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In the "friends of Meetup" category at last night’s NY Tech gathering, San Francisco-based Lefora presented their forums software. Lefora provides free forum hosting and offers two styles: a typical phpBB replacement and then a "new" style. The new style is geared more towards the Web 2.0 side and has a newsfeed style in design and usability. Lefora offers a variety of spam protection to keep your forums running and crowdsources spam prevention so the system learns over time. A NYC competitor is Yuku, part of the KickApps family.
The big turnoff for me on Lefora is that they allow you to repost entire full feeds from blogs and create a community around another site’s content. Presenter Vincent Lauria displayed how within 1 minute you can take Engadget’s full feed, and create threads for each piece of content. This type of scraping needs to be stopped. Outside of the fact that Lefora doesn’t care about content creators, the app functioned well.