Best described as a torrent of little
children running around in a minefield
(users), some armed with weapons (moderators), forums are the flagship of internet discussion, spam, and flame wars.
Smaller forums tend to be more habitable, but the larger ones have
many distinct and similar
features. For example, within
approximately seven seconds
of the creation
of a topic, you will have
at least one reply, garunteed. Large forums also tend to spawn makeshift caste systems within
themselves, and you're automatically a malefactor in the forum until you have
a 4-digit post count.
A forum can sometimes be helpful, but normally they become a time consuming and frustrating thing if you pay too much attention to them.