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Chats and Forums and Message Boards
Oh my.

Q. What's the different between a Forum, Chat, and Message Board?
A. Nothing. They are all basically the same thing. A rose is a rose is a rose. By any other name it would still have user supplied questions and answers.

Web-based forums can provide many positive functions to your website.

  • Stickiness -- folks will return to see if there is an answer to their posting on the forum.
  • Dynamic ever-changing content.
  • You have the wonderful side-effect of many third-parties providing you ready-made content for your website.
  • On-line support for your goods and services.

Yet another benefit of a message board is presence on search engines. On Newbie.Org we receive a good deal of traffic from a thread in our chat forum about Rundll32. This relates to a problem many folks have with the telephon.ini file which isn't supported by standard literature. Suffice it to say when someone goes looking for an answer to this problem they find our website because of this posting on our message board.

It would be a wise idea any time you go looking for a bit of hard to find information related to your business that you post your question and the found answer in your message board. This can serve as a memo pad for yourself and since you found it important for your business you may well attract like-minded folks to your business when they go looking for the bit of data. Also because many websites come and go it is not a bad idea to keep a copy of truly useful information where you can get your hands on it.

By the way here are some useful rules for posting on message boards:

  1. Do not spam! If you feel that you have to force feed your message to the world maybe that's because the world doesn't want to hear it. In which case you can bet that the more you push an unwanted message the more negative reaction you will receive. So if you are trying to promote a website being irritating is not necessarily the best approach.
  2. Do not flame! Chat forums are a place to communicate. No where will you see the rule written that chat forums are the place for people to agree with you or to share your exact views. If you have a low tolerance for others who don't agree with you chat forums are not the best place to dramatize that. If you make an ass out of yourself at a party people may eventually forget. In a chat forum your stupidity lasts forever.
  3. Yes! Do participate in the discussions! Don't just hit and run. If you come by to express a personal message people will look better on your postings if they know you from previous on-topic postings.
  4. Don't post off-topic. If the chat forum is devoted to poetry talk poetry -- don't talk car repair or get rich quick schemes.
  5. Treat others with respect! Always give others the same treatment and respect you would want them to give you. You will be recognized for your civility far more than a witty put-down.
  6. Build relationships! You are on a chat board to interact with others aren't you? If you are only on the forum to push product do yourself a favor and don't waste your time. You and your intentions are much more transparent then you may think. Nobody likes to be treated like game board pieces to be moved around at a merchant's pleasure.

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