#1  
Old 06-10-2006, 01:23 PM
mangeorge mangeorge is offline
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Forum, or forums?

This question is about message boards in general, not just ATMB.
I once was corrected on this board when I called a thread a forum. The person claimed that the entire board was a forum.
Anyway, what is the breakdown? It seems to me, according to m-w;
Quote:
3 a : a public meeting or lecture involving audience discussion
that each thread would be a forum since each share a common topic involving audience discussion. "General Questions" is not a topic, the individual threads are. Right?
Please, what's the straight dope?
Peace,
mangeorge
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  #2  
Old 06-10-2006, 01:28 PM
Airman Doors, USAF Airman Doors, USAF is offline
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The board itself is a forum, but there are individual fora (specific subdivisions) within the collective forum. A thread is a topic in each individual forum, the forum being the "meeting place" for discussion.

The bottom line is this: the plural of forum is fora. A topic presented at a forum is not a forum in and of itself.
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Old 06-10-2006, 01:31 PM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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The board is the board. The fora are the individual categories broken up for general areas of discussion (Great Debates, General Questions and MPSIMS are fora). Threads are threads -- i.e specific conversations and lines of discussion.

In a broader more geneic sense, it's also acceptable English to refer to an entire message board as a "forum," but the same could be said of the internet as a whole. In message board terminology, a forum is a subcategory of the board.
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Old 06-10-2006, 01:47 PM
mangeorge mangeorge is offline
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Fora, huh? Never hoid of such a thing. I learn something new hourly, it seems.
I tend to think of each thread as a meeting, with a single topic for discussion. But I can see how that might be a problem on the internet since anyone has access to that discussion and at the same time to any other discussion.
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Old 06-10-2006, 02:03 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mangeorge
Fora, huh? Never hoid of such a thing. I learn something new hourly, it seems.
That's because it's just a false-latinate overcorrection. The OED dates "forums" and the plural since at least 1647 (and they cite a latin scholar of the time using the word), and most dictionaries list "fora" as just a variant.

And just because the latin plural would have been "fora" is completely irrelevant. "Forum" is an English word derived from latin, so it follows English plural standards, like all other English words derived from latin.
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Old 06-10-2006, 02:16 PM
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Whoever corrected you for that was a grammar nazi. And "fora" is incredibly pedantic.

FWIW, the message board software, vBulletin, refers to the board by its name ("Straight Dope Message Board") and each sub-forum (GQ, IMHO, etc.) as a Forum (see "Forum Jump" in the lower right hand corner).

There's no "correct" rule here. This is English you're talking about -- already a very loose / ungoverned language -- and it's Internet English to boot. Nothing except popular usage determines its correctness.
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Old 06-10-2006, 02:24 PM
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Sorry, I misread your first post. It IS uncommon to call a thread a forum, not necessarily because it's wrong but just because it's too ambiguous and confusing.
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Old 06-10-2006, 02:28 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck
That's because it's just a false-latinate overcorrection. The OED dates "forums" and the plural since at least 1647 (and they cite a latin scholar of the time using the word), and most dictionaries list "fora" as just a variant.

And just because the latin plural would have been "fora" is completely irrelevant. "Forum" is an English word derived from latin, so it follows English plural standards, like all other English words derived from latin.
I always thought a good rule of thumb is that if you wouldn't put a word in italics, then treat it like an English word. There may have been many fora in the Roman empire, but there are many forums on the internet.
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Old 06-10-2006, 02:35 PM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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I was using it facetiously. I wouldn't actually try to "correct" anyone about it.
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Old 06-10-2006, 04:42 PM
mangeorge mangeorge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reply
Sorry, I misread your first post. It IS uncommon to call a thread a forum, not necessarily because it's wrong but just because it's too ambiguous and confusing.
I agree. I didn't make it a point to call the thread a forum. Upon re-reading I agreed.
What I'm asking here is, where is the forum on a message board? I have trouble with General Questions being a forum, though only as a technicality, because there are so mant topics and so many unrelated discussions going on at the same time. But I accept, and embrace, the use of the term as a matter of "common usage".
  #11  
Old 06-10-2006, 05:41 PM
scm1001 scm1001 is offline
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I will sacrifice a virgin to the great god Google and let it decide

Forums 2,440,000,000 hits
Fora 64,400,000 hits

Forums have it
  #12  
Old 06-10-2006, 05:51 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scm1001
I will sacrifice a virgin to the great god Google and let it decide

Forums 2,440,000,000 hits
Fora 64,400,000 hits

Forums have it
I suggest we use that method to decide the next too-close-to-call presidential election in the US. It'll be less embarassing than the method we used last time.
  #13  
Old 06-10-2006, 05:58 PM
mangeorge mangeorge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scm1001
I will sacrifice a virgin to the great god Google and let it decide

Forums 2,440,000,000 hits
Fora 64,400,000 hits

Forums have it
But only by 4 to 1.
You'll never get that in an election.
mangeorge
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