Groups, also referred to as sub-communities, are used to organize applications around a specific topic. 

Community without Groups

Prior to the introduction of Groups you would organize a community using an application specific structure:

Forums

  • Product A support
  • Product B Support

Blogs

  • Product A Announcements
  • Product B Announcements

Wikis

  • Product A Documentation
  • Product B Documentation

Media Galleries

  • Product A Downloads
  • Product B downloads

Community with Groups

Groups enable you to instead structure your community as follows:

Product A

  • Announcements
  • Documentation
  • Support (forums)
  • Downloads

Product B

  • Announcements
  • Documentation
  • Support
  • Downloads

Your users ultimately aren't interested in forums, blogs, wikis or  media galleries. They are really interested in getting support, viewing documentation, etc. The group structure means that you can structure your content into a more logical vs. application format.

You'll also note with the Application structure there is no relationship between different wikis and blogs. With group structure, you can put related forums, blogs, wikis and galleries into the same group.

Once you get to grips with the added power groups give you, you will be able to better see what you can do with customizing group landing pages  If you have a group about a product you sell, you may want to put your documentation, and latest announcements on the group homepage.  If, however, you've got a collaborative group, you may instead prefer to show a list of forum threads on the homepage.

Groups define areas of interest for your community and allow you to control the types of content and content levels that a group's community members can have.

  1. Customizing the look and feel of a group -  Use the group options page to specify what your group experiences in the GUI, and set its theme.
  2. Managing group applications and permissions - Add, edit, or otherwise affect access and configurations of forums, blogs, wikis, and media galleries.
  3. Managing group membership - Add or remove members, learn about group roles, and move groups.

This guide differs from the Community Administrator's Guide in that the administrator controls members, users, and roles. The group owner controls the group membership and the applications accessible to members.