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    A Bump For You!

    By Titmowse | Writer @ CozyFrog | AUG.10.2005
I have to admit I am a bit surprised.

I've been formally moderating the message board at Cozy Campus only since the beginning of this year. In that short time, I've had at least four or five board members ask me what it means when I bump one of their threads.

"As you can imagine, the reasons to bump a thread are legion. The trick for you is to determine if your bump is a gift, a gaffe or an assault."
Before I go any further with this piece, let me define for you the word "bump" when used in the context of an online message board:

A bump is a reply (to a message board post) that is designed to push that particular post/topic/thread to the top of a forum.

Most message board software is set up so that the topics with the most recent replies are listed at the top of a forum page. When a board member submits a reply to a posted topic, that topic/thread rises to the top until someone else posts in another thread. You can tell that a topic is new or hot by it's position relative to the top, front page of a message board forum. Topics with zero or less current replies will eventually fall off the front page and fade from the memories of board members.

When a Cozy board member opens your thread/topic and submits this reply:

That means the member wants your thread to stay on the front page. It means that member doesn't want your topic to be ignored. What's frustrating is that a bump isn't really a reply or an answer. A bump is what it is. Someone bumped your thread to the top.

There are about as many reasons to bump a thread, as there are members on a board. Maybe someone bumps your thread for altruistic reasons, maybe not. Could be a board member saw your topic had zero replies and bumped it out of sympathy. There is the possibility that you asked a question that the bumping webmaster needs an answer to as well. On occasion, a tacky webmaster will bump a thread because they want to cause trouble or they want to spam their business. Usually these webmasters search for old threads or topics that involve subjects they can exploit with spam. As you can imagine, the reasons to bump a thread are legion. The trick for you is to determine if your bump is a gift, a gaffe or an assault.

First, examine the bump itself. Did the webmaster simply type:


    "a Bump for you"


    "Bumpity Bump"

Were there any smiley, LOLs or emoticons posted along with the bump in question? Do those smileys, LOLs or emoticons imply friendliness or humor? Did the poster add an angry grrr smiley to go along with your bump? Does the smiley, LOL or emoticon make sense in the context of your thread subject? If your thread was replied to with a bump and a smile then it was probably a good thing. If the bump came with a frowning smiley, not so good.

Second, did your thread have any replies before you got your bump? If your thread had zero replies, chances are your bump was a mercy bump. If your thread had a few or a bunch of replies, it's a little more difficult to determine the nature of the bump, but not impossible.

Untitled Page

Perhaps you started a popular topic that was highly debated earlier in the day. There is a great chance that someone from the night crew (or maybe someone going off to bed) decided your thread needed to remain on the front page. It might be the case that there remain some unanswered questions or points in your thread. Your recent thread might just have been really funny or interesting and your bumper wanted the other board members to enjoy it.

On the other hand, what does it mean when someone bumps on of your older threads? It could be a thread from last week, or last month or even last year. Why would a board member do that?

Often times someone will bump an old thread for spam-type reasons. The hosting spammer resurrects your hosting thread so they can spam their service. The top list spammer bumps your top list thread in order to spam his/her site. The content spammer reanimates your thread because topic title reads: "Where can I find content?" The web design spammer gives your thread a bump it's a thread about design. Then you have the more nefarious bumps.

For example, we have a thread on Cozy Campus that just won't die. It's a thread that is rather unflattering to the reputation of a certain adult Internet company. When the thread was first posted, it caused quite a ruckus on Campus. There were replies-a-plenty from defenders, detractors, and observers as well as the owner of the company in question. After a day or two, the thread fell off the front page and disappeared into the archives.

Now, every few months, someone will bump that scandalous thread right back to the front of our main forum. Sometimes the bumper is the board member that started the thread. Sometimes it's one of his/her sympathizers. A couple of times the bumper has been the accused business owner or one of his coadjutors. No matter who bumps that thread, it's never pretty. Just the same, I'm almost positive that thread will be bumped again. Some threads just won't die.

A message board bump isn't a hit on the head or a virtual smack to the jaw. A bump isn't a disco dance or disco dust. A bump is quick reply to a thread with the purpose of making that thread rise to the top of the forum's front page. The intent of the bump is yours to decide.

Here's a bump for you! May you rise to the top!

By Titmowse | Writer @ CozyFrog
Titmowse has a special lily pad as the head writer for CozyFrog and it's family of webmaster resources. She also writes text content for several websites and is the owner of her very own MowseBytes Newsletter.

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