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Chat Forum vs. Message Forum

Forums: Questions and Answers About Building Your Site
Created on: 09/16/17 09:05 AM Views: 554 Replies: 6
Saturday, September 16, 2017 at 9:05 AM

We are about to test forums on our site, and I'd like to learn about other sites' experiences with chat forum versus message forum versus using both. I can see that the chat forum page allows multiple separate forums and allows topic threads in each of those forums. The message forum appears to be just one long streaming set of messages, with no other organization.
Which option (chat, message or both) seems to have worked best for your sites? If you only use one, why?

I'll leave issues like moderation, troublemakers, trolling, et cetera, for other threads. For now, just looking for advice on which type of forum to set up.


Craig Shelton

Edited 09/16/17 9:07 AM
Saturday, September 16, 2017 at 11:07 AM - Response #1

Many sites - including mine - use the Message Forum as a Community Bulletin board. The original root on our site did not set up any User Forums, and I haven't seen a pressing need to turn them on yet although other sites have used them for subjects such as "Where were you on 9/11/2001" this month to document and share memories.

Saturday, September 16, 2017 at 3:43 PM - Response #2

We use the Message Forum as a way for classmates to communicate with each other. The User Forum is for blogs or posts like what was popular in our senior year. Neither is used a lot.

Saturday, September 16, 2017 at 11:18 PM - Response #3

Our site is relatively new but so far there has been almost no interest in the User Forum. In fact, we recently turned it off. The Message Forum is used sparingly, mostly for comments on Birthdays. I've sent out two surveys to classmates asking what they would like to see for interactive communication via the website and the responses have been very limited. Seems they are mostly interested in Obituaries (they are in their 70s), Birthdays and anything FREE !

Sunday, September 17, 2017 at 12:16 AM - Response #4

Same here and it's been much longer. Thanks for the idea of turning it off Idea

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 at 2:33 AM - Response #5


I use both and feel that they serve different purposes. The messages that scroll down the What's New page are quickly lost, virtually forever as they get pushed down by newer messages.

We've had important messages (unexpected death of a classmates' spouse) pushed out of sight literally seconds after they posted it when someone posted 8 new photos of their dog almost simultaneously, and few classmates scroll very far down the list.

The User Forums, I've renamed on our site as Blog/Forums give you the ability to actually find something at a later date and are quite useful in that regard. Additionally, any comments stay linked to that post and can be easily found later.

The only disadvantage that I can see to the User Forums is that when a new post is created, rather than send out a Teaser with a little information to draw people back to the site, the entire new post goes out (at least it used to, and I assume it still does) which completely eliminates the Teaser advantage of attracting them back to the website.

I don't see any down side to having both, it costs you nothing. Just my 2 cents worth.

Monday, July 23, 2018 at 5:24 PM - Response #6

What’s New has become almost useless to our site. There are a number of very long threads where new stuff is appended. Then the user needs to scroll way down to find it. My class of 68-year olds does not seem hip enough to participate with the User Forums, which is actually a nice implementation. Will try a few more ideas to get folks on User Forums but it is not looking good now. If “Who was your favorite teacher?” Can’t do it, I can’t think of what will.

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