November 17, 2007

Differences between blogs, wikis, and discussion boards

This is a question that keeps on coming up so I decided to write a post to clarify it. Now, before I go into the differences I will explain what each of these are.

The word Blog comes from the words Web Log. It's a Web site that allows an individual, or group of individuals, to share a running log of events and personal insights with online audiences. In simple terms, a Blog is an online journal.

A Wiki is a type of Web page that allows anyone with an Internet connection to create and modify pages easily and quickly. This means that anyone that visits your Wiki will be able to create new pages and update your content whenever they desire.The name wiki comes from the Hawaiian words Wiki wiki which means quick.

A Discussion Board is a communication tool that allows individuals to collaborate with others through posting or answering questions. Also referred to as forums, message boards, or bulletin boards.

The differences are:

1. Are personal
2. A posting is owned by a poster (could be owned by a small group)
3. Aim is conversation, change in thinking/self/ideas, writing of the moment
4. Content is considered to be static: once posted, the posting doesn't change (comments can add information to your posting)
5. Content is displayed in reverse chronological order and scrolling is required
6. Comments are optional but encouraged to continue the conversation
7. The intent is personal, news, reflection
8. Voice used is conversational

1. Open to collaboration
2. Topics are considered public space and owned by all
3. Aim is creation of documents
4. Content is not permanent, it can be revised by any one
5. Content is displayed in nodes/tree structure
6. Comments are not expected
7. The intent is informational
8. Voice used is passive and active

Discussion boards:
1. Open to collaboration
2. Are owned by groups with equal responsibilities
3. Aim is to provide support, discuss topics and/or share knowledge
4. Content is considered to be static: once posted the posting doesn't change (answers are provided by others)
5. Content is organized and presented in different ways
6. Answers are required
7. The intent is resolution (when used for support) and enlightenment (when used for discussion or knowledge sharing)
8. Voice used is conversational

Another great resource for differences between blogs and discussion boards is the Common Craft blog. Lee LeFever provides a side-by-side comparison chart.

I'm proud to say this article was used as a reference by the University of Hartford to develop a matrix for their faculty.

What other technologies would you like to know about? Leave your feedback in our comment section below.


Article updated on Jan 4, 2018 with more uses on discussion forums that have emerged after the article was published in 2007.


  1. I like your use of discussion board for sharing work for feedback.