Hey Fellow IFians
I have good news for all of you.
A month or two ago, me and Tanaz di (T.) decided to write in for Young Times, an extremely popular Dubai based magazine,widely ciculated in the Middle East.
We got down to work, started surveying the DEV team members, selected a few good quotes (We really did want to include all of them, but because of lack of space we didnt.A few may even have been edited out.)
Finally, we started writing. Though it could be tiring reading through all the quotes, proof reading , and at times just thinking what to write and where, but, before we knew it we were done, and both me and Tanu di had a blast working together.
Below i have copy pasted the article and the link to the YT site.
Internet discussion forums are global meeting grounds for those who share common interests - be it Harry Potter or football. No matter where they are in the world, these forums bring people together on a level playing field. Members also learn about different cultures and hone their communication skills. Apart from connecting people, Internet forums are virtual stress balls, say TANAZ BHATHENA and EISHA MOHSIN who check out a few popular forums ...
THIS IS how it started:
T: Hi Eisha!
Mrs.Eishu.SRK: Hey! Finally, we get to chat outside of the forum! What's your real name?
T: Tanaz :)
Mrs.Eishu. SRK: Wait a min ... do you write for a magazine?
T: Er ... yeah, I used to ... kinda....
Mrs.Eishu. SRK: Young Times? Are you THE Tanaz Bhathena?
T: Um ... just Tanaz will do :)
Talk about it being a small world. Neither of us knew that debating over topics such as 'Parasitism in group-projects' on the debating section of a forum would lead to a good friendship, and that, too, with a YT connection! And now a YT collaboration for this Cover Story!
While chat rooms are still popular in cyberspace, Internet discussion forums and message boards are quickly carving a niche for themselves here. Simply Googling for the word 'forum' results in a whopping 3.68 billion results as opposed to the word "chat room" which results in 135 million hits - less than four percent!
We decided to give you all a glimpse into this particular corner of the worldwide web by focusing on three highly active and popular forums, which are visited by hundreds of people every day - India-forums.com, Chamber of Secrets and Orkut Communities.
Indian Television Serials Discussion Forum
"Who killed Gujral?"
No, this was no murder conspiracy being hatched out on the Net. It was quite a harmless query, in fact.
This question was on the minds of all viewers of the popular Hindi serial Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. To bring the uninitiated up to speed, the title means, 'Because the mother-in-law was also once a daughter-in-law'!
In the KSBKBT section on India-Forums.com, members who were bored by the elastic storyline of the soap decided to investigate the assassination of popular character, Aditya Gujral. A lively mock interrogation session was staged, where IF members were also suspects, and everyone was presumed guilty until proven innocent!
Vijay Bhatter, the 26-year-old forum creator and software professional from Kolkata, India, had no idea that a message board providing episode updates for fans of Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin (There's no one like Jassi), another popular Hindi television serial, would grow to be a discussion forum for over 80 television serials, with over 150,000 members in a span of just two and a half years.
However, IF is not simply limited to Indian television. There are also sections to discuss Pakistani, US and Canadian shows. It is no surprise that members log on from all over the globe to read regular serial updates provided religiously by a special group of members called 'Coolbies', and give diverse opinions on controversial and non-controversial topics.
Gauher Korat, 21, a Science student from Dhaka, Bangladesh, feels that her communication skills have greatly improved after joining IF. "I can express myself properly now," she says.
Jasleen Dhindsa, 21, a Department Manager in a retail store in Toronto, Canada, discovered IF while searching for updates of Jassi.... However, now she has more reasons to stick around. "I have made such great friends that I come everyday to have fun with them and forget about everything else, and just have a blast," she says.
Gurprit K, a 14-year-old student in Ontario, Canada, is a self-confessed introvert. "IF helped me overcome my shyness and make tonnes of friends Online," she says.
S Priya, 32, a Global Moderator and a full-time lawyer from Mumbai, India, is hooked onto IF despite the crazy working hours her job demands. "Even if I get a break of five minutes, or if I am on an unavoidable call, I log in and do time pass till the call is over, or it's time to get back to work," she confesses.
Bhaskar P Thakur, a 28-year-old college student from IIT Kharagpur in India, also loves the forum for its friendly atmosphere and the emotional support it provides. "I made some really wonderful friends here, who have become a very important part of my life. There are many here who have given me the support when I needed it most during a bad patch of my life last year," he says. Apart from discussions, IF publishes a weekly themed newsletter, and is now branching out into the realm of podcasts and Internet radio shows.
Dolly T, a 20-year-old Marketing Intern from the US, feels that IF's radio show Telly Chaska (Telly Addiction) is one of the site's most attractive features. The show also includes the 'Chaska Meter' - a system where members rate how addicted they are to a particular television show.
"Altogether, India-Forums is truly the platform that connects Indian Television Viewers with the television fraternity," says Dolly, who is IF's creative head. "A dedicated Development Team, members who form strong bonds of friendship and a platform for us all to meet makes I-F truly addictive."
General Discussion Forum
"Type with your elbow!"
While a lot of members from the Chit-Chat section on IF's general discussion forum had trouble with this particular challenge. An equal number managed to accurately spell out their names, albeit a little slowly. Apart from issuing such odd challenges, this section has members conducting mock weddings to their favourite celebrities, and just having a good time with friends.
More heated discussions take place in Music Corner and the Bollywood section where members argue over Himesh Reshammiya as a singer to Aishwarya Rai's wardrobe selection in the Cannes film festival. But, in spite of the differences in opinion, most members get along rather well. According to 16-year-old Super Moderator Naina Manam, the friendliness and community spirit is what sets this forum apart from many others. "You get accepted so well that you feel at home from the very first day you join," says Naina, who is a high school student in Arkansas, USA.
Preeti Datar, 18, a BCom and CA student from Mumbai, India, agrees with her.
"You don't need to change yourself to be friends with anyone here. Anyone from any age group gets accepted on IF!" she says. When she's not busy writing poetry or studying for her professional exams, Preeti moderates the College and University section among many others on IF.
The Homework Helpline in this section has proved particularly useful for youngsters who have trouble researching for school projects or find themselves stuck with a particularly difficult Maths problem.
If you have problem of a non-academic nature, then Advice Corner has dozens of Agony Aunts and Uncles at your disposal. Members offer different pieces of advice on dealing with problems such as heartache, failure and even divorce. The IF moderating team keeps a close eye on such sections to make sure that the advice is appropriate.
Rimjhim, 20, a moderator and an Accounting Major from New York, USA, is quick to encourage members to confide in a parent or guardian about serious problems such as stalking.
The moderators log onto the forum daily to keep it free of spam and abuse, spending an average of three to four hours Online. "On school days, I spend one hour Online, but on the weekends, it ranges from three to five hours," says 14-year-old moderator Amna Muneer Awan, who is a Class 9 student from Delta, Canada. But, all that hard work does pay off in the form of a safer place on the Internet.
"The environment is so clean that you can even recommend it to a five-year-old," says Rimjhim.
New contests such as the IF Storyteller Challenge and the publication of the monthly newsletter work to keep the members always interested and entertained. But, apart from the entertainment factor, how does this forum benefit people?
"It has helped me increase my typing speed tremendously," Naina jokes. "Another important thing that I learnt through IF is interacting with people different cultures. I have come to know about many other religions and how people respond to certain situations," she says.
Preeti has something different to say. "I have learnt to watch my tongue which is very slippery. I tend to say the wrong things at the wrong times, so IF, in a way, has taught me to control myself," she admits.
Mrs.Eishu.SRK: I am feeling tense today :(
Mrs.Eishu.SRK: I am so busy at the moment! We have guests coming over, and we have to finish the Cover Story for YT!
T: Hmm ... I know something which will cheer you up.
T: The president of the SRK fan-club on the forum has declared that you are his official 'Forum Wife' ;)
Mrs.Eishu.SRK: *faints with delight*
T: Feeling better?
Mrs.Eishu.SRK: Yeah, thanks :D
We would like to thank the editor of the magazine , Roopa Kurian and the sub editor Prathiba Umashankar for their immense co operation.
A reallly big thank you too everyone in the DEV team to bothered filling up our questionaire.
-Eisha & Tanaz.