Forum is an old school way of interacting with people, back in the early days forums is considered as like a social media today, you can host your Forum in one of the servers of Server Bundle seamlessly and in an affordable cost

Discourse : Discourse brings many improvements:

  • Dealing with off-topic posts: Reply as a linked topic.
  • Gamification/built-in trust system: Automatically prevents trolls, spammers, and bad actors from taking over.
  • Get notifications when your name is mentioned.
  • Login with Facebook etcetera.
  • When you return to a topic, Discourse lets you start reading right where you left off.
  • Start writing a reply, continue later perhaps on a different computer.
  • Works on mobile device using web browser. No app download required.
  • Application programming interface.
  • Replies and parent-posts can be shown “inline” just next to the post you’re reading.
  • Drag and drop images.
  • Real time updates.
  • Pasted links automatically expand to provide additional context and information.
  • Every link in Discourse shows a click count.

Vanilla Forums : Vanilla seems to have already implemented fairly many features that Discourse has? These interesting features are, however, “hidden” on a 20 page long listing, together with many other not-terribly-interesting features.

  • Dealing with off-topic posts: If a post gets enough off-topic votes, it is “buried”, so it won’t derail the discussion.
  • Gamification/built-in trust system: Users gain reputation by contributing to the forum. Higher reputation –> new abilities. For example, if you star a very popular topic, you gain reputation.
  • Get notifications when your name is mentioned.
  • Login with Facebook etcetera.
  • When you return to a topic, Vanilla puts you right where you stopped reading the last time.
  • Vanilla auto-saves your content as you are entering it.
  • Works on mobile device using web browser. No app download required.
  • Application programming interface.
  • Automated bot, and/or trusted members, handle spam & abuse moderation.
  • Questions & answers type questions.

Project Ivory :

  • Single page layout, with interesting interface based around functions you need to access quickly being docked at the edges of the window.
  • New threads at top by default, then a homebrew best sort.
  • Reddit style user pages.

Retroshare :

  • Fully distributed friend-to-friend.
  • Eavesdropping-secure communication.
  • Chat, file-sharing, etc. functionality, but also something bulletin-board like.
  • People can only see topics that their friends have posted or subscribed to, so better topics become more visible by spreading through the friend to friend network.
  • Anonymous posting possible.

Debiki :

  • Arrows makes it easy to understand how comments relate to each other, and to scroll back to the parent reply (you don’t have to count indentation levels — follow the arrow instead).
  • Intended to work well also when the discussion grows huge: A two dimensional layout gives a good overview (but people complain about scrolling horizontally). And comments are sorted by upvotes, using a novel and fair sorting algorithm (not yet implemented), and less interesting comments are collapsed. So even if a forum topic is too huge to be read in whole, you could simply start reading, and you’d then read the most interesting comments first, and when you’re done reading you wouldn’t be wondering “what was it I missed”.
  • It’s supposed to be a debate wiki, where people can edit or suggest edits to each other’s comments, and collaboratively collapse uninteresting subthreads. (Only somewhat implemented.)

Some Free And Honorable Mentions:

  • Our favorite right now is Xenforo. It does cost money for a license but it’s fantastic, clean, well-engineered and very modern compared to most other options. It was written as a total grounds-up rewrite of vBulletin by a core team of former vB developers who were frustrated with how crappy vB was and wanted to start over from scratch.
  • The best free option is probably still phpBB. SMF is also decent. We recommend avoiding vBulletin and IP.Board.
  • If you like WordPress and want to manage your site and community in the same system, there is a great forum plugin BBPress that is actively maintained and easily customizable.
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