Discussion forums are subforums on the hsquizbowl.org forums which are dedicated to the discussion of a particular question set before it is clear for public discussion. These forums typically include threads for both broad discussion of the set and specific questions and are key records of the public perception of a set.
After the first mirror of a set, a forum can be created by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with words "private forum" in the subject and the usernames of all the group's leaders. This will create a private forum with an accompanying usergroup.
Usergroups can be joined, left, and otherwise managed from the "Usergroups" tab of the User Control Panel, which can be accessed by clicking one's username in the top right corner of the forums - note that this implicitly requires that one has a forums account. From here, a user can select groups which they are not yet members of and submit a request to join which must be approved by an administrator of the group. Because group leaders can only see the name and profile of users submitting a request, one should make sure to set their signature to allow themselves to be identified.
After one's request to join is approved, the discussion will be visible as a subforum of the appropriate board: for high school sets this would be "National and Regional Comparisons and Discussions", while for college sets it would be "Collegiate Discussion".
After all mirrors for a set are completed and it is cleared for discussion, the discussion forum can be made public by again emailing email@example.com with "private forum" in the subject.
The rising popularity of Discord as a platform for online quizbowl writing and playing has seen a corresponding increase in the use of Discord servers for discussion. In some cases this takes the form of a single channel in the server for the playtest mirror, but it is more commonly an entire server created for the explicit purpose of discussing the set. The primary advantage of this set-up is that the barrier for entry is significantly lower (equivalent to that required to play an online tournament at all) and thus there is the potential to receive feedback from a wider range of players than would have otherwise been possible. This is particularly relevant because the de facto default is to host such discussion on the forums, which have become increasingly alien to subsequent generations of player.
The main argument against such discussion servers is that Discord servers are impermanent. There is not strictly any reason to delete a server but it has been known to happen; such an incident destroys all feedback. While this does not directly impact the immediate purpose of discussion forums (to fix errata and fine-tune questions for future mirrors) it is still a considerable faux pas, as it is the community norm that information about sets be available to the public - this can be considered a similar sentiment to that which causes all housewrites to publish their questions for free on the archive.