Issue-based fora, i.e. organised around policy issues that have been formulated by policy-makers, interest groups or "experts", and presented as the heading of one or more discussion "threads". Responses are sought in order to gauge opinion or solicit ideas. Position statements, links to topic-related websites and other background information may also be presented, although they are often lacking.
Policy-based fora, i.e. organised around themes/issues that relate directly to a draft policy that is meant to address these, and where discussion threads are intended to solicit responses from those affected. Participants might be encouraged to submit alternative ideas and suggestions but the format implies that what is being sought is an indication of how far the participants agree (or not) with the proposals, and why.