Creating a Community site in SharePoint Server 2013 gives you a forum environment in which you can organize, categorize, prepare and produce discussions to a wide audience from various organizations in a company.

Setting up Communities allows open communication and enables people to exchange and share specialized information and knowledge.

Any visitors to your Community can view discussions and then become members of the Community if they want to get involved in any of the discussion topics.

Community member contributions are rated, and badges are allocated to specific members to indicate their role as a contributor. Members can earn certain statues through their activity within the Community, such as providing a “best answer” to a Community question in a discussion topic. 

Within the Community are Moderators who can set Community rules and review posts as well as assign gifted badges to certain members to specify their role within the Community. They can also distribute reputation points for posting, replying and receiving likes etc.

You can also create categories within the Community to keep it organized and separate topics to make it easy for users to navigate.

You can use Community Sites in several ways:

  • By creating a community from an email distribution list, an email message would create a discussion in the Community, but any posts and replies will only be viewable within the Community site.
  • You can create a stand-alone Community at the site level or the site collection level.
  • If you want to activate Community features on existing sites but without creating an actual community, you can. You may want to do this when you do not want to monitor, create and manage a separate site.

There are default permissions in place, but you can configure default settings to match your Community needs.

The default setting will allow the following:

  • Members – Can view, update, add and delete lists and documents and read-only categories, members’ list items and site pages.
  • Moderators – Can view, update, add, delete and moderate documents and lists.
  • Owners – Have full control over the entire site.
  • Visitors – Can view pages, list items and download documents

To be able to create a Community Site template, you must first be a member of the Farm Administrators Group or be a service administrator with permission to create site collections in the web application in which you create the Community Site.

Creating a Community Site:

  1. Within Central Administration click Application Management.
  2. Click Create Site Collections.
  3. In the Web Application area, make sure the selected web application is the correct one you want to create the Community Site within. Expand the list and click Change Web Application if you need to select a different web application.
  4. Type a title and description for the site collection in the Title and Description area.
  5. Select the URL where you want your site collection created in the Web Site Address.
  6. Within the Template Selection, select 2013 in the Select Experience Version list then click Community Portal on the Enterprise tab.
  7. In the Primary or Secondary Site Collection Administrator section, type an account in the format domain/username to specify an administrator for your site collection.
  8. In the Quota Template section, select a quota template.
  9. Click OK.
  10. Site collection should now be successfully created. Click the link to open the Community Site.
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