Board ManagerDISCUS Administration Instructions

The Board Manager allows the superuser to add, remove, and configure topics as well as to change the "main message" (the message displayed on the bottom of the top page) and to set the board colors, font, and background image. The Board Manager is restricted to the superuser -- ordinary moderators cannot access the Board Manager. To access the Board Manager, click on "Board Manager" from the administration program main menu.


The superuser has several options dealing with topics. The superuser can delete, rename, reorder, change the group of, or add subtopics from the administration interface.

Deleting a topic: Click on the delete icon ([Delete Icon]) next to the topic you wish to delete. You may also use the check boxes in the "Mark" column to select the topics you wish to delete, and then click on the delete icon in the "(Marked)" row. You must click on "OK" to confirm the deletion of a topic. WARNING! If you delete a topic, the contents of the deleted page will be permanently lost; in addition, any subtopics of the deleted topic will also be recursively deleted.

Changing the group of topics: Click on the group icon ([Group Icon]) next to the topic for which you wish to change the group. You may also use the check boxes in the "Mark" column to select the topics you wish to change the group of, and then click on the group icon in the "(Marked)" row. You are then presented with a form prompting you for the new group of the topic. Select the new group for the topic from the dropdown menu box and then click on "Change Topic Group" to make the change.

Changing properties of a topic: Click on the properties icon ([Properties Icon]) next to the topic you wish to rename. You are then presented with a form prompting you for the name of the topic. You may use simple formatting tags (such as bold and italics) when naming topics. Enter the new name of the topic into the "Name:" text entry box and then click on "Save Properties" to make the change.

Reordering topics: Enter numbers corresponding to the new order for the topics (lower numbers will move topics higher in the list). You may use decimals or negative numbers for convenience. To impose your new order, click on the reorder icon ([Reorder Icon]).

Adding topics: Enter the name for the topic in the "Topic Name:" text entry box under "Add a Topic." Then, select the group for the topic from the dropdown menu box. To finish adding the topic, click on "Add this Topic."

Main Message

The "main message" allows a message to be placed on the top screen of the board. This is usually some sort of welcome message or very basic instructions for new users, but can also be used for important system announcements.

To change the main message, enter the desired message in the text entry box under "Main Message." You may use all formatting tags except image upload in your message. Then click on "Preview/Save Message." If you wish to change your entry, modify the contents of the text entry box and then click on "Refresh Preview." When your message is correct, click on "Save Message."

Board Appearance

The color scheme, font, and background image of each page on the discussion board can be modified using the "Board Appearance" option. Changes are made on the top page and all subtopic pages. Settings can be changed at any time.

The board colors (for background, text, link, visited link, and active link) are set in traditional HTML hex codes or by typing in the name of a recognized color. The font face can be a comma delimited list of fonts (such as "Verdana,Arial,Helvetica") and the browser will choose the first available font on the system to display. The font size is a number between 1 (small) and 7 (large) -- "12 point" fonts correspond to size 3 and are generally the most readable, although for Verdana, size 2 is most readable. The background image is a URL (such as "") and must be a valid URL to an existing image.

To change the board appearance, enter or modify any of the settings using the text entry boxes provided. Click on "Preview/Save Appearance" for a preview of your settings. To revise your settings, change any of the text entry boxes on the preview screen and then click on "Refresh Preview" to preview again your settings. To save your settings, click on "Save Appearance." The program will apply your new settings to all pages on the board recursively.

Changing the board appearance has the intended effect of regenerating all pages from the template files. The layout of the page is controlled by the newpage.txt file in the administration files directory. The "Add a Message" boxes are controlled by the addmessage-private.txt file (for private posting areas) and the addmessage-public.txt file (for public posting areas). Customizations to these files must be made with caution, as corrupting these files could result in data loss or erratic program behavior.

WARNING! The program performs no error checking of your colors, fonts, or background URLs. The program will not warn you if the colors will not go well together or if you have entered invalid fonts. It is strongly recommended that you consider carefully the colors, fonts, and background image for maximum readability by your users. It is important to check your new color scheme in both Netscape and Internet Explorer, as these programs sometimes display colors differently.

Setting top page options

You may select whether the topic names (on the top page) are in bold, whether to display the group name in parentheses, and whether to display the date and time of the most recent page update on the top page. In previous versions of this software, bolded topic names and group names in parentheses were the default. In recent versions, bolded topic names and the date and time of the most recent update is the default. Select the options you wish by checking the appropriate check boxes, and click "Save Changes" to apply your preferences.

Copyright © 1998, Kevin W. Paulisse and William F. Polik, all rights reserved