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Configuring Discussion Boards

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Discussion boards provide forums for site participants to converse about topics. Most Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services site templates include the ability to create discussion boards, and many sites and workspace sites have a built-in discussion board called General Discussion. As a server administrator, you can set the number of characters of text displayed in an expanded discussion item, control how long the "!New" tag is displayed for a discussion entry, and change the display order of discussion items.

Display More than 400 Characters of Discussion Text

Threaded view limits the number of characters of text displayed in an expanded discussion item to 400. To configure Windows SharePoint Services to exceed this limit in all discussion boards on the server, you must edit the file onet.xml and then reprovision the site. (Reprovisioning a site means reapplying Windows SharePoint Services to a virtual server.)

Note: To complete this task you must be a member of the local Administrator group on the server computer.

Warning: Making changes to an originally installed onet.xml file on a server running Windows SharePoint Services is not supported and can break existing sites. Changes to onet.xml will be overwritten if you reinstall or upgrade Windows SharePoint Services.

Edit the onet.xml file

  1. Using Notepad or another XML editor, open the file onet.xml , which is in the folder C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web server Extensions\60\Template\1033\STS\XML by default.

  2. Edit each instance of the following string, replacing 400 with the number of characters to display:

    Limit Len=400

    Note: Windows SharePoint Services will exceed the limit you specify to avoid displaying an incomplete word.

  3. Save the file onet.xml .

Reprovision the site

  1. On the server, click Start , point to All Programs , point to Administrative Tools , and then click SharePoint Central Administration .

  2. On the Central Administration page, under Virtual Server Configuration, click Configure virtual server settings .

  3. Click the Web site you are reprovisioning.

  4. On the Virtual Server Settings page, under Virtual Server Management, click Remove Windows SharePoint Services from Virtual Server .

  5. On the Remove Windows SharePoint Services from Virtual Server page, select Remove without deleting content databases , and click OK .

  6. From the Central Administration home page, click Extend or upgrade virtual server .

  7. Click the Web site to provision.

  8. Click Extend and map to existing virtual server .

  9. In the Application Pool section, click Use an Existing App Pool clickthe application pool associated with the virtual server ( STSAPPOOL1 in the default Windows SharePoint Services installation), and click OK .

Change the Expiration Date of the "!NEW" Tag

Because discussion boards can be heavily used, new items, and their accompanying "!New" tags, can proliferate. Site designers may find this annoying, and they may want to shorten the number of days that these tags are displayed. The following steps configure Windows SharePoint Services to stop showing "!New" tags in less than the default two days. This will change the expiration time for all "!New" tags in lists on the server. Setting the time to zero will disable the "!New" tag completely. This setting will affect all lists and libraries on the server, not just the discussion boards.

This procedure uses the SharePoint administration utility stsadm.exe, which is available, by default, in the Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\60\Bin folder on your server computer.

Note: To use the stsadm.exe utility, you must be a member of the local Administrators group on the server or a member of the SharePoint administrators group.

  • Run stsadm.exe by using the following syntax, where Number_Of_Days is the number of days that Windows SharePoint Services should display the "!New" tag:

    stsadm -o setproperty -pn days-to-show-new-icon -pv Number_Of_Days -url http://Server_Address

The following example sets the expiration time to one day:

stsadm -o setproperty -pn days-to-show-new-icon -pv 1 -url http://MyServer

Change the Discussion Board Display Order

Discussion board entries are displayed either from oldest entry to newest or from newest to oldest. You can change the order in which items are displayed by editing the Schema.xml file for the discussion board. To edit the file Schema.xml , you must be a member of the local Administrators group on the server.

  1. Using Notepad or another XML editor, open the file Schema.xml (in the folder C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\60\Template\1033\STS\Lists\Discuss by default).

  2. Locate the following code in Schema.xml :

     <OrderBy> <FieldRef Name="ThreadID" Ascending="FALSE" /> <FieldRef Name="Ordering" /> </OrderBy>

    Alternately, the Ascending attribute could be set to the value "True" :

     <OrderBy> <FieldRef Name="ThreadID" Ascending="TRUE" /> <FieldRef Name="Ordering" /> </OrderBy>
  3. To display threaded discussion lists on the virtual server in oldest to newest order, make sure that the Ascending attribute is set to the value "TRUE" To display newest items first, set the Ascending attribute to "FALSE" .

  4. Save and close the file Schema.xml .

  5. After you modify the file Schema.xml , you must restart Internet Information Services (IIS) to have the changes take effect. To restart IIS, type iisreset on the command line.

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