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Forum Definitions
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2/10/2011 at 8:53:19 PM GMT
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Forum Definitions

Troll

Forum trolls are users that repeatedly and deliberately breach the netiquette of an established online community, posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages to bait or excite users into responding or to test the forum rules and policies, and with that the patience of the forum staff. Their provocative behavior may potentially start flame wars (see below) or other disturbances. Responding to a troll's provocations is commonly known as 'feeding the troll' and is generally discouraged, as it can encourage their disruptive behavior.

Sock puppet

The term sock puppet refers to someone who is simultaneously registered under different pseudonyms on a particular message board or forum. The analogy of a sock puppet is of a puppeteer holding up both hands and supplying dialogue to both puppets simultaneously. A sock puppet will create multiple accounts over a period of time, using each user to debate or agree with each other on a forum. Sock puppets are usually found when an IP check is done on the accounts in forums.

Spamming

Forum spamming is a breach of netiquette where users repeat the same word or phrase over and over, but differs from multiple posting in that spamming is usually a willful act which sometimes has malicious intent. This is a common trolling technique. It can also be traditional spam, unpaid advertisements that are in breach of the forum's rules. Spammers utilize a number of illicit techniques to post their spam, including the use of botnets.

Some forums consider concise, comment-oriented posts spam, for example Thank you, Cool or I love it.

Double posting

One common faux pas on Internet forums is to post the same message twice. Users sometimes post versions of a message that are only slightly different, especially in forums where they are not allowed to edit their earlier posts. Multiple posting instead of editing prior posts can artificially inflate a user's post count. Multiple posting can be unintentional; a user's browser might display an error message even though the post has been transmitted or a user of a slow forum might become impatient and repeatedly hit the submit button. Multiple posting can also be used as a method of trolling or spreading forum spam. A user may also send the same post to several forums, which is termed crossposting. The term derives from Usenet, where crossposting was an accepted practice but causes problems in web forums, which lack the ability to link such posts so replies in one forum are not visible to people reading the post in other forums.

Word censor

A word censoring system is commonly included in the forum software package. The system will pick up words in the body of the post or some other user editable forum element (like user titles) and if they partially match a certain keyword (commonly no case sensitivity) they will be censored. The most common censoring is letter replacement with an asterisk character; for example: in the user title it is deemed inappropriate for users to use words such as "admin", "moderator", "leader" and so on, if the censoring system is implemented a title such as "forum leader" may be filtered to "forum ******". Rude or vulgar words are common targets for the censoring system. But such auto-censors can make mistakes, for example censoring "wristwatch" to "wris****ch" and "Scunthorpe" to "S****horpe."

Forum structure

A forum consists of a tree like directory structure containing at the lowest end topics (commonly called threads) and inside them posts. Logically forums are organised into a finite set of generic topics (usually with one main topic) driven and updated by a group known as members, and governed by a group known as moderators.[citation needed] All message boards will use one of three possible display formats. Each of the three basic message board display formats: Non-Threaded/Semi-Threaded/Fully Threaded, has its own advantages and disadvantages. If messages are not related to one another at all a Non-Threaded format is best. If you have a message topic and multiple replies to that message topic a semi-threaded format is best. If you have a message topic and replies to that message topic, and replies to replies, then a fully threaded format is best.

User groups

Internally, Western-style forums organise visitors and logged in members into user groups. Privileges and rights are given based on these groups. A user of the forum can automatically be promoted to a more privileged user group based on criteria set by the administrator.[19] A person viewing a closed thread as a member will see a box saying he does not have the right to submit messages there, but a moderator will likely see the same box granting him access to more than just posting messages.[20]

An unregistered user of the site is commonly known as a guest or visitor. Guests are typically granted access to all functions that do not require database alterations or breach privacy. A guest can usually view the contents of the forum or use such features as read marking, but occasionally an administrator will disallow visitors to read their forum as an incentive to become a registered member.[note 2] A person who is a very frequent visitor of the forum, a section or even a thread is referred to as a lurker and the habit is referred to as lurking. Registered members often will refer to themselves as lurking in a particular location, which is to say they have no intention of participating in that section but enjoy reading the contributions to it.

Moderator

The moderators (short singular form: "mod") are users (or employees) of the forum who are granted access to the posts and threads of all members for the purpose of moderating discussion (similar to arbitration) and also keeping the forum clean (neutralizing spam and spambots etc.).[21] Because they have access to all posts and threads in their area of responsibility, it is common for a friend of the site owner to be promoted to moderator for such a task. Moderators also answer users' concerns about the forum, general questions, as well as respond to specific complaints. They also can do anything to lend a helping hand to a user in need.[22] Moderators themselves may have ranks: some may be given mod privileges over only a particular topic or section, while others (called 'global' or 'super') may be allowed access anywhere. Common privileges of moderators include: deleting, merging, moving, and splitting of posts and threads, locking, renaming, stickying of threads, banning, suspending, unsuspending, unbanning, warning the members, or adding, editing, removing the polls of threads.[23] 'Junior Modding', 'Backseat Modding', or 'Forum copping' can refer negatively to the behavior of ordinary users who take a moderator-like tone in criticizing other members.

Essentially, it is the duty of the moderator to manage the day-to-day affairs of a forum or board as it applies to the stream of user contributions and interactions. The relative effectiveness of this user management directly impacts the quality of a forum in general, its appeal, and its usefulness as a community of interrelated users.

Administrator

The administrators (short form: "admin") manage the technical details required for running the site. As such, they may promote (and demote) members to moderators, manage the rules, create sections and sub-sections, as well as perform any database operations (database backup etc.). Administrators often also act as moderators. Administrators may also make forum-wide announcements, or change the appearance (known as the skin) of a forum.[23]

The term prune used extensively in administration panels is synonymous with delete or remove. The term comes from pruning, the practice of removing diseased, non-productive, or otherwise unwanted portions from a plant.

Post

A post is a user submitted message enclosed into a block containing the user's details and the date and time it was submitted. Members are usually allowed to edit or delete their own posts. Posts are contained in threads, where they appear as boxes one after another. The first post starts the thread; this may be called the TS (thread starter) or OP (original post). Posts that follow in the thread are meant to continue discussion about that post, or respond to other replies; it is not uncommon for discussions to be derailed.

On Western forums, the classic way to show a member's own details (such as name and avatar) has been on the left side of the post, in a narrow column of fixed width, with the post controls located on the right, at the bottom of the main body, above the signature block. In more recent forum software implementations the Asian style of displaying the members' details above the post has been copied.

Posts have an internal limit usually measured in characters. Often one is required to have a message of minimum length of 10 characters. There is always an upper limit but it is rarely reached – most boards have it at either 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 or 50,000 characters.

Most forums keep track of a user's postcount. The postcount is a measurement of how many posts a certain user has made.[24] Users with higher postcounts are often considered more reputable than users with lower postcounts. Some forums have disabled postcounts in the hopes that doing so will reduce the emphasis on quantity over quality of information.

Thread

A thread (sometimes called a topic) is a collection of posts, usually displayed from oldest to latest, although this is typically configurable: options for newest to oldest and for a threaded view (a tree-like view applying logical reply structure before chronological order) can be available. A thread is defined by a title, an additional description that may summarize the intended discussion, and an opening or original post (common abbreviation 'OP', which can also mean original poster) which opens whatever dialogue or makes whatever announcement the poster wished. A thread can contain any number of posts, including multiple posts from the same members, even if they are one after the other.

A thread is contained in a forum, and may have an associated date which is taken as the date of the last post (options to order threads by other criteria are generally available). When a member posts in a thread it will jump to the top since it is the latest updated thread. Similarly, other threads will jump in front of it when they receive posts. When a member posts in a thread for no reason but to have it go to the top, it is referred to as a bump or bumping. Threads which are important but rarely receive posts are stickyed (or, in some software, 'pinned'). A sticky thread will always appear in front of normal threads, often in its own section.

A thread's popularity is measured on forums in reply (total posts minus one – the opening post) counts. Some forums also track page views. Threads meeting a set number of posts or a set number of views may receive a designation such as "hot thread" and be displayed with a different icon compared to others threads. This icon may stand out more to emphasize the thread.



Last edited Thursday, February 10, 2011

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