Can I create a new discussion topic by email?

You can. Create a new topic by sending an email to the address assigned to that group’s discussion forum. To get that email address, visit the group’s discussion forum and click on the “Create New Topic” button . 

Screenshot of "create new topic" text in a group's discussion forum. The box below reads "Did you know you can post new topics to this group from your email client? Find out how!"

Click on the link beside “Did you know you can post new topics to this group from your email client?” Another text box will appear with the email address that you can use to post new topics by email. 

The message must be sent from the email account associated with your Humanities Commons account. The subject of the email will become the title of the discussion topic. 

You can also reply to a discussion forum topic by email if you are subscribed to receive All Email.

Can I reply to a discussion forum topic by email?

Yes! You can post a reply to a discussion forum thread by replying to the email notification, as long as you are subscribed to receive All Email from that group. You can change your email settings on the group page, under Email Options, or from the group directory. For more information, see the guide about group notifications.

When you send the email, your reply will post to the discussion forum.

You can also create a discussion forum topic by email.

Can I share an event with a group?

Yes! To create and share an event, simply hover over your name and avatar at the top right of the screen and choose New Events from the Events menu.


After entering the date and details of your event, you’ll see a Groups section toward the bottom of the page. From there you can select the groups that you’d like to share the event with. You can only share the event with groups you belong to.

Alternatively, you can go directly to a group’s page and click Events in the menu that runs across the top of each group’s page. Click the New Event button to add your event. The settings determined by an admin or group creator may affect your ability to connect events to a given group. For more on this, read our guide to Managing Group Roles and Memberships.

How do I create a group?

After you’ve logged in to the Commons, click on the Groups tab; then, select the Create a Group button next to the group directory. Enter a group name and group description. Then, click Create Group and Continue. This will lead you to steps where you can choose whether to enable discussion boards; select whether your group will be public, private, or hidden; determine the member roles in your group; create a group avatar; and invite members to join your group.

You can read more in our guide to creating a group.

How can I change my group e-mail notifications?

When you join a group, you have the option to subscribe to e-mail notifications. In your e-mail settings, you can choose a default subscription for groups you might join in the future.

You can also update settings for groups of which you’re already a member under Your Groups. Select your preferred option:  No E-mail, Weekly Summary E-mail, Daily Digest E-mail, New Topics E-mail, All E-mail. Then, select Save Changes.

screenshot of email settings page


You can also update your notifications for individual groups on the Groups Directory.

Screenshot of groups directory with link to change email setting below "leave group" button.

You also have the option to change your notifications on a group page.

screenshot of group page with link to change email status.

These are covered in more detail in the guide to group notifications.

Why do unwanted characters appear in my post, comment, or page?

If you copy text from Microsoft Word or from an e-mail and paste it into Humanities Commons, you may sometimes see unwanted characters. There are a few things you can do to ensure that only your text (and none of the strange characters) appears in your post:

If you are posting to a space that gives you the choice between composing in Visual or Text modes, select the Text editor. After pasting in the content you would like to add, you can switch back to Visual mode to modify the formatting.


If you do not see the Visual and Text tabs, you will need to convert the document to plain text before pasting it into the Commons. To do this, first save your original document. Then click File > Save As. Choose a new name for your file to differentiate it from the original. This step is very important. It prevents you from losing your original, formatted work. Once you have selected a new file name, change the selected file type from Word Document to Plain Text (.txt) using the Format field. Open the new text file and copy and paste your work from there.

What is the difference between a group and a site?

Whether it is best for you to use a group or a site to share information on Humanities Commons depends on your communication goals. If you would like to communicate with colleagues who are interested in a certain field, topic, or professional issue, you may want to start or join a group. Groups facilitate interaction between group members, since members can participate in discussions, collaborate on docs, and share files. Participation in groups is limited to Humanities Commons members. You can read more about groups in our ‘Creating a Group’ guide.

While groups offer a great way to connect with members on topics of interest, sites are by default open to the public and allow you to engage with a community beyond Humanities Commons. Sites can be a helpful platform for outreach, crafting a professional presence online, circulating information, reaching a broader audience for your research or project, and posting longer reflections. You can explore this in more detail in our ‘Creating a Site or Blog’ guide.