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What is the difference between a Forum and a Chat Room?

Forums and chat rooms can be great ways to communicate with others and learn information quickly from a wide variety of people. Each is useful in different ways.

A forum is kind of like a public page of e-mail messages. It's a bit slower for responses and you can post longer comments. Like a chat room, everyone logged into the page can see what you post. A forum is usually divided up into topics known as "threads". There is usually a search function so you can find topics related to your questions (and sometimes the answers without posting anything at all). Because of the slower speed of forum traffic, you can't hold a real time conversation with anyone.

Chat (often referred to as IRC - or Internet Relay Chat) rooms move quicker. People in chat rooms time short, quick reponses to others in chat rooms set up for specific topics. Because of the fast speed and multiple responses, the flow of the conversation jumps around a bit and can be hard to follow. In fact, there can often be multiple conversations going on at once. Because people type at different speeds, sometimes the responses can appear a bit disjointed and out of place when they happen after other responses have been posted.

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