A forum is like an old BBS (Bulletin Board System), where people can post
public messages on various topics and everyone can get to read them and comment on
them. Unlike newsgroups, forums are
hosted on a single webserver. Forums have the following advantages over newsgroups:
messages can be formatted, with bold, italic, smileys etc.
somebody is in charge. They can boot out obnoxious people and remove spamming
Typically there is far less quoting of previous messages. You can follow
threads back by clicking.
You don’t have to talk your ISP (Internet Service Provider)
into carrying it.
Forums have the following disadvantages:
The moderator can ban you if you say thing things he disgrees with and you
have no recourse. This means you will get less variety of opinions in a forum. Even
when the moderator does not arbitrarily censor, contributors self-censor to avoid
The owner of the forum may destroy your lifetime of posting due to whim or
error. Keep copies of your more brilliant posts to post elsewhere. I was quite
surprised when RichardDawkins.net decided to ban me and delete
all my many posts on many topics for Attempting to
belittle/deny the fate of millions of people. whatever that means.
You have to be online to read or post.
It is harder to find them. There are master lists of newsgroups.
Google does not index them as well as newsgroups.
Like a forum, a blog is also hosted on a
website. A forum is more formal, with clearly defined topics and threads. Forums are
usually open on the public where blogs are often restricted to read/write by a few.