Conferences are at the top level of the Forums component structure. You'll probably want to set up conferences based on a major subject area, like a product family, a general subject, or a community. Once you've defined a conference, you can populate it with forums where end users post messages and create threads on more specific topics.
As the Forums administrator, you define conferences, review conference settings, and determine how users will interact with particular forums. You use the Conference Manager to perform these tasks, as well as to assign various permissions to groups and determine which forums will be available to which conferences.
In addition, you determine the Forums security options required for your site, such as whether users must register before entering, and whether users or messages need to be approved before appearing in a forum.
See Specifying Conference Security Options for more information.