Discussion Forums

Written by Linda Alexander
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The Internet has opened up a whole world of possibilities for discussing things with people from across the globe. You are not limited to people in your hometown or state. With a good discussion forum, you can give and get lots of great information too.

Other Names for Interactive Forums

Discussion boards go by several names. Message boards, discussion boards, bulletin boards, and forums are all pretty much interchangeable terms. Sometimes "bulletin boards" refers to specific systems that existed long before the World Wide Web. Another term commonly used is "groups." Sites like Yahoo and MSN let you start your own discussion group on nearly any topic you want. "Groups" can also refer to newsgroups on Usenet.

Message boards differ from chat rooms because you are not talking in real time. Instead, you post a message or reply to somebody else's. You have time to think about what you want to say and formulate a more meaningful message. You can read messages at your leisure and take your time because they won't be deleted right away. Everybody who visits that particular forum will be able to read and reply to your message, too.

Discussion forums abound on the Web in hundreds of topics--perhaps thousands. If you have a particular hobby or interest, such as gardening, computers, or crafting, for example, you can talk to others with the same interest and share information. You can also exchange email addresses if you want to talk in a more private setting. Many deep friendships have started because of simple posts in these groups.

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