Features - Forums Group - the Free Speech Platform

Go to content
Features
Each Forums.group gets its own dedicated phpBB Forum which we setup and administer for you. We handle the updates and setup of the forum so that your Moderator can concentrate of just running your group - that is handling the membership and moderating the forum contents in a similar way to YahooGroups or Groups.io but with a wider set of features. Each forum has the standard features found on any phpBB forum plus a number of selected extensions including custom built features to allow posting and receiving messages via email, in a similar way to how messages were exchanged on YahooGroups (this feature is still under development for implementation in November 2020).

On this page, we list the additional functions we offer to a standard phpBB forum. If you want to compare the funtionality with other services, click here.

phpBB is a major high quality Open Source forum system that is fully supported and continuously being updated and improved. It has an impressive range of features out of the box and is an ideal platform for those moving from Yahoo Groups to a forum system. Forums are more difficult to setup than mailing lists and we handle this for you so that your moderator can run the forum after minimal training. We are preparing as extensive library of online instructions and training videos, making it easier for moderators and members to quickly adapt to using a forum system.

On this page, we are listing a number of additional features that we already add to our forums. Please note that a number of these features are only available for premium level forums.

Important: Forums.Group is currently in Beta Testing mode and some of the planned features are not yet working perfectly or not yet implemented (e.g. posting via email).
Included Forum Feature Extensions
Board Rules
Features:
  • Dedicated Rules page
  • Create an unlimited number of rules and rule categories (optional)
  • Multiple language support, create rule sets in each language
  • BBCodes supported in rules
  • Customisable anchors are displayed next to each rule, can be used for rule highlighting
  • Rules page link in the header (optional)
  • Require users acceptance of board rules prior to registration (optional)
  • ACP panel interface for rule management
  • BBCode editor with preview in ACP panel
  • Easily sort rules by moving them up/down in ACP panel
  • Notify users of board rules changes using the notification system
EMail Digests
Digests are emails sent to users periodically with summary of postings made on a phpBB forum for discrete time periods. Digests makes some phpBB forum users’ lives easier. They don’t have to explicitly visit the site to see what conversations are going on around there. They just read their digest and if there is some topic that seems of interest, they click on the topic link in their email program and start participating! They can unsubscribe at any time. By default, weekly digests are sent on Sundays. The users determines the hour they want to receive the digest. Whatever time they choose, they will always get the latest news so they can pick a time that suits their lifestyle.

Digests can be daily, weekly or monthly. Posts older than this will not be sent in a digest. In addition, if you want you can elect not to see posts since you last logged in, if you visited recently. You can even filter out your own posts.

If a user does not want summaries of every post, they can be selective. They can pick the forum or forums that interests them. By default they will get posts for all forums that they are allowed to access.

Digests can be sent as emails containing HTML or plain text. By default the user gets the entire post as text, but they can also select to see excerpts of each post or get a list of posts with links to each post.

Please note that each digest is unique, and may have different posts in it compared to another digest going out at the same hour. It may not be an appropriate digest solution for very large boards, very busy boards or for those who want to send bulk emails of all posts for a given time period, as it is designed for flexibility, not efficiency.
Header Banner
Removes the content of the header replacing it with a banner of your choice that scales to the browser window. Undersized banners are centred on wide browser windows. The search (if enabled) can be placed on the header (top left/top right/bottom left/bottom right) moved to the NavBar or hidden.
  • You can hide the existing header background colour, radius the corners of the banner, as well as set its maximum size.
  • You can have a separate banner for mobile devices (<700px) if you wish
  • The banner is linked to the url that the site_logo is linked to


Mailing List
Many members want to be informed of new posts via email as they happen, especially those that are used to mailing lists like YahooGroups. This extension allows you to easily set up forwarding of new posts and/or topics to existing mailing lists and even select which forums emails are sent from. Please note that this is a one-way system, it is not possible to reply to the forum via email, users can click on a link in the email to post on the forum, instead. Additionally, images and videos are not currently being included in these plain text messages.

Note: We have been using YahooGroups in the past to distribute these emails, we will be changing this in time for the shutdown of YahooGroups on December 15, 2020.

Features:
  • Configure multiple mailing lists and assign them to individual forums.
  • Specify an unsubscribe link for each mailing list.
  • Send email on either new posts or topics or both.
  • Include post contents in the email.
  • Configurable post format.

Premium Version - In Development - 2-Way Posting
We are currently preparing an advanced exclusive mailing list extension for our Premium customers. The premium version will allow new forum messages to be sent out via email and for replies via email to be possible, too. That is, you can write new posts and reply to existing topics via email and your messages will then be posted on the forum. This allows the forum to be used like a mailing list in a similar way to YahooGroups, while adding all the advantages of a forum to those clever enough to post online. In order for this to work, certain posting rules have to be kept to as follows:

New Posts:
The subject line has to be formatted correctly so that the forum can correctly assign your new post to the respective forum.
For example, to write a new post to the Forum Feedback section, the subject line has to be written like this:

Syntax:    Subject: [<groupname>] <forumname> - <topicname>
Example: Subject: [Mygroup] Forum Feedback - This is a new topic posted via Email

  • The word "Subject: " is not part of the subject line.
  • The "[<groupname>]" section is optional and can be omitted. If you give a false groupname, the message will be rejected. e.g. if you write "[Health]" while sending it to the [Mygroup] group, it will assume you made a mistake and reject the message. If you want to post to multiple forums you are a member of, always omit the <groupname> in your posts.
  • The email used to send the message must be the one registered with our forum with permission to post in that section, as otherwise the message will be rejected.
  • If sender is correct, but subject line is wrong format, message is rejected with explanation how to format the subject line, correctly.
  • If their is no forum with the same name as given in <forumname>, the message will also be rejected.
Replies to existing posts:
Messages sent from the forum will already be sent in the correct format. Simply reply to the message and add your reply. It is important NOT to change the subject line in any way as that will prevent the message from being correctly allocated.

Syntax:   Subject: Re: [<groupname>] <forumname> - <topicname>
Example: Subject: Re: [Mygroup] Forum Feedback - This is a new topic posted via Email

  • The word "Subject: " is not part of the subject line.
  • Both "Re: " and "RE: " at the beginning of the reply are accepatable, we will also take account of other major languages.
  • If the subject line has been changed in any way, the message will be automatically rejected.

Subscribing to a Group
Members should subscribe on the forum itself, but to maintain compatibility with how YahooGroups worked, subscription will be possible via email.

Syntax:  <groupname>-subscribe@forums.group
Example: mygroup-subscribe@forums.group

Email should contain the following lines:
Username: <membername>
Password: <password>

Email and IP will be checked against stopforumspam.com and if OK, the account will be generated, automatically generating username from first part of email address and appends number if already taken, if username not requested, generates one-time password and returns them to the user. User has to manually be approved by moderator in all cases.

Unsubscribing from a Group
Members should unsubscribe on the forum itself, but to maintain compatibility with how YahooGroups worked, unsubscription will be possible via email.

Syntax:  <groupname>-subscribe@forums.group
Example: mygroup-unsubscribe@forums.group

Makes account inactive, but does not delete the account. Confirmation is sent and then stops all future emails being sent to user. Password removed.

Messages to Group Moderator
Syntax:  <groupname>-owner@forums.group
Example: mygroup-owner@forums.group

If email and IP is not listed on stopforumspam, will forward message to group moderator(s), even from non-members.


When will this new feature be Available?
We are currently programming and testing this feature for implementation on forums.group. Our aim is to have this feature implemented during November 2020.
SEO Metadata
Add dynamically generated meta tags and microdata (Open Graph, Twitter Cards and JSON-LD) of your forums and topics to improve SEO of your board and show correct information when you share it though social networks, including (but not limited to) Facebook, Twitter and Vkontakte.

Features:
  • Dynamically generated Open Graph, Twitter Cards meta tags and JSON-LD microdata from your board data and current page
  • Set default image for Open Graph and JSON-LD
  • Set how description will be generated
  • ACP settings to enable/disable Open Graph, Twitter Cards and JSON-LD
  • Support for attachments, for topic image

Stop Forum Spam
Will query the stop forum spam database on registration and posting (for guests only) and deny the post and or registration to go through if found.

Features:
  • Will log an entry in the ACP if so set.
  • Extension sends usernames, emails and IP addresses to a third party server. Via HTTP when adding and querying.
  • Works with the Contact Admin Extension to disallow those trying to use the Contact Admin extension to submit.
  • Ability to report a users post to Stop Forum Spam database with API key from within viewing a topic (admins and mods only). Can't report mods or admins.
  • fix for username wild card issue (would return a false positive)

Additional Features Available with Premium Subscription
Activation Justification
How do you know whether or not the person who has just signed up for your board signed up just to spam it? Letting people justify their activation can help you decide exactly who should be activated and who shouldn't be.

The extension is only active if user registration in the ACP is set to "By Admin".


Google Translator
Adds the Google Translator to the navbar of your forum. You can configure both the default board language and the translation language(s) in the ACP. The language codes must be separated by a comma "," without any spaces.


Media Embed Plug In
The Media Embed Plug In brings a modern feature to your board, allowing users to post links to media sites that appear directly in their posts as embedded videos and/or content. It supports over 50 popular sites including videos, music streams, tweets, products, articles and other embeddable content. Users can utilise the new [MEDIA] BBCode or simply post the URL in plain text. Older posts made before installation of this extension containing supported links will automatically display as embedded content too.

Supported media:
ABC News, Allocine, Amazon Product, Anchor, Audioboom, Audiomack, Bandcamp, BBC News, BitChute, Bleacher Report videos, Break, Brightcove, CBS News Video, Clyp, CNBC, CNN, CNNMoney, CodePen, CollegeHumor, Comedy Central, Coub, Dailymotion, Democracy Now!, Dotsub, dumpert, eBaum's World, 8tracks, ESPN, Facebook, Flickr, Fox News, FOX Sports, Funny or Die, Gamespot, GameTrailers, Getty Images, Gfycat, Gifs.com, GitHub Gist, Global News, GoFundMe, Google Drive, Google+, Google Sheets, Hudl , Hulu, IGN, IMDb, Imgur, Indiegogo, Instagram, Internet Archive, İzlesene, JW Platform, Kontinental Hockey League (КХЛ), Kickstarter, Libsyn, Liveleak, Livestream, Mail.Ru, Medium, Megaphone, Metacafe, Mixcloud, Mixer, MLB, Mod DB, MRCTV, MSNBC, National Geographic Channel, National Geographic Video, NBC News, NBC Sports, NHL Videos and Highlights, NPR, The New York Times Video, Odnoklassniki, Orfium, Pastebin, Pinterest, Podbean, Prezi, Reddit threads and comments, Rutube, SchoolTube, Scribd, Sendvid, SlideShare, snotr, SoundCloud, Sporcle, Sportsnet, Spotify, Spreaker, Steam store, Stitcher, Straw Poll, Streamable, Streamja, Team Coco, TED Talks, Telegram, The Atlantic Video, The Onion, TikTok, TMZ, Trailer Addict, Trending Views, Tumblr, 247Sports, Twitch, Twitter, Ustream, VBOX7, Veoh, Vevo, Video Detective, VideoPress, Vimeo, Vine, VK, Vocaroo, Vox, Washington Post Video, WorldStarHipHop, The Wall Street Journal Online, XboxClips, Gamer DVR, Youku, YouTube
Pages
Allows moderators to create custom static pages. With Pages you can add an unlimited number of new static pages to your board, such as an About Us page, News page, or even a simple forum Blog. The ACP's page editor allows you to create page content using BBCodes or HTML, making it possible to embed media from other sites and create truly unique pages.
Precise Similar Topics
Display a list of similar (related) topics at the bottom of the current topic's page. It matches keywords in the current topic's title with other topic titles in your board's forums and determines the most relevant and closely matched results. There are Admin Control Panel settings available to fine tune the display and performance of Precise Similar Topics.

Features:
  • Displays a list of the most similar/relevant topics at the bottom of the current topic page.
  • Similar topics are sorted in order by their relevance.
  • Adjust how many Similar Topics to display per page.
  • Adjust the age-span of topics to display (ie: display similar topics from the past year only).
  • Enable or disable similar topics in each forum.
  • Exclude specific forums from being searched for similar topics.
  • Specify which forums can share similar topics with other forums.
  • A query caching option reduces SQL overhead on large boards.
  • Permission settings for users and groups determine who can view similar topics.
  • Forum privacy is maintained, topics from unauthorized and password-protected forums will not be shown to users who should not see them.
  • Multi-lingual support for stop-words (common words that are ignored).
  • Multiple languages are supported. View the pre-installed localizations.
  • Compatible with most styles, more added with every release.

Recent Topics
Displays recently posted topics.
Features:
  • Adds a list of recent (or unread) topics to the index page.
  • Users can choose their own preferences to override ACP.
  • Can view all recent topics on a special page

Share On
Share On is an extension that allows users to share topics and posts in the following social networks:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • Delicious
  • VK
  • Tuenti
  • Tumblr
  • Google+
  • Whatsapp



Simple WYSIWYG
The free hosting plan gives you the standard phpBB editor for typing in your messages. It works well, but it is a plain text editor with no onscreen formatting and instead you see the typical Bulletin board codes (BBCode), instead. You need to understand the formatting codes just to add links to other websites, for example: [url=https://forums.group]Click here.[/url] is the code you have to use to create a link with a text: Click here. You have to use the Preview-button to see what the formatting actually looks like. BBCodes are great for programmers, but very confusing to non-technical users that expect it to work like in Word, for example.

Let us look at an example:

In BBCode: "This is a sample of [i]italic[/i], [b]bold and[/b] [u]underlined text[/u] that [color=#d35400]can[/color] [color=#e74c3c]also[/color] [color=#2980b9]be[/color] [color=#3498db]in[/color] [color=#9b59b6]various[/color] [color=#1abc9c]colors[/color]."

In WYSIWYG: "This is a sample of italic, bold and underlined text that can also be in various colors."

For our premium customers, we have implemented the Simple WYSIWYG plugin that gives you more of a Word like expereince with the text appearing on screen as it looks when posted.Not only that, when someone enters a link, a dialoge box appears making it much easier to get it right. If you want to see the original BBCodes, just click on the Source button (see pictures). A much better experience when typing messages on the forum. This feature has been implemented on our GroupManagers forum, try it out for yourself.
Social Login
Social Login allows your users to login and register with 30+ social networks. It increases your phpBB user registration rate by simplifying the registration process for new users and provides permission-based social data retrieved from the social network profiles.



Symbols
Adds a convenient means to insert common symbols and accented characters into posts and PMs, It adds a set of tabs to post/pm editing pages. The symbols tabs are added above the standard smilies table.
TapaTalk iOS/Android App
On the Free Hosting plan, all members can access the forum via the web-browser as that is fully responsive and works well. In the premium plan, we add access to the forum via the powerful TapaTalk app. With over half of your community's traffic coming from mobile, Tapatalk Mobile App lifts your community's engagement on mobile. Tapatalk Mobile App layers on top of your existing community software to provide a seamless mobile experience for your members. Your members can access your community on the Tapatalk Mobile App. It's free to both you and your members.

  • INSTANT PUSH NOTIFICATIONS
    Instantly enable mobile app notifications for all types of events and activities from your community. Your members receive mobile alerts when someone likes their posts, or when a new update is available in one of their subscribed forums or discussions

  • SHARING PHOTOS
    Your members can easily share photos on-the-go with Tapatalk mobile app and post directly to your forum either as hot-linked images or attachments. Tapatalk also supports Google Drive and iCloud Drive to let you upload other files such as PDF, etc.

  • INSTANT PRIVATE MESSAGING
    Turbocharge your private messaging system on mobile to instantly exchange messages with other community members. Tapatalk supports both legacy PM style as well as the newer, more modern conversational PM systems from new community software.

  • NO MORE PAGINATION
    Smartphone is not designed for flipping pages and pages of threads and posts - Tapatalk works with all legacy forum software but also supports loading pages and pages of posts automatically, Just like how you use any other great mobile app.

  • SUPER EASY TO PARTICIPATE
    Smartphone is designed for messaging your friends and fellows. Tapatalk Mobile App makes it super easy for you and your members to Like and Share posts, and Quick Reply bar works just like SMS Messaging so you can reply to the thread instantly.

  • VIP Support
    The app is free to use, but adverts are displayed while you use it. By upgrading to VIP support (a service of Tapatalk, not us), you can remove ads plus there are some extra features in the app. You can pay monthly, yearly or have lifetime support of  Note that this is a seperate service to premium membership of forums.group.


Thanks for Posts
One of the most popular features on social media services like Facebook is the thumbs-up button so that others can signify their thanks for a post without having to actually write a post.
When reading a post while logged into the forum, you will now find a thumbs-up button on the top right of the post next to the details of the poster. Click on that and your thanks will be added to the post and listed under the post as well for all to see. If you change your mind, click on the button again (now showing a thumbs-down icon) to remove your thanks.

Feel free to thank those that have made interesting posts that you approve of. That encourages those writing them to contribute more.
General functionality:
  • adds Thanks button to the posts at the end of the post buttons row
  • allows thanking and removing thank for a post
  • adds a feature to display posts/topics/forums rating based on the count of post thanks for them (thankslist) (configurable)
  • adds a controller to display a list of users who tnahked others and who got thanks for their posts
  • adds a controller to display a list of top thanked posts/topics/forums (toplist) (configurable)
  • adds special group permissions to control viewing of toplist and thankslist
  • adds special permissions to control user abilities to thank for posts (local, forum-based) and to clean thanks list (global)
  • adds "standard" permission sets to the predefined roles
  • adds notifications for the thanking and thanks removing vents (including board and email notifications, configurable in UCP)
  • if rating displaying for all of posts/topics/forums is disabled, the toplist is unavailable

We implement the developer version that is fully phpBB 3.3.0 compatible.
User Merge
If you have a user with more than one user account, this allows the administrator to merge those two user accounts into one with their posts. For example, sometimes users on YahooGroups had more than one email address that they used to make posts. This can also be the case when they changed their email address during the period they were members of the YahooGroup. This can result in them being assigned two seperate usernames on the forum as he assign usernames based on email addresses as this is the only reliable way of associating users to their posts. On the forum, it makes sense to merge these email based account into one username on the forum, so that the member can access all his posts, make edits, etc. with just one account.

© 2020, Peter Walker Systems. All rights reserved. All other product names and any registered and unregistered trademarks mentioned are used for identification purposes only and remain the exclusive property of their respective owners. This site is not affiliated with Yahoo or groups.io in any way.

Back to content