Setting up Drupal Organic Groups

There is a presentation online, Intro to Organic Groups, that has some useful information but the nature of the presentation might not be enough to help you install and configure organic groups. Given how long it took me to find the answers to my questions, I thought I would share what I learned and did to set up this site.
Enable Modules
The instructions say "Enable the Organic groups and Organic groups Views integration modules. If you want to protect some posts so that only certain users may view them [and enable wiki style content type], enable the Organic Groups access control module as well. Please make sure OG is working well on its own before enabling other OG related modules."
What these instructions don't mention, however, is that Organic Groups comes with the following modules:

  • Organic groups
  • Organic groups views integration
  • Organic groups access control
  • Organic groups actions
  • Organic groups notifications
  • Organic groups panels (not yet available for D6)

One other important point is that you need to have the Views modules installed. So if you don't have Views modules installed, please install it.
During the installation process, I got a message that I needed to rebuild my content access permissions and was given a link to do so. Note: When I tried to rebuild, I got an error. The result was a 403 error that required me to make .htaccess edits. For more information on this issue, see issue 432938 and follow the instructions if you have this problem.
Set Up Content Types
After you get the right modules installed, you need to set up a group node and group post. Go to admin > content management > content types and create two content types.
Group node
If you are used to thinking of nodes as single pages, this concept might make you pause just for a second. The group node is a content type and is one "page" but it is actually a page that gets turned into the "set up the organic group" page once the configuration is done. You can think of the group node as the front door to your group's pages. It is the form you fill out to create a group. Follow the steps below.

  1. Click Add Content Type. In the type field, type group. In the name field, put whatever you want. Since this is the node that sets up your group, consider using "Set Up Group" or something similar.
  2. Click on Submission form settings: Since this is going to be the node used to set up your group, consider using "Group name" for the title label and "Welcome message" for the body label.
  3. Click on Workflow settings: Disable attachments.
  4. Click on Organic Groups: Select the Group node option.
  5. Click on Comment settings: Disable comments.

According to the instructions "since all nodes of this type are treated as groups, you will usually not want to designate the standard page, story, or book node types as groups."
Group post
This is the node or content type that the members of your group will use to post content. By default, the "out of the box" content types that you may have turned on in your site are set to "May not be posted into a group." You can choose to use the existing content types as your group posts or you can create a content type specifically for your groups. If you intend on having content on your site that is not part of your groups, consider making at least one content type just for your group are and leave the default types for use elsewhere in your site. Group content types can have attachments and comments enabled.

  1. Click Add Content Type. In this case, the name and type fields can be whatever you want. Just follow the on screen guidelines on the content type form regarding formatting.
  2. Click on Submission form settings: The default is fine unless you want it to be something else.
  3. Click on Workflow settings: Attachments are fine if you want to allow your group members to upload files to your site.
  4. Click on Organic Groups: Select either "Standard group post" or "Wiki group post." If you want the group to have author-oriented posts and collaboration-type posts, make a content type for each and name them accordingly. Note: the wiki option did not become available until after I enabled the Organic Groups access control module and rebuilt my permissions (per instructions on the screen.
  5. Click on Comment settings: You need to leave this enabled if you want the group members to be able to comment on group posts.

Configure the Organic Groups Module
In the admin section, locate Organic Groups. If you have done as suggested in the first step, you should have two options: Organic Groups Configuration and Organic Groups Access Configuration.
Content Types - Your first option is content types. If you followed the steps above, this part is done. Click on the Content Types link and look at the settings. You will see that if you click edit next to one of the nodes you set up, that link sends you back to the 'add content type' form.
Group Details - There are five settings that you can configure. The explanations of each option are explained on the screen.

  • Groups directory control
  • Registration form control
  • Audience required
  • Group homepage view

Messaging and Notifications - This is just what is says. It is where you configure how you want your email messages to be configured.
Activate Blocks
With the exception of the 'set up group' content type, your group access is via blocks. Go to admin> site building> blocks and view the available blocks. One block is typically available out side of a group.

  • New Groups - Just as it sounds, a list of the groups you have created recently. I don't know yet how many will show.

This block becomes available once you are logged into the site

  • My Groups - If you are logged in, you will see this block and it tells you what the groups you belong to.

Once you are logged in and have enter the group area, these blocks become active.

  • Group Details - Group details holds the links for group members to create a group post, invite a friend, manage your membership, see the number of members, and see who is designated group manager. Your members will need this in order to do anything in the group.
  • Group Search - This is specific to the group and not the entire group site. If you want a site search, use Drupal's core search function.
  • Group notifications - This enables the group feed options and is active once you enter the group.
  • Group admins - This provides the same information as in Group Details.
  • Group members - If there are members other than yourself (the site admin), this block will be available.
  • Group files - If there are group files, this is available.

Setup Organic Group Access Configuration
There are two settings: visibility of posts and private groups. The information available on this page makes it self-explanatory.
OG does not set up any special user roles. There is one permission setting entitled "administer organic groups."
For a list of OG contributed modules, visit. Organic Groups modules in the DO site. Check out the OG Handbook as well. This is not the end of Organic Groups for me, but only the beginning. I hope to be able to share additional learning as I move forward.