bbPress is a fairly straightforward forum plugin for WordPress. It might not offer very sophisticated moderation features like you’d find in a forum solution like vBulletin or IP.Board, but it’s built on top of the WordPress foundation. This means that your existing WordPress users can use the same login for your bbPress forum. Want to see how integrated bbPress is? Go to the support section for the plugin on the WordPress.org site http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/bbpress/, and watch how you get zapped over to the bbpress.org site running bbPress. Because the coders who work on WordPress also work on bbPress, there’s going to be ongoing support for the forum plugin and bbPress will be constantly updated as WordPress gets updated.
If you want to run a discussion forum on top of your existing WordPress site, then you currently have two solutions: Simple Press and bbPress. Although Simple Press is free, it’s developed by a third party and you have to pay to get support from their forum. bbPress on the other hand is developed with WordPress staff and has a free support forum anyone can join. With bbPress 2.0, you can simply add a forum by installing the bbPress plugin and integrate it with your existing theme. More information is available at http://bbpress.org/ , and there is a ‘Getting Started with bbPress’ guide available at http://codex.bbpress.org.
Examples of Sites Running bbPress
Teamoverpowered (forum has since been removed)
(http://bbpress.org/forums/topic/customising-bbp_list_forums-last-poster-block goes in depth on how he achieved the sub-forum structure in bbPress).
Setting Up and Customizing bbPress
Installing bbPress Make sure you have set your permalinks first in WordPress, otherwise your bbPress installation will not work. After activating the plugin, you’ll notice that you don’t have any forums. You need to go to the settings menu to setup your initial forums:
After you choose the slug for your forum, remember to link to it. Otherwise, no one will be able to find it. To do this, go to Appearance -> Menus and create a menu that includes your forum. Note that you can check “Forums” in your screen options if you want to deep link to a particular forum from your menu:
That will enable you to construct any type of menu you want, include deep links to your Forum, and have that menu appear throughout your site. In addition to your Menu settings, your Widgets settings is where you’ll find things like the bbPress log in / log out widget, recent posts widget etc. These widgets are usually installed into the sidebars of your theme.
Custom Post Types bbPress, starting with version 2.0, takes advantage of Custom Post Types. Forums, forum topics and replies show up on your left sidebar as they are custom post types:
Categories versus Forums When organizing your forum into topic areas, bbPress allows you to use sub-forums as well as categories. A category contains other forums, whereas forums contain topics (your discussion threads). It’s useful to use bbPress categories if you have a main category (say, ‘Support Questions’) that you want to have other Forums fall under (‘Beta Testers’, ‘Usage Questions’, ‘Problems’). If someone posts in the wrong forum, it’s easy for you as the admin to moderate the post. You can go to the bbPress backend and move their discussion thread to the correct forum.
- Throttle: This setting is to prevent spammers. You can adjust how quickly a visitor can post new threads and replies.
- Allow revisions: Allow people to edit their posts, for mistakes and for going back to “censor” heated conversations.
- Allow favorites/subscriptions: Allow people to favorite and subscribe to forum topics. They will be able to keep a tab on these topics in their bbPress user profile page.
- Tools -> Recount: Because bbPress caches your post counts / tag counts, this is a way for you to manually reset them in case they are not being updated in real time because of the way bbPress caches these numbers.
bbPress adds two user roles: Forum Moderator & Forum Participant. This is in addition to the default WordPress user roles (Author, Administrator, Editor, Contributor and Subscriber). For more information on default user roles in WordPress, visit http://codex.wordpress.org/Roles_and_Capabilities. If you need to add / tweak your forum capabilities attached to your default WordPress roles, you can use either of the two following plugins: