Forums, Blogs, Threads, Comments… Structure!
Over on the Web2.0 Show blog, Darren Stuart asks ‘Are Blogs The New Forums?’
“Lets look at the function of a forum.
Users post messages for discussion. Users post messages discussing other messages. These discussions are normally in categorised in to sub forums.
Now lets look at the function of a Blog
A Blogger posts something interesting. Visitors post comments on the Blogger’s post. The Blogger’s posts are normally categorised and tagged.
As you can see the core functions of both Blogs and forums are almost identical.”
I totally agree! I too love forums. From usenet groups to phpBB. IMHO, the thread structure of forums are perfect for almost all communication and publication online.
Now pause for a moment to think and have a look at an OPML file 🙂
I often say that the only web software we (almost) ever needed was the remarkably influential ‘WWWBoard’ perl script, from a place called ‘Matt’s Script Archive‘. (I’m amazed it’s still there! – looking different though 😉 )I cut my coding teeth on that lot, years ago. Even hacked it make a flat-file content management system too 😉 WWWBoard was one of the earliest examples of an ‘open-source’ script that I ever encountered. Matt had other scripts too, for voting and the like. All very useful stuff. Until I found PHP 😉
Any post of anything online has certain basic attributes – a title, body text, author and date.
Having a post exist within the structure of a ‘thread’ – ‘a reply to reply’ or ‘a sub category of a sub category’ – the content immediately has context, reference, ‘a place’ – based on the details of its ‘parent’. It could be a comment to a post, a post on a forum, a reply to that post, a new user submitted script in code documenation, a comment on a comment on an area of a photo, a threaded discussion of experiences at a geographic location. Anything!
I’m actually working on something interesting in this area (I think!) – based around the upgrade to podcast.com which I am (still!) working on.
Let me say it again : It’s “OPML PLUS RSS TO THE POWER OF USERS!” 🙂
Do you catch my drift? 😉 Look up the tree!