Since You Asked

I'm a bit confused by the Mail Tribune's two forums on its Web site. Why are there two, rather than one where everyone would be on the same site? I like to look at the forums, but usually I just look at one or the other, not both.

— Kate L., Medford

Well, Kate, sometimes we, too, are confused by our forums (, but maybe not for the same reasons as you. It certainly is fascinating, and puzzling, where a conversation can lead once it gets started online.

The two forums grew out of a change in our Web site years ago. Before we made the change, we had one forum with a loyal group of participants. When the new site arrived, with a new forum . . . well, let's just say they were less than thrilled with the change.

After hearing from them — and hearing from them and hearing from them — we brought back the Classic Forums. Unlike the New Coke and Classic Coke debacle in the 1980s, however, we ended up with two popular forums.

They do have a distinct difference. The topics on the Classic Forums are generated by the users, while the topics on the new forums are related to articles that appear in the newspaper and on our Web site, what we call a "reader responder" forum.

The Classic Forum is consistently one of our most-read sites on the Web. The Web-use figures for October, for example, show it had more than 233,000 page views as of Tuesday. The story-related forum had 177,000 page views. But the story-related forum has had the larger number of individual readers for this month, roughly 30,000 versus 17,000 for the Classic site. Both are among the top five visited pages on our site this month.

So, why do we have two forums? Because the people spoke — and wrote — loudly and clearly. Lord knows the forum users can get riled up, so we figured it was the better part of valor to give them what they wanted.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 776-4376; or by e-mail to

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