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Forum language terms

#1
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?
 

Amaury

Well-known member
#2
  • 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.
 

Mr Lucky

Well-known member
#3
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
  • 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.
So are you saying this:
snap.png
Or...?

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.
 

Martok

Well-known member
#6
I think these definitions are better:

Discussion:
The action or process of talking about something in order to reach a decision or to exchange ideas
Conversation:
A talk, especially an informal one, between two or more people, in which news and ideas are exchanged
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).
 

Mr Lucky

Well-known member
#7
@Mr Lucky Yes, I see that that is how we are defining them now. However, the standard definition for discussion generally defines it as conversation, just more focused, e.g. "discussion: a conversation or debate about a certain topic."
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
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).
Great distinction, thanks. I hadn't used it enough to understand how it worked yet.
 

vbresults

Well-known member
#9
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.
 
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