SharePoint 2013 Social: Community Sites

A community site is a new site template that is available in SharePoint 2013, and it is also available as a feature that you can enable, called the Community Site Feature.  This type of site is truly like a forum.  Remember the old discussion boards in previous versions of SharePoint?  This is a dramatically improved discussion board!  The idea is that, just like any interactive forum, you have concepts like “Likes”, ratings, badges and reputation scores.  Top contributors are rewarded with higher points, which equate to badges.


Here is some information about the features you can look forward to on your community sites:


  • When you click on Categories on the community site, you are presented with a pretty metro interface with all of the categories as big boxes.
  • When creating categories, you can assign each one an image to be associated with it, as I’ve done below.
  • When you hover over each category, like I’ve done with the General category, it shows the description and how many discussions and replies there are in it.
    Where did I get those cool metro icons? This software.

Discussions (Conversations)

  • You can start a new conversation, similar to the way you did it in old SharePoint versions (with a subject and body), but you have an extra check box to indicate whether your conversation is a question or not.  Pick a category also.
  • Site admins can also mark any conversation as “featured”, which puts it at the top of the list in that category, indicating that it is featured.


  • Reply to any conversation, by clicking the Reply button.
  • Site admins can mark a reply as “Best Reply”, which will then be listed directly under the question, indicating that it’s the best reply.  Also, when you’re looking at the list of all conversations, the ones that have a best reply will say so.
  • Notice several things in this screenshot.  Todd started a conversation.  A couple of people “Like” it, and the reply by me was marked as the best reply.  Also notice the little blue bars next to our pictures.  Those are our points / reputation.

Likes and Ratings

  • You can click the “Like” button next to any conversation and/or any of the replies
  • There is a setting where site admins can choose whether to use the “Like / Unlike” or a rating scale 1 to 5.

Your Reputation

  • Your reputation score is affected by the member achievements point system, which can be set up by the site admin on each community site. This score does not carry across to multiple community sites.
  • Assign a certain number of points for creating a new post, replying to a post, get likes or 4-5 star ratings on your posts, and points for getting marked as the best reply to a post.

Community Members

  • The members screen shows the top contributors by default, and can be switched to the “new members” or to the
    A-Z view.
  • See your own reputation score on the right.

Community Portal Site

  • There is a site collection template that you can use called a “Community Portal Site”.
  • A community portal site is not meant for having each community site as a sub-site.
  • Instead, the community portal site, AUTOMATICALLY shows a roll-up of all community sites in the environment, in other site collections and web apps.


  • I like the features, but I HATE METRO. It’s going to take a long time for me to get over that.

  • Wonder if this would work on an externally facing site with people logging in with their facebook or twitter logins?

  • Hey! When did Chris join our company 🙂

  • This looks great! I’ll be trying this out very soon… Any chance you will be chatting about 2013 during your sessions in Boston next week? 🙂

  • Hi Laura!

    I ran out of time to ask you the infoPath questions at SPTechCon last week. Is there any chance we could connect via email? I have one related to tweaking SP2010’s Discussion boards and another relating to a rather large InfoPath form. I’ll throw my email address in the comment URL field.

    I don’t want to take up too much of your time.

    It was great meeting you and Jen at the conference!

  • Hi Laura,
    Im also now working on community site so i wanted to add a custom column in disscussion list. But the issue is it not getting displayed in the viewing disscussion page (Topic.aspx).

    Is it posible to display a custom column by doing some configuration or do i have to edit the page (Topic.aspx) in SharePoint designer???

  • Hi Laura,

    I am having issue that the profile pictures doesn’t show up for my community sites.

    But my users does have there profile picture uploaded and it’s appearing on newsfeed posts.

    Any idea why this happen?

    thanks very much

  • Community Site Template is no doubt a another good feature SharePoint 2013 provides us. The whole new design is far much better than previous versions Discussion List. Personally I really like the metro look of categories as it gives the similar looks to windows 8. Like, Best Reply, Rating and Reputation concept is similar to features of good forum.

  • How can I make the Metro Tiles appear in a square matrix instead of a single row of tiles? I have modified my Community categories as you instructed, however, I cannot get them arranged the way the OOTB categories are arranged. Any suggestions?

  • Chris M,
    Interesting question. I’m not sure how that would work. I don’t come across many deployments that make use of those types of logins with SharePoint.

    Good point, but I’ve never tried it. Hopefully it wouldn’t entail having to mess with anything in SPD. Try creating a new view in the list itself, and then insert a web part onto your page and then change which view it uses?

    I’ve never seen that happen. Sounds very odd.

    Here’s the code provided by Andy, in order to accomplish this:

    $(document).ready(function () {

    // Update this value to the number of links you want to show per row
    var numberOfLinksPerRow = 4;

    // local variables
    var pre = “”;
    var numberOfLinksInCurrentRow = numberOfLinksPerRow;
    var currentRow = 1
    // find the number of promoted links we’re displaying
    var numberOfPromotedLinks = $(‘.ms-promlink-body > .ms-tileview-tile-root’).length;
    // if we have more links then we want in a row, let’s continue
    if (numberOfPromotedLinks > numberOfLinksPerRow) {
    // we don’t need the header anymore, no cycling through links
    $(‘.ms-promlink-root > .ms-promlink-header’).empty();
    // let’s iterate through all the links after the maximum displayed link
    for (i = numberOfLinksPerRow + 1; i table > tbody:last’).append(pre + currentRow + post);
    // reset the number of links for the current row
    numberOfLinksInCurrentRow = 0 }
    // move the Nth (numberOfLinksPerRow + 1) div to the current table row
    $(‘#promlink_row_’ + currentRow).append($(‘.ms-promlink-body > .ms-tileview-tile-root:eq(‘ + (numberOfLinksPerRow) + ‘)’));
    // increment the number of links in the current row
    numberOfLinksInCurrentRow++; }

    If you place that in a script file, then save into SharePoint, and use a Content Editor content link, it will turn it into rows. The variable at the top is what determines how many tiles there are per row. You may also want to replace the jQuery reference to be an internal jQuery library instead of linking out to the internet.

    For the A-Z, Z-A, those are just different views. Go to your list and create a new view, but base it on the “All Items” view. Then do your custom sorts and names for the views.

  • Hi Luara,

    Is it possible to use @ and # in discussion list?

  • Yes, you can use @ and # in discussion lists and social updates / newsfeeds.

  • Hello Laura,

    Hope you are fine. I wanted to know if we can get a ready template for sharepoint social, like a wsp file.
    Let me know if you have any contact with any such vendor.

    My contact information
    Tauseef Mohamad
    Location : UAE Abu Dhabi
    Email :

  • Document metadata is not carry forward in share point 2013 when upload same document again . How can we resolve the issue.its working fine other than ms office documents

  • Priyanka Rakhecha

    Hi, Can the categories be added to Message content type? If Yes..Please let us know how.

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