The Fundamental Differences Between a Forum and a Blog

Prior to starting this blog, I was a regular member of two popular local forums for the past four years. Comparing a forum with a blog, both do share similarities like how one creates a thread/post, one expect people to read it and then comment on it. But there are differences as well. Please bear with me, as this is a long post.

Firstly, a common thing in a forum is what we call crappy threads, a thread that readers has no ideas at all what the author is talking about, a cock and bull story with no attached pictures to prove his/her claim or just simply trolls. Standard replies one will likely see in such a thread are “This thread sux!”, “Close and ban”, “LOL” or simply smiley.

In a forum, people are more straightforward and sometimes harsh in their replies. One of the possible reasons might be due to post counts. Forum people especially newer members are very concern of the amount of posts they have. Some view a high post count as a form of status and seniority thus will make a mad rush to post in every threads. That is perfectly normal. Hey even me myself do it when I first started out. The feeling is that one wants to be part of every discussion. I guess I have lots of time back then, unlike now.

So when one clicked on a crappy thread and find out one has just wasted one’s time reading it, the only way to get something worthwhile of this worthless thread is by posting a irrelevant comment to plus one to one’s post count. That is why even if a thread is crappy, it is not surprising to see pages of non-constructive replies flaming the authour. This is totally acceptable. It’s our way of telling the authour to stop spamming the fourms with your crappy threads.

But in a blog, people tend to post positive replies. Even if the topic isn’t interesting, at most people just don’t comment on it. You seldom see people criticizing and scolding one’s blog post right?

No! Not another crappy post.

This behaviour can be further explained by categorizing a forum as a coffee shop and a blog as one’s house. It’s ok for one to make commotion in a coffee shop or any public places since it is open to all, everyone is free to voice their feelings but you do not get people coming to your house and telling you that you sux right?

Secondly, forum people hate newbies. They dislike newbies asking the same questions that had been answered before in previous threads over and over again, newbies who expect to be spoon-fed with answers without doing a simple search first, newbies who post in the wrong place, newbies who didn’t read the guidelines before posting etc. Nobody blames you for asking a n00b question in a blog right?

To wind things up before it gets too long, one must be thick skin, open minded and able to take criticism to survive in a forum. Btw whatever I mentioned above, I’m guilty of committing. I just wanted to share my thoughts and get your opinion. Feel free to discuss.


About sergeant gordon

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27 Responses to The Fundamental Differences Between a Forum and a Blog

  1. k says:

    i agree. so… morale of the story is “make friends with newbies and invite them to your house so that you don’t sux” ^^

    btw, have you seen sonsaku in my house?

  2. Panther says:

    Lol I was on an elitist forum for gaming in ONE game for 5 years. I know. I have been guilty of flaming newbs as well, though around the time I got made a mod I was more helpful and always tried to be nice and helpful to others.

    Also, this is “long”? Then what are my posts? Sagas. >_<

  3. anonymous coward says:

    what! i expected to read more when i click to read the rest of the entry!

    hmmm come to think of it.. yea less crits. and nonsense in blog postings.

    i hardly participate in any forums even those of interest to me. i just lurk around for information instead of participating in discussion. its not that i do not want to share or anything but maybe im just emo. lol!

    at times, its not that i do not want to search. maybe i searched on the wrong term. i ask a ‘silly’ question and within seconds. the elite people will slam me with RTFM, DIDNT YOU READ THE STICKY?! etc etc…

  4. nckl says:

    *Good* forums don’t tolerate 1-word/1 smiley replies, useless posts, trolls, etc. May I even go as far as to say that good forums also don’t even show post counts to cut down on the number of post whores. When all this crap is cut out, I actually prefer forums over blogs because, as you said, it’s a lot like a coffee shop: lots of stuff being talked about at the same time, but hopefully still relevant to the original topic.

    As for newbies, it’s definitely easier to be one as a blogger rather than on a forum. The problem of being a new blogger, though, is that you may not get anywhere near as many responses (if any) to your thoughts because nobody knows about your blog unless it gets on something like AnimeNano (or they shamelessly plug and spam anywhere and everywhere).

    So to conclude, I like both forums and blogs, and being a n00b sucks. 😐

  5. puppy52doll says:

    I haven’t really posted on forums that much these days ^^;;;;
    mostly lurk lol

    LOL at panther’s reference to his blog entries XD

  6. Caitlin says:

    Could it also be that blogs are much more targeted in subject matter and so the overwhelming responses are positive because people more likely to agree with the author would read it?

    I also like your analogy of the forum as a coffee shop and the blog as a house. I came to the same conclusion after thinking about the comment policy.

  7. Mizunaga says:

    Nice comparison. Good analogy too. I agree, though I was probably one of those n00b posters too ^^;

    I agree with Panther- this post wasn’t that long..

  8. nanu says:

    For a big forum, it is tough to justify maintaining an identity there unless you dedicate much of your time there. I much prefer smaller, specialized communities as long as they can sustain themselves and not turn into ghosttowns after a month.

    It really depends on the forum for the extent of douchebaggery that is tolerated in exchange for a productive experience. Policies and strictness vary much. Most of the time “how things work” in a forum just comes with the intended accompanying culture and audience. It helps to lurk around the forum for a while if you seek membership/acceptance.

    That said, much of your observations for forums supports that it can be beneficial to participate. Having to defend yourself online is much easier than iRL, and you can get opinions from people can help keep you grounded, or provide different perspectives, rather than mostly headnods.

    Blogs are nice when you feel posting on a forum isn’t productive or the content necessarily warrants discussion, but exposure is another thing entirely as a result; will your like-minded audience find you and what you want to share?

  9. Lsio says:

    I only lurk in forums; in fact I don’t visit to any forums nowadays.

    Although I read slow, I have to agree this article isn’t that long.

  10. infestor51 says:

    “Good” forums are in fact elitist, what with all the strict rules, the common “Search you nub”, and stuff, but for good reason: A lotta people (especially the newbies and the n00bs) treat forums like a chat room, thinking clicking the smiley button and posting “lolz” is really teh awesome. And hence, you have the no-spamming rule. And so on and so forth.

    A blog, however, has no rules, yet newbies don’t come over and go “:):):):)”. I think it’s how the way people think; they treat a forum like a chat room, and a blog as a…newspaper, or a tabloid. I do get spam occasionally though, once a friend (from a forum) just commented “Hai :)”.

    However, it’s not that people won’t flame you, though. Put up a tagboard on your blog, and guess what, people will treat it as a chat room, though to a lesser extent since it’s a “chat room” on a “tabloid”. Also, if you post something people really don’t agree with, there is that possibility that they’ll argue with you, but at least it’s constructive arguing.

    And for the record, speaking as a mod myself, I never did like the “Search you nub”, or “Look at the stickies idiot” stuff, since we shouldn’t expect newbies to be so friggen smart the first time they post, especially not at an MMO forum in which the MMO is catered for the younger audience.

    Also (yes this really is going off-topic), newbies are newbies, n00bs are idiots who refuse to learn anything. That’s how it goes, anyway.

  11. Neutrinos says:

    Most forums I read are specialized in the topics, e.g. gaming, photography, gadgetry. Woe be the person who posts unrelated topics, or tread on unspoken OB markers. In that sense blogs offer much more freedom as long as you do it responsibly ;P

    I don’t know why but the image of EDMW @ hardwarezone pops up in my mind when I read your post. That’s probably the forum that offers the most freedom of all. Haha

    Pruss wanton mee! =X

  12. danielmer says:

    im a moderator in a forum that i spend most of my time and i see a lot of n00bs. i say there are good n00bs and r-tard n00bs. good n00bs read the rules and want to learn about certain things but r-tard n00bs piss me off because they are the product of stupid blended with ignorance.

  13. gordon says:

    great discussion guys. ^^;

    firstly, this blog is the longest i wrote. i’m glad u guys/girls don’t find it long. was afraid people might not read it. ^^;

    i also find that sticky threads in forums -> NO BODY READS THEM!

    some of u here mentioned lurking. i think it’s good. newbies should do it to observe what is the culture like in forum to avoid asking n00bish questions and getting flamed.

    lastly Neutrinos mentioned EDMW. that’s one of the 2 forums i mentioned i often visit. the people are harsh but they are very humorous and creative and are very fast with posting the lastest news and pictures.

  14. D_Blade says:

    I guess forums are more difficult to follow, as threads quickly amass and if you’re not a regular member, mistakes are generally unforgiven (hence why newbies are discouraged to join).
    I always believed that forums are somehow harsher as again, a non-respect of the rules goes with ban. However, forums are a bit extreme in the way they can have implicit rules that are shared within/agreed upon the core members… It could be like a code.
    Blogs on the other hand, are created by one or two people (or a relatively small team), usually don’t ask for membership, and even if rules are not so tight, netiquette is necessary; but it also means that people can quit/enter anytime.
    Anyway, the common issue with both is people with bad intentions, whether it be the ones creating the stuff or those participating in it.

  15. The Sojourner says:

    Another possible reason why you see less criticism on blogs is probably because of commentators wanting to blend into the small community that a blog has already established. But that is not always the case, as shown in this example

  16. Fatb says:

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:

    “I like cheese”

    Thankyou and goodnight.

  17. Random Misconception says:

    I’m actually still a member of two forums, HardwareZone and AnimeSuki and was thinking ’bout joining the Hongfire network.

    Point is, forums are primarily a place for constructive criticism and advice, however, there are trolls who derail discussion and (from what I have seen) people who can’t even use proper grammar and english. It’s okay to abbreviate or talk in internet speak, but please make SENSE.

    I however, make it a point to welcome newbies, that’s why I like AnimeSuki. A very friendly and helpful forum.

    And sometimes, it does help to read the sticky =x

  18. The Sojourner says:

    Oh crap I was being rhetoric, that is pretty much the reason why ‘newfags’ do what they do on forums (or is it?). Just that it wields different results in the forums and the blogs.

  19. allentyb says:

    Amen to flaming, banzai banzai banzi~~~~ But flaming comes with a price to pay, and that is ban hammer

  20. Abao says:

    SGF is more like a coffeeshop compared to a blog, which is more like your second home.

    In a coffeeshop, where there are little or no rules, one can flame and get away with it. That is, unless the mod has PMS or some ban worthy reasons.

    In somebody’s home, the least you can do when leaving your footprints is to say something constructive. Or say nothing at all.

    I still prefer the Old SGF over the new one, which is one of the reasons why I rarely go back there as well…except to bump 2 threads occasionally.

  21. Abao says:

    btw, i see allentyb is still alive and well 🙂

  22. Hynavian says:

    Actually it depends on the forum and the topics too. I have seen “constructive” and “hard core” discussions on claymore in certain forums, each post substantial enough to stand on it’s own as an argumentative essay BUT I can’t say so for others like…naruto (naruto fans did not hear me, they did not hear me).

    Touching on another issue, n00bs and trolls are pretty common everywhere, be it in forums or blogs. Some just post one liners in forums while the others post needless to mention comments in blogs just to up their comment count. There’s a member in a forum that I’m in charge of who’s VERY concerned of his post count. He’ll just post daily, regardless of content, to maintain his undisputed status of “highest post count champion”. It created much resentment and displeasure among the other members and I have to handle complain PMs and try to “pacify” them. O_o…the bad memories resurfaced after reading this post *sob sob*… Oh, I wonder why bloggers don’t receive private emails containing complains of a particular troll? What a big difference! ^__________^

  23. gordon says:

    Random Misconception,
    u are a member of hardwarezone as well? which forums do u go to often? EDMW?

    we are all too familiar with that don’t we?

    the 2 threads u mentioned are the yuko oruga thread and the other one is what?

    LOL @ the post count whore u mentioned. i too used to be concern of my post count but as time goes by, they don’t really matter to me anymore.

  24. allentyb says:

    I am a victim of online dictatorship, i am a keyboard warrior, no doubt about that. Oh well, oh between, art central need to improve on the selection of anime titles to broadcast, Shakugan no Shana is a old title, if art central really want to be aggressive about anime, then PICK SOUL EATER FOR GOD SAKE.

  25. Abao says:

    the other is the kiguchi aya thread i started ^_^

  26. SeillalpVattile says:

    Hi. I repeatedly be familiar with this forum. This is the oldest culture undisputed to ask a topic.
    How numberless in this forum are references progressive behind, disingenuous users?
    Can I depute all the communication that there is?

  27. fapsraseevage says:

    I am here at a forum newcomer. Until I read and deal with the forum.
    Let’s learn!

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