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In reply to: Secure School Forums – is BBPress the answer?
The following will work to give the registration you want, and to hide the forums from unregistered eyes.
1. Integrate WordPress and bbPress (install the WordPress plugin bbPress integrate), so users are the same. This includes setting up a page in WordPress (title “Forums”) whose permalink is the path to the forums (so the bbpress folder, whatever you call it, should be inside WordPress, parallel with wp-admin).
2. Do surgery on your bbPress theme so there’s no registration prompt on the sidebar; do all registrations from WordPress.
3. Install a WordPress plugin (like Register Plus) that provides email verification of registration.
4. Install a bbPress plugin (like hidden-forums) that allows you to hide forums. Set it up to hide the school forum.
4a. If you are going to hide all your forums, be sure to fix the bug in bb-includes/functions.bb-forums.php, line 83: put “(array)” into that line the same way it’s in line 82.
5. Install WordPress RoleScoper plugin. Edit the page “Forums” that you created, scroll down to RoleScoper fields “Readers”, click Restrict for Page, and check all the groups under “eleigible groups”. (This makes the page invisible, then makes it visible to all registered users.)
This works — I did it just this evening. I’m really thankful you asked, because it forces me to document what I went through. Many things can go wrong (some people have trouble with integration, though I’ve done it a number of times without difficulty).
To get it to work for several forums, each with a separate set of parents, is a second stage of development. My approach would be:
Use RoleScoper to set up a new role/group for each school’s parents. Then hack hidden-forums.php to get it to handle RoleScoper roles. (That little sentence carries great possibilities of frustration and trouble. But that would do it for your problem.)
An alternate approach, which would be less technically difficult, but perhaps much more trouble in the long run, would be to set up a separate WP-BBP site for each school, perhaps as subdomains of your main WordPress site. Parents of a school would register at one of the sub-sites, which would have only one forum. Then district-wide material would belong to the main site, and each school would have its own website and private forum.
The third approach, the easiest: Trust all parents equally — allow any parent to visit any forum. No secrets among schools.
I hope this is of help to you.