Continuing the discussion from What is wrong with PHPBB?.
I wouldn’t touch most “definition debates” with a ten foot pole, but since this one pertains to “what is Discourse, really?” I figured it might be worthwhile and a little bit of fun.
My stance is pretty simple. Language is defined by its use and not its history. Today, we use the terms “forum (software)” and “bulletin board (system)” interchangeably, and most people would not be able to tell you the difference between the two.
Wikipedia describes forum software as an evolution of bulletin board systems (and phpBB is its first example!). – So you could say that a forum is a forum and a bulletin board same as a human is a human and a primate.
If you go googling for either forum or bbs software, you’ll find exactly the same thing. There are no widespread “forum vs bbs” debates or separate lists of the two. And more often than not, “forum” is the key term while “bbs” is a byline.
There could be any amount of experts with well thought out definitions of the two (according to them) different terms, and it doesn’t matter one bit as long as Wikipedia, Google and the vast majority of The Internet population disagrees with them.
Discourse is a forum. Discourse is a bulletin board system.
(For the record I don’t say “GNU/Linux” either. Now you know what side I’m on)