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There are many internet forums out there and I am wondering which would be the most correct way to structure one's own forum. For example, many forums are stated as "Forums" (even more use the singular "Forum" form or "Board"), then coming up with "Categories", "Discussions" or "Topics" and finally "Posts" or "Comments".

I would like to know what you would prefer and if you would make some distinction between some forms of "Forums" when naming their structure.

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closed as not a real question by simchona, jwpat7, Jasper Loy, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, kiamlaluno Jul 1 '12 at 14:06

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Please see faq re asking "practical, answerable questions". The question seems unclear to me, and some may term it non-constructive or will note that the faq claims that "naming" is "out of scope for this site" – jwpat7 Jun 28 '12 at 17:26
Okay, I'm sorry. It wasn't my intention to have it "named", I was wondering what is the correct "term" or "vocable" for a forum structure. :) – thelamborghinistory Jun 28 '12 at 17:52
Your question and comment have me a bit confused. Are you looking for the word nomenclature? Or are you seeking help in defining a nomenclature for a discussion board? – J.R. Jun 28 '12 at 18:14
That's definitely what I intended to ask. To correctly define a nomenclature for a discussion board! :) – thelamborghinistory Jun 28 '12 at 19:02
up vote 2 down vote accepted

A typical and minimalistic structure for a discussion board is:

Forum -> Thread -> Post

Then, you can group forums in categories and forums may contain subforums.

But, it greatly depends on the workflow of the system. In order to get a feeling of the terminology used, it'd be better to have a look at the history of such systems (e.g. Bulletin Board systems) and the concept of ancient agoras/forums.

But, in order not to start over-describing the whole concept, it's all about practicality and distinguishing online and offline discussions/concepts. So, offline, you have discussions on topics, and online you have conversation threads containing posts (like posts in a real bulletin board).

A comment provides additional information/input on something else, whereas a post provides a complete answer.


Imagine someone asking if "Twitter's 'tweets' are different from Facebook's 'posts' and StackExhange's 'answers'". It wouldn't really be relevant to ask if 'tweet' is a valid word, right? It's their system, they may call their 'units of dialog' whatever they want ;). I could tell someone that I "read their comment on tweeter", and they would have every right to look at me strange but they'd nevertheless be able to understand what I meant.

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