Managing Community topics

How to manage topics of conversation in the Community

  • Editing and deleting discussion topics

    The community consists of posts associated with different discussion topics. Topics can be anything you want, and you can create as many as you want. Guide managers can add, edit, delete, and manually arrange topics. Agents and moderators don’t have the permissions to make these changes.

    Editing and deleting discussion topics

    You can edit a discussion topic if you need to change the name, description, or access privileges.

    You can delete a topic if you no longer need it. When you delete a topic, all the posts in the topic are also deleted. If you don’t want to delete the posts in the topic, move the posts before you delete the topic.

    To edit a topic

    1. Open the topic in Help Center, then click Edit topic in the top menu bar.

      Edit topic

    2. Make your changes to the name or description and click Update.

    For information about managing community posts within discussion topics, see Managing community posts.

    To delete a topic

    1. Open the topic in Help Center, then click Edit topic in the top menu bar.

      Be sure you’ve moved any posts that you want to save to another topic.

    2. Click the Delete topic link on the page.

    Reordering discussion topics

    You can manually reorder your community discussion topics. You cannot reorder the posts within a topic.

  • Adding discussion topics

    The community consists of posts associated with different discussion topics. Topics can be anything you want, and you can create as many as you want. Guide managers can add, edit, delete, and manually arrange topics. Agents and moderators don’t have the permissions to make these changes.

    For information about managing community posts within discussion topics, see Managing community posts.

    Adding discussion topics

    Discussion topics can be anything you want and you can add as many topics as you need.

    For example: if you support multiple products you might add a topic for each product or, if you have one product with a lot of functionality, you might add a topic for each major feature area. You can also add a General Discussion topic where users can discuss issues that don’t quite fit in the other topics.

    To add a topic

    1. Click Add in the top menu bar, then select Community topic.

      Add topic

    2. Enter a Name and optional Description for your section.
    3. Select a User segment to determine who can access this topic.

      By default, a topic is visible to all users. You can choose to restrict access to signed-in users.

      On Guide Professional and Enterprise, you have the ability to restrict access based on tags, organizations, or groups by applying custom user segments (see Creating user segments to restrict access). On Guide Professional and Enterprise, you can also restrict access to agents and managers to create internal-only access.

    4. Under Who can manage posts, select Managers if you want only Guide Managers to add and edit posts, or leave Agents and managers selected if you want agents to also be able to add and edit posts in this section.
    5. Click Add.
  • Reordering discussion topics

    The community consists of posts associated with different discussion topics. Topics can be anything you want, and you can create as many as you want. Guide managers can add, edit, delete, and manually arrange topics. Agents and moderators don’t have the permissions to make these changes.

    Reordering discussion topics

    You can manually reorder your community discussion topics. You cannot reorder the posts within a topic.

    To manually reorder topics

    1. In Guide, click the Arrange content (Arrange articles icon) icon in the sidebar, then click Arrange topics.
    2. Click any community topic, then drag it to another place in the order.

      Arrange topics

    3. Click Save when you’re finished.

    For information about managing community posts within discussion topics, see Managing community posts.

  • Creating user segments

    Tags, groups, and organizations are not available on Support Essential. To create user segments, you must have Support Team, Professional, or Enterprise and Guide Professional or Enterprise. If you have Gather Professional, you need Support Team, Professional, or Enterprise and any Guide plan.

    A user segment is a collection of end-users and/or agents, defined by a specific set of attributes, used to determine access to Help Center content.

    User segments are the building blocks for user permissions. You apply user segments to a knowledge base article or a topic in your community to define viewing access. And you use user segments to build management permissions that you apply to knowledge base articles to define editing and publishing permissions.

    There are two built-in user segments by default:

    • Signed-in users includes users who are signed-in to your Help Center
    • Agents and managers includes all agents and Guide managers

    You can create custom user segments to further refine those groups of users as follows:

    • Signed-in users (internal and external), based on tags, organizations, or both created in Zendesk Support
    • Staff (internal), based on tags, groups, or both created in Zendesk Support

    Guide Managers have access to all content, regardless of any user segments they belong to. You must be a Guide Manager to create user segments.

    Understanding access restrictions for user segments

    Every user segment starts with a base user type of signed-in users or staff (agents and managers). From there, you can create a subset of users based on tags, organizations, and groups, as follows:

    • Signed-in users can be restricted by tags, organizations, or both. Tags must be on the user or an organization they belong to.

      When you create a user segment based on tags for signed-in users, you can require that all specified tags match for the agent to be included and/or you can require that at least one of the specified tags match for the user to be included. For organizations, the user must belong to at least one of the specified organizations.

      Signed-in agents must have any required tags, but organization is ignored for agents; agents do not have to belong to any of the specified organizations to be included in the user segment.

    • Staff (agents and managers) can be restricted by tags, groups, or both.

      When you create a user segment based tags for staff, you can require that all specified tags match for the agent to be included and/or you can require that at least one of the specified tags match for the agent to be included. For groups, the agent must belong to at least one of the any specified groups.

      Guide Managers have access to all content, regardless of the user segments they belong to.

    You can define user segments as shown in the following table.

    User role Restrict by tags (users need all tags) Restrict by tags (users need any of the tags Restrict by organizations (users need at least one org) Restrict by groups (users need at least one group)
    Signed-in users Yes Yes Yes No
    Staff Yes Yes Yes No

    Creating user segments

    There are two access types for user segments: signed-in users and staff.

    You can create custom user segments to further refine those groups of users as follows:

    • Signed-in users (internal and external), based on tags, organizations, or both created in Zendesk Support
    • Staff (internal), based on tags, groups, or both created in Zendesk Support

    You can create as many as 200 user segments per account. If you have multiple brands in your account, your user segments are shared across all brands.

    Guide Managers have access to all content, regardless of any user segments they belong to.

    To create a user segment

    1. In Guide, click the User permissions icon (User permissions) in the sidebar.
    2. On the User Segments page, click Add new.

      If you receive an error message, then you have reached your maximum number of 200 user segments. You can delete some user segments if you want to continue.

    3. Enter a Name for this user segment.
    4. Select a User type as the base of your user segment.

      • Signed-in users include internal and external users who create an account and sign in to your Help Center.
      • Staff are internal users only, including agents and Guide managers.

      Create user type

    5. Click Next.
    6. Click Add tag, then click the drop-down menu to select a tag.

      • If you add tags under Users and organizations matching all of these tags, all of the tags must be on the user or org to be included in the user segment.
      • If you add tags under Users and organizations matching any of these tags, one or mor of the tags must be on the user or org to be included in the user segment.

      You can add up to 50 tags in Users and organizations matching all of these tags and up to 50 tags in Users and organizations matching any of these tags.

      You can search or scroll to find tags. Note that not all available tags appear in the list. You can choose any tag that is applied to existing users or organizations. The tags can be on the user profile or, for end-users, inherited through an organization.

      A list of matching users appears below. Any agents with the tag will belong to the user segment, but agents do not appear in the matching list.

      You must have user tags enabled to create a user segment based on tags (see Enabling user and organization tagging).

    7. If you want to add multiple tags, click Add tag again, then select a tag.
    8. You can further refine your user segment by doing one of the following:

      • For signed-in users, click Add organization if you want to restrict by org, then click the drop-down and select an org.
      • For staff members, click Add group if you want to restrict by group, then click the drop-down and select a group.

      The user must belong to at least one of the organizations or groups to be included in the user segment. The exception is that organization is ignored for signed-in agents. Agents do not need to belong to any of the organizations to be included in the user segment.

      The list of matching users updates, but, remember, agents do not appear in the matching list.

    9. Click Save.

      You can apply user segments to:

  • Applying user segments to community content

    By default community discussion topics are visible to all users. You can prevent some users from viewing the content of certain topics.

    You can configure a topic to restrict access to signed-in users or to agents and managers. You can also apply custom user segments you’ve created to further restrict access based on tags, organizations, or groups (see Creating user segments to restrict access).

    You must be a Guide Manager to set access restrictions for community topics. Viewing restrictions do not apply to Guide Managers. Managers can access all topics in the community, regardless of the restrictions.

    To restrict access to a community topic

    1. Navigate to the topic in the community that you want to restrict.
    2. Click Edit topic in the top menu bar.

      Edit topic

    3. Select a User segment to determine who can access this section.

      You can choose to:

      • Restrict access to signed-in users
      • Restrict access to agents and managers to create internal-only access
      • Restrict access based on tags, organizations, or groups by applying a custom user segment (see Creating user segments to restrict access)
    4. Click Update.

    To set access restrictions in the knowledge base, see Setting view permissions on articles with user segments.

  • Best practices for managing your community

    When you first launch a community with Gather, we recommend that you follow some basic steps and enable certain features to help you to guide your users and make managing your community easier.

    Writing a community code of conduct

    Before you launch your community, it’s important to write down what the rules of the space will be. This helps users to understand how to participate in your community, and what kinds of things won’t be allowed.

    In addition to letting users know the things you might not want them to do in the community, for example, posting spam or harassing others, also consider things like:

    • Is it ok for people to promote their business or solicit other users to contact them outside of your site?
    • Are there terms, phrases, or certain kinds of activity that will not be allowed in your community?
    • If a user violates any of the rules, how will they be enforced? It’s good to explain to users what will happen if they violate the code of conduct.

    Post the code of conduct in your community, and consider pinning it to the top of a topic. It should be easy for users to find and refer to.

    It’s important to revisit your code of conduct regularly, and make adjustments to the rules as required. If you have a legal team as a part of your organization, you might want to include them in the process or get their approval.

    Here’s the Zendesk Community Code of Conduct as an example.

    Setting up content moderation filters

    We recommend using the content moderation feature to help avoid spam and other inappropriate or abusive posts being published in your community.

    You can choose whether you want to moderate all posts, or just those matching certain keywords. You’ll need to evaluate which option will be best for your community, depending on the kind of audience you’ll be engaging, the size and capabilities of the team you have managing your community, and how much of a risk is posed by spam in your community.

    Moderating all posts can be very effective in eliminating any spam from getting through. However, it is best to use this feature only if you have a team that can be highly responsive in approving posts (that is, they can log in and approve content whenever a notification is received, or periodically during your community’s most active hours), or if your community is one that does not require speedy responses. This is because when the content is pulled into the moderation queue, the user has to wait for a Guide Manager to approve the post before it goes live, which can lead to a significant lag between when a user tries to make a post and when it actually appears in the community.

    Using the keyword function allows you to specify words that, when they’re present in a post, trigger the post to go into the moderation queue to be reviewed, and then either approved or rejected by a Guide Manager. This means that posts without any of the keywords are published immediately, which is preferable for a community trying to foster high conversational engagement. However, this option does run the risk of allowing some spam posts through on occasion, until the spam filter learns or a new keyword is added to the filter.

    See moderating end-user content to learn more about content moderation for your Help Center.

    Creating moderator groups and setting permissions

    The community moderator feature enables you to assign certain permissions to groups of users (agents and end-users) so that they can assist your community managers to moderate the community.

    This feature is not available with Gather Legacy. See About Gather plan types.

    Identify a group of trusted users or agents, and give them the ability to flag posts for moderation, so that they can help hide anything that shouldn’t be in your community or flag questionable content for your community managers to review.

    There are a variety of permissions that you can give to these groups, and you can set up multiple groups with different sets of permissions. To learn more, see creating community moderator groups.

    Creating your first few topics

    Start by creating two or three topics in your community. More than three topics can spread your users across too many spaces, especially when launching a new community.

    To determine what your initial topics should be, you should consider:

    • Your goals for the community
    • What your customers or users are most interested in talking about

    It can be helpful to look at support tickets that you already receive. See what areas come up most often, then create a topic in your community for users to discuss that topic. Your topics should be specific enough that users know what they’re supposed to do when they get there, but broad enough to apply to a wide variety of users.

    Fill in the description field for your topics, to help users understand what they’re supposed to post.

    Writing pinned “how to” and welcome posts in each topic

    In addition to the topic description, it is helpful to write a pinned post to explain to users what the space is for and how to best use it. If the code of conduct tells your users what not to do, this post tells them what you do want them to do.

    This step is especially helpful if you want to encourage users to post in a specific format, include specific information in their post, or use voting in a specific way.

    For example, your topic might be set up for users to share recipes. You want them to follow a format of listing the ingredients first and the recipe instructions second. You might also want them to vote on their favorite recipes. While this might seem intuitive, it will be helpful to explain what you want them to do.

    Another example might be collecting product feedback, where you want to encourage users to post which version of a product they’re using and answer some specific questions in their post.

    Here are some examples from the Zendesk Community, explaining to our users how to participate in different topics:

    • How to ask a question in the Zendesk Community
    • How to write an effective feedback post

    Customizing your theme

    As a bonus, consider customizing your community’s theme to make your new community’s look and feel match the rest of your website or brand. A common theme can help your users feel more at home and connected to the other ways they connect with your organization online.

    The Zendesk Guide theme is highly customizable. There are a number of free and paid themes available in the Zendesk Marketplace, or you can contact a Zendesk partner to assist in building a custom theme.

    More community resources

    If you have any questions about any of these recommendations, from writing your code of conduct to determining which kind of content moderation to use, or on setting up your moderator permissions, you can connect with Zendesk Gather experts in the Zendesk Community.

    Ask any questions specific to setting up or launching your community in the Gather Q&A topic.