Users want to discuss a certain topic or react on a particular piece of content on the site


Create a list of topics and allow users to place comments on the topic


Use when

You are designing a Community Site or other site for which you are interested in Community Building. Many people can be tied into a site when there is ample opportunity to interact with the site. Such interaction with a site, or its content in particular can also be found on News Site or on a Article Page.


A forum is literally a discussions place. It is based on discussion topics and their comments. A forum starts with an overview page of all the running discussions. For each discussion it must be stated how many comments have been place, and when the last comment was placed. When a discussion is selected the discussion page shows the following elements: the topic/statement, functionality to add a comment, functionality to navigate between the comments and of course the comments themselves. Often there are also Breadcrumbs so you can see which subcategory of discussions they are in and can easily jump back to other discussion. Each comment consists of a text-body and some optional attributes like "name", date and sequence number. When more and more comments are placed a Paging mechanism is used to browse the opinions. The list of comments starts with the first comment that was added and goes on vertically with the successive comments.

When users regularly visit a forum they need to get a feeling of 'what is going on'. Which messages have been added lately, which discussion topics are new and who has posted which comment? In order to facilitate these goals, the following functionality is useful:


A forum is one of the oldest know community elements. Putting all comments on one page makes it easier to read than, opposed to "threading" them.

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2 comments have been added to this pattern

Alexander, 23rd October 2007
I think that the classical forum design is the classical sample of ugliness -- it is not usable, simple, perceptable and, at least, it's graphic composition is terrible...
Jakob, 23rd October 2007
Alexander, it doesn't have to be that way - some examples of better designed forum sites: (presently 2 collections)

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Do you have something to add or say about this pattern? Perhaps some more examples of how this pattern is used in the wild? Add a comment to this pattern and I'll update the pattern when necessary. Please abstain from misuse. I reserve the right to delete or modify inappropriate postings.

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