A discussion forum is a virtual place on the internet where conversations can take place and information can be shared more easily among a geographically dispersed group of people. Discussion forums are typically created around a specific topic of common interest or for a specific user group around a particular piece of work. Discussion Forums have many things in common with Email Lists.
Who Can Participate in a Discussion Forum?
Whoever controls the area where a discussion forum is used determines who can read and contribute to the forum. You can make them open to all of an organization or to just a small group of people. Giving people access to a forum, however, does not ensure they will read or participate. Their must be a compelling reason for the forum and most often you need to facilitate and encourage the discussion
Online discussion forums have been around since computers were first networked. One of the original intentions of the Internet was to make it easy for scientists to collaborate. The most important early discussion forums were on USENET, which started in 1979. Discussion forums later became the base for many online communities.
There are many ways to use discussion forums, from formal structured conversations to informal “cafés”. The difference between them is the focus and duration of the conversation.
Discussion forum weaknesses
If people don’t regularly go to the workspace on the hive, they are less likely to participate in a discussion forum.
If there are multiple forums, people may not know which forum to participate in.
Discussion forum conversations can drag on without an action or decision if they are not facilitated. Don’t expect every discussion to work without a little encouragement and structure.
Key principles for Facilitation and moderation of discussions
Examples of discussion forum practices
Dgroups is an online home for groups and communities interested in international development. In Dgroups, one can find the online tools and services needed to support the activities of a team, a group, a network, a partnership or a community. Dgroups is also a place to find groups who are interested in the same topics in international development as you.
Contact your organisation's partner .
Yahoogroups is a free online service provided by Yahoo!. It is a free service allowing communities with common interests to set up a common “group” and share message (which are archived), photos, events calendars, polls and links.
Googlegroupsis a free online service provided by Google.
CSO-CGIAR Forum Dgroup: http://www.dgroups.org/groups/cgiar/cso-cgiar-forum/index.cfm
Models and Examples of discussion forums in international NGOs.
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