Originally I joined forums for information of some sort. Gigs (thescene.com.au), music production (global underground), tech advice (ultrashock.com), buffy (buffistas.org), all topics I wanted to discuss.
Now I've become interested in the dynamics behind these communities. People from the same generation have such different approaches to the technology. Some people struggle to accept Internet forums as places where they are accountable for their behaviour. Many develop a sense of community with each other, and partnership with the owners of the board. Politics is never far from the surface, as issues of accountability and censorship arise.
If I ever do further study, I'd like to write about forum dynamics. Has anyone read any literature on this? Are there any forums you love? What makes a good forum to you?