The Forum feature provides a central location for discussion about the topic of a wiki and other matters important to the wiki's community. Any user can participate in a Forum conversation, and registered users can follow discussion threads and received notifications when updates occur. The overall structure of the Forum is managed by wiki administrators.
A wiki's Forum can be accessed from the "On the Wiki" navigation tab or from the Discussions module found at the bottom of every article page.
The five most recent Forum posts can be showcased on a wiki's main page, or any other page, by using the <wikiaforum /> tag to display the Forum Activity module.
A wiki's Forum has three levels:
Special:Forum – This page is linked from the wiki's navigation and lists all of the boards on the Forum, and their descriptions. The Forum's policies and frequently asked questions can also be accessed from a button in the upper right of this page
Boards – These are different subject areas within the Forum, created by the wiki's administrators. Each board contains discussion threads. Clear board names and descriptions will help visitors find the the conversations that interest them.
Threads – These are the actual user discussions, with replies displayed in chronological order, newest at the bottom. Below the most recent reply, topics can be added, which make a connection between the thread and specific articles on the wiki.
Starting a discussion
The Forum can be accessed via the wiki's navigation or from the Discussions module at the bottom of an article page. From the main Special:Forum page, choose one of the boards and then simply click into the "Start a Discussion" field. If you're coming from an article page, you'll be able to choose the best board for your thread before you publish it.
Be sure to make the subject of your thread clear and concise. Confusing titles may prevent readers from exploring the conversation.
In the body of your message, add images, videos, links and whatever else you like!
Add topics to the thread, which can be the name of any article on the wiki. This will connect your thread to those articles, and to other threads about those articles. This will make more viewers aware of the discussions and encourage participation. If you start a discussion from an article page, that article name will already be added as one of the topics, but you can have as many as four topics on a thread.
Participating in a discussion
Finding a thread is as simple as browsing through the boards and choosing a discussion that looks interesting. You can scroll to the end of the thread and start typing. You can also reply to specific messages using the Quote button, found in the lower right of every message. Click Quote, and that user's message will be copied into your new message box, and you can start your entry below it.
Use the Kudos option — the "thumbs up" icon at the upper right of every message — to show that you like what another user has said. The number of Kudos a message has received will be shown. Be generous with the kudos and maybe you will get some of your own!
The Discussions module at the bottom of article pages is another way to easily find existing forum conversations, by displaying recently active discussions on the topic of that article.
Highlighting a discussion
Administrators can use the Highlight feature to notify all logged-in users on the wiki about a specific thread, via the notifications system. At the time of a thread's creation, this can be done using the Highlight check box next to the preview and post buttons. At any later time, the option to Highlight appear on the "More" drop down menu on the thread's initial post.
Managing Boards and Policies
On Special:Forum, administrators have a Manage Boards button in the lower right corner that allows creation, renaming and reordering of boards. Boards can also be removed by merging their threads into another board.
Board descriptions can contain bold and italic formatting, links and templates. Templates will display on the individual board page, but not on Special:Forum.
Wikia has provided basic forum policies that become available when the feature is first enabled. Administrators can edit the policy page (a MediaWiki message) using the edit button on the Policies pop-up, if wiki-specific policies are preferred.
Enabling the Forum
When the Forum feature is enabled in WikiFeatures, three changes occur on the wiki:
The Discussions module is enabled at the bottom of all article pages
The "Forum" namespace, used for wiki-style forums, becomes editable only by administrators (for maintenance purposes) and all content in that namespace acquires a header directing users to Special:Forum. The header is styled according to the wiki's theme, and should prevent any user confusion if the wiki-style forums had been used on the wiki in the past.