Content: Creating Stories, Blogs, Forums, Books, and Pages

If you visit the create content link you'll see multiple content types configured for your use. In CivicSpace terms, each book page in this guide, story or forum is considered a basic content type known as a node. Thus, each of the various content types are particular types of nodes with specific functions and display characteristics:

NOTE: Site administrators wanting to setup a community weblog as their home page can choose to allow all site users to submit and edit stories, or they can enable the blog module and set all blog posts to automatically promote to the front page. The sub pages in this section of the guide provide details on how to configure this.

See also the administration help for nodes, stories, books, forums, blogs and pages.

Creating and Posting Content

Because nodes are all basically very similar, much of the input interface is the same for stories, books, or pages chosen through the create content menu. For the purpose of introducing how to post on a CivicSpace site, this discussion will use Submit story as the example and cover many, but not all, of the choices offered through the interface.

There is a WYSIWYG module available for creating content. See Htmlarea.

  • Authoring information. For adjusting the display name of the author and the date.
  • Options. This menu is only offered to administrators.
    NOTE: These settings are also globally configurable by node type using the content settings default workflow configuration .

    • When Published is unchecked, the submission is not available publicly on the site and is only accessible through the content administration section.
    • In moderation queue is for the queue module (not enabled in this configuration; for more information, consult Moderation queue in the CivicSpace handbook).
    • Promoted to front page is useful for books or pages that the administrator might not want to appear in the blog on the home page.
    • Stick at top of lists will make a post sticky at the top of the front page.
    • Create new revision is part of the version tracking system that is useful when using the book module as a collaborative document publishing system.
    • User comments. Individual posts can be configured with specific comment controls.
  • Title. You must use a title with your post.
  • Path alias. Note that the CivicSpace Site Configuration Guide is accessible via the link The path alias for that page was set to "help." Paths must be unique and not already in use. This option has been configured to be available only for site administrators.
  • Topics. An administrator-configurable category system via the taxonomy module. Users tag their posts with one or more categories. After posting, all nodes with the same category can be browsed via the link in the header or by clicking on a category term associated with a specific post. You can add, edit or delete existing categories or "terms" in the Topics "vocabulary" within the categories configuration section. See Adding Topic Categories: Using Taxonomy for more instructions.
  • Body. Text of the post.
  • Input format.A site administrator can configure various options for the input format to be used in the body for the post.
  • Previewing before posting. When previewing, your CivicSpace site will display a version of the post at the top of the page. If a post exceeds an administrator defined, configurable teaser length, two displays will appear: one shorter, which would be visible on the front page and in RSS feeds; the other longer, visible when clicking the title of a post. The teaser break can be manually created by inserting <!--break--> within the post. CivicSpace will provide a note suggesting this between the two displays--no need to remember the tag--if the post requires a break.

Adding or Modifying Instructions for Posting

Administrators can provide additional or change existing information for content posting:

  • The story, blog, and forum configuration settings each provide an explanation or submission guidelines text field where the administrator can provide instructions tailored for the site. The text entered there will then be displayed in the content creation interface for that node type.
  • Using localization, site administrators can replace the descriptions for each node type on the create content page, as well as replacing any other CivicSpace hardcoded text in the content creation interface.

Working with Categories: Taxonomy

Many content management systems and weblog application provide a means to categorize content. However, CivicSpace's taxonomy system allows the site administrator to create multiple sets of categories which can be applied to any, selective, or all node types.

Using terminology from information science, a category set is called a vocabulary, and an individual category within a vocabulary, a term. CivicSpace forums use categories to create separate forum areas for discussion.

For additional information about CivicSpace's taxonomy system, read more about it in the Drupal handbook.

Creating a vocabulary

In the categories configuration section of CivicSpace administration, select the add vocabulary tab. Then supply a

  • Vocabularly name (required)
  • Description. Useful for creating descriptions for category terms when using forums (optional).
  • Types. Select the node type or types (single or multiple) that will be associated with this vocabulary.
  • Related terms (optional)
  • Hierachy. For building a tree like structure or nested set of categories, where one category contains sub categories.
  • Required. When used, requires that the user select a category when creating a new node.
  • Weight. Used to control the order in which the vocabulary is displayed, such as in the main listing on the categories configuration section.

Creating a term

Once a vocabulary has been created, the administrator can add a nearly unlimited number of categories. Beside the vocabulary listing In the categories configuration section of CivicSpace administration, select the add term link. Note that the description and synonyms fields are optional.

Use the category block

CivicSpace provides a block in the block configuration area which will provide a listing of all categories with links to a display list of all nodes in that category.

Adding Additional Forum Areas and Other Forum Configurations: Using Taxonomy

This site configuration comes with two pre-defined forum areas in the Forums section: General and Site help. To add, delete, or modify existing forums, use the categories configuration section and modify or create new "terms":

  • To add a term, choose the "add term" link in the row of the table marked forums. You need only give a term a name to make it functional.
  • To delete or change the name of a term, choose the "edit term" link beside the term.
  • Terms can also have text associated with them which will appear below the term, or forum, on the main Forums page. Simply edit the term and add your text to the Description text field

When CivicSpace displays the forums, it does so in alphabetical order for terms with the same weight. To change the ordering, edit a term and use the Weight feature. Lower numbers (negative) rise to the top. Higher numbers (positive) fall to the bottom of the display.

For a more detailed explanation of CivicSpace taxonomy, see the taxonomy page in the Drupal handbook.

Creating and Working with Collaborative Books

The CivicSpace Site Configuration Guide has been created using the CivicSpace collaborative book. The collaborative book feature is well suited for creating multi-page hypertexts such as a site resource guides.

  • When creating a new book page, choose the Parent page to place the new page into the table of contents link structure (Note: you can always edit an existing page and use the Parent setting to reposition a book page within the text).
  • Book pages also have other navigation elements for moving through the text, such as the previous, up and next elements visible at the bottom of this page
  • From any location in a book, the user can choose the printer-friendly version link at the bottom of the page. CivicSpace will then generate a version of the book containing the current page and all it's children.

To control the ordering of book pages in the table of contents structure, visit the book configuration section. For example, look at the CivicSpace Site Configuration Guide configuration page. There you can easily view all the pages in this text, as well as order them. Notice the weight menu beside each page listing. CivicSpace normally orders pages on the same "level" within the text alphabetically. You can override that ordering by giving pages which should be higher up lighter weights--negative numbers--or lower down heavier weights--positive numbers.

To create a new book, simply make the Parent "root."

Last, a blog post, forum post, story, or static page can also be added into a book. Choose the administer link for a given post or page, then use the Edit book outline button available at the bottom of the page to add it into an existing book.


Turning Off and Controlling Access to Node Types

  • An administrator can turn off all access to a particular node type for all users by merely disabling the appropriate module in the module configuration section. As long as a module is disabled, no user will be able to access that node type or create new content for it.
  • Each node type offers various access options on a per user group basis in the user configuration permission section. For example,
    • Blog module. edit own blog controls whether or not users can post to a personal blog space. Blog users always have the the right to edit their own blog posts.
    • Book module. maintain books and edit own book pages must be set to allow users to edit existing book pages. Maintain books alone will only allow them to create new ones.
    • Story module. create stories allows users to create stories for the front page of the site; edit own stories gives the user permission to edit their stories which are already posted on the site.
  • To prevent access to all content on the site for anonymous users, uncheck the box for anonymous users in the user configuration permission section.

Changing the Default Home Page of the Site

The default home page for every CivicSpace site is the location where Stories appear when posted. However, a site administrator can choose to make any other section or page on the site the default home page.

To change the default, go to the general configuration page. In the Default front page text field, change "node" to "blog"--for the Blogs page--or to "forum"--for the Forums; simply use the module name found on the modules configuration page. Also, any page on the site, even a static page, can be made the home page by changing the default in this field to the relative URL for that page. To change back to the Drupal default, simply change this setting back to "node" again.

Formatting Input & Filters

CivicSpace site adminstrators can control what kinds of markup or formatting can be used in creating content on the site by specifying input formats. Some site administrators might wish to require only HTML coded text, or plain text without any HTML format. In configuring the input formats, administrators can select from filters which limit users to a list of allowable HTML tags or add in custom formatting like automatic line breaks.

NOTE: If you install additional 3rd party input filter modules, in addition to turning the modules on, you'll need to enable them through the input format configuration.

Modifying accepted HTML tags

  1. Click administer-> input formats
  2. Find the row of the input format you want to change, then click configure in that row.
  3. Click the configure filters tab.
    • It's likely that if you have HTML Filter enabled along with others, you will only see a configuration box for that filter, though some modules add filters that can also be configured.
  4. You can choose to either strip tags that do not appear in your list or escape all HTML tags. Escaping means that Drupal will display the tags in your browser as they were typed. In other words, it will appear to readers that the browser did not process the tags but merely displayed the code. This is useful if you want to create an input format that allows for displaying of HTML code, for example in a forum about web design.
  5. Edit the list of tags you would like to allow. Tags are listed separated by a space. If you selected "Escape" in the option above, this list will be ignored. Editing the list changes the filter for just that input format. If you want to add or remove a tag for more than one input format, you have to follow these directions for each.
  6. Choose whether to allow the style attribute in tags.
  7. Click Save Configuration