I want to build a Discussion board using SharePoint 2013, I did not work on discussion boards before, but after reading the web I found that there are three main approaches I can follow, either to have:-

  1. Discussion board app.
  2. Community site.
  3. Community portal.

I need my discussion board for:-

  1. Developing a discussion board for our internal employees that are based in three different countries, and the discussion can be for technical issues, social activities, etc.

So which approach will be the most suitable approach to use, and are there other options other than three I mentioned above to achieve this.

From what I understand till now:-

  1. Discussion board is an app the site owner or admin can add which allow to create, reply, like, discussion and replies.

  2. The community site provides the same features as the discussion board while having features such as user reputations.

Thanks for any help.

1 Answer 1


I think you got the answer by now. Recently I get into same problem so here is what I think.

  1. Discussion board app - You would not choose this approach unless you don't need the feature like reputation. This app is just a document library limited in two content types: message and reply.

  2. Community site - It gives you the full feature of a dicussion board should have. Notice that you have different permission when you build a site collection VS subsite. Because community site template have different permission groups (you will have moderators) than other Sharepoint site template. When you build a subsite using community site template, it cannot simply inherit the permission from parent site (which maybe a team site).

  3. Commmuntiy portal - This one is not a discussion board. This site template only have one page with a Content Search Web Part. By default, it will search out all the site/subsites in the farm created with "Community site" template and list them out. It is helpful if your farm have a lot of communities created and you need a single entry point for your users. Notice that if you are using Standard edition, you cannot change the search query. (I think it is because Content Search Web Part is limited to Enterprise edition only)

  • 1
    Actually I have a use case prefer Discussion board app. The user have a customized layout which shows some pictures and banners at the right side. With community site template those reputation webpart will show up at right and blocking those banner. Without budget to hire a designer, we choose discussion board app approach.
    – Mark L
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 7:49

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