In a meeting with Jean Louis Lamboray we decided that we must explain the difference between a forum and a blog, as we have them on our Ning. For this we must first explain the difference between e-mail and web-based forums, which I have tried to list in the table:

Table showing the Pros, Cons, similarities and differences between e-mail and web-based e-forums


e-mail based



sometimes called List serve, or Mailing list

Also called as discussion forum, bulletin boards, Newsgroups, or web forum


Automatically delivers new messages to the subscriber as an e-mail

New messages are posted on the web forum. Some forums provide user enabled e-mail “notification” feature, whereby members can choose to be notified of new posts in a thread


New messages delivered to the subscriber contains the whole message

An e-mail message if generated from the web-forum is usually of an alert type stating the name of the person who posted a message and providing a link to reach the message on the web


E-mail digest feature is available so that multiple posts say in a whole day can be collated into a single e-mail

E-mail digest feature is not available


Editing is possible before it can be posted to the community.

Editing if done can only be after the member has published


High levels of formatting equivalent to those in MS Word is available in e-mailing software

Restricted in formatting to the type and number of HTML tags present on the web site


Pictures can be sent as attachment or inline. Disadvantage is inline pictures down get downloaded until “Display images” is checked in the mail software. Use of tables necessary to align and position the pictures in specific locations in the message.

Pictures can be uploaded while writing the post or blog, and aligned to specific captions, or text in the blog or post without use of tables.


Attachments could be deleted by anti-virus, firewall, or blocked if above the limit set in the receiving server.

Deleting the link does not delete the attachment from the website, resulting in a lot of trash accumulation over time, which is revealed by a web site mapping


Usually Eastern people are more familiar with either web based e-mail or e-mailing software

Western world more familiar with web-forums as they evolved from the old Bulletin Board service


If subscriber prefers to download the e-mail on to his PC or Laptop, then they will require e-mailing software like Outlook,  or Thunderbird

Visiting and participating in web-forums normally requires no additional software beyond the web browser.


Offline composing of messages possible

All composing of messages must be online


Monitoring with Analytical software is not known or prevalent

Google Analytics integrates well to provide quantitative analysis


Messages in a e-mail forum can be threaded, archived and RSS syndicate made available for embedding into RSS readers like Owl so that multiple forum postings can be seen in real time in one view.

Thread editing is not possible and the default thread remains which reply in a thread the  subscriber’s chose to reply

This is just a brief explanation of what I have come up with after the meeting. So, please feel free to contribute, or suggest edits, based on your experience. I am providing explanations for other terms too:

List-serve: members of the list-server send in email, and the program sends copies of this email to all other members on the list. Often there is an archive of all email messages available to be read online, like a web-page.


Discussion Forum: a lot like a list-server, but all posts are made through the website instead of by email. Discussion forums are great for organizing discussions into topics an subtopics. Some allow members to have posts, and notices of new posts emailed to them.


Blog: This is like a journal and press-release software all in one. A good blog has a distinctive personality or group of personalities at its core. There is also a social aspect to blogs. Many blogs allow visitors to post comments. Sometimes long discussions can take place on a blog, but each topic is started by the blog owner. Websites and software called ‘aggregators’, collect the feeds (like an AP wire press-release) from many different blogs and list recent posts all in one place.


Mailing list: Everyone receives whatever everyone else sends, so there's some social cohesiveness and mutual obligation. Each person has to have a real email address to receive the messages.("listserv" is a type of software for administering mailing lists... "majordomo" is another.)


Newsgroup or web forum: These let you drop in and post, so there's less social cohesion than on a mailing list. (One problem is "drive-by posting", where someone will ask for something that's answered five times a week already.) Anonymity has traditionally been a problem, but more and more web boards and non-Usenet newsgroups are moving to some type of identity authentication as a result.

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This is helpful, Mohamed ... but I still have questions about how to navigate, understand the community and content, and contribute best. I have so little time to peruse posts in detail, yet it seems clear that my interests are shared by members here.

My son is gay and is studying sexuality in the human development PhD program at Cornell: His undergrad is anthro and he will situate his dissertation study in India.

I also have have a PhD in developmental psychology.  My dissertation was about how people navigate identity transitions while leaving ideologically intense groups and establishing themselves in a pluralistic society. So, the personal psychology of group identity (including family system) and social conflict. This of course includes conflict about sexual expression, gender identity, sexual identity, religious practice, etc.  

With a bisexual father who volunteered for STD hotlines and later AIDS, and now a gay son, of course I care about what is being done to support the LGBT community and to eradicate AIDS. 

One recent development -- Lockheed Martin, a traditional "defense" contractor in the US and internationally, just came out with much more visible support for the LGBT community by establishing and promoting an LBGT Leadership Forum with work to engage allies.

In my own work, I will co-facilitate a local meeting that supports LGBT ex-members of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Philadelphia next month.   

So in summary - where might these kinds of ideas or statements connect to content in this online community forum?  Because I am not sure and do not have very much time to look. I have a new project editing a book chapter and must work all weekend and then do my full time job during the week.


Thank you Mohamed, this is very informative, I must tell you that in the case of posting  in a web based e forum , I usually create the document in MS WORD, where I can edit before I post , then I go on-line copy and paste and post.



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