Internet Forums

There are many different ways to get people together to discuss something on the Internet. Here are some of them, with some tips on advantages, disadvantages, and where to look for more information on how to create them.

The different kinds of forums each have advantages and disadvantages in various respects:

So, all things considered, if you want to create a forum for a specific, well-defined group of people (your friends, your company's customers, college classmates, a church congregation, etc.), and if you want to have some control over what goes on in the forum, you're probably best off creating a mailing list or Web-based bulletin board. If your potential audience is widespread and not very well definable in advance (in terms of specific people), and your topic has widespread interest, and is not already being covered by another newsgroup, then it may be worthwhile to try to create a newsgroup for it. But doing this is very much a "political" process because you have to gain the cooperation of a lot of people, so you should learn about the process in advance and observe it in action for a while by watching other groups being created, before you try to do it yourself.

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