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Forum language terms

Discussion in 'General XenForo Discussion and Feedback' started by zylstra, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. zylstra

    zylstra Member

    I'll probably have more questions about forum jargon, but as a starter, why refer to Xenforo "conversations" as conversations? It seems to me that threads are conversations also, and that private messages was a better term for what Xenforo calls conversations. What are your opinions/ideas?
  2. Amaury

    Amaury Well-Known Member

    • Threads are discussions, but discussions aren't strictly threads.
    • Posts are messages, but messages aren't strictly posts.
    • Private messages are conversations

    Nothing confusing about it, honestly.
  3. Mr Lucky

    Mr Lucky Well-Known Member

    A conversation is different to a thread in that the conversation starter decides who is invited into it, so I think it's good to differentiate between a conversation and a thread.

    Generally a conversation is between two or a few people only, whereas a thread could involve thousands, in which case hardly a conversation.

    It can be argued that private message is a bit misleading if people think they really are private, because a forum admin (and host in most cases)!always has access if they want.
  4. zylstra

    zylstra Member

    So are you saying this:

    You can adjust the diagram here, https://www.lucidchart.com/invitations/accept/2dda5eb0-dba1-4efb-ba31-725c74f5d578 , half jokingly of course. But are you saying:

    Threads are a subset of discussions.
    Posts are a subset of messages.
    Private messages and conversations are synonymous?

    So discussions are public and conversations are private? Maybe that's it. Posts can be a component of threads, and messages can be a component of either threads or conversations.
  5. zylstra

    zylstra Member

  6. Martok

    Martok Well-Known Member

    I think these definitions are better:

    I think they are probably reasonably representative of discussions and conversations on forums. I do prefer to call thrm Private conversations though.

    I think the other reason for the use of the term Conversation is to distinguish that these aren't the same as Private Messages on other forums. PMs are individual messages which can be individually kept or deleted and there can be multiple copies of any message (1 copy to every recipient). A conversation is the whole thing, you can't delete individual messages, there's only one copy of the conversation (Not multiple, all in the conversation see the same instance) and you don't delete a conversation, you leave it (it gets deleted when everyone has left the conversation).
    zylstra and Chris D like this.
  7. Mr Lucky

    Mr Lucky Well-Known Member

    Yes, I was going to bring up the term debate.

    ie a discussion (as we understand it in real life as well as on an internet forum) includes bothe conversation and debate.

    However what xenforo terms a conversation is basically designed as a replacement for what is more commonly called a private message on internet platforms. On many platforms the PM is only between two people, but on xenforo it is designed to be be more flexible and can include more. Hence I differentiated it from a thread which (on a public forum) is open to al, not just those invited by the OP.

    A thread can be a "conversation" as we know it, but very often it is a debate open to anyone to have their say. OTOH an admin can use a thread as an announcement, i.e. give out some information in the first pst and then close the thread so there are no replies, discussion or debate.

    Hence a thread is not a discussion per se, but it can be if it turns out that way.
  8. zylstra

    zylstra Member

    Great distinction, thanks. I hadn't used it enough to understand how it worked yet.
  9. vbresults

    vbresults Well-Known Member

    The folder structure is very telling. Discussion and DiscussionMessage are PHP files [and classes too, due to XenForo's class naming standards, though the files aren't in the screenshot].

    Screenshot - 10152015 - 12:32:34 PM.png

    What do both a post and profile post have in common? Text. An author. Likes. A post date. This foundation is called DiscussionMessage.php, I suppose it's shortened to Message.

    Discussion and DiscussionMessage by themselves are foundations, they are not the final product, so as an end-user, you won't see DiscussionMessage.

    Instead, you see Thread which has Discussion as a foundation, and Post which has DiscussionMessage as a foundation.

    The foundations can also be used by add-ons to create more end-products [i.e. Discussion could be a foundation for a Review class in a reviews mod], or in new XenForo features.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2015
    zylstra likes this.

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