I became aware of online forums some years ago. I started commenting on TV broadcasts and discovered that the community did not only talk about those but about a wide range of issues, mostly political ones, though. When the TV channel closed its forum because FB had become more in vogue I didn't want to do without online forums and began to actively look for alternatives. For me, online forums are an indispensable supplement to talks that I have in real life and they have some advantages: When I want to meet up with friends it usually takes some planning and negotiating a time that suits both or everyone involved. Sometimes expectations are high. But then we usually talk about private affairs, family, the challenges of daily life and business extensively. Only after a period of time conversation gradually shifts to such matters that are frequently and normally discussed on online forums such as political affairs and a wider range of more specific questions, topics, and interest. When it does, it's often time to say goodbye. I repeatedly notice that the exchange of opinions and ideas is not as satisfying and inspiring as on online forums because people didn't have time to inform themselves about those topics, have never heard about something etc. So real life conversations tend to be not as well-informed and interesting as some online discussions. Online discussions also take less planning. You can join and leave them as you like. I have benefited from researching a subject raised by others and discussed on a forum and I appreciate the wider range of opinions voiced by people I'd normally not have a chance of talking to. Contrary to what can be read in this thread I have absolutely no intention of even trying to persuade participants in a discussion. My motto is "Let's agree to differ." The fact that I usually don't reply to an argument more than once does not necessarily mean, however, that that's the end of the road. I just don't want to be argumentative. Having left my scent mark, so to speak, is enough in most cases.