Discussions are a great place for your members to talk to each other. Switching on the Discussions feature gives them a space to ask questions, introduce themselves to the group and share their tips and experiences. It also gives you an opportunity to reach out to your members in an informal way.

Discussions are also a great way to drive engagement with your community portal via the weekly Discussions Digest emails.


Switching on the Discussions Feature

Like all features, you can toggle Discussions on and off as you require. When discussions are switched off, your members won’t see the discussions item in the sidebar menu. Admins will always see all features, but a banner at the top of the page will inform them if the feature they’re viewing has been switched off.

You can toggle Discussions on or off under Platform Setup > Toggle Features as and when you require them.


Toggling Discussions off doesn’t stop you as an admin from using the feature, it just makes them invisible to non-admins. If you want to have a play around and a practice before making it available to members then simply switch it off in Platform Setup and get creating.

Creating a Thread

Anyone (members and admins) can create discussion threads.

  1. Navigate to the discussions section
  2. Click ‘create thread’
  3. Select from the group dropdown list which group the thread should be visible to. Admins can see all groups, but when members create a thread they will only be able to choose from the groups they belong to (unless they have been given group-level permissions to manage discussions for other groups).
  4. Give the thread a subject. This will be the title of the thread on the main discussions page.
  5. Fill in the main body of the thread. This can be enhanced by text formatting, hyperlinks, images and emojis.
  6. If desired, use the ‘Attach files’ button for attachments.
  7. When you’re done, press ‘save’

It is advisable for admins to create some discussion threads before making the Discussions feature visible to members. That way members are never seeing an empty page or having to kickstart it themselves. This could be some pinned threads (e.g. key information or discussions rules) or a thread for people to introduce themselves on.

Managing Discussions

Pinning a Thread

A pinned discussion is one that always appears at the top of the list of discussion threads, regardless of when it was created or when the last activity was. A ‘pinned’ badge indicates to members that it is a pinned thread.

Use pinned discussions for threads you want everyone to read. Some examples of pinned discussion threads:

  • Important Notice - How To Use this Forum
  • Introduce Yourself to the Community!

To pin a thread:

  1. Click onto the thread you wish to pin
  2. Switch the ‘pinned’ toggle on
  3. If you wish to, you can unpin the thread at any time by switching the ‘pinned’ toggle back off again

Members cannot pin threads unless they have been given group-level permissions to manage discussions for other groups.

Editing a Thread

You can edit a thread at any point:

  1. Click on the thread you wish to edit
  2. Click on ‘edit thread’
  3. Change the group, subject and/or body of the thread or upload an attachment as required
  4. Press ‘save thread’

Caution should be exercised when editing a thread. If the body or subject is changed substantially then you could end up with responses below which now don’t make sense. If the group permissions are changed then a thread will suddenly appear for a new group / disappear for the old one, and will still contain any responses from the original group.

Deleting a Thread

  1. Navigate to the thread you wish to delete
  2. Select the down arrow next to ‘edit thread’
  3. Select ‘delete thread’
  4. A warning box will pop up. If you’re sure you want to delete the thread, press ‘delete’.

Once deleted, threads cannot be retrieved.

Deleting Replies

If you wish to delete an individual response to a thread:

  1. Navigate to the relevant thread
  2. Click the three dots in the top right of the reply you want to delete
  3. Select ‘delete reply’
  4. A warning box will pop up. If you’re sure you want to delete the thread, press ‘delete’.

Once deleted, replies cannot be retrieved.

Moderating Discussions

Admins can moderate discussions by deleting discussion threads and deleting replies as required.

To ensure that they never miss anything new, admins can choose to be notified of every new reply:

  1. Navigate to ‘My settings’ in the main menu on the left
  2. Under discussions and email frequency, select ‘Every new reply’ from the dropdown

Watching a Discussion

When a user (admin or member) creates or replies to a discussion thread, they will automatically be set to watch that thread. This means that they will receive email notifications of any new replies to the thread.

A user (either admin or member) can also choose to watch any other thread:

  1. Navigate to the thread you wish to watch
  2. Switch the ‘watched’ toggle on

The ‘watched’ toggle can be untoggled at any point.

If you wish to be notified of every new reply, rather than watching all threads it would be much easier to change the email frequency settings:

  1. Navigate to ‘My settings’ in the main menu on the left
  2. Under discussions and email frequency, select ‘Every new reply’ from the dropdown

Responding to a Thread


Any user (admin or member) can respond to a thread, as long as (for members) it is a thread they have visibility of.

To reply to a thread:

  1. Navigate to the thread you wish to reply to
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and type your response in the text box. Like when a thread is posted, you can enhance your response through the use of text formatting, hyperlinks, emojis and images, as well as having the option to attach files.
  3. Press ‘Reply’
  4. All users who have previously posted on the thread will receive an email notification (unless they’ve manually untoggled ‘watch’), as will any other users who’ve opted to watch the tread.
  5. As a responder to the thread, you are now also a watcher. You can choose to unwatch at any time.


Reactions allow people to engage with a post without directly responding to it.

To react to a post:

  1. Find the post you wish to react to
  2. Click ‘+ Add Reaction’. This will simply be a ‘+’ button if there have already been other reactions
  3. Choose one of the available emojis to indicate your reaction. It will now appear underneatht the image with a ‘1’. Or, if the reaction you wish to give has already been selected by someone else, you can simply click on it again. The number next to the emoji reaction will increase by 1 to reflect this.
  4. Your name will be visible - alongside anyone else who has given the same reaction - when someone hovers over the emoji.

To remove a reaction:

  1. Click on the emoji reaction you wish to remove
  2. If yours was the only reaction of this kind, it will disappear off the post. If others have given this reaction then the number will go down and your name will no longer appear on the tooltip.

Discussion Digests

Discussion digest emails are sent out weekly, summarising the activity that has taken place in discussions over the last week. Organisations do not need to do anything to make the emails happen, as they are generated and sent automatically. They go out at 10am on a Thursday, and will go to all users whose email frequency (under My Settings) is set to weekly. This is the default email frequency setting so will include all members unless they’ve specifically opted out.

If there has been no activity in discussions over the preceding week then no email will be sent.

For most organisations, clicks from the discussions digest emails lead to the highest spike in traffic to the community across the week. As such, we advise organisations to make good use of them by managing discussion content to ensure there is always a good amount of activity to go into the digest email.

Member-Managed Discussions

If desired, organisations can opt to give a subset of members admin-level permissions to manage discussions. This means that they will be able to delete and modify threads and replies. For example they may choose to do this in order to delegate the job of managing discussions to ‘lead volunteers’ or ‘lead participants’.

  1. Navigate to Manage Users > Groups and select the group you wish to give the permissions to. If the members you wish to give the permission to are not already in a group together then you will need to first create a new group containing the appropriate members.
  2. Click ‘+ Add permission’
  3. Set the type to ‘can manage discussions’
  4. The ‘Restrict to specific groups’ section allows you to control which group(s) the members of the group can manage events for. They can be given permission to manage events for all members or any combination of groups of members. If you are unsure of which settings to apply for your desired outcome then please see the table below for examples.

Be aware that:

  • If a group is granted permission to manage discussions for group(s) other than their own, they will be able to see all the discussion threads for that group.
  • If you want the users of this group to act as moderators, you may wish to instruct them to modify their email settings so that they receive notifications for all activity.

Examples scenarios for restricting permissions to specific groups:

I want to grant permission to:
…to be able to create and manage discussions for:
They will be able to:
Settings to apply:
Group A
All members and groups
Create and manage discussions the discussions of any individual group on the platform AND Create and manage the discussions visible to all members of the platform
Toggle ‘restrict to specific group’ off. 
Group A
Group A only
Create and manage the discussions of Group A
Toggle ‘restrict to specific groups’ on. Select ‘Group A’ from the dropdown
Group A
Group A and Group B
Create and manage discussions for Group A and Group B
Toggle ‘restrict to specific groups’ on. Select ‘Group A’ and ‘Group B’ from the dropdown
Group A
Group A and all members only
Create and manage discussions for Group A AND Create and manage discussions that are visible to all members
Toggle ‘restrict to specific groups’ on. Select ‘Group A’ and ‘All users’ from the dropdown. If you do not have an all users group then you will need to create this first.