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A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Internet Forums

2311 words - 10 pages

On the Internet one can find a myriad of different things, such as articles on current events, recipes for cooking, digital dictionaries, and even debates. Many people associate the Internet with a lack of seriousness, a place to get cheap information on topics, communicate with colleagues, and perhaps even teach a class through instructional videos but few people would argue that the Internet holds up to a place in Academia, such as a school, in terms of organization and structure. In fact many people associate an Internet debate with ad hominem attacks, frustration, and a lack of any logic whatsoever. Even with that bad reputation, the Internet continues to be one of the largest mediums for debate in world, organized or otherwise. Throughout human history debate has been the crux of a civilized society for it was a way to combat ideas and people without having to resort to petty violence, but now it seems that debate has left the average American’s daily life and traveled somewhere else, somewhere without boundaries and restrictions on what you can say, it traveled to the Internet in the form of chat rooms and forums.
Internet forums and chat rooms are two different beasts entirely, but both promote discussions and debate between multiple parties from around the world. The Internet forum is not so different from the historical Roman Forum, an ancient meeting place for the Roman people to discuss business transactions, observe trials, and listen to speeches. Just like the Roman Forum, a forum on the Internet is a meeting ground for various individuals to discuss a multitude of topics in a, sometimes, organized fashion. Although rules vary from forum to forum, most have similar guidelines so that their users are not heckled when they present an unpopular opinion, and discussions do not turn into all-out wars with insults as their main offense. On these forums people can make topics and posts, sometimes with limits but most of the time they can be as long as the user desires. People then can discuss and reply to them, much like presenting your point to someone and then asking for their thoughts on the matter. The posts in a topic remain there unless the topic is deleted and therefore allows someone to check where a debate began, what points were made, and where it ended up at, providing a good history of past and ongoing debates on the forum. The chat room, on the other hand, is quite the opposite in terms of organization when compared to the forum.
The chat room is much like a discussion at the dinner table or at a coffee shop, it is a real-time discussion that goes by quickly and can be recorded, but more often than not isn’t. In a chat room people from around the world simply type in what they want to say, and it’s said to the entire room, again much like a normal discussion. One cannot make long, drawn-out posts like in a forum but rather they must be concise, clear, and quick. Forums imply debate and discussion just from the name,...

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