Thing 13: Forums

(Thanks, Toothpaste for Dinner)

Okay, we get it. Usenet is old. Usenet is actually super old. If internet years were like dog years – and they are – then Usenet could be your grandmother. But the reason we still talk about it is because it started a trend that got incorporated into nearly every aspect of the World Wide Web. As… soon as the World Wide Web was started, anyway. Usenet is actually older than it.

(I know.)

I’ve actually already blogged about several websites that use forum-style threaded conversations. Sick of Livejournal yet? Yes? Too bad. Livejournal’s “comments” section, which are beneath every post in a community or personal journal unless the poster specifically removes that option, open up compressed threads more conveniently when there is reply after reply after reply after reply after… yeah.

And if you clicked on any of those links, you’ll notice that everybody has a little icon by their username which is 100 pixels by 100 pixels. Even in the more traditional boards, these are pretty common – although they’re often 75×75 or even 50×50. DeviantArt makes great use of their message boards, especially the ones that show up underneath every individual piece of artwork. This is great for people to leave constructive feedback or even just a compliment, although they do tend to get mired down in a plethora of winking faces and other emoticons.

And, actually, can we talk about these things for a second? These little happy faces and banging-their-head-against-the-keyboard-faces and the flirty kissy faces? Because they are tacky. They have been tacky. 1996 is a long time ago, now, and we have moved on to better things like image macros and animated gifs to make our point if words are not enough. Into the future, people! Class up these forums, wherever they might be!

And seriously. No more emoticon images.


  1. ernie said,

    June 13, 2010 at 11:26 pm


  2. cmcglynn said,

    June 14, 2010 at 3:12 am

    I agree about the faces! Even in text messages I have never been able to understand how people even bother taking the extra time to throw a smiley face in there. And yes, I am sick of LiveJournal. No offense to anybody, but I have always thought it was a similar to the facebook status feature: a way to grab attention and have people ask you about what’s going on in your life.

  3. anna said,

    June 14, 2010 at 3:42 am


    Livejournal is a medium, like anything else – it depends on what you do with it. Twitter is 99% nonsense, but the one guy doing the BP “public relations” account makes up for it and shows that you can make awesome out of anything (both situation-wise and internet-wise.)

  4. Nate said,

    June 14, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Agreed Anna, we can’t start ditching things when too many people are using them. That is what is great about the Net, we have FREEDOM. And as long as we continue to exercise that freedom, albeit with mindless drivel often enough, we will continue to have it. As soon as we start bashing people for their use of that freedom, we enable the powers that be to gain a foothold and they begin to take our freedoms away. I don’t think there is anything wrong with calling mindless drivel what it is, but we need that mindless drivel!