Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Sandra L. Nichols & Thom Lieb
Discussion boards, also known as electronic bulletin boards or message boards, are used to host Internet forums in which participants with shared interests exchange messages on a wide range of topics—from politics, the environment, education, and religion, to sports, fashion, video gaming, and parenting. An ideal format for fostering virtual communities over the Internet, discussion boards have been extensively used in the movement toward enhancing a deliberative democracy—by providing the means for facilitating the exchange of online messages with users sharing experiences and ideas. They have also been used to increase the economic value of an organization's online presence by generating traffic and providing a source of entertainment. The democratic and economic potential of these Internet forums attracted news organizations which were early adopters of the technology. A precursor to Internet-based discussion boards was the dial-up Bulletin Board System, or BBS, which is a computer system with software that allows ...