Forum Length and Space

Forums use length and space very differently from most social media outlets. Forums are similar to wikis in the aspect that they are reliant on collaboration. The content and knowledge that a thread produces is dependent on contributors continually adding information resulting in a conversation that readers can learn from. Forum threads range in length depending on the number of replies a thread receives. Individually one contributor may only add one line of content but with four hundred contributors the thread can become equal to an essay in length. To better understand how forums use length and space I looked closely at three in particular; , , .

On each of the forums readers can pick from a list of threads. Each forum’s list shows the threads title as well as how many people have viewed the thread and how many people have replied to the thread, this is good for letting the reader know the general length of a thread before they click on it. More specifically this information lets the reader know the popularity of the post allowing them to determine sooner if it is worth reading or not. Posts that receive little contribution usually lack the content necessary for knowledgeable discourse and are not worth while reading. Replies range from zero into the hundreds. On average received 73.3 replies per thread, would receive 17.7 replies per thread, and received roughly 64.7 replies per thread on average. Each of these averages was taken from each forum’s “general” page, where threads have no specific subject. In specific subject areas contributors would give many more or less replies depending on the subject. For example on the “supper clubs” page received very few replies because most of the threads were posts announcing meet ups which require little contribution to serve their purpose. In the “your looks” page however, there are many replies because these posts are usually question oriented which requires much contribution to serve its purpose. In conclusion a pages length is heavily reliant on contributor intently keeping a thread alive.

Forums use space as diversely as they use length. In the previous paragraph I discussed how subject matter greatly influences thread length, but the subject also affects space as well. The original post of a thread is usually the largest contribution. These original posts are most often a question a person has but can also be whole paragraphs comprised of an argument, proposal, or just a place to publish their thoughts. Questions are on average only one to three lines, arguments or comparisons run around a paragraph, proposals vary greatly, and people’s thoughts can be up to a page of content or more. When it comes to forums, space and length are extremely variable depending on subject matter, contributors, and purpose of thread.

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