SharePoint 2013 Community Sites

Over the last few years I’ve heard several complaints that SharePoint doesn’t offer a worthwhile discussion board.  It appears that Microsoft has heard as well, and it looks like they listened.

Allow me to introduce the SharePoint 2013 Community Site.  This a new site collection template that is available both on premise and in the cloud.

I spent a little bit of time creating some discussions, so I could get an idea of what it looked like with content etc.

This is the result of clicking on one of the discussions

Seems pretty standard, looks pretty clean and gives the user the chance to reply, like or “Most Like”.  It also indicates if a response is most liked.

Next I’m going to go through the community tools:

Note I am an admin, so I can see everything, other user levels will not see all of this.  I’m not going to go into detail about each user’s view etc.

Let’s start from the top, clicking on Manage discussions brings me here:

This screen gives you details about discussion posts and allows you to edit or delete them.  On the far right you can see, well maybe you can’t because it is blurry, “Is Featured Discussion”.  Setting this will move your discussion to the top of its category.  Well, that is what it is supposed to do, but when I click on it, it actually does nothing.  I’m sure this will be fixed at some point before launch.  To get to this option I had to select a discussion and then click on Moderation n the ribbon.

Next we’ll take a look at categories and how to create them.   If you have a knowledgebase you’ll likely have it organized into categories to make it more useful for your users.

First we’ll look at the categories page.  Notice each category is represented by a tile.  Also, notice that in order to create a category you would need to click on Create categories in the Community tools box.

Hovering over a tile displays additional info about the category it represents.

Next we’ll look at how to assign badges to members.  You’ll find a link under Community Tools that you can click, Assign Badges to members.  Badges can only be assigned to members, and can’t be earned.

Clicking Give Badge results in a screen that has a drop down filled with the available badges.  Next we are going to go through the reputation settings which, among other things, is where you have to go in order to create new Badges.

Click on Reputation settings in the Community tools box.  Here you are presented with all of your rating options and can edit whatever you need to.

The last item in Community Tools is Community settings.  From here you can set the Established date, Enable auto-approval, and enable reporting of offensive content.

In the left navigation there is a Members link that is shows you each member, their reputation information, and give you a more detailed view of your reputation scores etc

That pretty much sums it up.  All in all it looks like MS has provided a worthwhile, feature rich discussion board site.  In my opinion this is a vast improvement over what was available in previous versions.


About tbithell
I am the Chief Technical Architect of Portals at B2B Technologies, LLC in Atlanta GA. I first started working on SharePoint in 2005, and have built SharePoint portals and developed custom solutions for a wide variety of users. I have a MS in Computer Science and am a SharePoint 2010 MCITP and MCPD. I am very excited about the new version, and will be blogging about it on a regular basis as I explore the newly released Preview and future releases.

6 Responses to SharePoint 2013 Community Sites

  1. Art says:

    Hi Tyler,
    Met you last nite at the Sharepoint meeting. Thank you for being generous with your time. As it turned out, the version I was using for sql 2008 was R2, but not the right build, so I downloaded 2012 trial and i’m up and running.

    Again, thanks for taking the time to talk thru this.


  2. tbithell says:


    Glad I could help, it was nice to meet you.

  3. Christy says:

    I’m trying to make it so the comments within each discussion item sort with the newest at the top. Is there a way to do this? thanks

  4. Art says:

    Hi Tbithell, glad to see you’re blogging again

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