Message Board

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What Does Message Board Mean?

A message board is an online discussion area in which users with similar interests discuss topics. These conversations or discussions are available in the form of posted messages.


Discussions are listed in a central place maintained on web pages. Message boards can be specialized or general, global or local, free or subscription-based, public or private, etc.

Due to the simplicity and uncomplicated accessibility, message boards have become an excellent source of discussion and communication on the Internet.

In these friendly discussion spots, members are able to view posts, post new queries or respond to existing queries posted by other members.

A message board is also known as a forum, an online forum, and Internet forum or a discussion board.

Techopedia Explains Message Board

A message board comprises a hierarchical (tree-like) structure. It may include one or more sub forums, each of which can include numerous topics.

Inside a forum, every new discussion started is known as a thread. There is no restriction on how many messages can be posted under each thread.

Most forums come with robust search features, which helps users to go to an existing discussion quickly. With respect to the forum’s settings, users can access, read, and post messages either as an anonymous user or as a registered member.

In some forums, the users must register and log in to post messages. The majority of the forums allow users to read the existing threads without logging in. The present-day message boards came from bulletin boards, and are considered a technological advancement of the dialup bulletin-board system.

Software programs to set up online forums are extensively available on the web. Every program offers distinct features: some offer standard features like provisions for text-only postings, while some others offer more sophisticated programs, which include formatting code (often called BBCode) and multimedia support.

Various programs may be incorporated simply into an existing website to let visitors post their comments. Common jargon associated with message boards includes:

  • User group: The Western-style forums coordinate visitors and registered members into user groups. Rights and privileges are given depending on these groups.
  • Administrator: An administrator or admin handles the technical details essential to run the site.
  • Moderator: A moderator is a user or an employee of the message board who is granted access to the threads and posts of all members. The moderator’s main job is to moderate discussions and keep the forums clean, for example, eliminating spam and spambots, etc. Moderators also respond to users’ concerns regarding the forum, general queries, as well as reply to specific complaints.
  • Thread: A thread or topic is a group of posts, often exhibited from newest to oldest.
  • Post: A post is a message submitted by the user, which is enclosed into a block that contains the user’s details as well as the date and time in which the message was submitted. Members are permitted to edit or delete their own posts in most cases. Posts are held under threads, where they are displayed as blocks one after another.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.