What are Subcommunities?

A subcommunity is one method of dividing a forum into multiple different areas. Often by language or by product. Subcommunities are a great method of managing a forum in multiple languages on the same instance. They can be used on their own or in combination with a Hub/Node setup and Multisite Sync.

For information about setting up the Subcommunities plugin see our Quickstart Guide.

How subcommunities work

A subcommunity artificially divides a Single Community or a Node into different areas by making each of the top level categories into a separate area of the forum.

Separated Content

Categories and their content are filtered between subcommunities.

  • Discussions and all of their types
    • Normal
    • Question
    • Poll
    • Idea
  • Comments

This filtering will occur on the following pages.

  • Recent Discussions /community/discussions
  • Categories List /community/categories
  • Home page pointing to either Categories list or Recent Discussions

Shared Content

Not everything is separated between communities. Many parts of the forum are shared such as:

  • Users and User related features
    • Profiles
    • Drafts
    • Private Messages / Conversations
    • Notifications
    • Points / Reputation
    • Leaderboards
    • Roles / Ranks / Role Tracker
  • Moderation Features
    • Warnings & Notes
  • The Activity page /community/activity
  • The BestOf page /community/bestof
  • Groups

If your forum requires some of these features to split between sections of your sites, but still need certain configuration and users synchronized between them, a setup using a Hub, Multisite Sync, and a Single Sign On solution may be required.

Setting a Default

A subcommunity can be set as default by checking of the Default checkbox in the subcommunity menu. Setting a default subcommunity adds a rewrite rule to rewrite every single page of the site to be in the default subcommunity if one is not provided through a prefix in the URL.

For example. If the default subcommunity is set as English with the URL prefix of en set the following URLs would be re-written:

/ => /en
/categories => /en/categories
/profile => /en/profile
/discussions => /en/discussions
/groups => /en/groups
/dashboard => /en/dashboard

... And many more

Considerations when setting a default subcommunity

These are 301 redirects which means they are permanent redirects. This means user’s browsers (and your own) will keep the redirect cached. If you later decide to unset your default subcommunity (without setting a new one) or disable subcommunities, many users’ browser will still attempt to redirect.

Properly undoing these redirects may require assistance.

Forums with no default subcommunity

If no default subcommunity is set users visiting would see a category list as if the Subcommunities plugin was not enabled. If the user then clicked on top level category assosicated with a subcommunity they will be brought to the categories page of that subcommunity.

While this may sound like a good way of navigating between subcommunities, it doesn’t work in practice. This is because Vanilla rewrites the breadcrumbs for users inside of a subcommunties in a way that makes it feel quite disorienting to navigate from a non-subcommunity portion of a site to a subcommunity portion of it. See Navigation between subcommunities for alternative solutions.

When a default community is set, it can be difficult for a user to navigate between communities. To properly facilitate this the SubcommunityToggleModule is included with the Subcommunities plugin.

This module allows a user to switch between communities using a select box/dropdown. Pictured below is an enhanced SubcommunityToggleModule next to the MeBox. Other common locations for this Module are in the Panel and Footer of the site.

To add the module using CustomizeTheme use the following snippet.

{module name="SubcommunityToggleModule"}

Cloud Hosting

We believe that online communities should be intuitive, engaging and true to your brand. Vanilla allows you to create a customized community that rewards positive participation, automatically curates content and lets members drive moderation.

Learn More …