SMF1.1:News and newsletters

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News

If there is a bit of recent news, the forum administrators may decide to tell other users about it. BBCode and HTML may be used in these messages; the messages will be displayed in the header, just under the user information.

Newsletters

If an admin needs to contact some or all members of the forum and they don't want a time-consuming hassle, they can use this feature. They can use it to send a simple e-mail or use it to send elegant newsletters.

Membergroups

Group Selection

The first thing the administrator will do when they come to the newsletter page is select which membergroups they would like to e-mail. They may just select the boxes for each membergroup they want to e-mail.


E-mail Options

When they want to use the newsletter feature on the forum, forum administrators may configure a few options to meet the needs for sending out e-mails to the members:

  • Send the messages using personal messages - With this option checked, members will receive the newsletter as a personal message rather than by e-mail.
  • Send this to members even if they have chosen not to receive announcements - Administrators can choose this to send the e-mail to the members who have the option to not receive announcements by e-mail in their profile. It is not recommended to force the users to receive the announcement unless the piece of news is really important.


Underneath the membergroup listing is a link that says "Advanced". Selecting this will expand several additional settings that can be used to configure the e-mail settings.

Advanced

Upon selecting the "Advanced" link underneath the membergroup listing, there will be a number of different options which include all of the following:

  • E-mail Addresses - In this box, the administrators can add any additional e-mail addresses they would like the newsletter to be sent to.
  • Members - The administroators can add the usernames of any additional members that they would like to receive the newsletter.
  • Excluded Groups - Here, the administrator can select groups that absolutely cannot receive the newsletter under any condition. Even if they have the same group selected under the included membergroups at the top of the page, or a member belongs to one of the included groups, as long as the member belongs to any groups checked here, they will not receive the newsletter. This includes primary and secondary membergroups.
  • Excluded Members - This works similarly to the above option, except the administrators can add the usernames of members that they don't want to receive the newsletter no matter what membergroup(s) they belong to.
  • Override Notification Settings - The administrators can select this to send the e-mail to the members who have the option to not receive announcements by e-mail in their profile. It is not recommended to force the members to receive announcements, unless it is really important.


Composing the e-mail

While composing the e-mail, the administrator will be shown the e-mail addresses that the message will be sent to. They can add or remove addresses as they wish.

  • Subject - The default subject will be the Site name, then Subject. It is recommended that the administrator change the subject of the e-mail to something that is more descriptive.
  • Message - Administrators can put almost anything they want into the message box. If they would like, they can even use HTML. Most e-mail clients support HTML, but not every one does. If an administrator wishes to use HTML in the message, they must select this option: Send in HTML format. (With this, they can put normal HTML in the e-mail.)
  • Variables - In the message, they can also use some variables. Here are the "variables" that can be used:
    • {$board_url} - The URL to your forum.
    • {$current_time} - The current time.
    • {$member.email} - The current member's email.
    • {$member.link} - The current member's link.
    • {$member.id} - The current member's ID.
    • {$member.name} - The current member's name. (for personalization.)
    • {$latest_member.link} - The most recently registered member's link.
    • {$latest_member.id} - The most recently registered member's id.
    • {$latest_member.name} - The most recently registered member's name.

Settings

The Settings page of the News and newsletters section of the Administration Center allows you to configure a few settings pertaining to forum news items that are shown in the forum header, as well as sending out newsletters to your members, and enabling an RSS news feed for your forum.

  • Groups allowed to edit news items: Select the groups that you wish to allow the ability to add and edit the news items. News items are added and removed in the "News" page, located in the News and newsletters section of the Administration Center.
  • Groups allowed to send out forum newsletters: Select the groups that you wish to allow the ability to send newsletters. Newsletters are sent in the newsletters page located in the News and newsletters section of the Administration Center.
  • Enable XML/RSS news: Allows people to link to RSS feeds of recent posts made on your forum and other similar data. You can access the default RSS feed by using the following URL - http://www.yourdomain.com/forums/index.php?action=.xml;sa=news. Also, many browsers have a built in button that when clicked while viewing your forum will allow you to subscribe to your forum's news feed.
  • Maximum post length: Here you can specify the maximum amount of characters to show for each RSS feed item. It is also recommended that you limit the size of recent posts and news because in some clients the amount of RSS data that is displayed is expected to be truncated.


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