An Internet forum is a web application which provides a way to hold textual discussions. Forums (or 'fora' if you know your Latin) are also known as discussion boards and discussion groups. A forum normally caters for only one language but a site hosting multiple forums may have some in different languages.
Popular BDSM and fetish discussion topics are around aspects of power exchange and viewpoints on fetish, fetish clothing and clubbing. Techniques are discussed and the larger sites, with many forums on them, often include specific areas for dominants and submissives to share views and information. Several forum sites are combined with other Internet websites such as matchmaking, commercial products and lifestyle articles.
Older forums date back to around 1996, following the newsgroups and bulletin board systems which were widespread in the 1980s and 1990s. For a further description of Internet forums, see the Wikipedia aricle on Internet forums.
Discussions on an Internet forum are typically held on what is called a thread. The thread is started by someone contributing a new topic for discussion. People then respond to that contribution, or to responses to that contribution, or responses to those responses, etc. and all these contributions appear on the same thread in an organised manner, thereby building up the discussion. It is generally considered rude not to first check if a recent thread already exists on a subject before starting a brand new one. Many forum sites have some simple guidance to help people get started, and rules to keep people in line. The main rule on well-behaved forums is that while it is perfectly acceptable to question and criticise someone's views, it is not acceptable to make personal comments about the person holding those views.
Many Internet forums can be freely viewed without having to join. To participate in them, it is usually necessary to join the site hosting the forum, which usually means registering an e-mail address and selecting a unique screen-name. Some sites require payment, which usually deters those who might post silly or irrelevant nonsence and spam. Some forums are monitored, which means that contributions may be removed after posting or that they might not be posted until being checked and even edited.