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Forum Software in Use in Healthcare, Finance and Other Big Industries

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Before the emergence of social media, forums ruled the World Wide Web. But today’s internet world has changed so drastically, that some people hardly know about forums and the benefits they present to any industry.

Today, virtually everyone has a Twitter account and a Facebook account; with many others having accounts in a number of other social media sites. Thus, the question of whether it is still necessary to have forum platforms is legitimate and deserves a serious response.

Forums are used to connect, converse and discuss on certain topics. Therefore, they too can be referred to as social networks. But some significant differences with social media platforms as we know them do exist.

Unlike on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, forum users can post a discussion in a concrete category where other members as well as other online searchers can easily find this well-organized information.

While you can easily communicate on social media, it is not as easy to find well organized information on a particular subject. This is, perhaps, why big industries and institutions still value the power of online forums.

Forum software for the healthcare industry

For practically all forum users, forum software that provides stability, usability, customization, security and flexibility would be a good platform. All the same, healthcare forum users do prefer a forum platform with additional features that would help them put across their thoughts better to other users.

One such feature is the photo album. The nature of healthcare is that to understand another user, say when they have a certain condition they cannot tell what it is, photos help to put things in perspective. This feature also helps a big deal in showing forum members the IT technologies for healthcare industry, including the latest healthcare IT tools and how to use them.

Another feature popular with healthcare forum users is the poll function. The world of medicine is as good as the data it collects about patients, diseases, etc. Polls help collect this data.
vBulletin is a favorite forum platform for many in the healthcare industry because of its built-in photo album and polls features that users from the industry put a lot of value in.

Forum software for the finance industry

The finance industry is big on numbers. That is why members of finance forums value a platform that allows them to play around with data, rearranging it as they would wish. Furthermore, people who deal with money understand that you can never be too careful when it comes to staying safe online. For this reason, members in finance forums value a platform that allows for external authentication. One finance forum platform that these users love is Phorum, an open source PHP & MySQL forum.

Other industries like entertainment love forum platforms big on images showcasing. Sports lovers are big on platforms that allow them to manage events and set dates for certain matches, etc. What is your favorite forum software and why?

Would Custom Solutions for Forum Software Improve the Internet?

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forum software

Forums are the basic building blocks of the internet, which is used by millions of people every day. So, you need to have a bit of shrewdness to say the software behind some of them is broken or is not user-friendly. Many people believe that the way to improve the internet is by taking advantage of the benefits of custom web applications, especially custom forum software.

People like Jeff Atwood are open-minded enough to admit that forums were broken. But Jeff says they fixed them. He is a software developer and the founder of StackExchange. Jeff has a new project, known as the Discourse Construction Kit which went into public testing last month and its aim is to change people’s perceptions on online forums.

StackExchange’s Atwood and co-founder Joel Spolsky attempted to solve the problems faced by question-and-answer sites, something which had not been attempted by anyone before. They used the StackExchange software which has millions of users to tackle these problems. However, Atwood said he felt something was not right about how people talk to the internet.  

Atwood indicated that forums have remained unchanged for a very long time to the extent forums are considered undesirable or unworkable, and that’s why many sites no longer want them because the software is poor.

This has been brought about by the arrival of open source software, faster internet connections, mobile devices and powerful computers which did not make any difference to the quality of forum software.

However, the Discourse Construction Kit treats things a bit differently. It has only two many sections; Popular and Categories. The Popular section is a list of the most popular threads, and Categories divides them into user-defined groups.   

Javascript in motion

Mr. Atwood says that future forums will depend on open source software, as many are already doing, which is remarkably tablet and mobile friendly. Discourse functions more like an app than a website, setting itself apart from other software. The software is built on Javascript, which makes it highly resistant to spams that muddle other forums and very compatible with mobile devices.

However, there are some questions Atwood and his team must answer despite the fact that early tests of the software indicate positive results. Attracting new users is one of the biggest challenges someone wishing to start a new forum must overcome.

Nevertheless, he says Discourse is built in an infrastructure that will attract any users easily, but it’s yet to be seen how it can work practically.

When Discourse was put out in front of other forum users for feedback by The Guardian, people said that it has potential to change how people interact with the internet regardless the fact that it lacks users at the time being.

If you built open source software by, “people will come so long as you built it,” it will never die. Discourse might be the opening to development of forum software, which could be the key step to improving the internet.

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