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Help needed for multi-community site

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  • Help needed for multi-community site

    Hi,

    I am using my VB system as a local bulletin board system. I would like to expand it to serve several communities that are kept independent, something along the lines of the Craigslist model, which allows the user to move from one community to another. I'd also like there to be common forums that are shared by each community.

    I'm thinking the general forum hierarchy system will work fine to keep things separate, but there are a few issues that I'd like your feedback on:

    If I set it up as:

    Root

    - Community 1 (private forum)
    - Forum 1a
    - Forum 1b

    - Community 2 (private forum)
    - Forum 2a
    - Forum 2b

    - Common Forums (3 - public forum)
    - Forum 3a
    - Forum 3b


    The idea is that a user is a member of one community or another at a time. So when they are a member of community 1, they would see:


    - Community 1 (private forum)
    - Forum 1a
    - Forum 1b

    - Common Forums (3 - public forum)
    - Forum 3a
    - Forum 3b


    And when they are a member of community 2 they would see:

    - Community 2 (private forum)
    - Forum 2a
    - Forum 2b

    - Common Forums (3 - public forum)
    - Forum 3a
    - Forum 3b


    I'm thinking that private forums could be used to restrict the visibility of non-local communities. How does that sound? Do you have any other ideas?

    That way when a user is in a Community 1 forum (1, 1a, 1b) the search function would only see forums in Community 1 and the Common Forums.

    However the private forum interface is very awkward. I'm thinking that I could force the user to be a member of only the community they are looking at. Can you give me any guidance here?

    The second issue is that I'd like each of community's forums to have a different style, so that all community 1 forums look one way and all community 2 forums look another way. I can see that I can use the style override on each individual forum but ideally each community would offer a set of styles for that community. Or perhaps just changing the image directories by communities so they could local branding. Again, can you provide any direction?

    I am open to customizing the system to provide this kind of functionality but I'd like to leverage as much of the native features as possible.

    Thanks!
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