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Some basic BuddyPress questions…

  • MikeStarrWriter


    I’m webmaster for Working Writers of Wisconsin (, a small non-profit group of freelance writers. Right now, we have 18 specialty pages on our WordPress-based site (right-hand column) that are currently hand-coded HTML. I’d like to make them dynamically generated so I don’t have to hand edit them all. I’ve done some research and it seems like BuddyPress would be the most useful tool for me to allow our members to edit their own information and for me to craft specialty pages that are dynamically generated from the member profile information.

    However, I have some basic questions that I haven’t been able to get answers to yet but that a BuddyPress developer might be able to help me with.

    I’ve tinkered with BuddyPress on my sandbox site, creating profile fields (including all checkboxes in the categories section of our membership form ( [Note that the membership application form is currently a disaster but I’m holding off fixing or replacing it until I get these BuddyPress questions answered. It used to work fine before I converted the site to WordPress]) . Each member should be able to revise his/her profile information. However, I have some concerns:

    1. Given that this site is for members to allow themselves to be contacted, much of the information added to their profile should be visible to site visitors. However, for safety concerns, members do not want their home address visible (yellow on

    2. Other information gathered on the membership application does not need to be visible to visitors but needs to be visible to members and saved to the database. (green on

    3. I’d like to make sure there’s coordination of data entered (blue on and so that the membership application form creates both the WordPress user and BuddyPress profile without requiring duplicate entry of information. It seems like in order to register a user must enter the same data in two different places and I’d rather avoid that. Note: I’d like to have them add their password on the registration form.

    4. Can there be a separate registration for members versus those just registering to comment?

    5. What are the things about BuddyPress-enabled themes that are different from other themes? I created a custom theme with Artisteer and have been quite happy with it but Artisteer does not at the moment support BuddyPress. I read at some point that BuddyPress will work to a certain extent with themes that are not BuddyPress-enabled but wonder what I’d be losing with that approach. I’m hoping Artisteer will release a new version soon that supports BuddyPress because the workarounds I’ve seen require significant modifications of PHP files and I’d rather avoid that if at all possible.

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • Hi, I should preface this by saying that I’m not a BuddyPress developer as such, but have been coding WordPress themes professionally for a couple of years, and have been researching BP and putting together a BP-based startup for the past couple of months, so have been through these questions myself, and my own early steps may prove useful.

    1. See

    2. might be interesting. There’s another, more granular, privacy plugin that the community has its fingers crossed for, for further details see

    3. All of that should, and does, happen as a matter of course.

    4. Semantics aside, they are all “subscribers” as far as WP is concerned, ie. members and commenters are one and the same.

    5. BuddyPress themes contain extra template files for the parts of BP that are an extension on the WP template system (eg. activity, groups, user profile etc.) plus various css and javascript files. Running a regular WP theme with BP running won’t give you the framework to display that BP functionality. In order to achieve that, your WP theme needs the extra template files. You have two options, each with benefits and drawbacks:

    a) Extend your existing theme with the required template files, javascript and css to enable and display the BuddyPress sections and functionalities. See The drawback is that next time BuddyPress is updated, you might be faced with quite a fair amount of development getting your site aligned with the latest code base, new features etc.

    b) Constructing a child theme. This relies on running the Default theme, and then adding your own css overrides and theme hacks as a non-destructive layer on top. The principle is that you can strip away your own additions, and you’ve still got the Default theme running beneath it, so in a sense it’s “unbreakable” and whilst you may need to modify your additions once BP is next updated, the underlying template will always function. With a decent caching strategy, unless you’ve expert level php behind you, I think it’s the way to go.



    aljuk, thanks for the reply.

    1. I think the BP Profile Privacy plugin is just what I need.

    2. I’m not sure about the BuddyPress Private Community plugin. I think I’ll have to install it and play with it and see if it’s helpful for me..

    3. When you say “All of that should, and does, happen as a matter of course”, *Name* is a core field but doesn’t break a user’s name down into first name, middle initial and last name. So in order for me to have that level of granularity for the user name, I’ll have to add a “First Name” field, a “Middle Initial” field and a “Last Name” field. So I end up asking the user to fill in their name information twice and the value the user enters into the “Name” might not match the combined values of the “First Name” field, “Middle Initial” field and “Last Name” fields. I’d much rather have the user enter values in those fields then concatenate those entries to fill the “Name” field.

    4. So is there a way I can manage group members profile management separately from visitor management? If I set up the BP profile fields with the level of granularity I need for our members, that would be way too much information to ask a visitor to enter just to be able to register to leave comments.

    5. Sounds to me like until I can heap enough abuse on the folks over at Artisteer, I’ll have to retweak theme files every time I make a change to the theme with Artisteer. Your suggestion of constructing a child theme sounds like it would work but I’d have to have my “real” theme become a child theme to the BuddyPress default theme and that seems to me to be the exact opposite of how things ought to work. It would be really nice if there was some way to install the BuddyPress default theme as a limited child theme to my Artisteer theme without overriding my Artisteer theme formatting. That does bring up a question though… is there any way I can create page templates for profile management that use the BuddyPress default theme yet have the rest of the site maintain use of the Artisteer theme? Another option might be putting up profile management on a separate domain and synchronizing the database from there to the main site’s database. However, this sounds like a level of development that’s probably above my skill level (I’m not a PHP programmer but am at least a fair HTML guy).

    Again, thanks much for your help.



    Regarding my last comment on my question #3, I was browsing the BuddyPress plugins list and found this but unfortunately, the link ( goes to a different plugin’s page.:

    BuddyPress Real Names
    BuddyPress Real Names is a BuddyPress plugin that use two different fields (one for the last name and one for the first name) to display the Full Name instead of the regular name field. If you have already a community with members; you can use it to replace all the old names with Full Names. […] ..



    Most BuddyPress plugins are available at WordPress plugin repository



    mercime, thanks much for that.

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
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