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A forum consists of a tree-like directory structure. A forum can be divided into categories for the relevant discussions.

Under the categories are sub-forums and these sub-forums can further have more sub-forums.

The topics (commonly called threads) come under the lowest level of sub-forums and these are the places under which members can start their discussions or posts.

Logically forums are organized into a finite set of generic topics (usually with one main topic) driven and updated by a group known as members, and governed by a group known as moderators.

A person viewing a closed thread as a member will see a box saying he does not have the right to submit messages there, but a moderator will likely see the same box granting him access to more than just posting messages.

with over two million per day on their largest forum, 2channel.

Each package offers different features, from the most basic, providing text-only postings, to more advanced packages, offering multimedia support and formatting code (usually known as BBCode).

Many packages can be integrated easily into an existing website to allow visitors to post comments on articles.

Forums perform a function similar to that of dial-up bulletin board systems and Usenet networks that were first created starting in the late 1970s.

A sense of virtual community often develops around forums that have regular users.

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