Ravelry's forums are a little different

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Many newcomers to Ravelry don't realize that we have very active forums - the 6 main boards and 3200 group boards that make up our Forum Armada contain nearly 1.1 million posts. Ravelry's isn't a forum centered site, but the boards are a big part of what ties the community together. I don't really like the way that traditional (phpBB, vBulletin, etc) forums work so Ravelry contains my own twist on discussions. Here are a few things that people might not notice at first glance (with screenshots) Every user gets a customizable forums section. You start with the 6 main boards and each group that you join adds another board. You can arrange these boards into tabs and configure their size in a way that makes it easy for you to scan for new activity.
You can eavesdrop on all of the chatter. Turn on the Radar and posts all over Ravelry will appear on the screen as they are written. Radar was just a fun experiment but so many people love it that we are going to add improvements. I'll also add a similar thing for all of the photos that are added to Ravelry (so that you can sit, knit or crochet, and watch a stream of FO and yarn pics pass by)
Magic links make stuff happen There are some special shortcut for linking to Ravelry pages from forum posts. The magic links aren't just time savers - in this example I linked to a user (Jess) and a pattern. After my post is submitted, Jess will get a Ravelry message ("Are your ears burning?") so that she knows I am talking about her and the Korknisse pattern page will get a link to my post so that people interested in the pattern can find it later. This message is a bad example because it doesn't actually say anything useful :)
There is a secret bubble This one is just a small thing but it isn't really explained anywhere. If you hover your mouse over an avatar for a while, you can see a little bit more about a user as well as link directly to their blog, projects, queue etc.. This actually works everywhere on Ravelry. Also note the little "educational", "interesting" etc. vote boxes. We love those things.
One more screenshot for the road Nothing crazy here - just illustrating a few things: a simple and clean board overview, RSS feed for new topics, tags for easy browsing and procrastination, and the watchful eyes of the moderators (heh).