Create a community

An online community is a virtual place where ideas are discussed and shared. It promotes open communication by fostering discussions among users who both share their expertise and learn from others. Active participation is encouraged through a reward system that recognizes members for their level of activity and quality of engagement.

In this article


Use the Community Site template

A SharePoint community is a site that uses the Community Site template to provision pages, web parts, lists, and any other resources required for the community. Communities can be built as subsites beneath a team site, for example, or be stacked, one upon the other, within a dedicated site collection. Anyone can create communities as subsites, but only the site collection administrator can create a community at the root of the site collection.

Community sites include four wiki pages (Home, Categories, Members, and About), which are stored in the wiki page library. These pages include various web parts that may or may not be visible, depending on user privileges. For example, the Community Tools web part is displayed only to community owners and moderators and enables management of the community and its content. Just as you can customize a team site or wiki page library, you can customize these communities pages by adding additional text, images, and other web parts. For example, a community on a given topic or domain should have a look and feel that promotes that topic. This can be accomplished by applying a unique theme and background image, and by using a custom site icon. And, of course, you can also create additional pages for your community along with other typical SharePoint content, such as lists and libraries.

The community features are activated by default so no extra service configuration is required.

Create a community site collection

Site collection administrators create new site collections from the tenant admin (SharePoint Online) or central admin (SharePoint Server) center.

  1. Go to > Admin > Service settings > Sites > Create site collection.
  2. In Title, enter the name of your community. This title will appear on the community home page and in the global navigation across the top of the page. If you choose to include a link to the community on the parent site Quick Launch or global navigation bar, this title will be displayed.
  3. In Select a language, choose the primary language for the site. User interface text, including menu names and titles, will be displayed in the language you choose.
  4. In Select a template, choose Community Site.
  5. In Time Zone, your current zone is detected and displayed by default. Change it if necessary.
  6. In Administrator, enter the name of the person or persons who will administer the community site. These names (separated by commas) must already exist in the company address list.
  7. In Storage Quota, enter the amount of storage space on the server to dedicate to this site collection.
  8. In Server Resource Quota, enter the amount of server resources to dedicate to this site collection. The default value is 300.

Create a community site

A community site is a sub-site that can be created beneath any other SharePoint site.

  1. From your team site or other existing site, click Settings Small Settings gear that took the place of Site Settings. > Site contents.
  2. Click new subsite.
  3. In Title, enter the name of your community. This title will appear on the community home page and in the global navigation across the top of the page. If you choose to include a link to the community on the parent site Quick Launch or global navigation bar, this title will be displayed.
  4. In Description, type a brief description of the community’s purpose or content. The description is important because the Community Portal prominently displays it as a way of helping users understand what each community is about.
  5. In URL name, type the site name the way you want it to appear in the URL.
  6. In Select a language, choose the primary language for the site. User interface text, including menu names and titles, will be displayed in the language you choose.
  7. In Select a template, choose Community Site.
  8. In User Permissions, choose:
  • Use same permissions as parent site to have the community site inherit permissions from the site above it in the hierarchy. You won’t be able to change permissions on the community site unless you’re an administrator on the parent site. Consider this option carefully. Inheriting from the parent means community users might wind up with higher- or lower-level permissions than is typical for the role they are assigned in the community.
  • Use unique permissions (recommended) to assign community members specific permissions that are unique to the community site. The permissions will not apply to any other sites in the hierarchy.
  1. In Display this site on the Quick Launch of the parent site, choose:
  • Yes to include your new community in the Quick Launch bar on the parent site.
  • No to leave the new community out of the Quick Launch bar on the parent site.
  1. In Use the top link bar from the parent site, choose:
  • Yes to include a link to the community on the global navigation bar of the parent site.
  • No to leave the community off the global navigation bar.
  1. In Use the top link bar from the parent site, choose:
  • Yes to display the global navigation bar from the parent site, regardless of whether it includes your community site.
  • No to hide the global navigation from the community site.
  1. Click Create.

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Community administration settings

Once you’ve created a site collection using the Community Site template, you’ll notice a new category of settings on the Site Settings page. These Community Administration settings enable you to set policies for group membership, set up and manage discussion categories, define how offensive content will be handled, and determine the points system for community participation.

Setting Explanation Where to find information
Manage Discussions This is a discussions list used by the community moderator to monitor all discussions going on in the community. From this page the moderator can see who posted, how many have replied, how many “Likes” or star ratings the post has received, and whether the post is a featured discussion. The moderator also uses this list to assign featured status. Moderate a community
Manage Categories This is a categories list where the moderator creates, edits, and deletes discussion categories. Moderate a community
Manage Members This is a members list where the owner or administrator can monitor the activities of all members. From this list the administrator sees the member name and photo, join date, recent activity, and reputation score. The administrator can also assign badges to members from here. Note that adding a member to this list does not grant permissions or add the member to the community. Users must go through the join process to be added to a community. This article
Community Settings This is a settings page where the owner or administrator determines how approval for new members will be handled and whether to enable reporting of offensive content. This article
Reputation Settings This is a settings page where the owner or administrator sets up a reward system based on member activity. This article

Manage community members

  1. On your community page, click Settings Small Settings gear that took the place of Site Settings. > Site Settings.
  2. Under Community Administration, click Manage Members.

Configure community settings

  1. From the Community tools web part on your community home page, click Community Settings.
  2. In Established Date, set the date to reflect the date the community was established. This date appears on the About page of the community and defaults to the creation date of the site.
  3. In Auto-approval for permissions requests, select the box to allow new members to join without administrator or moderator approval. To join, members need at least Read permissions. For more information about permissions, see Manage community membership. Note that this option appears only if the community site is created as the root of a site collection.)
  4. In Reporting Offensive Content, select the check box if you want to allow community members to flag posts for review by moderators. Moderators review the report against company guidelines and either remove the cited post or reinstate it.

Configure reputation settings

  1. From the Community tools web part on your community home page, click Reputation settings.
  2. In Rating settings, click:
  • Yes if you want members to apply ratings to discussions and replies.
  • No if you don’t want members to rate content.
  • Likes to enable a Like/Unlike rating system.
  • Star Ratings to enable a more granular rating system where users assign 1 to 5 stars.
  1. In Member achievements point system, select the check box next to Enable member achievements point system if you want to reward points for community participation. Enter the number of points to award when a member creates a new post, replies to a post, receives 4 or 5 stars on a post, or receives a “Best Reply” for a post.
  2. In Achievement level points, enter the number of points members must accumulate to advance to each level.
  3. In Achievement level representation, click:
  • Display achievement level as image to indicate a member’s achievement level with a series of 1 to 5 bars.
  • Display achievement level as text to indicate a member’s achievement level with a title or customized text.
  1. Click OK.

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Create and assign badges to key contributors

Badges provide a visible way of recognizing special members of the community. Badges can reflect the role a member plays, such as MVP or moderator, or a contribution level achieved, such as expert or top contributor. Badge titles are completely customizable to suit the culture and flavor of your organization. In contrast to achievement levels, which specifically reflect a member’s earned points in the reputation system, badges are “gifted” to a member at any time by the community owner or moderators.

When a community member receives a badge, that badge is prominently displayed along with a special icon in the members list and in every discussion and reply where the member is a participant.

Create a badge

  1. From the Community tools web part on your community home page, click Create badges.
  2. Click new item.
  3. Type a name for this badge.
  4. Click Save.

Edit badge details

  1. From the Community tools web part on your community home page, click Create badges.
  2. Click edit.
  3. Select the badge name.
  4. From the ribbon, click Edit Item.
  5. Make the change you want, and then click Save.

Assign a badge

 Note    You must be a community owner or moderator to assign a badge.

  1. From the Community tools web part on your community home page, click Assign badges to members.
  2. Select the member who should receive the gifted badge.
  3. On the Moderation tab, click Give Badge.
  4. Select a badge from the drop-down list.
  5. Click Save.
    The badge will be displayed beneath the member’s name on all discussions and replies and in any web parts, such as Top Contributors, where the member is listed.

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Applies to:
SharePoint Online Enterprise (E1), SharePoint Online Enterprise (E3 & E4), SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Enterprise (E1 & E2), SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Enterprise (E3 & E4), SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise