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									Differences between weblogs/discussion forums

Locus of Control
Perhaps the most compelling difference in weblogs and message boards is the locus of control. Weblogs are
individual or small group resources- the control of content and value is driven by a single person or small group.
Message Boards are group resources- the control of content and value is shared equally across all users.

Authoring of New Topics
The locus of control matters most in defining who can post new topics, which drive the content of the resource.
In weblogs, this role is centralized, with new topics being presented by a defined and focused person or small
group. This centralization facilitates focus and direction on behalf of the webloggers.
In many message boards, all members usually have the ability to create new topics. This decentralization allows
for more emergent and unpredictable directions that may reflect the group's desires as a whole.

The centralized vs. decentralized nature of the technologies fit nicely into two distinct intentions. With weblog
authorship being centralized inside a community, they can easily become news sources, where trusted
individuals provide accounts of events and information. The decentralized nature of message boards works well
to accumulate group input and facilitate collaboration and group decision making.

Weblogs and Message Boards both allow for responses from the community- new topics can be responded-to
by others. Weblog topics have comments and message board topics have replies. This subtle difference in
syntax reveals a difference in the roles. The word comment for weblogs implies that the author does not need
further participation to reach a goal- comment if you want. Reply, on the other hand, implies that participation is
explicitly requested by the poster. A discussion is not a discussion without a reply.

The appearance of weblogs has brought a number of new tools to users and most facilitate the ability to read
and link weblogs together. They include: Trackback, RSS, Aggregation, Permalinks, Cross linking, etc. While
these are currently in the domain of the weblog, I believe they will soon be integrated into message board tools.

The order and presentation of topics across message boards and weblogs relate another difference. Weblogs
are consistenly arranged with the most recently posted topics at the top of the page, regardless of new
comments. With a message board, the posting of replies can govern the presentation of the originating topic-
topics with new replies are often presented at the top (but not always, of course). This illustrates the relative
importance of replies in message board discussions. Replies can keep a discussion alive and at the top of the
page for months or even years in some cases.

Personal Connections
Due to consistent and centralized authorship, weblogs can allow online community members to develop
personal connections with the webloggers relatively quickly. Message boards, on the other hand, offer a
broader look at a larger number of members as they interact with one another in a group setting.

Pollution Control
Since a weblog depends on a single person or select group, the likelihood of off-topic or inappropriate topics (or
responses) is greatly reduced. Further, as discussed previously, weblogs do not depend on responses to
provide value. So, in situations where spam or flame wars are a problem, weblogs can turn-off comments and
depend on new topics from the webloggers for value. Being group resources, message boards do not have the
luxury to turn off replies, but do prevent problems with moderation of each new topic or response.

Content Buckets
How topics are archived and organized provides another look at the differences. Often, each new topic in a
weblog is assigned to a category that is used to organize the topics for future reference. A single weblog may
have many categories that archive and organize posts that were originally presented on the weblogs’ front
page. Message boards are often presented with multiple starting points for creating a new discussion. The
member chooses the appropriate location to post a new topic, depending on subject matter. In this way,
message boards create multiple “front pages”, spreading the presentation of new topics across
locations/content buckets in the community.
Differences between Blogs and Wikis

Blogs and wikis, because they are different spaces, manifest/take advantage of/engage different epistemic and
rhetorical possibilities and serve different rhetorical and epistemic ends. They engage different rhetorics: one
topical, carved from the inside out; the other chronological, staying on top of things.

          personal, less collaborative. a posting is owned by poster
          text is considered to be static: once posted, the posting doesn't change (not true, of course, but
          tends towards long scrolls (Bernstein)
          ThreadMode of self, that is
          monological: typically monologue with audience commentary
          paratactic
          temporal: last in first out
          captures change in thinking/self/ideas
          speech: spontaneous, non-revisable and as permanent as memory
          generally light on cross linking: dominantly sequential but
          research blogs and others can create extensive hypertextual webs but
          creating internal links is painful and secondary to the text
          links used to connect outside the blog
          knowledge accumulates at the top
          knowledge is static but contextual: situated
          dominantly chronological - but essays are possible
          immediate: written in the moment, written of the moment

          can be personal but open to collaboration. a node/topic is considered public space
          aim is creation of documents (individual pages as well as the entire wikiweb)
          tends towards expressing ideas as relationships between pages (Bernstein), creating a
          hypotactic
          hypertextual
          ThreadMode (dialogical) becomes DocumentMode (monological) becomes ...
          paradigmatic: topical
          a-temporal: nodes change not by time but by way of development
          text: considered, revised, and as permanent as print
          captures (and then erases) the processes of writing
          doesn't capture changes in thought/ideas, but creates artifacts of those changes
          encourages cross linking: dominantly structural, a-temporal
          hypertext linking central to text creation
          knowledge becomes webbed: situated, contextualized but
          knowledge is ephemeral: it changes, can be changed
          mediated: written in the topic, of the topic

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