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Why Forem is a good fit for hosting your college community

Michael Tharrington
Heyo! I'm Michael and I'm interested in growing inclusive, friendly communities. Excited to learn from everyone here! 🙌
・3 min read

College students today are all-to-familiar with a certain monolithic social network that began as a single community platform for college students. While that network has received due criticism for its invasive data collection policies and overall culture, the seed idea of offering a widely-available community for college students is timeless and valuable.

If you're looking for a more modular and private software solution when it comes to hosting your own college social network, Forem is here for you. Our open source community software allows you to build the kind of peer-to-peer platform that aligns with your shared values and doesn't treat you like a commodity. Here's why Forem is a good choice for hosting your online college community.

Why Forem for college campuses?

There are lots of benefits for creating your community with Forem. The UI is straightforward and friendly, the article editor is expansive and allows for external content to be easily embeddable with Liquid tags, and loads of other features that users can take advantage of.

Benefit 1 — Thorough Control Over Access

One of the main benefits for choosing Forem for your college campus is that there are multiple options for making your community public, private, or something inbetween.

Following the guidelines here in our admin docs, you can set the access level of your Forem to fit whatever your needs are. Want a community that is completely private? No problem. Want to restrict access for only certain email domains (e.g. your college campus email domain)? You can do it. Want to make it so that anybody can view the site, but only write and comment if they are members? That's an option too! You have the potential to open up the gates as wide or narrow as you want.

Benefit 2 — Expansive Article Editor

The article editor on Forem is straightforward and easy to use, but also allows for some really cool embedded content.

You may not have realized this but Forem actually allows users to choose between 2 editors — Rich + markdown or Basic markdown. You can choose between the two from here in your settings. Rich + markdown offers folks an experience more closely related to a WYSIWYG editor, though basic Markdown knowledge is still required for writing; don't worry, it's a pretty low learning curve to get going! Basic markdown is the first editor version we created — it is our "barebones" editor that is similarly optimized to use Markdown but switches out any GUI interactions for Front Matter. We recommend trying out each editor and seeing what fits for you.

Aside from the editor types, both of our editor accept Liquid Tags to add rich content like Tweets, YouTube videos, etc.

For instance, here's what a YouTube video looks like embedded in an article.

Making this happen is as simple as grabbing the id from the YouTube URL and writing {% youtube 5qap5aO4i9A %}.

Benefit 3 — Minimal Data Collection

Forem is not Facebook and that's a good thing. You don't have to worry about Forem tracking your user's every move. Nor do you need worry that Forem might sell data about your interactions to anyone.

The privacy policy on Forem.com outlines any data that might be collected by the Forem team and why. If you read through the policy and have any questions, please ask away in the comments below!

Ready to get going with Forem?

If you'd like to host your community using Forem and are ready to get started, then check out our Forem Self-Host Documentation to get things rolling. You'll also probably find @coffeecraftcode 's series Official Selfhost Guides particularly helpful.

And of course if you have any questions, don't hesitate to share them here. 😀

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