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ocPortal Tutorial: Running a discussion-forum-based helpdesk

Written by Philip Withnall, ocProducts
Running an online helpdesk is something many companies will want to do. It allows customers to easily communicate via a website, suggesting new features, reporting bugs, or otherwise asking for support. This tutorial describes the facilities for this available in OCF .


Thumbnail: Adding a multi-moderation

Adding a multi-moderation

Multi-moderation is a very useful feature for moderating busy forums. Multi-moderations allow you to define 'canned responses' which can be stamped on a topic at the touch of a button: these responses can include text as well as topic modification actions.

For example, a multi-moderation could be set to allow a developer to automatically mark a bug-report as fixed with a 'Thank you, confirmed' message, that closes the topic.

Adding a multi-moderation

To add a multi-moderation, go to the 'Add multi-moderation' screen (Go to the Structure section of the Admin Zone, then the Forums icon, then the Multi-moderations icon). Fill out all the fields on the form as required. Try to make the post sound as professional as possible (if the multi-moderation is for making a formal response). Submit the form, and the multi-moderation will be available for use in all the specified forums (from the drop down list of topic actions that you see when viewing a topic).

Using a multi-moderation

Thumbnail: Applying a multi-moderation

Applying a multi-moderation

To use a multi-moderation, you need to browse to an appropriate topic. Select an appropriate multi-moderation from the 'Topic actions' drop-down list, and click the 'Proceed' button to apply the multi-moderation to the topic. Note that ocPortal comes with several pre-defined multi-moderations that are present from when you install ocPortal.

You may also use multi-moderations from the forum view screen, by selecting topics you want to multi-moderate and using a multi-moderation from the 'Topic actions' drop-down list.


On forum and topic view screens, you may select topics/posts with a tickbox (checkbox), and execute actions upon them.

For forum view screens the actions are available in the 'Topic actions' drop-down list.

For topic view screens the actions are available in the 'Actions upon marked posts' drop-down list.

Post templates

Thumbnail: Adding a post template

Adding a post template

Post Templates allow you to help members standardise the formatting of their posts. This can be especially useful in situations such as where you have a support forum, and with every bug report you require people to give you certain information. Simply creating a post template containing prompts for that information can ease the strain of support considerably.

Adding a post template

To add a post template, just open up the 'Add post template' screen in the Admin Zone (Go to the Structure section of the Admin Zone, then Forums, then the Post Templates icon), and fill in the forms. ocPortal provides useful features such as limiting the use of the post template to certain forums, making the post template the default post in the specified forums, and limiting use of the template to members of a certain minimum status.

Using a post template

Thumbnail: The interface to select post templates for use in a post

The interface to select post templates for use in a post

To use a post template, simply submit a new topic or post using the verbose posting form (i.e. not the quick-reply box). On this form, if any post templates are defined for the current forum, a post template drop-down list will appear. Using this list, you can select a post template to use. If a post template has been marked as the default post for the current forum, the post field will already contain that post template.


Executing a pre-defined set of actions upon a topic
Post template
A pre-defined body of text that can be used as a template for new posts

See also