Forum Directories

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Forums and Forum Directories

Known as Internet forums, discussion forums, message boards, or by other names, an online forum is a discussion site where people can carry on conversations in the form of posted messages, differing from chat rooms in that messages are saved or archived for a period of time determined by the forum administrator. Some forums require messages to be approved by a moderator before they become visible.

Online forums are a hybrid of the message boards that were carried by dialup computer bulletin board systems (BBS), some of which remain in operation, and the electronic mailings lists or newsgroups, such as Usenet, which allow people to post messages and to comment on messages left by others.

Forums typically have a hierarchical structure, much the same as web directories, in that the organization is usually tree-like, with the top end known as a category. In order to encourage relevant discussions, most forums are divided into various subject categories, which are divided into sub-forums, which may themselves be divided into sub-forums. A forum can include a number of sub-forums, each of which may contain several topics.

The discussion topics themselves are known as threads, and they are the places where forum members can start discussions or post to discussions already underway. Threads may be replied to by anyone who has access to do so, which will vary according to the desires of the forum administrator.

Forums are most often organized into a set of generic topics, which generally have one main topic, that are updated by forum members, often called users, and governed by administrators and forum moderators. Moderators are users or employees of the forum who are given special access to the posts and threads of other members in order that they may assist in moderating discussions, keeping the forum clear of spam or undesired comments. The level of access granted to moderators is determined by the forum software used and the desires of the forum administrator.

The forum administrator manages the technical details of the forum, creates sections and subsections, and performs necessary database operations. Administrators also appoint and supervise moderators, and often serve as moderators themselves.

Forums may also have a graph-like structure. Discussion forums will use one of three formats: non-threaded, semi-threaded, or fully-threaded, each with advantages and disadvantages. If the forum is likely to receive messages that are not related to one another, then a non-threaded format may be best. If a forum user has a message topic and hopes to receive several replies to that topic, then a semi-threaded format might work best. If a user has a message topic, hopes to have replies to that topic, and replies to the replies, then a fully-threaded format would be ideal.

Some forums require the use of real names, while others permit the use of pseudonyms, often known as "handles," which was itself borrowed from computer bulletin board system (BBS) technologies. Most forums require users to register with the forum in order to participate, although some permit anonymous postings by unregistered users. Most typically, a forum will allow unregistered visitors to access all or part of its content for the purpose of reading the discussions, but will require registration for participation.

Many forums will includes several levels of membership, based on the payment of a fee, forum participation, or a combination of these two. Many forums include private areas for registered members only, or which require a certain membership level for access.

Several forum software packages are available, written in a variety of programming languages. Posts are typically stored in database files but, in some systems, are stored as text files.

This category of the WDR Directory of Directory is for the listing of forum directories, which are directory websites that are designed to assist people in finding various forums that exist on the Internet.

  • 1001 Forums

    1001 Forums

    Hits 1498

    The 1001 Forums directory was established sometime prior to July 24, 2003, when it first appears in the Internet Archive. There is no cost for submissions to the directory and, while a reciprocal link will allow for an expedited review, it is not required.
  • Delphi Forums

    Delphi Forums

    Share your passion

    Hits 1367

    Delphi Forums hosts more than eight thousand forums, although only those forums that are hosted on Delphi Forums are included in its directory. Forum discussions may be participated in, and forums created by members in three membership levels, including a free membership, a $19.95 per year membership, and its DelphiPlus membership, at $4.95 per month.
  • Find a Forum

    Find a Forum

    Hits 1116

    First appearing in the Internet Archive on October 14, 2013, the directory lists links to web forums, categorizing them by topic. Submissions to the directory require only the URL of the forum’s index page, or a posting on the directory’s Facebook page. There is no charge for submission.
  • Forum Station

    Forum Station

    A Directory of Forums, Message Boards, and Online Communities

    Hits 1035

    Owned and operated by Small World Marketing, the directory lists forums, blogs, and Old School static HTML sites of interest to the directory's owners and editors. At this time, there is only one topical category: The Arts.