In SharePoint 2013, a Community Site is a new site template that provides a forum experience in the SharePoint environment. Use communities to categorize and cultivate discussions among a broad group of people across organizations in a company.
1. How to create : As with any site template in SharePoint, Community template can be created in two ways:
1.1 Site Collection level
1.2. Site level
1.1 Site-Collection level (Community Portal template) : It has nothing but a home page which provides search - driven results( content search web-part) to display any sites that use the Community Site template in the SharePoint farm.
You can edit the Community Portal Home page to add other Web Parts and customize the page. When deployed in the same environment as My Sites, users can access the Community Portal from the Sites link on their My Sites.
You can have only one Community Portal per SharePoint farm.
This is a sample community portal template and it has a search driven web-part which is showing 2 community site, with each community site you will also see the respective numbers of discussions/members/replies . And if you click on the site you will be redirected to that community site.
1.2. Site level (Community Site Template) : The Community Site template is a collaboration site template that is based on the Team Site template, and contains the same base features such as lists and libraries, a wiki-page editing experience, and so on.
There are two ways to create a community site template:
1.2.1 Create a fresh new Community Site:
1.2.2 Activate Community feature in existing site:
1.2.1 Create a fresh new Community Site : Go to Site Contents >> Create new sub-site >> Select community template.
1.2.2 Activate Community feature in existing site : If you have a site which is created from other site template like Team Site, Project Site etc , in that site also we can have community site template features.
Here , the advantage is we can have features of two site template in one.
Go to Site Settings >> Site Features >> Activate feature Community Site Feature
1.2.3 Features of Community Site: Once we create a community site template using either of the above two steps , the following features we get here.
Home Page : This is the home page of a community site where we have community web-parts , we can customize the home page if we want.
Discussion web-part : The web-part at the center of the page is discussion web-part. Here, you can add a new discussion, like/reply to previous discussion. We have sub menus inside the web-part where we can view recent discussion,Whats Hot Discussion ,My Discussion etc .
There are other web-parts also at right side of home page.
Each category have its name, description , picture associate to it..
Also you can keep track of the no. of discussion/replies.
Members : It gives the list of all the users who have joined the community or done some activity in community site.
The members page also shows the no. discussion started, replied, best replied and member Joining date.
Reputation Settings : Reputation helps us to identify experts in community and also helps us to identify the contribution of each members.
Microsoft has defined inbuilt achievement points for each post, like/reply, best reply and then according to a member points a member is assigned level against his account.
We can customize the achievement / level settings and give our own set of points system.
As with social sites not everybody like each other and can post abusive content against a member.
To prevent this, administrator can enable reporting of offensive content and see it on Forum.
So if a member sees a discussion/post being offensive he/she can report it as offensive and Administrator then have the option to permanently delete or reinstate the content.
Bottom-Line : SharePoint 2013 has nice social / micro-blogging features as compared to 2010 , which helps us to increase enterprise collaboration in any organization.
Also search is so powerful here and especially Content-by-search web-part which is used in Community Portal template home page.