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A Hybrid Between Chat and Message Boards?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the not-so-instant-messaging dept.


qirtaiba asks: "Synchronous discussion software (in simple terms, chat) allows discussions to take place instantly and interactively, but asynchronous software (discussion boards, a la Slashdot) have the advantage that they allow people from different timezones to participate equally. Does anyone know of a hybrid? The closest thing I have found is a proprietary 'Commons Console' offered as a service by Conflict Lab. This is not just an idle question. The Internet Governance Forum (or IGF — you can find more information here) is meeting for the first time in Athens from October 30th to the 2nd of November, this year. A lot of people who might like to participate aren't going to be able to make it to Athens, so the IGF has asked for ideas on how best to enable remote participation. Can Slashdot help?"

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Haha, nope. (1)

mr_neke (1001861) | more than 7 years ago | (#16317367)

Can Slashdot help?
Unlikely. You must be thinking of the other slashdot...

Take a squiz at Campfire (4, Interesting)

NeuralAbyss (12335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16317387)

I've been using Campfire [] as part of a group project. Initially I was against the idea.. but it's become useful, in that there's also logs of prior entries. About as close to a cross of chat and message board that's practical..

Re:Take a squiz at Campfire (1)

zobier (585066) | more than 7 years ago | (#16331681)

I'm sure that Campfire is great and all, but I'm not transmitting/storing my internal corporate communications/information through/on a 3rd party system!

Re:Take a squiz at Campfire (1)

NeuralAbyss (12335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16353929)

Nor I. I wouldn't trust it with anything even barely private. Which is precisely why I didn't care about discussing a uni project there :)

It's not the instantaneousness (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 7 years ago | (#16317399)

It's the rate of buildup. The primary advantage of chatting is that replies are fast enough that they can in turn be replied to quickly, therefor allowing a dialog to made quickly. It's ideal for the "well, what about this" kinds of conversations. Message boards have their primary advantage in thoroughness. When you answer, you try and create complete answers that are useful to everyone reading it and aren't as specific. You do bring up an interesting point though, and it makes me think that it'd be neat to see a wiki that had chat built in. A permenant documentation with quickness in discussion.

Re:It's not the instantaneousness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16317487)

Wiki with chat...that's an interesting idea, but I can see it becoming offtopic and spamed easily (as articles on Wikipedia have).

Re:It's not the instantaneousness (1)

Tekoneiric (590239) | more than 7 years ago | (#16317813)

Another term for it is Sticky Chat. Basically a chat system that the content history that can be reviewed for a period of time set by the admin. Another might be Threaded-Sticky Chat, basically the same but threads can break off from topics of active chat and history. A user could branch the topic thread by doing something like "/branch topic". I thought about something like that years ago based on IRC chat.

Re:It's not the instantaneousness (3, Interesting)

Jaruzel (804522) | more than 7 years ago | (#16317925)

Parlano's Mindalign [] has sticky 'backchat' where recently joined users can scroll back and read the history of the conversation.

Mindalign is one of the major IM/collaboration players in the Investment Banking market, and is installed on the desktops of a lot of global banks.

(No, I don't work for Parlano)


Re:It's not the instantaneousness (1)

GodEater (7709) | more than 7 years ago | (#16318027)

Yeah, MindAlign is a very useful tool. It's essentially a hack IRC server which stores conversations from all "managed" channels in a backend database. Very recent conversation history is available in the client as soon as you login (typically around 100 lines worth) - anything you want to see from further back is available via a web front end to a search tool, which basically allows you to look back through all conversations to the time when the server was switched on. I've been involved with implementing several versions of it for the bank where I work - and I quite like it as a communication tool. Parlano themselves are reasonably helpful - not something I can say about a lot of vendors to be honest!

Re:It's not the instantaneousness (1)

Jaruzel (804522) | more than 7 years ago | (#16318163)

Uh huh - I used to work at the Investment Bank that designed Mindalign originally (except back then it was was called Interchange) - the in house developers broke away (with the banks blessing) and formed Parlano.

I like where they've taken Mindalign, but I am surprised that there seems to be no other direct competitor out there for this form of collaboration.


Re:It's not the instantaneousness (2, Informative)

scherrey (13000) | more than 7 years ago | (#16318847)

Actually Reuter's Messaging has a chat system that is in the same feature space as MindAlign. If you aren't in the financial industry you've probably never heard of it because its commonly sold as an adjunct to their other financial trading/information systems. Because of this financial focus they also have lots of legal compliance capabilities which most non-financial users don't normally ask for but, alas, that's probably soon to pass as well...

Myself? I miss the good ol' days of BIX.

Re:It's not the instantaneousness (1)

GodEater (7709) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334063)

We have Reuter's Messaging here too - but it doesn't quite fill the same space as MindAlign - it's not a group chat system - there's no concept of channels - it's just a rebadged MSN as far as I can tell - on a private network.

Re:It's not the instantaneousness (1)

scherrey (13000) | more than 7 years ago | (#16336597)

Well the old version of Reuters Messaging (v3 I believe, v5 is present version) was a branded MSN client. The new one is a custom client and there is an enhanced chat service that is full featured and very popular in the financial world. The chat feature is a premium service so not every one with RM has chat.

Disclaimer: I have a professional interest in this product so consider me biased.

Re:It's not the instantaneousness (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 7 years ago | (#16317753)

makes me think that it'd be neat to see a wiki that had chat built in.

Why is it when the only tool you have is a hammer you start looking at all problems as if they were nails....?

A Wiki would be a miserable solution for this problem, just like its a miserable solution to just about every other problem.

This problem (to the extent it is a problem) calls out for a common library with a moderated chat room client. Any one of 6 or 8 such programs already exist, skype, Teamspeak, etc. Somebody has to moderate, and somebody has to be librarian/secretary.

Its not that complex.

Re:It's not the instantaneousness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16317803)

Good, I thought I was the only person who frikking hates the "Everything Wiki" mentality. I frikking HATE wikis!!!!

Re:It's not the instantaneousness (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16318619)

Wiki is not the problem. The people are problem.

Wiki is quite OK for closed groups where inherent "technical" peerness is governed with an organisational hierarchy, it is a sort of indexed, rich-context colaborative message board. Don't confuse the idea "some people infuriate me" with idea "some objects infuriate me", for the latter is insane. So, if you tend to avoid annoying, you shouldn't go to the public places of individual opinion expression, such as internet accessible public Wikis.

Methods of finding and proving truth are problem - the big picture is always some "Grand Jury" (layman voters) model. How exactly do we recognise someone as an expert? The most honest answer is "if one seems as an expert and we don't know any better for ourselves". Wiki is just an honest implementation of this method, a groupthink, a mobthink if you please. Look any flamewar here on Slashdot regarding i.e. global warming, alternative energy sources, other areas where most of us, even though geeks and proud of our above everage inteligence, are not experts in.

Now, what would you change Wiki for? How much would it cost? Could it work at all? Wouldn't you be even more mad if it was erratic, but this time without a chance for you to influence the correction?

Re:It's not the instantaneousness (1)

jdray (645332) | more than 7 years ago | (#16321429)

When you answer, you try and create complete answers that are useful to everyone reading it...

As someone said before, you must be thinking of the other Slashdot.

tag boards? (1)

urdine (775754) | more than 7 years ago | (#16317459) [] Tag boards have been around a while. Basically they are a chat window that refreshes every few seconds or so.

Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16317531)

We can tag things with stupid shit like /.'ers do. For instance on the topic of "Apple versus Microsoft: Who is sexier?" we can tag it with thinkofthechildren or even better ... FUD. Or in posts with a question in it we just tag it with a one word answer. Because we all know tagging with answers such as yes, no or maybe is totally awesome and adds to the elitist, holier than thou, atmosphere that /.'ers like to think they are in.

Re:Awesome (1)

Hawkxor (693408) | more than 7 years ago | (#16318539)

We can tag things with stupid shit like /.'ers do. For instance on the topic of "Apple versus Microsoft: Who is sexier?" we can tag it with thinkofthechildren or even better ... FUD. Or in posts with a question in it we just tag it with a one word answer. Because we all know tagging with answers such as yes, no or maybe is totally awesome and adds to the elitist, holier than thou, atmosphere that /.'ers like to think they are in.

yes. no. maybe. fud. thinkofthechildren.

LysKOM? (1)

CoolGopher (142933) | more than 7 years ago | (#16317525)

How about good old LysKOM [] ? But maybe it's unheard of outside of Sweden/Finland?

Chat logs get you partway there (2, Insightful)

dsandler (224364) | more than 7 years ago | (#16317541)

Many communities seem to get a lot of mileage out of publishing their chat history (e.g. public IRC logs).

This doesn't really solve the problem of equal participation for peers separated by timezone (or, more to the point, separated by waking hours), but it does address the following killer feature of message boards: searching past discussions for help. Public message boards often serve as organically-growing FAQs; for every question asked and answered, hundreds may get answers without ever having to ask. The same is true of published chat transcripts.

(It works in the corporate setting too: I've personally had good success, in terms of capturing ephemeral knowledge that would otherwise be lost, with behind-the-firewall publication of internal IRC logs.)

Re:Chat logs get you partway there (1)

squidinkcalligraphy (558677) | more than 7 years ago | (#16317855)

Pulishing IRC logs is useful, true, but what would be more useful would be threaded IRC or something to that effect. That would make searching and browsing much easier, without annoying crosstalk in the middle

I like Slashdot (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16317587)

If it weren't for Slashdot management's draconian rules against page-views per day and 2 minute posting intervals, Slashdot would be a perfect example of an interactive chatroom that also serves as a web board.

Slashdot's new comment system (2, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16317645)

One thing that I think is really cool in Slashdot's proposed new commenting system is the micro-update commenting where the page periodically and frequently pings the server to pull down a small amount of update data. This eliminates the need to do a full page refresh just to get new comments. It cuts down on Slashdot's server strain as well as clientside button-pressing.

When that becomes a reality I expect commenting to take off here like it hasn't before.

No matter how good the software... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16317867)

have the advantage that they allow people from different timezones to participate equally

So move everyone to the same time zone / shift working hours.

Software, no matter how good, cannot override the laws of physics.

Simple is best (2, Insightful)

Bones3D_mac (324952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16317929)

Instead of straining yourself to figure out how to merge a chatroom with a message board, I'd recommend simply streamlining whatever message board configuration you're using for the fastest post/refresh rate you can get. The faster a user can post and refresh, the more simultaneous user connections your message board will be able to handle at one time.

The ideal way of doing this, is to make it so the user can post and get immediate results within a single mouse-click. Messages should be displayed in a linear fashion using a single page, rather than broken up into pages or nested by reply. A good example of such a setup is [] website. Users can respond as quickly, or as slowly, as they like.

Just remember, any system that makes a user wait too long or makes it difficult for the user to find information will almost always fail in the end.

Re:Simple is best (2, Interesting)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 7 years ago | (#16332903)

I like email mailing lists best. It moves along fast but it works just fine for people to jump in anywhere in the conversation even after several days.

IRC? (1)

muftak (636261) | more than 7 years ago | (#16318095)

With a screened IRC session people often reply to things said hours or days ago...

Chat == Forum (2, Informative)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#16318167)

Chat is basically a non-threaded forum, running in real-time (which is to say it has lag below a certain treshhold).

The real difference is non-threaded forums (e.g. Bulletin Boards) vs. theaded forums such as NNTP or the slashdot comments.

If slashdot were refreshed every tenth of a second, it would be a threaded chatbox.

Now there _is_ a difference in how people communicate over chat vs. forums; chat typically contains a single sentence in each "post", whereas forum posts typically contain multiple sentences and even paragraphs. I'm willing to bet this behaviour stems purely from the (percieved) difference in lag; if you had a chatbox where messages would take longer to appear, people would probably start writing longer messages.

Re:Chat == Forum (1)

pennyher0 (852359) | more than 7 years ago | (#16323855)

I would agree with this.

Even back when IM was first becoming popular, there was a general fuzziness about how "long" messages should be, or what was normal. the first ICQ clients had larger input fields than most IM clients do, and you had to hit alt+s or click the send button to send it (return gave you a new line). As a result, most sent longer messages and that was "normal" because of how the software was designed.

and, haha... when people would send one-line IMs to me on ICQ back then, I'd get really annoyed too... oh the innocent life of the mid 90s.

Anyway, the "percieved lag" or the "percieved permanence" of a message really does influence how someone uses it. chat seems disposable, generally now... so people give one-liners.

Re:Chat == Forum (1)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326965)

Then you have to decide if peoples random conversations are even worth keeping. The signal to noise ratio in IM's is pretty bad compaired to well thought out replies in a message board. Do you really want to archive people's ribbing each other and random discussions? People have a hard time staying on topic because they can get their specific answers very quickly with chat. Also, chat does not have Topics that threaded messages do, and that makes it even harder to stay on one subject useful to archiving.

Re:Chat == Forum (1)

sowth (748135) | more than 7 years ago | (#16331359)

A private NNTP server would probably be perfect for this guy. Then users could use their favorite client. (or just Outlook Express) They probably already have something installed. Much better than web-crap boards. (Admit it everyone, all web boards have a sucky interface. Even the new "XML improved" ones.) Only thing, I can't remember enough about the protocol to say how fast the server will update clients. It is instantly, isn't it???

Metafoum - AJAX Forum Software (3, Informative)

glowworm (880177) | more than 7 years ago | (#16318255)

I am now using Blursoft's Metaforum []

It works like phpBB or vBulletin but the active threads page, inside the thread itself and various other places are all built around Ajax so you get the realtime, non-refresh mode.

If someone posts the thread is bumped and everyone knows. In fact if you use FFx and move the forum to a background tab the tab blinks when a new post is there so you can go on with other work and only look when something has happened.

It's still beta but it's now quite usable. Plus... it has Ajax'ed Slashdot style moderation. Members can increase a post above the noise or sink it to oblivion. You set your floor with a fuzzy slider.

There is a working forum at [] if you want to look.

Re:Metafoum - AJAX Forum Software (1)

tf23 (27474) | more than 7 years ago | (#16318541)

I thought it interesting that they have a slider similar to Slashcode's. Cosmetically, I like metaforum's slider better. However, Slashcode's functionality, once you "get it", is far better. Plus the fact that Slashcode's slider follows you down the screen, so you don't have to page-up to find it and change it's settings, I like Slashdot's better.

One thing I did notice about the metaforum, that I'm not sure I like - listing those who've moderated a comment immediately underneath the comment. I can see the good (easy-info, user-name recognition) along with the bad (abuse to get your name in the lime-light).

Re:Metaforum - AJAX Forum Software (1)

knewter (62953) | more than 7 years ago | (#16318617)

I think those are valid points...I *will* say that I was using metaForum for around a year in this basic format (with the mod-level slider) before slashcode saw the slider (well, slashdot...unsure if slashcode had it earlier), just so no one thinks it was ripped off :)

CAM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16318627)

Hi. I've been working on this for some years and have proposed use of such a custom system to people like the Japanese cabinet.

The problem is they are only asking this a month before the event.

There does not in fact exist a system for large-scale participation as far as I know, though the idea is basically Computer Assisted Meetings and there are systems for smaller groups to be used in one room.

My own work has also had to focus on cost reduction because CAM usually requires a laptop for each person, though there are keypad voting units out there too. The idea of CAM (to really simplify, and there are people with lots more experience) is to have a well-trained facilitator involved who guides the audience through brainstorming, culling, editing and voting. Themes have to be extracted - that's what the "connector" would be doing I expect.

This is all pretty tough even in a single room with current state of systems, and it doesn't work well without trained people involved. In addition when you add the online component you have another bunch of issues.

The issues are the basis of another project of mine which I started to conceptualize during the earthquake in Kobe in 1995, to solve logistics problems ad hoc. A threaded BBS (network news) doesn't really do it but it is better than nothing.

A pure chat is going to be major trouble, having been involved in some chats to a large audience, like the Valentine's Day e-Bay chats. Well there are lots of people who have hosted chats I expect. If you do a chat you definitely need a separate moderator who will be sending things to the guest who responds, and maybe a few typers, since the guest ends up going nuts typing as fast as possible, and there is another person who is feeding preprepared images into the bbs but who is not expert at the images, and gets them out of order, and then you have a few very vocal people asking lots of questions, etc. etc. so that after even an hour you are exhausted and haven't gotten your agenda done.

The above type of chat will not hold up under a day or week of meetings, and at any rate it will probably turn into a slugfest or totally detached event which does not get fed back into the offline event, etc.

I also been involved in a couple fast and furious BBS events, one for hardcore music and one for an interior design/cook/lifestyle coordinator personality. Things get really messy and even one fulltime person is maybe not enough. Forget moderation.

I would say two things. One, I would love to build something for next year but 1 month is not so realistic.

Two, you have no time. If you want to do something and have a few people to run it, you can run a simple threaded bbs (like phpbbs etc.) and then have a couple people going through all the threads constantly and pick up themes, then post these on a web page (using something like wordpress, drupal cms, a wiki, etc.) to try and keep people focused on the issues. You can post a link to it periodically in the discussion threads. You can try to run a live chat through a web page, though if it is real irc you need to watch bots, there are a bunch of web based chat things out there which are also useful.

Finally I hope it will be in English. If you get French, Greek, Italian and who knows what then you need people ready to translate these things. It is as you can see pretty involved so I recommend picking the absolute minimum to do, with no new software, and a couple good servers on a major hosting company's line. It will be utter chaos but if you keep your cool participants are bound to respect you and try to help.

One interesting thing would be to have terminals from which people at the venue could also post. It will be great for remote participants and attendees alike, will allow people who couldn't make it to a session to still comment and see the notes of what was talked about, and also discussion can continue on after a given seminar has ended. If this is like other congresses I've seen they make up a document or twenty by combining papers written at the location by each group and then combined by the Chairman.

It would be interesting if discussion could continue until that point so that more thought and interaction might inform the paper writing process, and each seminar can tell its participants that this will happen so look at the online discussion summaries (which you would have to provide in printout format in the venue, periodically).

Well maybe this is too much, anyway I hope this helps you get a handle on how much you want to do and whether you can feed information both ways between online and offline venues with minimum noise.

Re:CAM (1)

mattr (78516) | more than 7 years ago | (#16318649)

I'd just like to mention this is my post, had login trouble. If you are interested in contacting me I am willing to discuss the event with you. You can get a lot of mileage out of a small amount of network functionality, so I'd be interested to hear more about your project and see what would fit into your event. Do you even have network connectivity? Can you stream video out or do you have lots of students who could type at high speed to summarize what's going on? Etc. Good luck!


what hybrid? (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 7 years ago | (#16319115)

IRC is just a message board you update frequently. With RSS and AJAX, there is no longer any difference on that level. Take five minutes and get rails to make one for you.

The easy solution... both? (1)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 7 years ago | (#16319283)

I don't enough (OK, anything) about the meeting and what the goals are, but here's an idea. Why not do both?

Run a message board during the conference, as well as before and after. Encourage people in the conference (planners, attendees) to post.

Then, have specific "chat times" where someone from the conference is available to chat with others. The purpose of this is to get many interested people involved at once. Nothing is more dull than a chat with four people when you expected forty or four hundred. After the chat is done, simply post the log in a thread in the forum. The main ideas can be continued at a more leisurely pace.

There's plenty of free bulletin boards available, and IRC always works for chat.

You probably want to spend the bulk of your time informing participants of these modes of communication (and ensuring participation of key members) than setting up a bunch of software.

ja.zz (1)

regular_gonzalez (926606) | more than 7 years ago | (#16319791)

The ja.zz system over at Shacknews [] is nice and seems exactly what you're looking for -- a system that supports multiple fast-moving topics.

There's also a more extensible clone of it used over at Stoofoo [] (may be NWS).

Usenet news and/or email lists? (1)

v1z (126905) | more than 7 years ago | (#16319845)

While usenet is basically a much better bbs-system then all the crappy web-based forums, with the speed posts traverse the path from poster, via server to reader -- it pretty much does everything you want.

Only problem is you'd have to implement a web-interface that translated bb-code to html to get anyone to use the thing these days.

I personally like mailing-lists with archives too -- but I suppose you'd want to opt-in on recieveing the archive for the past x days when you sign up as a new user.

I realize you really want something "snappier", such as a jabber-server with integrated web interface and chat-logging.

I think the main reason there's so many horrid web-forums is that a) it's dead easy to make one that works (not securly, but who cares about that, right?), and b) it's dead easy to get hosting for such a solution.

To deploy a *real* application server online, you generally need a different type of hosting environment than what most web-hosting companies provide.

Maybe we can hope that the growt of Virtual Servers (be it UML, xen, vmware or something else) in the low-end marked will allow people to start writing real programs again, as opposed to mutilated http-based stuff (You can scream about cookies and php-sessions all you want, but implementing a stateful app over a stateless protocol is going to be a pain, always).

Or; "Why is it that when you've got access to a webserver, everything starts to look like a http-request" ? has some of these qualities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16320183)

But it's a closed source service

Altme (1)

gebbeth (720597) | more than 7 years ago | (#16320785)

Try Altme ( It has chat, calendaring, file posting, access control, users/groups etc. You create user communities called worlds which you can add users to.

just an idea (1)

MrTester (860336) | more than 7 years ago | (#16321067)

It seems to me that the main difference between chat and board posting is the amount of thought that goes into a message. Both sometimes have single line " LOL" comments and longer well thought out monologs, but chat tends towards shorter punch lines and sites like Slashdot tend to monologs.

I think the most basic thing you would need is a chat interface with 2 "Send" buttons. One would just transmit a "throw away" line to everyone who is viewing live, and the other would be a "for posterity" button that would actually post the comment. That would allow people to interact with the live community, but also prevent people from having to sift through tons of junk to get to the actual conversation.

If anyone actually does this based on my idea I want my name in there somewhere and a winter home in the Bahamas.

Citadel (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 7 years ago | (#16322121)

Citadel might be overkill for what your are wanting. []

keep in mind percieved differences (1)

pennyher0 (852359) | more than 7 years ago | (#16323983)

I'm not sure if I understand why you'd need a hybrid of the two. it seems that threaded discussions in the form of a message-board system should work relatively well if some ground rules were set up initially (like... private messages go in a new forum thread, or a system of PM-emails on the forum site was a part of the system)

Keep in mind that generally now, IMs are thought of as more 'disposable', and people write one or two sentence posts (as mentioned above) quite often. in informal discussions, the majority are pretty empty 'hahah' or 'lol' types of things.

additionally, people who are used to this culture of 'fast, short messages' in chat will be a little thrown off if you then ask people to post thoughtful and insightful messages via a chat medium. longer messages take time to read, and the constant automatic scrolling of text as messages come in will be really frustrating to participants.

Besides the advantage of easier readibility due to NOT having automatically scrolling text like in a chat system, an advantage to using a more "lagged" system or "asynchronous" system is the perception of more permanence to the messages. people will generally put more thought into their replies, and people used to the cultural difference between IM and forums won't be annoyed when a person sends a couple paragraphs in what most see as a disposable chat medium. forums "look" like websites, so the content in the forum looks/feels more permanent. EVERYONE can read it, even long after it's posted if the forum itself is kept visible. Even if it's disclosed early on that all forum messages will be deleted after the discussion, there's still the perception of permanence because it's on a solid "static" webpage.

so, technically yes, chat is a non-threaded forum, but there are differences in perception and the effect of those differences that could have a big impact on the quality of discussion by participants.

Just some stuff to think about.

IRC + forum linked by a bot (1)

frankgod (218789) | more than 7 years ago | (#16325499)

A community [] I am involved with uses a forum and an IRC channel. The hook in between is a bot created by the main administrator. Whenever there is a post on the forum, the bot announces it on the IRC channel, with a very convenient link. Not sure if it's what original poster had in mind but I think it's a neat system.

FuckedCompany's BBS was practically a hybrid... (1)

Reverend99 (1009807) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326469)

Although it was a BBS, users would respond to threaded topics so frequently that you would have real time conversations with people on several topics at a time. I would find myself hanging around the site for an hour or two having discusions in multiple topics. I would read one, make responses, then read the next. By the time I got back to the first one, there were usually multiple replies. Within even just a few minutes I could have had several exchanges with the same person. The drawback to this was that once a topic fell off the main page it was usually no longer discussed (out of sight, out of mind), with the exception of a few topics that would go on to have thousands of replies. Some topics were also brought back, especially when using what somebody said in a previous topic to throw back at them if they are caught doing a 180 on the same topic later.

php/mysql (1)

robpoe (578975) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328135)

i wrote a web based "chat room". it used php/mysql. you login to it (no registration at this time), and you see the last so many lines posted. It uses 2 iframes (one for the html form post window, one for the refreshing chat).

You get to see what the previous people said (esp if they were having a conversation) or you can just make notes to everyone about whatever.

it's actually a really small program .. not too hard to do.

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<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>