Online forums are an environment that allows the discussion and sharing ideas. It differs from things like email and instant messaging in that messages are posted for anyone who cares to see and respond to them. There are an almost infinite number of forum topics around, allowing people of any interest no matter how rare to meet and discuss with like minded people. If you cannot find a subject forum that fits you, you may simply start your own.
Most online forums support one of two methods of tracking unread messages: "Full" and "Session".
There's a simple test that can provide a good guess at whether the forum software supports "Full" unread message tracking:
- Login into the forum.
- Wait for unread messages to appear (unread markers shown). Do not read them.
- Logout from the forum (use "logout" link).
- Login into the forum again.
- Check whether unread markers that you've seen before the logout persisted through the logout/login.
If markers didn't "survive" logout/login, then the forum is most likely using "Session" unread message tracking. If markers did survive, then there's a good chance that forum indeed supports "Full" unread message tracking. Note that you should check unread markers at the topic level as there are at least some examples of using board-level markers to indicate things other than existence of unread topics within.