Troubleshooting forums

Updated on 20-October-2016 at 10:16 AM

Business Catalyst End of life announcement - find out more details.

In this article, you'll learn about common issues that may occur when setting up forums. Use the tips and suggestions provided below to help resolve these issues.

Also see Setting up forums to get detailed instructions on creating and publishing new forums.

Preventing inappropriate or off-topic content from being published in forum posts

If you have configured a forum to enable visitors to post without moderation, you may encounter situations where spam or other unwanted text content is displayed in the forum on your site.

To resolve this, you can set up a moderator role and then configure the forum to send all posts to the moderator for approval.

Forums have a moderation function, which allows you to moderate posts based on three options:

  • Always moderate posts 
  • Moderate a user's first post 
  • Don't moderate

You can access these options for moderation by choosing Website > Forums. Select the name of the existing forum from the list of forums, or click Create a new forum in the sidebar.


The Forum Details page appears. Use the Moderation menu to select one of the following two options: Every Post or New User Posts Only as shown below:


The Every Post option is the safest choice to ensure that spam content never becomes published to the live site. This setting requires that every submitted post is approved by a moderator. That means that an admin user must approve a post before it goes live on the forum. When approving, the moderator can edit the post to remove any undesirable words or sentences. When the post is approved, it appears on the live site.

Note: You can also always edit or remove posts even after they've been approved. Click the option to Manage topics and posts in the sidebar of the Forum Details page to see the editing and approving options.


Attempts to set the default avatar in the forum for a specific user or type of registered visitor are unsuccessful.

If a forum exists in a secure zone and you've manually subscribed registered visitors, there doesn't appear to be an option to set two default placeholder avatar images: one that displays alongside moderator's posts and a different avatar that displays with the posts submitted by registered visitors who have not personalized their account by uploading an image file.

Currently, you cannot set the default avatar in the forum for registered visitors and admin users (moderators) of the forum. However, you can login into the forum, create each user account and add the avatar individually for each user at that time. 

Updating the read and unread icons within the Admin Console

The Admin Console interface doesn't offer a setting to change the image that appears next to the Forum topic listings to identify the posts as read or unread.

These graphic icons are helpful for orienting the visitor so that they can quickly identify the posts they've already read. The system generates these image icons by default.

However, if you'd like to use your own read and unread icons for forums, follow these steps:

  1. Create two image files in an image editing program, such as Fireworks or Photoshop. Name the files read.gif and unread.gif, respectively.
  2. Upload the two image files to the root level of your live site, using the File Manager, Dreamweaver, or a third-party FTP client.
  3. Edit the source code (click the HTML tab) of the forum page in the online editor. Update the {tag_readstatus} tag to add the following attributes, as shown below:
    <p>&#123;tag_readstatus,<img src="read.gif" />,<img src="unread.gif" />&#125;</p><strong>
  4. Save and publish the forum again, to push the changes to the live site.

Posting images in forum posts

At the time of this writing, it is not possible to configure the forums to accept image uploads as part of the forum post form.

The forums generated by this system only accept text input. You cannot configure the forum post submission form to upload images. However, forum participants can enter links in their posts to images and media posted elsewhere online.