Internet forums, also known as discussion boards, discussion groups, message boards, and online discussion sites, are the original social networking sites. They provide an online exchange of information between people on a particular topic, and are similar to Internet newsgroups. Forums differ from chat rooms in that messages usually have more than one line of text and are archived at least temporarily. Depending on the user's access level or forum settings, a moderator may need to approve a posted message before it becomes publicly visible. Forums provide a space for questions and answers and can be monitored to maintain appropriate content.
They include all the extras that people expect from the Web, such as images, videos, downloads and links, and sometimes work as a mini-portal on the subject. A forum user can automatically be promoted to a group of users with more privileges based on criteria set by the administrator. The relative effectiveness of this user management directly affects the quality of a forum in general, its attractiveness and its usefulness as a community of interrelated users. The term sock puppet refers to several pseudonyms used by the same person on a particular message board or forum. Common implementations allow RSS feeds to list only the latest updated threads for the forum index and the latest posts in a thread. If you can't find an ongoing discussion about your area of focus, you may want to start your own forum.
Forum rules generally apply to the entire body of users and usually have pre-established exceptions, usually designating a section as an exception. The forums are governed by a group of people, collectively referred to as staff, composed of administrators and moderators, who are responsible for the design, technical maintenance and policies of the forums (creation and implementation).The Wikis hosting site, known as Wikia, has two functions in operation, known as Forum and Message Wall. For example, the BusinessWeek Online website included a forum section that allowed users to discuss investment topics, magazine topics, technology trends, and professional issues. Internet jargon and popular image macros on the Internet abound and are widely used in Internet forums. Each forum has limits on the height, width and size of the avatar data that can be used; if the user tries to use an avatar that is too large, it can be reduced or rejected.
The system will collect the words in the body of the post or any other element of the forum that the user can edit (such as user titles) and, if they partially match a certain keyword (usually not case sensitive), they will be censored. The popularity of a thread is measured in forums in terms of response (the total number of posts minus one, the initial post, in most default forum settings) counts. As technology advanced, discussion forums were developed to work on the Web, rather than on a Unix-based system. Topics (commonly called threads) are found at the lowest level of the subforums and are the places where members can start their discussions or posts. Discussion forums have been used by a wide variety of organizations, including businesses and educational institutions.