Communities are places where our registered users can hold discussions and exchange ideas. Each one has a theme which allows users to find discussions of interest to them. There are three types of community: public (or forums), private ('special interest'), and hidden communities.
A community is divided up into a series of discussions (topics). Users contribute to these discussions by adding messages (posts). An additional feature of communities is a facility for members to upload files which are then available for other members to read.
Public Communities (Forums)
'Public' communities cover topics of general interest and are open to contributions from all logged-on users of the system.
Private Communities (Special Interest Groups)
A 'private' community is one where content is restricted to users who have chosen to become members of that community. Any registered user may join by clicking the 'Join' button on the community details. The user can create topics and post to existing ones just as they can with a public community.
A more restricted discussion group is the 'hidden community'. These are of such narrow relevance they are not visible to general users of the system. Users are added by an existing community member or an administrator. Generally, hidden communities are used by a specific group of registered users who are working together and wish to be able to complement the face-to-face work they are undertaking, with the benefits of file sharing and private communication within the group online.
Using the Communities
The best way to develop confidence and experience in using our communities is first to read how other members are using the communities, and join in some existing discussions. If you wish to initiate a discussion within a community choose the 'New Topic' option. You can also choose to be informed by email when anyone posts a reply to your topic which can be a useful way of ensuring you stay involved in the discussion.
How can I set up a community?
Contact us with details (title, brief description), and we'll do the rest. Please note that new communities are usually set up as 'hidden' communities.
Communities change and some have a finite lifespan, so from time to time we 'archive' them - they can be found here.
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