Man is a social animal, and communicating is his basic instinct. By necessity, and by his need for expression, man indulges in many social activities all of which rely on communication. Chats and Forums are modern, online extensions of this very propensity. As with many other areas, so with expression and communication, the computer revolution and the internet have provided many new dimensions to pre-existing social realities.
While etymologically online chat can refer to all communication done over a network, it usually refers to one to one chat via various applications that might include the old IRC channels, talkers, MUDs, MUCKs, etc, or the contemporary voice chat programs. Of late, chatting is mostly done with instant messengers (IM), which were originally designed to act as adjuncts to mail services (Yahoo! Messenger and MSN Messenger provide instant messaging services to their respective mail services, for example). Today’s chat programs allow voice and video chatting facilities as well. Chatting can be one-to-one, or one-to-many, or many-to-many; it can be private or public. One can enter pre-existing ‘chat-rooms’, or create new ones. Chat conversations are usually not moderated.
A Forum, on the other hand, is a discussion board, and is the online equivalent of an actual forum. Just like we talk on various, usually specific, topic on an occasion, seeking advice, help, or just expression, so in online Forums (or ‘Fora’, the correct Latin plural) one could do any of the above. Internet forums are also commonly referred to as web forums, message boards, discussion boards, discussion groups or bulletin boards. Forums may be moderated or unmoderated; participation may be through registration, or directly; and they may serve various purposes.
In this section of the web directory, we provide interesting links to many online chats and forums on a variety of topics.