A thread is a collection of posts, usually displayed – by default – from oldest to latest, although the option for a threaded view (a tree-like view applying logical reply structure before chronological order) can be available. A thread is defined by a title, an additional description that may summarise the intended discussion, and an opening or original post (common abbreviation 'OP', which can also mean opening poster
) which opens whatever dialogue or makes whatever announcement the poster wished. A thread can contain any number of posts, including multiple posts from the same members, even if they are one after the other.
A thread is contained in a forum, and is displayed in chronological order from newest to oldest, where the date is taken as the date of the last post (options to order threads by other criteria are generally available). When a member posts in a thread it will jump to the top since it is the latest updated thread. Similarly, other threads will jump in front of it when they receive posts. When a member posts in a thread for no reason but to have it go to the top, it is referred to as a bump
. Threads which are important but rarely receive posts are sticky
ed (or, in some software, 'pinned'). A sticky thread
will always appear in front of normal threads, often in its own section.
A thread's popularity is measured on forums in reply (total posts minus one – the opening post) counts. Some forums also track page views. Threads meeting a set number of posts or a set number of views, preset by the forums administrators
, receives the name of "hot thread" and usually display a different icon compared to others threads, not meeting the criteria.