Forum

Definition

A forum is public meeting place a bit like a community. A forum can be a place which specializes in a particular subject area or it might be a general forum for people to socialize with each other. There are various sorts of topics that might be used as a launch pad for a forum. A forum can also be referred to as bulletin board, group pages or discussion area. This term was used in the Roman Empire to describe a public space in the centre of the city.

The advancement of the technology has had impact on the way communities are formed and in the way people socialize. This has broken the geographical limitations in a way that people don't need to be physically in the same room or city for them to meet or be part of the same community.

eg Labour party members can come together to discuss about the future of their party

Forums can come in any shape and sizes. The main aim is to provide an area where users of the forum can interact with questions, answers and discussion on a given topic.

Each forum usually states the topic and tries to keep the discussion on topic but change for forum to forum.
A forum is a type of social technology tool because it brings people together to have a social discussiont on a certain topic.

What does a forum consist of?

A forum consist of two main elements these elements are here to give a forum structure:
• Membership
• Administrators and moderators

Membership

With use of membership use registered members of a forum, who are identified by unique usernames, may have additional privileges, such as the ability to edit their previous posts, start new topics, and control their individual settings and profiles

Administrators and moderators

A forum administrator typically has the ability to edit, delete, move or otherwise modify any thread on the forum. Administrators also usually have the ability to close the board, change major software items, change global skins, modify the board, and ban, delete, or create members.

Moderators have a subset of these powers, which may include editing, deleting, and moving threads, mass pruning, warning members for offences, and changing minor forum details. It is often possible for moderator privileges to be delegated to other forum members.

The differences between forums and other web applications

One major difference with forums and E-mailing list is that mailing list automatically deliver new messages to the subscriber while forum require the member to visit the website and check. They Also differ from chat rooms and IM's instant messaging the reason for this is that forums do not have participants do not have to be online simultaneously to receive or send messages.

How to use a forum

There quite variety of forums so that means forums change depending on their use by the users of the website. In general for all forums you are required to create an online identity (ID or pseudonym) to be used on the forum. Often members of the forum represent themselves on a forum by use of an avatar. There are some forums where you have to pay but most are free to use. Most grant you access as a guest so you can view the forum before joining up this is a good way to check out a forum before you decide if you want to join. Some forums are private and requite registering first and some vet their would-ve members.

Rules of using a forum

Most if not all forums have their own rules and regulations so it is best to read the FAQ’s when joining a forum to see if you can abide by them or not.

References

ovc.ncjrs.gov/ovcproviderforum/asp/what.asp

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