Be aware that last week’s blog posting was delayed because WordPress systems quarantined the blog due to a link I used. I am now aware of this restriction and plan on placing links very carefully from now on.
What is it?
Forums were started back during the Bulletin Board System days of the early 1970’s and 1980’s. Back then they were all called message boards and everyone connected via modem to a computer which had message board software working on it. In fact, the oldest forum is Delphi Forums which was started back in 1983. This forum is still active today.
A forum or message board is where based upon topics; people can chat about different things. Sometimes the whole board is based upon one subject (an example would be computers or information technology) or might be based upon who you know or the geographic location (an example would be living in the same town or based upon knowing a person as a friend or family member).
I started to use message boards back in the late 1980’s when I signed up with one to talk to others in a small town near me near Maybrook, NY. We would even have gatherings or m
eets which were at the local bar which had tables in the back and we would talk about computers and things’ going on in town and what was happening on the message board.
For those of you who know about newsgroups, which are messages posted from many users in different locations and is focused on a particular
topic of interest , these are very similar; however, they are usually meant to be used with text only, and forums can, in some cases, have attachments such as pictures, audio, etc.
Also, be aware that whoever is running the board does set the security restrictions of that board. For instance, some board have it where unless you are logged in, you cannot post to a topic. Further, on our board you have to let us know if you are a friend or family member, and we can verify it, and then we’ll let you into a secure section of our forum for those people. As we might talk over family history o
r some other topic that the family wants private, we limit who has access to that part of the forum. That being said, we also have a section for anyone, who signs up, to talk about things such as hobbies, news, and other general topics for discussion.
Further there are many different types of bulletin board systems (BBS) or forums online. I have found a review of these for 2012.
Some common terms of a forum
Thread – a topic or subject within a forum.
Post – a comment on a topic or subject in a forum.
Flaming or trolls – are negative comments on a person or person’s topic in a forum. Most of the time, if the person does not stop; they are warned and then banned from the forum.
Mods or Moderators – are person or persons who are given access to control areas or topics of a forum.
Is there a structure of a forum? If not, then how is it organized?
A forum is structured like your computer hard drive – in a hierarchy structure. Based upon how the person or people running the forum structure it, is depending on the tree looks.
If I was to take our forum, as an example, the structure has a main area with all of our hobbies and such for everyone to view. Then there are 2 smaller sections off of it – one for family and the other for friends. The way we’ve structured it, the family can see everything, but the friends can see the friends section and the main area. The guests just see the main area.
Other uses and activities within forums
When you join a forum, you can send others – other users, moderators and/or administrators – messages that only you and then person who is the recipient can read your message. Think of it as an internal emailing system that can only be used with that online software.
These are the smileys and other small pictures you can use within the forums to give more of a personality to your posts.
These give you an option of sharing outside materials that you can upload from your computer onto a board.
These are used in order to give the administrators and other administrative bodies, of the forum, an idea of what the general overall users’ views on topics to give them a better experience.
A picture that a user can upload and use to give others a feel of who they are. Most users use pictures of themselves, animals, or family members.
This is usually a small block of information which is at the end of a post or email that gives basic details of a person.
As you can tell by the opening snippet of this view blog, I have used both the dial up message boards and online forums. I have also use newsgroups as well. The message boards were great to talk to others that were in the same area and using computer equipment. For the late 1980’s, this was great and anyone I told them about the boards thought I was nuts. The meets for these were great because you could put a name and a face to those who you talked to. It was very interesting to meet others that I never met before.
Then in the mid 1990’s, I started to use the internet and found newsgroups (a sample is above). These were a great way to have chats about topics and ideas. In fact, I’m pretty fond of them due this being the way how I met my husband! I wanted email pen pals while I was at college, and I was emailing a few people who I thought would be interesting. I had a few pen
pals – some only emailed a few times, another
that was in the military, so was on and off again in emailing me. The last was a young guy in Melbourne Australia that wanted someone to chat with over email. That “young guy” is now my husband of over 16 years and we’ve been “together” even longer.
By the late 1990’s, I had moved countries and we had started using online forums to talk about new technology and reviews with others. Even today, we use them. I use them to read and administer but my husband uses them on a daily basis for this photography and other Technology stuff such as mobile phone information, internet plans, wireless technology, etc.
In late 2012, I set up a forum for group of organisations to communicate because of some major changes that were happening within the industry. I told many of the organisations about it; however, they are not using the tool, so I will try and push again later in the year, but if the users don’t use it, then I will take it down.
Earlier in 2013, we decided upon the rebuild of our website, that we could have a section for our forum. I set it up, and again there hasn’t been much movement in usage. I am now debating if we should keep it or take it down as well.
I’ve learned quite a bit from my experiences with this type of technology. It can be great if it’s used and it’s used wisely and respectfully. However, when it’s not use to its fullest, then maybe the administrator of the site should look at if they should really be using that technology.