An overview of the Citadel BBS

The Private Stronghold

Citadel Management

Once the setup is complete, the server can be accessed by its web interface. A self-signed Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificate is generated on installation, and the web interface will be available on port 80 (non-TLS) and port 443 (TLS). Once logged in, many server settings can be tweaked from the Administration tab (Figure 2), which can be accessed from the left sidebar. Ports 80 or 443 must be unfiltered at the firewall; otherwise, connection is not possible.

Figure 2: The Administration tab is accessed from the sidebar (1), from which you can manage email (2), general configuration (3), users (4), and floors (5).

At the bare minimum, the administrator should visit Domain names and Internet mail configuration and input a domain name in the Local host aliases box (Figure 3), allowing the server to receive email from the Internet. Filling in the Masqueradable domains box is also a good idea. The Edit site-wide configuration link (reached from the Administration menu) is the place to set a name for the Citadel instance and configure its fully qualified domain name (FQDN) (Figure 4).

Figure 3: Configuring email reception.
Figure 4: Entering a name and FQDN for the Citadel instance.

Self-service user account creation is active by default. Therefore, anybody can create a user in Citadel and log in, which is not desirable for a private system. To prevent outsiders from creating accounts in a private bulletin board, the administrator can head to Edit site-wide configuration , click the Access tab, and mark the Disable self-service user account creation checkbox (Figure 5). Users can be created manually from Add, change, delete user accounts .

Figure 5: Disabling account self-creation keeps the Citadel instance private.

Citadel Rooms

Citadel's main characteristic is that everything is a room, at least internally. Rooms are arranged by floors (Figure 6). For example, on a floor called Animal Talk , you might have the rooms Horses , Dogs , and Cats . The Rooms section, reached from the menubar on the left, shows how rooms are organized within the Citadel instance. By default, any user may create rooms on existing floors by clicking the Advanced section on the sidebar and selecting Create a new room (Figure 7).

Figure 6: Only the administrator is allowed to create floors in Add/change/delete floors.
Figure 7: Users can create rooms within the floors created by the administrator.

On login, a user can click the Goto next room link in the top right corner and visit rooms sequentially where unread messages exist. The Skip this room link moves to the next room without marking the posts in the current room as read. In low-traffic sites, this method is a quick and convenient way to check for unread posts.

Email and Messaging

Private local messages are sent from the Mail section, as can external Internet email. Messages the user sends are kept in the special Sent Items private room, and incoming mail is stored in the Mail private room (both under My Folders in Figure 8). The administrator authorizes users to send external email and sets them up with addresses (Figure 9).

Figure 8: Personal information is kept in the My Folders area of the Citadel BBS.
Figure 9: A user must be authorized by the administrator to send external email.

The software provides POP3, IMAP, and SMPT access, so the email services from Citadel can be used with common email clients, such as Thunderbird. Better yet, Thunderbird can be used to read messages in discussion rooms (Figure 10).

Figure 10: Thunderbird can interface with Citadel by IMAP, so users can read new messages posted in discussion rooms.

As an additional bonus, discussion rooms can be turned into mailing lists by configuring rooms to send new messages to subscribers by email and to post messages sent to specific email addresses to the room (Figure 11). To do so, click the Advanced section on the sidebar, then click Edit or delete this room . The Mailing list service tab is used to configure the mailing list and manage subscribers.

Figure 11: To turn the Horses room into a mailing list, it must be selected from the Rooms section (1) and then configured through the Advanced tab (2).

Citadel can integrate many popular features for email services, such as spam filters and SMTP blacklists. For detailed instructions, see the project website [4] [5].

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