Blogoforum and tagging
Wow ...that's the way to go with discussion forums. There are no forums or sub-forums or theads in Blogoforum - you post your message and tag it. So you don't follow a discussion thread in the traditional linear form, you follow a tag - which may or may not lead to the linear steps of message with reply with reply etc.
Any one message has several tags, so you could get to the message through different routes.
I've long felt limited with your normal discussion forums which don't enable you to tag message. But what they are doing in Blogoforum goes further in that your post begins by you setting it up with a tag. To try it out I set up my own testing tag bevtrayner. It felt a bit sort of exposed in such a public forum, but the same principles inside a more personal community online environment would be just great.
I also liked the tag cloud for what "we are talking about" on the front page of Blogoforum which directs you to the tags with most posts. And "our people" directs you to the people who are posting the most. It currently doesn't have RSS feeds, which would make it even doubly potent. Imagine, you subscribe to the feeds for the tags that interest you. You would be informed as soon as someone posted something in a discussion and used that tag - you wouldn't have to either go look for the forum or subscribe to particular threads. Another feature is that, like in Flickr, you can also add tags to someone else's post.
There's such amazing potential in this kind of folksonomy and I can see some great uses you could put it to with multilingual discussion forums. But I think it's going to be a while before it catches on - it is such a whole different (subversive) mindset.
In one of my future lives (post-doc) I would like to see how tagging affected the types (and depth) of dialogues. And also I want to experiment in putting it to use with posts in different languages.
Tags: tagging, multilingualtagging