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.
Before a prospective member joins a group and makes posts to others, he or she is usually required to register. The prospective member must usually agree to follow certain online rules, sometimes called netiquette, such as to respect other members and refrain from using profanity. When a member is approved by the administrator or moderator, the member usually chooses his or her own user name and password, although sometimes, a password is supplied. An avatar, or photograph or picture, supplied by the member might appear under the member’s user name in each post.
The separate conversations in a forum are called threads, and they are made up of member-written posts. Members can usually edit their own posts, start new topics, post in their choice of threads, and edit their profile. A profile usually lists optional information about each forum member, such as the city they are located in and their interests.
An Internet forum administrator or monitor may also participate in the forum. An administrator can usually modify threads as well as move or delete threads if necessary. He or she can also usually change software items in the forum. Moderators often help the administrator and monitor and guide the discussion to make sure the forum rules are being followed.
The word “Netiquette” refers to rules of etiquette that apply to online communication.
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