Forums, What Are They Used For?

Forums are great for new businesses. They not only allow you to get your company brand out in the open for discussion, but also are a friendly way to sell your wares without it being a sales pitch environment.

An Internet forum, or message board, is an online discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages. They differ from chat rooms in that messages are often longer than one line of text, and are at least temporarily archived. Also, depending on the access level of a user or the forum set-up, a posted message might need to be approved by a moderator before it becomes visible to other members.

Forums have a specific set of jargon associated with them; example: a single conversation is called a “thread”, or topic.

Within a forum’s topic, each new discussion started is called a thread, and can be replied to by as many people as so wish.

Depending on the forum’s settings, users can be anonymous or have to register with the forum and then subsequently log in in order to post messages. On most forums, users do not have to log in to read existing messages.

So to get you started, here is the basic terminology that is used within forums:


A post is a user-submitted message enclosed into a block containing the user’s details and the date and time it was submitted. Members are usually allowed to edit or delete their own posts. Posts are contained in threads, where they appear as blocks one after another as other members post replies to the original post.

The first post starts the thread. This may be called the TS (thread starter) or OP (original post). Posts that follow in the thread are meant to continue discussion about that post, or respond to other replies, be aware it is not uncommon for discussions to be derailed from the original subject or question.


A thread (sometimes called a topic) is a collection of posts, usually displayed from oldest to latest, although this is can change. Options for newest to oldest and for a threaded view (a tree-like view applying logical reply structure before chronological order) can be available. A thread is defined by a title, an additional description that may summarize the intended discussion, and an opening or original post. A thread can contain any number of posts, including multiple posts from the same members, even if they are one after the other.


A thread is contained in a forum, and may have an associated date that is taken as the date of the last post (options to order threads by other criteria are generally available). When a member posts in a thread it will jump to the top since it is the latest updated thread. Similarly, other threads will jump in front of it when they receive posts. When a member posts in a thread for no reason but to have it go to the top just to be seen/advertise, it is referred to as a bump or bumping. It has been suggested that “bump” is an acronym of “bring up my post” it’s not polite, and should not be encouraged.


Threads that are important but rarely receive posts are stickyed (or, in some software such as Facebook and Pinterest, “pinned”).  A sticky thread will always appear in front of normal threads, often in its own section. A “threaded discussion group” is simply any group of individuals who use a forum for threaded, discussion purposes.

Private message

A private message, or PM for short, is a message sent in private from a member to one or more other members. The ability to send so-called blind carbon copies is sometimes available. When sending a blind carbon copy (bcc), the users to whom the message is sent directly will not be aware of the recipients of the blind carbon copy or even if one was sent in the first place.

So, now you know the basics of Forums, why not join one or two to get started socially. It is great for when you move to a new area, as you can see what is going on and ask any questions.  It is always polite to introduce yourself to the group, just a quick one liner to say Hi is sufficient.

And always remember: If You Wouldn’t Say It To Your Granny, Don’t Post It On Social Media Sites!

Happy Chatting!


Work Around Your Family | Forums | Networking

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