.

We will now explore some of those settings under "Add a Subtopic" and learn first-hand what they do. Click "Add a Subtopic" from Quick Options. Create a subtopic named "Private Index" and choose "Private Index" as the page type. Also create a Public Index named "Public Index" and a Message Page named "Message Page." Since you do not necessarily want to jump directly into editing these new subtopics once you've created them, uncheck the "Edit new subtopic once created" box each time upon creating new subtopics. If you forget to do this and you are placed into the new subtopic, you can use the navigation bar at the top of the page (or the "Quick Navigation" box) to jump "up" one level.

You can also create links to documents on the WWW and make them look like subtopics. This is useful to organize frequently added items and is used in a variety of ways. To create a link, first give the subtopic a name of "Discus Home Page - right frame." Then check "Link to external document" and choose where the link is to be displayed using the "Right frame" option. Give the URL of "" in the appropriate blank. Create two more links as well, using the "Top (replace board)" option for one and the "New browser window" option for the other. When you are creating links, it does not matter whether the "Edit new subtopic once created" box is checked or not.

7. View the subtopics in the user interface

At this point you should have six subtopics created. Scroll up to Quick Navigation and click "Go to this page on the board" to take yourself to the page that contains your subtopics. Click on each subtopic you created, noting what discussion elements are contained on each page (for the subtopic pages) and where the pages are displayed (for the linked pages).

Adding Users

The moderators (that's you) have control over who may post messages to their topics. You can configure the board to allow public posts, require logins, or even disable posting entirely. One way to control posting is to create user accounts, which allow authorized users to post. Even if you do not use accounts to control posting privileges, your regular users will benefit from user accounts because they will then be able to enable e-mail notification for themselves and establish a profile. Adding user accounts is accomplished through the "User Manager."

8. Add a user account

If you exited administration to perform step 7 above, log back into administration.

Click on "User Manager" from the Main Menu to bring up the first User Manager screen. Select the group that you wish to edit by clicking on the link. Note that the number of user accounts in the group is indicated.

Upon clicking on the group, you will see three sections on the User Mananger screen. The first section, "Users," shows all user accounts (or, if you have more than 25 user accounts, a portion of the user accounts is displayed as well as options to select alternate ranges). The second section, "Add a User," allows you to create one user account; we'll do this momentarily. The third section, "Add a User List," allows you to paste in a delimited user list, such as from a spreadsheet program or database, to create user accounts rapidly without ever having to enter the names manually.

Under "Add a User," create a user with username apple and password orange and then click on "Add this User" to create the account. When the page reloads, you should see the user added to the user list at the top of the page.

Configuring Access

As stated in the previous section, the moderators (that's you) have control over who may post messages to their topics. In addition to creating user accounts, moderators can enable public posting, give users and moderators from other groups posting permissions. If the board administrator has purchased the professional version of this software, the moderator may also configure advanced permissions such as allowing (or disallowing) users from certain IP addresses and enabling a "Message Queue" so that the moderator approves all messages before they are put into public view.

9. Configure public posting

To set up posting so that anyone can post to the topic using any username/password they wish, you need to use the "Access Manager." Remember that any changes you make here will affect the entire topic that you select, so if there are other moderators for this topic or there is serious discussion in this topic, you should probably not apply these changes. Just navigate through the interfaces but don't actually perform the steps if this is the case.

Enter the "Access Manager" by selecting the link from the Main Menu. On the ensuing screen, select the topic for which you wish to configure access settings. To enable public posting, check the "Public Posting" box and click "Save." You can also authorize posting for users and moderators in the group, or for all users and moderators on the board. If the board administrator has purchased the professional version of this software package, you can also use the "Advanced" button to specify additional settings or to enable a "Message Queue."


The following is a checklist of the things you were instructed to do in this tutorial.

[  ] Log into administration program
[  ] Access the Page Manager
[  ] Change page layout
[  ] Create an initial subtopic
[  ] Create six new subtopics with various layouts
[  ] Look at the board to see what you've done
[  ] Return to administration program
[  ] Access the User Manager
[  ] Add a user named "apple"
[  ] Access the Access Manager
[  ] Enable public posting


Congratulations, you have now seen some of the basic functionality available from within the administration program. You now know that you can create subtopics, change page layouts, add users, and enable/disable public posting. But there is a lot more...

You should continue to experiment with administrative tools and the posting interface to determine how the board works. To learn more about specific administrative functions, continue reading these administration instructions, or experiment on your own.

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