It is not too important what this is built in but I do prefer php/html/CSS so I can work with it myself later.
I want a forum creating (this can utilise any software such as phpbb2 or vbulletin) that allows the existing website users (the buyers) who have already registered with us, to post feedback in the forum about the companies they have purchased products from.
Ideally, the look of the forum is controlled with CSS. But it does not have to be very pretty!! I can work on this myself.
Firstly, the most important thing is that we have individuals or companies that set up an account with us as sellers. I want it so that as soon as they set up an account, a forum category is created for them. So for example, if their account name is 'A123 Seller' then there would be a new forum category 'A123 Seller' for customers to post comments in.
In that category should be two different sub-categories - General Comments and Complaints.
If there are no posts (which there will not be at first) then a message will simply say something like 'there have been no posts in this forum yet'.
So.. on to the registered Buyers...
If they want to post in the forum they must be logged in to the site using their existing user name and password.
They are presented with a form to fill in to create a post in the forum.
Drop down 1 - select the company it relates to. Now this list needs auto-populating from the sellers that have created accounts (thereby creating categories in the forum). Every time a seller creates an account, this list will update to include the new seller's user name. So if the buyer wants to comment about 'A123 Seller' (who has registered and we know now has a forum category with two sub categories that has been auto generated for them) they select 'A123 Seller' from the list. Obviously we are going to have many hundreds of sellers so I would also like an option for them to search for a seller on that page.
So, for example, they have selected 'A123 Seller' and now whatever they write will be posted in the category for 'A123 Seller' in the forum. Of course, that category has two sub categories - general comments and complaints. So we now need a drop down box which allows them to select which sub category their post will go in - general comments or complaints.
VERY IMPORTANT - if they choose 'complaints', they MUST enter an order reference number. This is because we will be checking each and every complaint with the company they are complaining against. So we need a box for an order reference number but it could be greyed out until they select 'complaints'.
They then have a large text box to write their comments in.
The administrator of this board needs to be able to edit every post that is made (which I think is the case for most forum packages anyway). This is in case we need to add any warnings, for example, about the contents of the post.
The forum does not need any integration with the look of our existing site - I can do this. However, it does need to be able to integrate with our users i.e. their user names and passwords - so that, as mentioned, they cannot post on the forum unless logged in. Additionally, only buyers can post on the forum - sellers cannot post on the forum. Please bear in mind that our site is written in CGI already so I am not sure how the site stores the details about each user - you may find you have to write something that somehow imports the details from what we have already into a mysql database for it to work with something like phpbb2.