Setting up Community Forums - New UI

Setting up Community Forums

Community is a prominent support channel that provides people with a platform to collaborate and discuss topics of mutual interest. Customers can ask questions, seek support, post tips, answer each other's questions, or initiate discussions. Agents can also answer queries, provide solutions, and troubleshoot ideas with customers. 
 
Because Community has a wider reach, it also serves as a better platform to make announcements for product launches and beta access of features. Organizations can also easily gather suggestions from their customers as needed. Overall, these proactive measures can help improve organizations' outreach and enhance their customer service experience. 
 
Tip: You can create multiple forums within a community and categorize them by content. For example, you can create forums based on the products and service you provide.

About Community

Community consists of categories, forums, and posts. 
  1. Category: A category is a collection of forums that is displayed in the help center. By default, a category is created for each of your departments in Zoho Desk. When you sign up for Zoho Desk, a category in the name of your portal will be created. You can directly manage your online community through this category.
  2. Forum: A forum is a message board, which is also called a sub-category, where discussions focus on a particular issue or a topic. You can create multiple forums under a category to discuss different subjects. For example, Zphone could be your category, while FAQ, Feature Requests, and Announcements are the forums under it. 
  3.  Uncategorized Posts: Uncategorized posts are topics that are posted directly under a category before a forum is created. These posts are considered uncategorized due to the absence of a forum.

Managing Categories

Categories are mapped to the departments in Zoho Desk. By default, when a new department is added, a category will be created and associated with it. You can also create independent (standalone) categories. You can associate multiple departments with an independent category. You can then perform certain actions, such as post or reply to forum posts over the categories in your Zoho Desk. 

Note: 
  1. Many-to-many mapping is available between the category and department. A category created for a department can be mapped with a different department. For example, the Zphone department's category can be mapped with the Zwatch department's category.
  2. When you either disable or mark a department as private, the auto-convert topic as ticket option will be disabled for the categories for which the department is set as default.
  3. You cannot delete categories in Zoho Desk. However, you can rename categories, if required.
  4. Multi-branding is allowed only for the department for which only one category is mapped. 
  5. When a department is disabled, ticket conversion will be stopped. However, all the sub-categories mapped under it will remain the same.
  6. Professional and enterprise Desk plan users can create up to ten independent categories. 
  7. Upon downgrading to Standard edition, the independent categories created in the higher edition will not be disabled. However, the department mapping cannot be changed. 

Default category

By default, a category is created and associated with each of the departments created in Zoho Desk. The characteristics such as logo, name, description, visibility, post, response, and moderation of these categories can be edited if required. 

To edit a default category

  1. Go to Setup(  ).
  2. Select Community under Channels.
  3. On the Categories List page, click Categories under Community from the left menu.



  4. Hover over the desired default category and click edit.



  5. Make the necessary changes and click Save.


  1. When you choose First post only under moderation, you are required to moderate the first post of a user in the community. You need not moderate the user's forthcoming posts from thereon.
  2. You can edit all the categories except for those that are disabled.

Adding Independent Category

You can create a new independent category and define its characteristics such as logo, name, description, associated department, visibility, moderators, and default departments.
 
  1. At least one department must be mapped in the associated department field.
  2. The default department shows the list of departments that are mapped under the Associated Department field.
  3. Moderators can be either admins or agents of the default department.
  4. You must add at least one moderator, even if you choose not to moderate posts.

To add an independent category

  1. Go to Setup ).
  2. Select Community under Channels.
  3. On the Categories List page, click Categories under Community from the left menu.
  4. Click + Create Category from the top right corner of the page.



  5. On the Add Category page, do the following:

    1. Click Upload to upload your own logo for the category or select from the list available.

    2. Add the Name and a Description for the category.

    3. Choose the desired Associated Departments from the drop-down.
      At least one department must be mapped in the associated department field.

    4. Select the Visibility permission for the category.

      You can choose between All users, Registered users, Moderators, Agents, and Groups.

    5. Select who can post new topics into the category from the drop-down.

      You can choose between Moderators, Registered users, and Groups.

    6. Select who can respond to the topics of this category.

      You can choose between Moderators, Registered users, and Groups.

    7. Select the Moderation requirements for the category.

      You can choose between None, First post only, and All posts.

    8. Select the Default Department where you want to add topics as tickets.

      The topics moved between the categories will reside in the department mentioned in the Default Department field. 

    9. Specify the Moderators for the category.

Editing Independent Category

You can edit an independent category to change its characteristics.

To edit an independent category

  1. Go to Setup ).
  2. Select Community under Channels.
  3. On the Categories List page, click Categories from the left menu.
  4. Hover over the desired independent category and click Edit.



  5. Make the necessary changes and click Save.


Locking Category  

You can lock a category to put it in the standby mode so that your customers cannot post any topics in it. However, the category will be listed and its contents can be viewed in the Help Center.

To lock a category

  1. Go to Setup
  2. Select Community under Channels.
  3. On the Categories List page, hover over the desired category and click the Lock icon (  ). 


Disabling Category  

If you are no longer using a category, you can disable it to archive its content. When you disable a category, it will not be visible in the Help Center. However, the topics and discussions of the disabled category can be accessed by agents from within your Zoho Desk portal.

To disable category

  1. Go to Setup.
  2. Select Community under Channels.
  3. On the Categories List page, hover over the desired category and toggle it.


Managing Forums  

Forums are sub-categories. Creating a separate forum helps your customers to access quickly the information they need, besides keeping them focused on a specific issue or topic. You can create any number of forums to maintain a vibrant online community.

To create a forum

  1. Go to Setup.
  2. Select Community under Channels.
  3. On the Categories List page, select the desired category.
  4. On the Category Details page, click Add forum and give it a Name.
  5. Click Save.

The category details page will list key metrics like the number of forums the customers have, the number of topics and comments customers received, and the percentage of topics created under each topic type.

To rename a forum

  1. On the Categories List page, select the desired category in its detail view.
  2. On the Category Details page, hover over the desired forum and click Edit to rename the forum.
  3. Perform the desired edits and click Save.


Locking Forum  

You can lock a forum to put it on standby so that customers cannot post any topics in it. However, the forum will be listed under its category and its contents can be viewed in the help center. Note that you can lock all the forums under a category. 

To lock a forum

  1. On the Categories List page, select the desired category in its detail view.
  2. On the Category Details page, hover over the desired forum and click the Lock icon (  ).
    You can click the Lock icon to Unlock the forum at any time.  


Disabling Forum  

If you are no longer using a forum, you can disable it to archive its content. When you disable a forum, it will not be visible in the help center. However, the topics and discussions of the disabled forum can be accessed by the agents from within your Zoho Desk portal. 

To disable a forum

  1. On the Categories List page, select the desired category.
  2. On the Category Details page, hover over the desired forum and toggle it.

Deleting Forum  

You can delete a forum that doesn't have any posts underneath it. 

To delete a forum

  1. On the Categories List page, select the desired category in its detail view.
  2. On the Category Details page, hover over the desired forum and click the Delete icon. 

Note:
  1. You cannot delete forums that have posts in them.
  2. The user (agent or admin) can move a forum ticket to another department by selecting the desired department, category, and associated forums from the drop-down list. Please note that all the categories on the Desk will be listed under each department.


Handling Uncategorized Posts  

Uncategorized posts are topics that are posted directly onto a category before a forum is created under it. When you create the very first forum under a category, the uncategorized posts, if existing, will be automatically moved underneath the forum. From then on, your customers can only submit posts on the forum and not to the category. 

Community Preferences  

You can customize certain aspects of the community like the topic types to be made available for your customers and the content to be displayed on the landing page. You can allow your customers to choose the topic type so that you can better organize the discussions and respond to them. The Zoho Desk community provides you with the following topic types:
  1. Discussion
  2. Question [Default]
  3. Announcement
  4. Idea
  5. Problem
Besides the topic types, you can customize the community home page to either display a list of the categories or only the most recent topics across all the categories.

To set community preferences

  1. Go to Setup.
  2. Select Community under Channels.
  3. Select Preferences under community from the left menu.
  4. In the Preferences page, toggle the desired topic types.
  5. Under Landing page, choose between All Category or Recent Topics.



  1. When you disable a topic type, the discussions in it can be changed to an active topic type or deleted from the community.
  2. You can click Set as default to set a topic type as default, while submitting a post. Only Question, Idea, or Problem can be set as default topic types.

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