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Re: BBpress. Mindset, features and where now? discuss…

John James Jacoby


You know, that WordPress is really an elaborate Forum clone, right?

Years ago, forums were threaded email responses back and forth that were documented hierarchically. Then, the idea of threads was cast away because it was thought to be too complicated to understand. Why would someone branch off to speak to a reply instead of replying to the original post/poster?

To me, it’s the nature of group discussion, and it is the difference between the intent of WordPress and bbPress, at least it was before WordPress 2.7 brought back threaded comments.

A forum is intended for multiple, typically registered commited users, and invokes group discussion that is often times allowed to skate off-topic as people reply to other people. Sometimes reply counts can escalate into the hundreds or thousands depending on the size of the forum.

A blog is intended to allow a few authors to create articles and attempts to cater to non-committed users that drop by, can leave a comment, and never look back if they don’t want to.

Since the emphasis of a blog is the initial post, comment replies typically tend to stay on topic.

Since the emphasis of a forum is to spark conversation, replies typically tend to drift off topic.

The funny thing is that both of these display methods use almost the exact same data storage and retrieval methods. Data is categorized and tagged as necessary, with a time-stamp, an excerpt, and other pertinent information.

The one major way that blogs differ from forums, is that forums restrict posts to one forum or category while blogs allow for one post to be in several. This ability inherently changes the emphasis away from categorization and towards the content of the post itself and how it relates to other possible posts.

I moved away from phpBB and towards WordPress for this specific attribute alone. Since posts can often times benefit from being in multiple categories, a blog style system makes a great deal of sense.

I think that the similarities between WordPress and bbPress exist only because they share a similar intent with data storage and categorization, and if you’ve ever read two books by the same author you’ll understand how both of them will read very similarly.

Overall I am happy that the authors of WordPress have made bbPress, as it shows a recognition of the distinct differences between the two of them.

I think as time passes, you will start to see more of how these two tools come from the same family but are different members all together. Think of them as fraternal twins. ;)

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