Forums are the online equivalents of London’s Speaker’s Corner — here’s a Wikipedia article on the modern outdoor public forum in London referred to as Speaker’s Corner.. Anyone and everyone can and does have a say and I believe it is this quality which makes the format of the forum so effectively democratic. Oh, perhaps in my excitement over forums, I haven’t explained what a forum is. A forum is basically a message board on the internet which lets you post text or pictures (some even let you embed videos and other multimedia) as a message with a time stamp. People can then respond to your message with their own message, which is then posted beneath your own on the website.

There are a few forums which I frequent, many of which are dangerous places to be if you are new to the internet and its unique colloquialisms, culture, and memes. Dangerous in the sense that there are countless “trolls” out there on the millions of forums on the internet: people who say offensive or hurtful things to others simply to get a reaction out of them, not to make a point about something. That caveat aside, my favorite forums are the following:

These are the Something Awful forums, an old group of internet users and trolls who have been posting on these forums since the mid to late 1990s. These forums run the gamut from serious political and scholarly discussions to purely asinine, nonsensical forums that may have to do with Sarah Jessica Parker‘s foot-like face or some other useless and mundane subject. Beware of trolls, for these forums are full of them.

These are the Gamespot forums. These forums deal with all things having to do with gaming: from the PS3 console to the PC gaming format, these forums are a great place for speculation about future video games, advice, and general internet misbehavior and shenanigans. Again, trolls lurk and post here constantly, so beware of them, as all they would want from any innocent internet bystander is for him or her to lose his or her cool and make a scene.

Comments

  1. ahenson on 06.09.2010

    I am quite familiar with the trolls on the Gamespot forum. If you like the forum but hate the trolls there, then I’m pretty sure you already know to avoid System Wars at all costs. I frequent it and see new low-level posters there almost all the time spewing the same old “my console is better than yours” tripe. Admittedly, I too am biased about my console to a degree, but have no intention of going off the deep end with it like those heathens.

  2. karlc on 06.12.2010

    Trolls feed off of other peoples hatred and oddly enough, trolling works too well, especially against many young teenagers (I would assume 13 and below) who spew back unpleasant words and make the topic go 100+ posts. That aside, Gamespot is a nice place to ask simple questions without having to spend money on a $20+ guide to get them answered.

  3. ZakT on 06.14.2010

    You brought up an interesting point in how forums tend to have their own unique culture. Acronyms such as “qft”, “ftw,” or “gg” might not make sense to the majority of internet users, but make the mistake of asking what they mean and you’ll get you plenty of “noob” insults from those trolls.

  4. lchacko on 06.15.2010

    I haven’t been exposed to much trolling on forums, but I see so many heated discussions even on youtube videos. I don’t know if it’s the same deal, but it would almost be better if they were trolls just causing a raucous than over-opinionated youngsters having fierce cursing battles over how sucky/amazing Twilight is.

  5. rmusick on 06.17.2010

    Good post about forums and web boards. I understand where you are coming from also about the people known as ‘trolls’ who try and make users on forums sites get worked up and hot headed. To the trolls’ credit though it is amusing sometimes to see how upset and angry people get over a video game comment or something or something else in a general forum.
    I too used to visit gamespot.com for trailers, game reviews, etc. until the kane & lynch controversy. I suggest other game review sites, such as ign.com in particular, which is my favorite.
    If you don’t know about the kane & lynch controversy, you can find more about it here.
    http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3164753

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