Welcome to your new CivicSpace-powered website. CivicSpace is a distribution of Drupal, a content management system that can be used to create a large variety of different websites. Thus, CivicSpace is a highly configurable platform that is useful for promoting civic action and better facilitiates community interaction and collaboration than is possible with other web publishing systems.
This CivicSpace Site Configuration Guide will help you to finish configuring your CivicSpace site and can serve as a reference as you administer your site over time. It is not possible within the scope of this text to explain all CivicSpace configurations, modules, and features. Instead, the CivicSpace Site Configuration Guide is intended as a large FAQ that will guide you through some basic issues and answer some specific configuration questions which should get you started. As you become more comfortable with CivicSpace, it is certainly worthwhile to learn more -- so that you can take advantage of the flexibility and wide range of configuration options and additional features.
We suggest you spend five minutes looking around the administration section to orient yourself to the administration menu before working through this guide. Be sure to read the help material available at the top of many of the administration pages as you make your configuration changes. Once you have completed the guide, for much more detailed information on CivicSpace configuration and usage, consult the administration help section of this site and the extensive Drupal Handbook at drupal.org.
To ask questions, show off your site, and be part of an ongoing dialogue with the CivicSpace development community, visit the CivicSpace forums. If you happen to find a bug or have a feature suggestion, create an issue for it at CivicSpace Labs, and we will get back to you.
The Settings page, accessible at administer -> settings, contains many general configuration settings for your CivicSpace site. Here you can modify some of the information you entered in the configuration wizard during initial site setup:
Other default settings include
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.
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.
Administrators can provide additional or change existing information for content posting:
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
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.
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":
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
CivicSpace page layout is very similar to many other websites: a header, a footer, a main content column down the center, and block columns down the side with links and other information. Blocks, then, are the small boxes of links, etc., you see in the left and/or right hand columns.
As an administrator, you can choose which blocks appear in the left or right and in what order (using weights) in the blocks configuration section. You can create and edit custom blocks such as the Sample Block which uses HTML. There are also some other blocks included with the distribution which have not been enabled. Try them.
For a more in depth explanation of blocks, see blocks in the administration help page.
Note: Do not turn off the Navigation Block or the User Login Block. Without these, you'll have great difficulty logging on the site and administering it.
This module allows users to post responses to other posts. Through administer you can configure what types of comments are accepted: anonymous, anonymous requiring an email address, or registered users only. You can also configure permissions for types of users (authenticated, administrative, or anonymous) so that comments written by the respective types of users enter an approval queue before they are published or are automatically published. Comments in the approval queue must be manually accepted and published by a site administrator. Comments are also searchable. Comments can be viewed seperate from their posts for easy editing and deleting.
Comments can be configured to control:
Civicspace provides a few themes with your site and other contributed themes are available for download from Drupal (toward the bottom of this page). The themes section also offers various configuration options which affect the display and navigation for the site. For instance, under themes in the administration area, administrators can choose which themes to enable and designate the default theme for the site. If more than one theme is enabled, site users will be able to choose from the configured themes using the edit tab under my account.
Site administrators can choose whether to set various configuration options on an individual theme basis or across all themes. For example, the global settings page contains the following options:
Advanced: HTML and CSS coders can choose to create their own site skin. Consult the Theme developer's guide in the Drupal handbook for more information.
CivicSpace has a permission system which places users into roles/groups of users. A visitor who is not logged in is an anonymous user and a newly registered user is an authenticated user. An additional role has been added to this installation, an admin user which is given full access on the site. In the original account setup, the root super user account which was created first is not affected by the CivicSpace permission system; this user always has access to everything.
Some configuration tips:
CivicSpace provides a number of ways to find out who has been visiting the site and who has been posting content:
There are quite a few other modules listed on the module configuration page which have not so far been mentioned. In this section, you'll find descriptions of some of them. Some are currently running; others are turned off. You can also load other contributed modules by downloading them from drupal.org and installing them yourself. Make sure that they are for Drupal 4.5 or they may not work.
Always remember that whenever you enable a module, you should check any permissions the module might have associated with it in order for users to have access to the module. When working with permission settings, it is often useful to create a test user and grant them the role for the permissions you are enabling. Then login as that user and verify that you have indeed granted the permissions.
Also check the administration menu and adjust any configuration settings. Some modules may have their own listing in the top tier of the menu; others may have a listing elsewhere, such as within the settings area of the menu.
The buddylist module allows users to create a social network of friends within a community site. When visiting another user's account page, a user can choose to add them to their buddylist. The my buddylist page will then list all added friends and provide links to their recent posts, as well as providing a list of friends of friends.
Much like a phone book, the contact module allows the creator to sort contacts into different contact lists (which can be exported into a spreadsheet) and to maintain information for each contact for use in other modules (such as RSVP ). This information includes email address, name, zip code, city, state, and telephone number by default. Additional information can be added through administer contact . This information can be entered as text fields, passwords, text areas, radio buttons, pull down menus (selection), check boxes, or file (to upload files for the surveyor).
Email can be sent to selected contacts through the contacts interface (using your default email application). The contacts list is also searchable . Contacts can be sorted into subcategories for easy organization.
A contact list source list must first be created in the source administration section.
The node_import module can be used to import contact lists.
The Drupal module uses XML-RPC to connect your site with a Drupal server which maintains a directory of Drupal sites on drupal.org. Enabling this module will also allow members on all sites using it to login to your site without registering using their Drupal distributed ID and vice versa: your members can login to any other Drupal site using a login name which looks much like an email address for your site: email@example.com.
To setup this module:
NOTE: If you want your site listed in the directory of Drupal sites, you'll also need to provide a slogan and mission on the main configuration page.
The Event module includes a field for an event's location and drop-down menus for the date and time of an event. It also adds a calendar navigation block to the sidebar so that readers can click on a date and list which events are scheduled for that date, as well as a page listing upcoming events, sorted chronologically. Users are able to set up RSVP , volunteer signups , and books for created events through this same interface. An RSS feed is available for the events calendar so that users can receive notification of the scheduling of new events.
NOTE: htmlArea does not work properly with some older browser versions.
The locale module is used to substitute text which is hard-coded within CivicSpace to create alternative language sets for a site.
Site designers can also use it to replace CivicSpace terminology with more site contexualized text. For instance, an administrator could customize the descriptions of the node types listed on the create content page. Or change the label for the links underneath nodes, such as replacing "add new comment" with "post your thoughts" or something similar.
To begin using the the locale module,
The mass mailer module is used to manage email mailing lists. Through the mass mailer administration menu, you can
Once a mailing list has been created and made public, users can subscribe to mailing lists via the list subscriptions link in the navigation menu.
The mass mailing list settings page allows administrators additional configuration options such as
Thousands of websites on the Internet provide links to RSS feeds. Look for links that specify "syndication" or an "XML" button. For example, your CivicSpace site has already been configured to pull new posts from CivicSpace Labs. The Berkman Center at Harvard maintains a list of some popular news media sites with links to information on their RSS feeds.
Once you've found an RSS feed, you can add it to the aggregator by following these steps:
The administrator help on the aggregator provides additional documentation.
NOTE: You'll find that various pages displaying multiple nodes in your CivicSpace site will provide an XML button that allows users to subscribe to new content for that area. Consider enabling the Syndicate block in the block management menu to provide a direct link to syndication for your home page.
The node_import feature available in the content configuration section provides a way to import nodes and contacts for the site using comma separated values (CSV) files. It can be useful for uploading lists of contacts that were created in an Excel spreadsheet file. Since this feature allows the loading of a large amount of content into your CivicSpace database, the permissions for this feature are best configured for administrators only.
"Email","First name","Last name","Zip code","City","State","Phone number" "firstname.lastname@example.org","Test","Test","00000","Wherever","CA","000-000-000"
The process for importing nodes is the same as for importing contacts, except you will want to create a spreasheet with columns
NOTE: You may use either the uid or name of the author. If neither of these is included, CivicSpace will post the node with author Anonymous.
Once you've created the CSV file, under import in the content administration section, upload your CSV file and select raw data (advanced) from the pull down menu.
The notification module allows users to subscribe to periodic emails which include all new or revised content and/or comments much like the daily news letters sent by some websites. The administrator sets the frequency of the emails in the notification configuration page.
Even if this feature is not configured for authenticated users, it can be a useful feature for an administrator of a site to monitor content submissions and comment posts.
The Private Messaging system is an onsite service which allows users to send messages to each other without having to share email addresses. When this is enabled, an inbox link will appear in the navigation block in the column on the top left. Users can also select whether to receive email notices of new messages via their my account section.
The profile module can be used to create customized information fields which users fill out when editing and/or registering their user account. These administrator defined fields allow users to share information such as street address, interests, AOL IM screen names, bios, etc.
To create a new profile information field,
This module allows users to send invitations for events to other users via email so that they can RSVP . RSVP creators can also choose whether or not to make the invitation list viewable by all, allow invitees to email one another, or allow attendees to invite others through this interface.
This functionality can only be used after the creation of an event and must be connected to a specific event.
Manange RSVP allows users to edit the invitee list and notification options that were determined during the creation of the original RSVP.
Allows for the creation of web forms which can be filled out by users and submitted to the survey's creator. Submissions are emailed to a chosen email address and are also stored in the database. Survey creators can also create/specify a custom âThank Youâ page for respondents.
Survey questions can be entered as textfields, passwords, text areas, radio buttons, pull down menus (selection), check boxes, or file (to upload files for the surveyor). Surveyors can specify whether or not multiple selections are allowed.
Surveyors can also require that respondents validate themselves by the use of email address, data input, URL input, or zip code. The responses to a survey can be viewed online, as well as downloaded in an Excel-compatible format. Users are able to set up books for created surveys through this same interface.
Trackbacks allow one weblog (or website) to post a comment to another site without actually having the user visit the site to post a comment. Using the trackback URL accompanying each post, other weblog can send a ping across the Internet to your CivicSpace site. Once received, the trackback will show up on the trackback page accompanying the post.
CivicSpace trackback also features autodiscovery. If trackback autodisovery is enabled on your CivicSpace site, someone need only visit your post via a link from another weblog post to have trackback "discover" the linking site and create the trackback. Trackback autodiscovery also works internally within a CivicSpace site, automatically creating connections between pages which link to each other.
To manually send a ping to another site, edit your post and use the Trackback URL field at the bottom of the edit page to submit the trackback URL for the post on the other site. Once you enter submit, CivicSpace will ping the other site for you. With trackback autodiscovery enabled, your CivicSpace site will attempt to do this automatically without your intervention.
This module allows you to solicit volunteers for events. Users can set the number of volunteers necessary for the event as well as the messages that will be sent to volunteers to thank them for volunteering, letting them know that the number of necessary volunteers has been reached and their assistance is appreciated but not necessary, or that they have been placed on the volunteer waiting list. This module also sends out reminders 24 hours before the event and solicits feedback 24 hours after the event.
This functionality can only be used after the creation of an event and must be connected to a specific event.
Some CivicSpace modules, such as search, notify and aggregator, have periodic tasks that must be triggered by the script cron.php included with your CivicSpace installation. You can do this manually in your browser by visiting your cron URL page (a blank page will display once the cron tasks have been executed).
However, the better way to do this is to have cron.php executed automatically using the Linux/UNIX crontab function.
0 * * * * wget -O - -q http://www.example.com/cron.php
00 * * * * /home/www/drupal/scripts/cron-lynx.sh
Alternatively, Drupal has a poormanscron module available for download. However, this module is much less efficient in terms of system resources compared to the methods described above. The poormanscron module checks to see if cron needs to run every single time a page is viewed on the site.
The text of this guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License (2.0). Permission to copy, modify, or redistribute this guide is only granted if this license is included and the CivicSpace Site Configuration Guide is attributed.
Below will be comments regarding the current distribution setup:
1) The buddylist module should default to permissions already being set when the site administer turns it on.
2) The forum topic areas "general" and "site help" should be capitalized: "General" and "Site Help."
3) Urlfilter should be enabled and configured for use in the filtered HTML input format.
6) Create a Sample Block as demonstrated here.
5) files/theme_editor folder was not writable by the system.
6) Enable the "kill word on paste" option in htmlArea. No one want's Word HTML posted into a web page :)
7) Enable the tracker module. Most new CivicSpace admins would find this a useful feature.
8) Filtered HTML should allow b and i tags, too, since these are still very popular.
9) Include a sample category "Topics" applied to stories, or remove the information about it under "Creating and Posting Content."
10) Note that the first page of the configuration guide has been promoted to the front page so that it acts as the greeting.