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Points of View Message Board 2: Off Topic and Off Site

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Nick Reynolds Nick Reynolds | 16:02 UK time, Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Thanks for all your comments on my previous post.

My apologies that this one is late (due to technical problems beyond my control).

Some of you have asked what exactly I'm doing. As I explained before I'm now in charge of the POV boards. So I'm thinking about them (and doing some hosting as well). To reassure Curmy and Nippiesweetie I don't yet have a plan. I have some ideas and opinions which I'm sharing with you in order to help me think.

points_of_view_logo.jpgBefore I get to the main thrust of this post, I agree with you there are some things that blogs could learn from message boards. For example, I'm wondering whether users should have the ability to reply to an individual comment on a blog more easily, so it feels like more of a dialogue (and a search function on message boards might be a boon). I'll discuss these things further with my colleagues and see if they should go on our "to do" list.

It's blindingly obvious that what many of you like most about the POV boards is the ability to start a conversation about anything you like.

But the trouble with having a relatively open board is that if people can start threads about anything at all, they will, even if its unrelated to the subject matter of the board.

Which in the case of the Points of View boards is supposed to be "any aspect of the BBC". (My bold)

And the more open the board the easier it is to start multiple threads (something many of you have complained about), and to break the house rules.

In the short amount of time I've been hosting parts of the board I've spent nearly all of it moving threads to different places or closing them because they've been off topic. There's only been one instance where I've managed to encourage a conversation which might actually be useful to someone.

When I see a thread like this one for example I start scratching my head. The original message was someone asking what the music was on an advert for Barclays bank (it's been moderated out, but you can read the rest of the thread) Why does this conversation start on a BBC board when the subject has absolutely nothing to do with the BBC? Should we be spending licence fee payers' money on this?

Some of you reading this may have heard of a gentleman called Tom Loosemore. He did a lot of work for the BBC a while ago and outlined some "Web 2.0 principles". One of these principles was "Link to discussions on the web, don't host them".

So in that spirit I'm going to be provocative.

The POV message boards currently has threads on Coronation Street, Emmerdale, I'm A Celebrity and Sharpe's Regiment. ITV.com also has its own forums, with threads about Corrie and Emmerdale and I'm A Celebrity.

POV has a board called "The BBC". Yet most newspapers who are online when they write a story about the BBC now allow comments. Here's a recent example from the Daily Mail. The Guardian's Comment Is Free has a section on the BBC (here's a link to all comments). There's even community blogs like Biased BBC (if you've never been there before I should warn you the views there can be strongly expressed and sometimes extreme).

POV has a board called Digital. Digital Spy covers the same ground and more. The Internet blog has a section about BBC HDTV.

POV has a board called "bbc.co.uk". The Internet blog was precisely set up to talk about what the BBC does online.

Do you ever use any of these alternatives? How are the POV boards better?

And what do you think of Officer Dibble's comment on my last post:

..."the only reason that the board is superior to the Digital Spy alternatives is the BBC brand that drives the traffic..."

Comment and I will engage. And there will be more posts to come. In particular I have one in mind about accountability which seems to lead naturally on from this one.

Nick Reynolds is editor, BBC Internet blog


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  • Comment number 1.

    I have seen some blogs (zdnet.com do this) which allow responses to individual blog comments but, in my mind, that only serves to make the whole thing difficult to follow because the comments don't flow naturally in chronological order.

    This is fine if you intend to go through the comments all in one go, or follow individual conversations, but useless if you don't have time to do that and need to go away part way through as new posts will have been added both before and after where you were when you come back.

    I have always felt that creating conversations within blog comments effectively turns that blog into a de facto discussion board thread anyway, so why not encourage use of the BBC boards for this type of exchange, and link blog entries to specific follow up threads within the discussion boards.

    Beyond that, it does seem a little counter-intuitive for the BBC Points of View board to be handling discussions on ITV programmes (or Sky/Bravo/Virgin etc.), particularly where those same discussions can be had elsewhere, but unless the bandwidth costs of those additional threads eat into Licence Fee payers funds I don't see the harm, except ...

    My only problem with the PoV boards has always been the sheer volume of stuff there that is unrelated to PoV so I don't go much anymore.

  • Comment number 2.

    Being able to respond to specific comments has advantages and disadvantages. It's great being able to reply to other people but the point of a blog is a conversation around the original post, rather than the responses. However, I really like that many of the big WordPress powered blogs out there are using improved commenting functionality such as that provided by Disqus or IntenseDebate to allow threaded comments rather than a simple linear listing.

    As for the POV boards, I've never visited, but I can't help but wonder if they should be there at all. Why not just have one for people to submit opinions on the BBC and that's that. If the moderators removed everything which is off-topic, people would soon learn to look elsewhere to post. As you've just demonstrated, there are plenty of other places to go and post, and if you pointed people at the Digital Spy forums, and then the "bbc brand driven traffic" will end up there (though they have a pretty huge community posting on all their forums anyway!).

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Nick,

    I've just read your latest blog - over on the POV board (I couldn't find it on your original blog!)

    I appreciate what you're saying about discussions about the BBC should only be on a BBC forum. However, the Beeb is very high profile and does have a very public forum for comments on its programming - Points Of View. It's natural then for people to be drawn to the BBC forums. They're connected to that major brand (POV) and are easy to find. Try finding message boards on other websites, for instance.

    It'll be a difficult balancing act. Encourage discussion, or drive people away...

    Do comments on the message boards, at the moment, influence decisions within the BBC or any other broadcaster, for that matter?

    Television is television, as far as a lot of people are concerned. They will want to raise points where they'll be discussed.

    Ultimately, whose BBC is it? Is it ours or does it belong to those fortunate enough to run a blog?


  • Comment number 4.

    Hello Nick

    Made it over here - some of the others seem to be having problems finding you here (still think if you are discussing messageboards you should do it over there, where the posters will ALWAYS find it)

    May I ask a question? Are you EVEN CONTEMPLATING closing POV messageboard, and just having blogs, or is there no possibility of making messageboarders become bloggers? If there is no possibility of closing messageboards, but simply tweaking them, you would have received MORE input, and genuinely helpful answers over on POV board. Sorry to keep coming back to this, but, it is at the heart of the problem.

    Another thing which you should perhaps be made aware of, is that, unlike myself who doesn't actually mind reading long postings (and posting them myself) - a GREAT many messageboarders will state "I don't read long postings", or "I only read the first part as it was too long a posting", so, to expect posters to become bloggers and read your blogs, regularly, is a big ask.

    I fear you are failing to grasp just how important to posters the feeling of Community is on messageboards. We all have our own favourite posters we like to see posting - some for their intelligence, some for their strength of feeling, and some for their witty comments, (which genuinely can lift spirits within the community). Blogging just seems to be so insular - the blogger posting, and individuals posting to THAT host, not so much as to the other posters. Blogging is very much the domain of those who are happy to post and run, whereas posting to messageboards is very much interaction BETWEEN the posters, as much as the topic. Some posters will get the bit between their teeth and post dozens of times to a topic, or inform other posters where to look for that info. It is very much a family unit (and sometimes families fall out, but they always sort out their differences and move on - the Hosts should be part of that family and stop any backbiting).

    If a decision is made to close boards and make it simply blogging instead of messageboards too, then, I fear many will just wend their way elsewhere. The old Points Askew is a point in case. Not only did BBC viewers in UK post to that board, but posters from around the world did. The board was closed, and a great many good posters were lost.

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    My major problem is that host-driven boards would be the ultimate turn-off for me and a large majority of people.

    Look at the last 2 blog entries - 25th Nov at 10:23am, and the next one at 4:02pm on the 26th. Not exactly frequent postings.

    Tom Loosemore also said "Build web products that meet audience needs". By the looks of the threads you mentioned above, the audience needs an "off topic" thread.

    Another thing "tomski" (shudders smiley) says is "Admit your mistakes." Think about that one please, Nick.

  • Comment number 7.

    My major problem is that host-driven boards would be the ultimate turn-off for me and a large majority of people.

    Look at the last 2 blog entries - 25th Nov at 10:23am, and the next one at 4:02pm on the 26th. Not exactly frequent postings.

    Tom Loosemore also said "Build web products that meet audience needs". By the looks of the threads you mentioned above, the audience needs an "off topic" thread.

    Another thing "tomski" (shudders) says is "Admit your mistakes." Think about that one please, Nick.

  • Comment number 8.

    Like my double posting mistake....!!

  • Comment number 9.

    Hello again Nick,

    1 Search facility on boards (thumbs up)

    2 Reply to individual comment on blog - not sure how this would work, so can't comment.

    3 God, by the time I scroll down to put my comment, I've forgotten what I was going to say, so..................

    4 If you insist on blogs, I would advise copying the Comment Box system on POV messageboard - brilliantly easy.

    5 Return the quote facility on messageboards.

    6 Merge threads covering the same topic on the messageboards - that would cut down on the number of similar threads (SCD, Dr Who etc)

    7 On the subject of ONLY BBC programmes being talked about, you have to realise that sometimes, posters post about old programmes (Nostaligia is a great thing - particularly about BBC ) (and they won't remember which channel it was on, so unless you have some computer programme which bounces comments about old programmes on other channels, this will mean the end to Nostalgia threads)

    8 Would you be planning to simply put a thread for each BBC programme appearing that week, and letting posters post to the threads of THEIR choice? That way, YOU could have some control over topics, but the posters would ultimately have control over WHICH programme they wanted to post about. Of course that would probably be more threads than now appearing on boards.

    9 I've frequented the bbc.co.uk/BBC/radio boards but the more technical boards are not really of interest, BUT, would be for those of that mind. Spent time on OUCH,NEWS,Archers and would LOVE to have had access to a MEMORYSHARE for Scotland, but none exists. I loved the Travel,Talk Scotland boards but they no longer exist.

    10 I think you will find that the messageboard posters are discussing your blog on the POV board. Took longer than I thought for them to weary of blogs. (laugh smiley)

  • Comment number 10.


    I thought I was going to have about six duplicate postings, as I kept getting a message saying that a mistake had happened due to HTML being mistyped.

    Think it was a link to POV messageboard (and yet, yesterday I was able to link to a messageboard) (shakes head smiley)

    NEVER experienced anything like that in all the years I've posted to messageboards, so another thumbs down for blogs from this messageboarder.

  • Comment number 11.

    OK, here I am, engaging.

    “In the short amount of time I've been hosting parts of the board I've spent nearly all of it moving threads to different places or closing them because they've been off topic.”

    - If you want to make sure people stay on-topic, Nick, you need to have a much more visible host presence. Expecting people not to stray conversationally is like telling a class of schoolchildren not to talk about anything other than ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, and then buzzing off and leaving them to it for not just a term but the entire school year. More than that: sometimes hosts have joined in off-topic chat. They’ve certainly never ever in the history of the board commented adversely on or removed threads about non-BBC programmes.

    If you feel the forum should only be about BBC progs, fine, but police it. That’s all the board needs.

    “There's only been one instance where I've managed to encourage a conversation which might actually be useful to someone.”

    - That rather depends on how you define ‘useful’. The boards are meant to be about expressing opinion on BBC programmes and related issues. And that’s what I see going on in all the forums. Such discussions, where people say whether they like a programme and for what reason, are fulfilling exactly the remit of the boards. How can that not be classed as useful?

    As for your comments about alternative forums and blogs, I’ve been on some of them briefly, but what draws me back always to PoV is it’s all handily encapsulated in one spot, plus I’ve spent three or four years getting into a community there, building a relationship with regular posters. That’s a hugely important aspect to me and I suspect it’s the same for many others.

    I’ll say again: I don’t want a blog, I want to be part of a forum. More specifically, I want to be part of the PoV forum.

    If you want to put a stop to people posting about non-BBC programmes, then do so. Go on the boards, make yourself known, explain the rules have changed* and enforce them, till members get the idea. It’s a very small and fixable problem, and certainly no justification to consider anything drastic.

    *I know you’re going to say the House Rules state BBC programmes only, but in practice this has never been enforced in the history of the forum.

  • Comment number 12.

    Yes Nick, you have thoroughly understood the entire ethos behind the Internet.

    Namely, the rigorous proscription of the actions of your consumers according to a set of arbitrary rules.

    That's what "Web 2.0" is all about isn't it.

  • Comment number 13.

    Niclara that happened to me the other day on here, and it posted three times - got an email saying I spammed the board!

    They (as in blogs) aren't user friendly if you aren't used to them.

    So I can take from what Nick has said the the POV as we know it has limited time left. The new whatever will probably be ruled with an iron fist, making it totally unusable and unfriendly.

    Okay we get the odd question or thread about adverts, but they are closed down. As for moving threads about - its just one of those things, supposedly new posters (hit and runners which are the majority of) putting the query in the wrong place. As for the other channel threads, are they really doing any harm?

  • Comment number 14.

    Hmmm....this is not looking good...

    I want to reinforce again the feeling of community on the POV board. Many regular posters have been there a long time and we feel we know each other. New posters are made welcome (unless they are very rude! LOL!) but there is a *real* community on the boards.

    If you don't want multiple threads or off-topic threads, then just police the board better. Please don't destroy it.

    Because....if it does turn into a blog, you will lose a lot of people and a real internet community.

  • Comment number 15.

    mirandashell, you make a good point about 'community'. These were the same points made 3 years ago when the 606 boards were, hmm, re-organised from a thriving 'community' into a soulless, fragmented shell of a place.

    Those cries for retaining the community were ignored, there is no reason to suppose it won't happen again.

  • Comment number 16.

    Good work whoever closed the Bonekickers thread, you've obviously taken the White Season Debacle and the Bonekickers Debacle as a blueprint of good practice, not heavy handed petulance.

    Once again it was too much effort to explain the reasons for closing a thread, I guess whoever did that has not been following the opinions of the people that frequent the boards.

  • Comment number 17.

    Chosun - if I put an open thread/post on the BBC Internet blog, would you use it? Would others?

    Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet blog)

  • Comment number 18.


    I may be wrong, but I think when Chosun said that he felt we needed an Off topic THREAD, he did NOT mean an Internet blog, but in fact is not talking about blogging at all, but THREADS as in messageboard THREADS.

    We used to have an Off topic Board called Points Askew where we were encouraged to go to talk about all things off topic of BBC (in other words to chat). POV board was then much more about the programmes (much more focused). Perhaps you just have to bite the bullet and re-open Points Askew, if you want POV to be about programmes only.

    You seem hell-bent on getting Messageboarders to blog, when I think they have made it very very clear that the majority do not want to entertain blogging. They just want better policing of the POV messageboard to stop WUMs/multiple threads/personal insults (but then these appear on blogs too).

    It was noticeable that on the link you gave us to BBC blogs in newspapers that the one I clicked on took me to "Chatterbox" in the Guardian, or an Off Topic blog!!!!!! So, you CAN chat on blogs, but we are not allowed ANY off topic on POV messageboard.

    You already seem to be getting the cold shoulder with this blog. There's only 11 different posters to this blog. As I said they are over on POV talking about it there, AND NOT HERE. I think that gives you your answer quite clearly.

  • Comment number 19.


    I note over on POV messageboard that you say

    "I clicked on "reply to this message".

    Hmmm... maybe message boards have their drawbacks."

    This is a really worrying comment. Just because YOU don't understand how to quote, or any other myriad of techniques we use on messageboards, that does not make it a "Drawback". Quite the contrary. Please go back, with an open mind, and look at Nippie's comment (message 351)below yours, and you will see that, quite the opposite of a "drawback", the quote facility makes it very clear what your comment was (it's enclosed in the box). Once you learn the coding for quoting, this is a phenominal aspect of messageboarding, as you can quote like this from SEVERAL different posts/posters, in the ONE comment - (it helps to put "quoted from message No.X, if you are going to quote from a lot of different postings, and then do the quoting code, as explained by Nippie). As she says this is one of the most asked questions (along with "how do you know that a poster is online" - the answer is that two asterisks will appear alongside the posters name to show they are online). As I say, it is worrying that you would see these terrific tools as "drawbacks". Also, although I know the posters and don't need smileys to indicate "tongue in cheek"/"thumbs up"/"laugh" etc. it may be well worth your while to learn how to use the odd smiley to lighten your postings there. (thumbs up smiley)(wink smiley) (can't use the correct brackets here as it conflicts with the coding). Some posters use smileys to lighten postings, whilst still getting their point over, others simply put a smiley (just a smiley) to respond to a posting, and others can hold a whole conversation with practically no words, but lots of smileys. Then, there are the posters who are so well known for their wit, that they don't even need to use a smiley - we just all know they are generally lighthearted or helpful.

    Nice to see you engaging with the posters over there.

  • Comment number 20.

    Me again Nick. Seems to be just you and me in hereeeeeeeeee.

    Another good aspect of messageboarding, is that you can click on the poster's name, and up pops their posting history (unless like some of us oldies you delete your history - most don't), you do this in h2g2. This means that if a poster is posting what you know is rubbish, you can check their history to see if they have posted to previous threads offering a different viewpoint. You can then quote from THAT thread in their history, letting you shoot down their argument (great facility as it stops dead a lot of WUMs)

    (thumbs up smiley)

    Just take a wee while playing with all the facilities on offer on POV messageboard (although these have been curtailed over recent years). It takes a wee bit of perseverence (and no-one gets it right first time), but, once you are able to utilise these aids, it is a real Eureka moment.

    The other posters usually jump in first with information for Newbies, before Hosts get a chance. It's part of our board etiquette, as is the general welcoming of Newbies to the fold.

  • Comment number 21.

    Just in case you are wondering why in message 9, point 5, I say "return the quote facility", when the posters have been trying to teach you how to quote properly on POV, you should maybe be told that there was an extremely easy "quote" function, which was removed from the board.

    You simply found the quote you wanted to quote, and pressed one button, it then did all the coding for you, to highlight the quotation, surrounding it with a box. YOU might actually prefer that function (wink smiley)

  • Comment number 22.

    Hi Nick,

    I was the one who called into question the whole episode prior to this blog post and used the phrase "blatant lies".

    I did this because in the morning you said that the blog was finished and had been passed to Dave to post. In the evening you then posted from the library claiming that the blog hadn't been finished and that you couldn't post anything until your internet problems had been fixed, and you repeated the fact that the blog wasn't finished the following morning.

    So basically you had deceived us about the blog being finished and in the capable hands of Dave...?

    Anyway.... as I said before, just tell us if you have a problem and we'll understand...!! We *want* a vibrant community here, with an interactive host. We all hope that you can be that person, entertaining BOTH messageboard AND blog traffic.

    In answer to your question above - no, I would not use an off-thread blog. Why? Because blogs are so unwieldy. Anything over 50 posts or so and it becomes a chore to use them.

    An off-thread messageboard area? YES. Definitely, YES.

  • Comment number 23.

    Interesting blog entry... Also interesting as you decided to put it in a blog entry as opposed to posting this within the POV community.

    Surely any discussion about the site would be better discussed _on_ the site?

    To compare the BBC POV boards with external 'independant' messageboards/blogs is a little difficult as I would hazard a guess that one of the reasons users post to the POV board is that they feel they are interacting _with_ the BBC as opposed to simply complaining about it into the ether.

    One other reason people may well post to POV is that using the DNA engine driving these boards gives a user access to the entire range of messageboards/communities across the BBC with the ability to centrally manage conversations from many different boards. For instance, this post is, unfortunately, completely separate from the rest of the posts I have made on the BBC boards, and will thus be far harder for me to come back to tomorrow.

    One of the things about any area on the web encouraging user provided content of any form is that, in time, it develops into a community (which of course is what the DNA engine driving these boards was originally designed for).

    Anyway. What you appear to be questioning is the level of control you can have over what has developped into an on-line community of users.

    That's a horrendously complicated question. At one end of your potential options is to restrict the boards, limit the ability to start threads to hosts, but I suspect that would destroy any sense of community.

    The other end of the spectrum is equally unpalletable, a free for all messageboard, which would rapidly become unusable.

    Somewhere in between those two just might be the right medium. Maybe making it clear, as you have started, that non-BBC conversations will not be permitted is the way forward, but that, in my opinion, has to be enforced in a transparent manner, with a degree of human intervention from active hosts on the board and a little leeway given here and there when it won't do any harm.

    One point I would make however is this. Everything you may be questioning now has already been asked. There are some excellent articles on the DNA Hub about how on-line communities develop... This is one.


    If, however, your idea of the future of a web-based presence for the POV TV show is not to develop a community or to host conversations/debates/screaming arguments (delete as applicable) about all aspects of BBC productions, rather to simply provide somewhere for people to drop in, leave their opinion and leave, then it is possible that a DNA messageboard is not the best method of doing this... Comments on blogs or the software used for the 'Have your say' sections are far easier to control and less likely to encourage long conversations.

    Not the way I personally would like things to develop, but I'm not the one making the decisions.

    So, my suggestion would be to take this discussion over to the POV board and ask its regular users what could be done to improve things. You never know, some people might actually be on your side.

    I do, of course realise that the very nature of the POV boards does attract some people who's sole raison d'etre seems to be to attack any aspect of the BBC in general.

    However, whilst there are some people with a pathological hatred of DOGs, end-title crunching, Top Gear and spelling mistakes on BBC web pages, there are still quite a few of us over there who are thankful for what this organisation provides, and even if we don't always agree with every decision made by the organisation, we can still work together to help develop POV to its full potential.

    Come and talk to us on POV - we won't bite (much).

  • Comment number 24.

    Nick now that you have ventured over to POV, and that you aren't familiar with them, well that is what it is like for us here. We aren't used to blogs. You have got peoples backs up because the way this is being handled, on a blog on not on POV which is our territory - and the fact what Chosun has said as well re the delay to this blog.

    All POV needs is a host to keep things in check. Leave the long running threads on other channels programmes, otherwise there will be no one left because that place would be horrendously boring if all we could talk about was the BBC, I for one watch very little television but I enjoy the community, and I like to help other posters in their queries etc.

    Ignoring the questions that have been asked as well, again people (like myself) think you are picking and choosing your questions - and that makes us highly suspicious that the days of POV as we know it are numbered.

    Don't be a stranger to POV learn about them, and look before you leap.

  • Comment number 25.

    Chosun - rather than continuing to insult me perhaps you would like to address the questions I have asked in the blog post.

    Have you ever used any of the alternatives I point to? What makes the POV boards better?

    And to be clear, would an "open" post on a blog where you could raise any subject you liked in a comment, be something you would use?

    Ugelicweeyin - I think I have the right to choose where I start a conversation. And I did with my first post put a link to it on the POV boards (in the bbc.co.uk section as the subject is about message boards not television).

    Nor am I ignoring questions. I think I've been very clear in what I've said.

    But this thread is already starting to drift a bit. You say you don't watch much television but enjoy the community. Have you ever used h2g2? What do you think of that community

    Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet blog)

  • Comment number 26.

    I've used h2g2 when I was on another BBC site. It's much too vast and too fragmented for me, I can't find my way around it, and I also don't like the fact there's pressure on you to post personal info about yourself on your homepage. Yet another good thing about PoV is that you're simply a forum name, and that's the beginning and the end of your ID. It's very liberating and allows you to expore ideas more fully.

    In an ideal world, most BBC producers would come and take a look at relevant PoV threads (I know some already do) and then the forum could be used as a valuable source of feedback. In my other life I sometimes meet people from the BBC, and I was dismayed that the last producer I spoke to had never heard of the forum, or seen the thread relating to one of her programmes.

    You still haven't defined 'useful' for me, Nick, but I'd say a place where the public were invited to give feedback on the BBC's output would be of mutual benefit, on all kinds of levels.

  • Comment number 27.

    This isn't about h2g2 (though I am on there, its a bit over whelming) this is about POV which I am a part of. I only watch specific programmes and yes some of them are on BBC. I am not into reality really except for the one on ITV, I am not into SCD etc. just not my thing and I do not think some of the programmes merit the boards that they have got. Though I do think Springwatch does because its the only chance some people on here get to discuss nature.

    POV is fine, just the lack of a host to keep things in line.

    Plus my name is Angelicweeyin but the A doesn't come through on this blog because its not standard.

    I am not getting on to you, normally I run from confrontation, but I think the thread on bbc.co.uk should have been left open, but its not widely used, the television one is that's why we bump that thread for everyone know about here.

  • Comment number 28.

    Hi Nick,

    I did answer your questions, and I don't think I insulted you at all - I just questioned the validity of your excuses!!

    Anyway, to reiterate...

    In answer to your question above - no, I would not use an off-thread blog. Why? Because blogs are so unwieldy. Anything over 50 posts or so and it becomes a chore to use them.

    An off-thread messageboard area? YES. Definitely, YES.

  • Comment number 29.

    (I do a similar job to Nick but for our Audio and Music team)
    We currently do allow users to see in their profile comments they have made to both message boards and blogs across bbc.co.uk.
    Having a public history of users contributions has lots of benefits as you point out ...

    I'd agree however that currently its hidden away, hard to use and not presented as well as it could be. We are looking at how this can be greatly improved.

    But its not a blogs vs boards thing. Its something that should "just work" for any contribution a user decides to share with bbc.co.uk, wherever they share it. Hopefully more on that next year.

  • Comment number 30.

    "POV has a board called "The BBC". Yet most newspapers who are online when they write a story about the BBC now allow comments. "

    It's probably worth baring in mind that some of these newspapers have a habit of censoring comments, either by editing or not publishing them. I've had at least one case where a certain paper has edited my comment to suit their agenda.

    Also the other boards tend to require additional logins. It's not bad if the other sites (and eventually the BBC) support OpenID as that would overcome that problem.

  • Comment number 31.

    Just some general thoughts on replying to posts on blogs and boards.

    A system of replying to individual comments, so your comment is placed immediately underneath it, can be misused. To be placed near the top (most readers scroll down) all you have to do is find a way of replying to the first comment in a sentence, then you make your real point. Digg has this system and it is misused.

    Something I do like is the Reply With Quote feature on the Channel 4 forum boards. (I use the science one.) This doesn`t place the reply under the original comment, but does let you select a portion of its text, then underlines it so your reply is seen beneath. It helps people see what is being replied to. The disadvantage is that you have to delete the text you don`t want, novice users can end up posting the entire post a second time. (Comment 21 describes something similar.)

    I find that as long as people put the comment number they`re replying to at the top of theirs, those that want to can cross reference OK.

  • Comment number 32.

    Hi Nick

    Your posting No. 25 (shakes head smiley)(wink smiley)

    I'm not talking about the content, BUT, the tone, which appears on the written page - very blunt and defensive. Now, on a messageboard, you could have put

    "Ugelicweeyin - I think I have the right to choose where I start a conversation."

    followed by a wee (wink smiley). By doing THAT, YOU would have asserted your position, BUT, then softened it, so as not to offend/put up the back/annoy the posters. It's a very small point, but worth bearing in mind, about the differences in blogs and messageboards. Blogs are all about the written word (and often a series of words written on a page can be read - and misconstrued - many different ways, simply by poor punctuation. Messageboards allow posters to post quite strong opinions, but still retain a friendly approach to their fellow posters by placing a soft smiley, which indicates, "I have a contrary opinion to you, BUT, I do not wish that to come between us". As you can see, board etiquette is very important to messageboarders. We VERY MUCH want GOOD QUALITY postings, (even if they sometimes gets a wee bit heated, as people defend their viewpoint), BUT, we also, have a very strong sense of community, and do not wish to spoil relationships with fellow posters. There HAVE been occasions of posters who delight in winding up fellow posters/BBC Hosts/BBC etc, but THEY are NOT the norm. Generally, posters to POV messageboard WANT to discuss programmes with like-minded posters/answer queries/point fellow posters in the direction of information - in other words, act like friends, and adults. WUM/trolls SHOULD be ferreted out, as they do spoil the feel of the board, BUT, don't throw the boards out because a very small minority of posters become very brave once they have the anonimity of a computer screen to hide behind. At the same time, strong-minded, but fair postings/non-personal attacks, SHOULD be encouraged. I have often changed an opinion on a programme simply by reading impassioned postings, letting me see a new perspective.

    (helpful smiley) (ok smiley)

  • Comment number 33.

    Thanks Niclara

    btw its Angelicweeyin!!! :-D

    I think I have been told off - nothing new there though.

    I could take a strop, but I will say this no one seems to be listening to us about the blogs!

  • Comment number 34.

    Hi Nick,

    I don't think the BBC is the place for hosting off-topic discussions...plenty of other places for that.

    The BBC brand drives users there, especially as many make the incorrect assumption that it is the place to voice their complaint or comment (like the POV programme) and that it might make a difference. The rest are resigned to talking amongst themselves. This distinction differentiates it from Digital Spy. The "keep on topic" also ensures it is smaller, maybe friendlier and more manageable that Spy.

    All the clutter of multiple messages would be avoided immediately if a professional design with search was used. Someone needs to do the brave thing aand state that the MB design is not fit for purpose. (I understand the search function is systemically crippling for the database -as the database crosses all MBs) PS some posters on the food board have created their own food forum search function! (see in my posts for a link).

    secondly the database is huge and costly, yet items from say 2 years ago could be deleted without any loss of function (especially as no-one can search them so they might as well be on the moon).

    There is no doubt MBs beats blogs for the functionality that "we" want... I find navigating this split blog a real chore.

    So in summary - MBs with professional functions identical to Spy, no off topic areas, ownership by producers of the specialist topic, modertation as currently, purely to protect the BBC brand. - OR make MBs independent so not "BBC liable" but heavily linked via a conduit from the BBC brand (ie it would be first choice for every comment on BBC).

  • Comment number 35.

    PS the quote function was disabled early on for another "BBC might be liable" reason. Pointless of course because we bodge around it, if we can be bothered.

  • Comment number 36.

    The answers to a lot of the apparently odd and random things that go on on message boards are to be found in the notion of 'community'. I do admin duties over at cableforum.co.uk which exists ostensibly as a self-help forum for Virgin Media customers. It has its roots in the protest site nthellworld, although we hope we've become a little more constructive since those days.

    Anyway, the reason I mention it is, we have an extensive section where threads are posted on cable TV and internet issues, but an arguably even more extensive section where just about anything else - lifestyle, current affairs, technology - is discussed. We find that nurturing the community and allowing people to stick around and chat about any issues that interest them means they will be more likely to be online when a thread asking for help with a broken cable modem comes along.

    Running a lively 'off topic' section brings its own issues of course. People start threads in the wrong place, or they start threads with no easily definable topic. We call these 'chat threads' and generally disallow them. But this sort of activity, especially the chat threads, or threads that had a topic but drift off into nonsense (puns are a favourite, for some reason) are again a product of the sense of community we've striven to build up. People spend time on the forum, they get to know each other online, they get to know each other offline (heck, we even had a wedding recently), and they want to chat. They want to ask each other's opinion about stuff, even when there are other forums out there where the specialist knowledge they want is more likely to be available.

    I'm not saying that a sense of community is the only thing that drives people to post on a particular forum, regardless (sometimes in spite of) its purpose, but in our case at least it is a major driving factor. And if the net effect is to support and improve the service you want to offer, then the extra modding and admin work it entails is well worth it.

    Cableforum team

  • Comment number 37.

    Nick - closing threads, moving them etc is a Host' job. You sound like you don't like doing the admin, which is not a good starting point for considering whether a process or system is worthwhile.

    What are the BBC objectives that you want the boards to meet? Why were they set up in the first place?

    Tell us that, then we can talk about whether they are doing a "good job" in meeting them, or if they need changing.

  • Comment number 38.

    Nic asks

    Should we be spending licence fee payers' money on this?

    Most message board users know that questions about adverts are not allowed. I believe someone even went on the thread and told them this.

    The question you ask can be asked about the whole of the BBC online content. I believe it gets other corporations backs up that there is a publicly funded online BBC. I think the BBC online is a superb site, but I question what much of it has to do with broadcasting.

    Why should the license fee pay for gardening message boards, revision for kids, games, sport talk (not BBC broadcast sport but all sport), information about learning another language, online games, and much more?

    The POV messagboard is about television, it's "what you do" so feedback from license fee payers SHOULD BE INVALUABLE to the BBC. And feedback about other channels should surely be poured over by the BBC. If the BBC actually read the boards and took note of what was said then they would have a goldmine of viewer feedback.

    If Channel 4 show a documentary and people go on the BBC message board and post about what they liked about it, then the BBC can learn from this and put it into practice for future Horizon episodes.

    This cannot be replaced by a blog, unless you are the most perceptive person on earth, and can see in advance what feedback viewers wish to give.

    Don't get rid of a helpful tool, use it better, and you and the BBC will benefit.

  • Comment number 39.

    "Should we be spending licence fee payers' money on this?"

    Perhaps Nick you could open another blog, and ask a question, "what online facilities should we spend the licence fee on?"

    If you are questioning the validity of POV, you must also be questioning the six Archers boards - I'm sure there are others to take into account.

  • Comment number 40.

    In actual response to the CONTENTS of your message 25, I think that Chosun has apologised to you

    Message 364 POV Board

    "Hi Nick,

    I was the one who called into question the whole blog-gate episode.

    It was maybe a bit petty of me, but it just rubbed me up the wrong way."


    "Anyway... suspicious as that whole episode was, I'll forget it and extend to you a warm welcome to the boards."

    As I say posters CAN hold strong feelings, express them, but generally, offer the hand of reconciliation to put differences behind them, and Chosun has just confirmed my point.

    Back to your Comment 25 above..... you say, to Chosun

    "And to be clear, would an "open" post on a blog where you could raise any subject you liked in a comment, be something you would use?"

    and yet.......

    In Chosun's comment No.22, he says.....

    "In answer to your question above - no, I would not use an off-thread blog. Why? Because blogs are so unwieldy. Anything over 50 posts or so and it becomes a chore to use them.

    An off-thread messageboard area? YES. Definitely, YES."

    So, he HAS answered your question. Simply asking it over and over is not going to get a different answer (wink smiley)

    I would think that that is a very clear answer to your oft-repeated question, asking if messageboarders would like an "open" blog thread.

    I'm afraid that with your comment to Angelic

    "Ugelicweeyin - I think I have the right to choose where I start a conversation"

    I can't shake the mental image of you standing with your arms folded and bottom lip sticking out (sorry smiley), WHEN, you quite reasonably could have been trying to say in as few words as possible (not MY strength - laugh smiley), simply the fact that you CAN choose where to start a conversation. It's all down to perception of the written word.

    I DO think you are being a wee bit pedantic about your defense of posting to bbc.co.uk messageboard (as this conversation is about messageboards). Actually, it is about messageboards AND contents on POV Television. Some messageboarders NEVER leave POV Television board, so wouldn't look at bbc.co.uk. So, yes, to be perfectly pedantic, bbc.co.uk WAS the correct board, BUT, if you genuinely want dialogue with boarders who post to Television, then, a bit of lateral thinking would have helped. Several posters have tried to get you to understand that messageboards are more flexible than blogs, AND, that YOU would have to be more flexible, and think laterally about involving messageboarders to POV Television. It WAS nice to see you enter into the spirit on POV last night, as that is WHERE your audience for this discussion is. As you can see, only us hardy few have made it here, and more importantly COME BACK, after your initial blog.

  • Comment number 41.

    This is the first time that I have responded to a blog.

    I have tried my best but I cannot read it all, one long stream of comments, no quote facility, nothing to encourage any sort of conversation. But I guess it's not *supposed* to encourage conversation.

    In this day and age people spend less time communicationg with one another and message boards fill some of that void.

    I have watched BBC TV programmes because someone has alerted us to something good coming up.

    The message boards are user friendly. For the most part they ran quite smoothly - until Peta left, but they still haven't gone to pot. They just need a little attention from a pro board host. Instead they have the attention of a clearly pro blog host.

    Hello Nick, nice to 'meet' you, please give us plenty of warning of when you close the POV boards, I would like time to say goodbye.


  • Comment number 42.

    Why must we have the attitude if it's not broke well lets break it then!

    The POV board has a lively community which works, it was a bit like a garden that got a bit overgrown by not being actively hosted - the solution is a bit of pruning here and there and a bit of a love and some attention, but no chop it all out and break it up and make everyone go everywhere else.

    There's also the whole issue of TRUST.. remember that a BBC value at one time, I and other people may (though that's slowly being eroded) trust the BBC with my/their comments, they/I might not on some of the outside boards.

  • Comment number 43.

    @42 - The thing is, the Beeb isn't allowed to do something simply because it has a trusted brand and is good at it. It has to pass a public value test and not clobber commercial competitors in the process. Not so very long ago they were forced to shut down a lot of education/national curriculum support web pages because of these rules.

    Nick is obliged by the BBC Trust to ask whether the services he is in charge of are compatible with the public value test.

  • Comment number 44.

    christownsend - not quite true as this is not about any kind of public value tests (which only apply to new things the BBC wants to do).

    But you are right that the BBC shouldn't do things just because it can. Which in the case of the POV boards leads to questions like:

    What are the boards supposed to do?

    Are they doing it sucessfully?

    Should the BBC be doing it?

    Good comments from everyone by the way.

    Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet blog)

  • Comment number 45.

    christownsend (message 36)

    (thumbs up smiley)

    Nice to have the thoughts of someone with a professional interest in messageboards.

    This raises the question, Nick and Jem, - are professionals from BBC Messageboards having dialogue with you, or, are bloggers (the two of you), seriously trying to decide what messageboards need (when, you, especially Nick have admitted that you are amateurs)?

    Blogs seem to be very very much simpler than messageboarding, and no-one will expect you to be experts immediately.

    The basic benefits of messageboards over blogs are...

    1. Community
    2. Interaction with other posters (not just the Original Poster)
    3. The quote function (although it was better before it was tweaked - supposedly for legal reasons !!!!!)
    4. Smileys, to lighten, or enforce comments.
    5. 20 postings to a page - much easier to read
    6. Wider page, so postings don't seem so squished.
    7. The signing in, and posting process is much better
    8. The ability to reply to a specific posting (bringing it up, above the comment box, whilst you compose your comment - no scrolling up and down blog page - arghhhhhhhhhhh)
    9. Although far more "threads" on a messageboard, than blogs on THEIR board, far far easier to find the one you want to comment to.
    10. Less problems with coding interfering with your posting (can't use certain brackets etc on these blogs - just keep being refused as a fault)
    11. Help box is very easy to access on EVERY page - no need to scroll and search.
    12. POV is big on Fairplay and protecting one another from unfair postings (witness the support for Lee when he received grief)

    Other posters will be able to think of MANY more reasons where messageboards score over blogs.

    I have to say, to have wound Angelic up, takes some doing. I've NEVER seen her respond negatively to anything on the boards in all the time she has been on there. SHE'S one of the most placid, witty and temperate posters, and yet, you've pressed all the wrong buttons.

    I have to say, one of two things is happening on these blogs.

    1. Either you GENUINELY do not understand messageboards, and, get the allure of them, or
    2. The decision is made, and you are simply paying lip service/going through the motions of dialogue.

    I hope the boards are not disassembled, simply because BLOGGERS, don't understand them, BUT, have the power to.

  • Comment number 46.

    Nick, to address your questions:

    What are the boards supposed to do?
    - I would say, provide feedback on BBC programmes and associated issues, through community discussion.

    Are they doing it sucessfully?
    - Given the lack of leadership lately, I'd say they were doing it extremely well. Off-topic posts can soon be reined in with a few reminders. But take a look for yourself: there are some highly articulate reviewers on there, coming from a range of backgrounds.

    Should the BBC be doing it?
    - If they don't, they'll look a bit feeble! Closing down the opportunity for viewers to give their own, public feedback looks as though the BBC is frightened of hearing negative criticism. In that circumstance, no one wins.

  • Comment number 47.

    In response to your questions (AGAIN)

    "What are the boards supposed to do?"

    They are a meeting place for people who have a similar interest, to discuss, pass on information, complain, praise or wallow in nostalgia about their chosen topic.

    Are they doing it sucessfully?

    I assume we are only talking about POV Television/Digital/BBC/bbc.co.uk/radio (falling under the umbrella of POV), and not the wider franchise of BBC messageboards. I think YOU feel that Digital/BBC/bbc.co.uk, and possibly radio (though not to the same degree) ARE doing more or less what you want to see. I think you have a problem with POV Television. I would say, when hosted properly, Television board DOES work very successfully. The problem has been years of inconsistent Hosting/modding to keep posters in line. As has been said, you never know which thread/postings are going to be wheeched off. It MUST be working because there are a lot of posters and some have been there for years. As an aside, I think if you are keeping POV television, it WOULD probably benefit from ONE thread, which is for "off-topic" (then the chit-chat can be kept to one THREAD - much easier to oversee)

    Should the BBC be doing it?

    Of course BBC should be doing it. Where else should people be talking about BBC programmes - digitalspy!!!! As to the multitude of Boards which are outwith your remit, that is up to those Editors to decide.

  • Comment number 48.

    Jem, (message 29)

    "But its not a blogs vs boards thing. Its something that should "just work" for any contribution a user decides to share with bbc.co.uk, wherever they share it. Hopefully more on that next year."

    This comment has become lost in the longggggggggggggg column of comments on this blog (not many postings, but a long way to scroll, none the less.)

    From that comment, do I take it that you DO see a future for messageboards?

    Two questions for you and Nick

    1. Will professionals who know how to run messageboards be involved in decisions about improvements to bbc blogs and messageboards, or will it come down to bloggers alone deciding if messageboards are viable?


    2. Why do comments by Jem and Nick come up white some times, and grey/blue other times? It is not consistent, and what is happening is that comments by YOU get lost in the column of comments. It's not a plus for blogging, is it?

    Thanks, niclara

  • Comment number 49.

    niclara - comments come up in white to indicate that it is a BBC person speaking in an official capacity. but i happen to have two usernames/logins and on one of them this function is not enabled. i'll get it fixed, sorry.

    even when it doesn't come up white i always give my job title.

    apologies for lower caps. writing one handed in crowded station - bakerloo line suspended.

    nick reynolds - editor, bbc internet blog.

  • Comment number 50.

    This shouldn't be about "bloggers versus people who like message boards".

    As Jem says we hope to be improving functionality on all the BBC's social media including blogs and message boards.

    The question I'm trying to explore is about the POV boards specifically.

    How are they better or worse than other BBC blogs and message boards and other social media not run by the BBC?

    If they are simply for people to chat about whatever they like, there are plenty of places online for that.

    Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet blog).

    Sitting down on a train so typing two handed - but train not moving.

  • Comment number 51.


    I realised it was BBC staff who came up white (like the coloured names on messageboards), BUT, when you come up in blue/grey instead, your comments just get lost, even though you put your title.

    What about my first question now (wink smiley)?

    Safe journey. (thumbs up smiley)

  • Comment number 52.

    Just to briefly say Nick you might benefit from the history and current practice of the Radio Three message boards, which are a community, have had members go off and start their own message board, have influenced the BBC schedules and presentation style. One particular board on Choirs had probably a readership and contributors from every cathedral organist in the UK as well and other interested in choirs. Management and hosts are mostly absent, but occasionally there are ''distinguished' posters who are welcomed politely. R3s attempt to engage presenters on the boards and contributors by email to the live shows was a failure because presentation style and the balance of music and talk are highly contentious points among the community. Soi it works more or less and w2 people expect (except it was long before w2) (it is monitored for libel of course.

    I do have a question thought about whether people should run their communities on my front lawn which I have paid £130 a year to rent.

  • Comment number 53.

    Hi Nick

    In this blog you say:

    1) "I have some ideas and opinions which I'm sharing with you in order to help me think."

    To be honest, I can't say that I have actually read what you're ideas and opinions actually are, apart from that you prefer blogging to messageboards.

    2)But the trouble with having a relatively open board is that if people can start threads about anything at all, they will, even if its unrelated to the subject matter of the board.

    Which in the case of the Points of View boards is supposed to be "any aspect of the BBC". (My bold)

  • Comment number 54.

    Sorry, my mouse clicked on the Post Comment button, when I was actually trying to paste.

    I'll start again.

    Hi Nick

    In this blog you say:

    1) "I have some ideas and opinions which I'm sharing with you in order to help me think."

    To be honest, I can't say that I have actually read what you're ideas and opinions actually are, apart from that you prefer blogging to messageboards.

    2) "But the trouble with having a relatively open board is that if people can start threads about anything at all, they will, even if its unrelated to the subject matter of the board.

    Which in the case of the Points of View boards is supposed to be "any aspect of the BBC".

    Yes, this does happen but surely it is the job of the mods/hosts/whoever to move the threads to the more appropriate board.

    And yes, there are many subject being discussed which are not about the BBC, but again, surely this is for the mods/hosts/whoever to sort.

    I and probably many other posters see the POV messageboards as a kind of "one stop shop" for being able to raise and discuss topics from outwith the BBC, but still related to broadcasting.

    You then go on about newspaper sites and Digital Spy and ask "Do you ever use any of these alternatives?"

    I do not post on newspaper sites and although I am registered on Digital Spy, I rarely visit or post there, as I prefer it over here! I think it's because I'm familiar with the site, where things are, who posters are etc.

    When I go onto the POV site, I for one DO, check out what's posted on the other boards, hence why I found your original post in the BBC.co.uk board. I also post on The BBC board and the Digital board.

    I started a thread on the Digital board concerning digital switchover, as my region was the first to be fully 'digitalised'.

    Granted, only a couple of people replied, but knowing the amount of people who post on the POV messageboards, I thought I would do my bit to let others know a bit about the process of switchover.

    As I said before, I see the POV boards as a "one stop shop".

  • Comment number 55.

    Now, Nick (wags finger smiley) (actually I made that one up), I think we know that you REALLY mean POV Television (wink smiley). AND, the reason POV Television is on your radar, is simply that it is SO much busier than probably all the others put together.

    We've listed at length, both here, your other blog, AND, over on the messageboard, what we LIKE about POV, so now you're moving the goalposts to ask us, what we prefer about POV to outside agency run boards. I think you are now, probably asking one question too many. A great many posters to POV don't frequent many (if any) other boards run by BBC. It took me about a year, before I ventured off POV Television and Askew. It takes quite a long time to get used to, and comfortable with some messageboards.

    Blogs I have seen (everywhere) are stale, and devoid of personality, and those which confine you to a certain number of keystrokes, stop real passion in it's path.

    BBC messageboards (as has already been mentioned), sail under the banner "BBC" which still holds a lot of sway. Posters SHOULD feel that the BBC brand counts for a lot. Whether they do, or not, comes down to the employees of BBC.

    Messageboards outside of POV, come in such a myriad of styles. I frequent two very small boards, with really a comfy, chatty feel, where we talk about life, and anything we want to discuss. These are very pleasant BECAUSE they are frequented by so few posters and we really get to know each other, and give support. There are other messageboards, which seem very confusing to use, so I don't hang about. There are others inhabited by too many children/student types who are looking to stir others up (not all children/students, but enough). There are boards where posters pm each other and arrange meetings (that's a step too far for me). Some are just places for slanging matches. Some you just want to read from outside the community, but really don't want to step inside.

    So, what BBC messageboards CAN'T do, is have an all encompassing friendly feel - it is too big to try to emulate what smaller boards can do. It CAN encourage friendly/helpful postings, and a feeling of Community. It CAN'T allow WUM's who just want to upset the board, but, it CAN, encourage people of all ages to post to it. It CAN'T make joining/reading and posting too complicated (we're not all computer nerds) - although I'm married to one (looks skyward smiley), but it CAN'T be too bland either. The forté of BBC boards, is that people from all over UK (and beyond) come to it because of it's name. You then have a massively diverse range of posters In other words "BBC" will bring in posters who won't post anywhere else, simply because of the brand name.

    What I am saying is, that ALL boards are different BECAUSE they fill different needs. BBC should fulful the needs of it's viewers/listeners, by providing messageboards (and blog thingies) that it's audience and license payers want. And, I would respectfully suggest that the viewers/listeners/posters to POV boards have made VERY clear that they like MOST of what already exists, and that it just requires minimal tweaking, and a few upgrades to the techie stuff which supports them. That's actually another important point - the boards seem to crash all the time, due to technical faults.

    Quoted from your posting -

    "If they are simply for people to chat about whatever they like, there are plenty of places online for that."

    So, not like what we are doing here then (laugh smiley)

    Hope you've made it home safely.

  • Comment number 56.

    Me again Nick.

    You say

    "So in that spirit I'm going to be provocative.

    The POV message boards currently has threads on Coronation Street, Emmerdale, I'm A Celebrity and Sharpe's Regiment. ITV.com also has its own forums, with threads about Corrie and Emmerdale and I'm A Celebrity. "

    So, I'm going to play devil's advocate with you.

    Over on the 5live MB's, the Central Communities Team posted on July 24 2007 that "All new discussions should contain a link to a story about today's news."

    These links can be from anywhere (within the House Rules, of course). These mainly seem to be from newspapers, which of course, have their own forums/posting facilities, as does, as you point out, ITV.com.

    So IF one of your ideas is to ensure that only postings about the BBC are allowed on the POV boards, should the 5live boards be made to follow suit and only allow links from the BBC website when a discussion is started?

    And if not, why should it be one rule for some boards and another rules for others?

  • Comment number 57.

    ... and of course, the BBC is dead set against off-topic chat on their mesageboards.

    They'd never encourage a place where useless banter is the norm...


  • Comment number 58.

    OK Nick

    So, I followed your link to itv.com and you know what, I quite like it. It's easy to read. ALL the messageboards, with links to the threads are on ONE page, and they do seem to have threads which are about ITV programmes, BUT, it also has "off topic" areas, ", "Men & Motors" section, a "Jokes" forum, "Games" section, as well as a "News" section - ALL on a TELEVISION board.

    And YOU want US, to pare down POV to be about BBC programmes ONLY. (slaps hand to forehead smiley)

    BUT, you know what was the MOST surprising thing about my visit - it showed that out of 849,080 members, there were 4 (FOUR) online by the time I finished trawling through the boards (10.30), although they don't close until 12a.m. There were also only 205 new posts in the last 24hours. It would be interesting to know how many posters post to BBC messageboards in 24 hours, and if BBC as EVER only had 4 members online. But, then the way the BBC boards are set up, I would never be able to find those figures. In fact, I noted on h2g2 a poster actually posted that very question. "How do I find out how many members are online?" NO RESPONSE.

  • Comment number 59.

    niclaramartin - glad you enjoyed your visit to the ITV boards. I think "Men & Motors" is something owned by ITV so wouldn't be off topic for them. If ITV boards want to have games and such then that's nothing to do with me (or the BBC)!

    Your point about knowing who is online is a good one. Although I think there is some indication of this on h2g2 but possibly its not as obvious as it should be.

    NippieSweetie - Five Live is about news. It's therefore logical to encourage people to link to news stories, both from BBC and other sources.

    Points of View is about BBC programmes and services.

    Suerat - thanks for the h2g2 link. One question to be asked is "if off topic comment should be allowed where's the best place for this to happen?"

    Good comments by the way. Useful. Keep them coming.

    Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet blog)

  • Comment number 60.

    Just a quick one - what does h2g2 stand for?

  • Comment number 61.

    Morning Nick

    Having been on itv.com, it is VERY noticeable just HOW easy to access ALL areas of that board, it is.

    It's ALSO noticeable that ITV APPEAR to decide the programmes/news items/entertainment shows etc which should be discussed (by use of folders). An example is "Shows" forum. They have subforums for "Celebair", "South Bank Show and "Bonkers", BUT, when you scroll down, upon opening "Shows", the majority of the postings (started by posters themselves) are about X Factor, Britain's got talent etc, and NOT about the topics which were chosen for viewers to post about. So, somebody is creating Folders on programmes ITV want discussed, BUT, still allow the posters to start their own threads.

    It's also noticeable that in the News section, they have areas where you can chit chat (unlike BBC newsboards, where you must post a link to a news article you wish to talk about). In the News section on itv.com you have posters asking "what happens to a guarantee if a company goes bust". You also have posters getting on their "Soapbox" about a subject dear to their heart (BBC Scotland messageboards used to have this, where people discussed politics etc - without the need to link to a current news item).

    itv.com DOES seem easier to navigate, thereby making it easier if you are on say, a thread (let's use the recent Brand/Ross as an example, I know they're BBC, but....just an example), discussing Brand's radio show, but the furore became a news item. Posters would find it MUCH easier to hop over to "News" on itv.com, than BBC messageboards.

    You mentioned that "Men and Motors" IS part of the ITV franchise, BUT, the forums being discussed under that banner on itv.com are NOT just about programmes. There are "General man rants", "Improving fuel consumption" etc

    So, although itv.com APPEAR to be setting the Agenda for which programmes THEY want posters to discuss, they are actually allowing the posters THEMSELVES to start and post to the threads of THEIR choice. THEY perhaps accept that to enforce a situation where itv.com decide the programmes which they will allow posters to discuss, COULD be seen as a form of censorship or cherrypicking. OR, perhaps they just realise that if you shoehorn posters into discussing a limited range of topics, posters will leave.

  • Comment number 62.

    Oh, and at 11 o'clock on a Friday morning, on itv.com,

    "There are 6 of 849,232 member(s) online "

    BBC probably have more than six on just ONE thread, at this moment.

    Am I turning into your Researcher? (slaps forehead smiley)

  • Comment number 63.

    Oh, dear...

    Ok, let me get a rant out of the way with first, then I'll try answering a few of the points bought up in the last few posts.

    The BBC employee responsible for the POV messageboard wants the opinions of POV users and is attempting to run the discussion on a BLOG (away from POV)!

    This is a little like the Prime Minister of Great Britain trying to address the people of Britain on TV by using a French Cable TV channel.

    Ruddy silly!

    Ok, Rant over... Questions next...

    Nick wrote:

    The question I'm trying to explore is about the POV boards specifically.

    How are they better or worse than other BBC blogs and message boards and other social media not run by the BBC?
    To take this in sections:
    Blogs v Messageboard....

    Messageboard wins hands down...
    - Threads that don't involve scrolling down a half mile long page
    - The ability to quote other peoples quotes
    - The ability to centralise and monitor conversations
    - The ability to jump to the a specific point in a conversation from your own list of conversations (last place you posted, first message, last message, etc.)
    - The ability to build up a community of users, providing a more balanced view of what your users think.
    - The ability for users to start their own threads and ask their own questions
    - The ability for other users to answer those questions (imagine, you start a blog entitled "Technical Queries", it'd be unusable within a day, someone would ask a question under it, the answer would be half a mile below that with 140 other questions in between... )

    I honestly can't think of any advantages of blogs, with the exception of advantages to the original blog owner who has improved control over what subjects are covered.


    BBC Messageboards v other messageboards...

    Scale - I've said this before elsewhere, but there aren't any messageboards anywhere else on the net that deal with anything like the quantity of postings or people these boards do... Can the system be improved? Of course it can, but have you got the budget to do it?

    To give an idea of traffic levels...
    Niclara Martin said

    There were also only 205 new posts in the last 24hours. It would be interesting to know how many posters post to BBC messageboards in 24 hours, and if BBC as EVER only had 4 members online. But, then the way the BBC boards are set up, I would never be able to find those figures.


    Actually, it's pretty easy to find those figures out, (BBC staff could get them straight out of the system, but even we have access to them)...

    Number of _registered_ users online across all messageboards

    (not including those who are reading but not registered or those that are registered but haven't been active within the last 15 minutes) - currently: 1654 (This figure will be out of date by the time I hit the 'Post Comment' button


    Number of postings in the last 24 hours...
    A bit more difficult, but by comparing the URLs of two posts, made 12 hours apart...
    approx. 8000 in 12 hours (call it 12,000 in one day to build in a huge margin for error)

    My guesstimate of numbers of posts is just that though ... I could figure out a more accurate figure given half an hour or so playing with various URLs, but some of us have work to do ;)


    That'll do for the time being...

  • Comment number 64.

    @ #60
    "h2g2 stands for 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'"
    Info: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/dontpanic-tour

  • Comment number 65.

    (Whisky wrote:

    Oh, dear...

    Ok, let me get a rant out of the way with first, then I'll try answering a few of the points bought up in the last few posts.

    The BBC employee responsible for the POV messageboard wants the opinions of POV users and is attempting to run the discussion on a BLOG (away from POV)!

    This is a little like the Prime Minister of Great Britain trying to address the people of Britain on TV by using a French Cable TV channel.

    Ruddy silly!)

    Whisky quite a few have said this too, but Nick is not familiar with messageboards (though iPlayer has a messageboard???? cannot fathom it out) but instead of him learning about it he decides to put it here out of our territory.

    I do not think I am in the good books at the moment and will probably be seen as a rabble rouser......if only!

    I much prefer the POV boards (I use them all) to DS. DS is too big and busy though I do post there on the odd occasion (mainly computer bit not even about television, that I leave for here).

  • Comment number 66.

    Well said Whisky, not that I've agreed with everything you've ever said on the boards but on your last post, spot on.

    There is a lot of talk of people being accused of assuming that the boards will close, and posters are accused of 'reading between the lines'. I would take Nick hardly any time, even on a crowded train or in a library, to say the boards won't be closed and end the speculation - then we can move on and have a proper debate. Vagueness seems to be part of this process.

    Why is POV being singled out for such a revamp? I see, so far, Nick, you haven't taken up my suggestion (or replied) to open a blog to ask us what the licence fee should be spent on, online - there are lots of other drains on funds coming in from us that to some may be less important than POV.

    Are you "asking questions" of any other boards, and if not, why now?

    Merely from a PR point of view, it would look as if some agenda was being used, should POV be the only board affected. It would give rise to those cynical souls (i.e. me) who think POV has been marginalised by the POV Production Team and the changes are being made because POV has become an irritant to the BBC.

    Any thoughts on the POV Coverage Board Nick? Did you look into that and many other questions raised?


  • Comment number 67.

    ****Well said Whisky, not that I've agreed with everything you've ever said on the boards but on your last post, spot on.

    Life'd be ever so boring if we all agreed all of the time...


  • Comment number 68.


    Your first question on this blog, re putting a comment to individual posters on a blog - I'm not sure why you would even ask THAT question of messageboarders? We know little about blogs, we have made it clear that WE are messageboarders, NOT, bloggers, and that we don't want to become bloggers. Surely that question should have been put to your blogging community. If you think by offering messageboarders a "Comment to individual" facility, that you are going to lure messageboarders over to blogs, then I would say, you are totally missing the allure of messageboards. Messageboarders DO NOT want to become bloggers.

    Question 2 - Search function on messageboards. I am fairly certain that you would get an almost unanimous thumbs up to that one.

    Point 3 - "It's blindingly obvious that what many of you like most about the POV boards is the ability to start a conversation about anything you like."

    I'm glad that it is "blindingly obvious" - so, if it is "blindingly obvious", you will probably do away with it anyway. (shakesheadsmiley) Your reasoning that it shouldn't happen, because it does not relate to the subject of the board, again fails to understand messageboards (see my posting about itv.com where THEY do allow off-topic areas). It is this lack of an "off-topic" area on POV, which has led to the "chit chat" which you have a problem with. When Askew was running "Television" was far more focused, BECAUSE the chatting took place on Askew. Perhaps an area like itv.com or even a few off-topic threads a week on "Television" would focus minds, when they ARE posting about Television.

    Point 4 - BBC only threads. OK if you insist, but that fails to comprehend that posters to BBC POV have built a community, and like to discuss things with THEIR community (including other channels). BBC receive a licence fee which makes it different from most other messageboards, in that it is PAID to provide services - other channels don't receive payment from their viewers/posters, so are probably more entitled to focus on only THEIR programming. BBC should be the "big man" and allow discussion of ALL television on their board, for the simple reason that viewers/posters have paid for THAT board, and it is THEIR wish. I would say that perhaps a wee subforum area within the POV board, where "Other TV Channels programming" could be placed, would probably be beneficial. Also, it would allow BBC to see at a glance IF viewers/posters are enjoying "opposition channels" output more than BBC.

    Point 5 - Multiple threads - merge them/they may lessen with search facility.

    Point 6 - Moving/closing threads - I don't think you can solve this completely. Newbies in particular, won't know not to keep starting their own new threads/how to search for previous similar threads etc. Posters have NOT been encouraged to stay ON-topic. Perhaps a posting from yourself to re-state YOUR position on OFF topic postings, would be helpful.

    Point 7 - "SHOULD WE BE SPENDING LICENCE FEE PAYERS' MONEY ON THIS?" I would say that BBC is beholding to spend licence payers/posters money the way the USERS of their messageboards prefer. If, however, the question is really "Should we be spending money providing messageboards?" then THAT is a different question altogether.

    Point 8 - links to external forums about bbc. I think it WOULD be beneficial to have shortcuts/links to these external forums ON each POV messageboard.

  • Comment number 69.

    Faye Tsar - I am talking about the POV boards explicitly because:

    a) I am new to them and am asking you what you think of them in order to help me understand them

    b) I don't have responsibility for any other message boards. (I do have responsibility for h2g2 so your comments about that are also useful as I am thinking about that too)

    Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet blog)

  • Comment number 70.

    Whisky (thumbs up smiley)

    I have never frequented h2g2 too often, and I think a great many posters are the same - I really do not like the layout of that part of the site. As part of my job, I have to drop in on many different websites, and some have wonderful layouts, whilst others, quite frankly are so fussy, that you lose the will to live. h2g2 falls into the second category - far far too fussy, too much writing, without obvious sections. The print is small in some parts, garish in others and all in all, a really unattrative, unuser-friendly place. So, I have NEVER actually bothered to learn where all the info is there. I've seen THAT listing of posters page, but, never actually realised that that is where ALL posters online are listed.

    More techy people would be able to say why BBC don't have a simple "X number of members online", "X number guests" etc the same as other messageboards - maybe just the amount of traffic (I don't expect members names to be listed there - too many probably - but a number would be good).

    Faye Tsar, I'm with you on this. A simple "we are not looking to close POV messageboards, but, ARE looking to improve them", would allay a lot of fears. I've been in contact with too many official bodies, to realise that when they say nothing, after you ask a question, then, usually that means they are going to cut a swathe through/do away with services. If this is NOT, the case Nick, I think you SHOULD respond to posters questions. As YOU said, "This is a conversation". If you expect US to answer YOUR questions, then it would seem courteous to answer OURS. I've seen lots of questions go unanswered, and I've asked some of those.

    I would also say, that having posted during the run-up to the closure of BBC Scotland messageboards en-masse, that the way POV (Television in particular) is being run, does not bode well. The BBC Scotland messageboards were absolutely wonderful. They had people from all over the world posting to them. They were witty/confrontational/informative/entertaining, but managed to stay friendly. UNTIL the final year, when the Hosts more or less disappeared off the boards, and let the WUMs loose on the posters. They allowed Anti-English postings by a few Irish posters to stay (ironically to a lot of English posters reading this, the Scottish posters were ACTUALLY the only ones defending England/English against this onslaught of venom). The end result was, that after a year-long campaign of hate, resulting in a lot of skirmishes (devoid of any Host/modding input), the boards were closed. They had imploded because they were not policed, and we all felt that BBC Scotland were glad to be able to cut back on costs - many even felt that the boards were allowed to deteriorate, on purpose, for cost-cutting reasons. BBC Scotland's idea of messageboards for Scottish viewers is ONE messageboard, on ONE programme (River City) (arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhsmiley)

    Nick, I know that over the past few months you have been interacting with bloggers in a similar way, and attending seminars on accountability, so why not tell messageboarders that you ARE NOT just homing in on POV?

  • Comment number 71.

    Nick, in message 59 (I think), you reply to my question that:

    "FiveLive is about news. It is therefore logical to encourage people to link to news stories both from BBC and other sources".

    Turn it on it's head and replace 'FiveLive' with 'Points of View' and 'news' with 'television'.

    (Apologies if I've misquoted you Nick - I can't seem to copy and paste your quote today for some reason and I've had to scroll up and down the board finding your original message.)

  • Comment number 72.

    I don't have responsibility for any other message boards. (I do have responsibility for h2g2 so your comments about that are also useful as I am thinking about that too)

    Ooops - that's probably the most frightening phrase I've ever read on the BBC website...

    I'm not sure what you think of the previous postings I've made on this blog and on the equivalent POV thread. But _please_, if you're thinking about doing anything to h2g2 - come and join us, spend some time using the site. Remember that that particular community has roots that go back nearly 10 years and its ethos pre-dates ownership by the BBC.
    There are still a few members of the BBC staff around various departments who came across from The Digital Village, ask their opinions... And posting a blog entry asking for opinions on h2g2 is likely to start a virtual, on-line riot.

    Those articles on the hub I kept linking to were, in the main, written by the people who created h2g2 in the first place... They know what they're talking about - honestly.

    I'm trying not to feel negative about this. I honestly hope I'm actually making a fool of myself here and 'teaching my grandmother to suck eggs' as they say. If I am, I apologise, but h2g2 is a very unique corner of the internet, building itself up into a social networking site years before facebook and myspace came along, and developing an on-line knowledge base years before wikipedia came into being (and it's a lot more accurate and less open to abuse). Treat it gently, please!

  • Comment number 73.

    Hi Nick,

    thanks for replying to some of my points and questions, as always it's what ISN'T answered which is the most telling.

  • Comment number 74.

    I find h2g2 extremely difficult to navigate around.

    I'm only usually there to delete threads and I've tried having a look in other areas of it, but I just find it confusing - even the 'help' sections don't actually 'help'.

    A couple of questions for you Nick on h2g2. Why do we have to go to there to delete our threads and why can't we delete more than one a time?

  • Comment number 75.

    Faye, its starting to piss me off this. Not answering direct questions.

    Oh wait, we'll probably get another blog!

    (seriously hacked off smiley)

  • Comment number 76.

    I've just taken a stroll across the internet and looked at a few blogs.

    They seem in the main to be made up of self-important people who think that others care about what they're saying and who pad out the entries by having a huge number of links to *other* blogs on them.

    Messageboards are the best way to have a conversation. Blogs are just people writing articles and then commenting on those articles.

    Please Nick, keep the messageboards and just police them better. A POV world of only blogs would be a lonely place for you to be as nobody would come and visit.

  • Comment number 77.

    And before anybody says "yes, but YOU'RE blogging here now" ... I'm only here because I have to be, not because I want to be.

  • Comment number 78.

    Afternoon Angelicweeyin, it's almost reassuring how history repeats itself on the BBC.

    606, then this.

  • Comment number 79.

    "If they are simply for people to chat about whatever they like, there are plenty of places online for that.

    Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet blog).

    - With respect, Nick, I think you're being disingenuous. Lots of people have told you on this blog that PoV is far more than that, and gone on to explain the various functions of the forum. (I'd add a thumbs-up smiley if there was one, to soften the apparently po-faced tone.)

  • Comment number 80.

    Afternoon Faye

    Just thinking that myself.

    But you know me, placid thing that I am, I always like to give people the benefit of the doubt but the total avoidance of some of the questions being asked, not once but a few times, makes me think we are getting treated like imbeciles and we aren't.

    If Nick doesn't have that specific answer well why not say it, instead of all this speculation.

    This has really got me going and its so unlike me. I'm going out shortly, thank goodness, but only to pick up the cherubs and believe me I will be even more crabbit when I get back!

  • Comment number 81.

    Just as a quick aside to demonstrate the inflexibility of this style of blog...

    Select this webpage, copy and paste it into a Word document - delete the extraneous page header information and all information apart from the postings - and this thread, if you printed it out, would be a 46 page document.

    Easy to navigate? I think not!

  • Comment number 82.

    FayeTsar - the POV boards are about BBC television not all television. Since the BBC covers (or tries to cover) all significant news then the Five Live boards are about all news.

    Whisky - I haven't got involved in the h2g2 community yet, but rest assured I will.

    As for not answering direct questions, I've already said that I don't have a plan yet, and that this conversation is part of me thinking about the POV boards.

    When I have a plan or made a decision, I will of course tell you about it.

    And I intend to write more blog posts exploring the arguments and asking you to join in.

    Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet blog)

  • Comment number 83.

    Conversation is a two way thing Nick and it appears to me that us posters are doing all the talking.

    Fair enough, you don't yet have a plan nor have made a decision, but this is like a job interview, with us posters getting no encouragement or feedback into how it is going!

    I'd hate to see your poker face! :)

  • Comment number 84.

    I agree with what Quizzimodo said on the messageboard:


    Message 498, page 25

    (this blog won't allow the link to be posted in full)

    "The fact that we can't get a straight answer to the question "are these boards closing?" on the blog speaks volumes."

    The fact it's not mentioned in replies by Nick Reynolds in answer to several questions means it's an option.

  • Comment number 85.

    NippieSweetie - I think it's going quite well.

    Some of the comments on this post have been useful and given me some insights.

    As Jem said above functionality needs to be improved across the board on the BBC's blogs and message boards.

    But there are different questions as well.

    For example, where are the best places for BBC employees to talk to/with licence fee payers online?

    Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet blog)

  • Comment number 86.


    At the moment we are discussing blogs and messageboards, and up till this little exercise of bringing us over here to YOUR blogs we have happily posted in our ignorance to POV messageboards. Often in that myriad of threads, we have complained that "no-one is listening", and, "wouldn't it be nice if one of the High Heidjins popped their head in the door to join us, or tell us what is going on".

    And, so having come over here, and ferreted about (just a wee bit), I find this blog


    On DOGs. Written by Danielle Nagler (Head of HDTV, BBC Vision)

    HEAD!!!!!! of something at BBC, and SHE'S talking to bloggers.

    And, she says, to her bloggers, in the blog, which I linked from, to the DOGs one, "I'm always grateful to you for making me aware of what's missing - and I do try to follow up. "

    Good God, just look at this thread (one of many on DOGs), which I found on page 28 (yes, I really trawled through those pages to find one of the main threads of DOGs/LOGOs),


    this by the way, is not the BIG thread on this topic, just the first I found, and can you now tell me......


    Practically NO-ONE in positions of power at BBC have EVER come on to the boards to quell our anger, or inform us what THEY were going to do, or even that they knew we existed.

    This exercise to bring us over here, has just shown me how desperately badly posters to messageboards are treated by BBC, in comparison to the "favoured child" bloggers.

    To be perfectly honest, so much resentment has built up on POV, simply BECAUSE we feel that we are just talking amongst ourselves and that no-one in power is paying any attention to us.


    HEADS of Departments at BBC, should get their butts over to the messageboards, and talk to US too.

    I can now see, that Weblogs state

    " it is a conversation between the author and the audience. "

    Not only do bloggers have direct access to Heads of Depts BUT, they also COULD blog and have direct access to journalists/personalities/programme staff

    From the session on blogging at the internal Future of Journalism conference organised by the BBC’s College of Journalism.


    Robert Peston states from the above link, regarding blogs.....

    "The comments are quite challenging and interesting and often generate ideas about where to go with a story. "


    I now, absolutely believe 100% that BBC OWES IT TO MESSAGEBOARDERS to get THEIR (BBC's) act together, and stop making out that WE are the problem. The buck stops with BBC, and in this case, with YOU Nick. YOU are now responsible for POV boards, and YOU and BBC owe YOUR messageboarders big-time. So, stop looking for ways to make YOUR life easier, by curtailing/doing away with messageboards/threads, and DELIVER the same DEGREE of interaction for BBC messageboarders, as already exists for Bloggers.

  • Comment number 87.

    Niclara (thumbs up smiley)

    I am glad I am not the only one who's craw is up!

  • Comment number 88.


    Must be something in the water in this part of Scotland. (thumbs up smiley)


    Here's the thread on DOGs I REALLY wanted you to see.


    Last posting, 3 weeks ago - it's cyclical - some programme is ruined by a DOG, and so the thread is revived. I believe THAT thread was started as a result of some High Heidjin's comments on POV programme, which, to be perfectly honest were insulting. (Having re-read the first page, in message 12 it states


    "First up was Helen Kellie, head of BBC Marketing, telling us that the DOGs are a really useful tool.",


    so it was INDEED started as a result of POV programme, and NOT, because anyone from BBC spoke to us on the boards!!!!!!!!! )

    The point I am making, is that there are (to date) 787 (SEVEN HUNDRED AND EIGHTY SEVEN) postings to THAT thread, but no-one has flagged up to BBC Dept Heads that there is a subject causing major annoyance, being discussed on the messageboards. What then happens, is that, as a direct result of NO input from BBC staff, the posters get really angry, and the thread grows and grows, sometimes getting more and more frustrating. THIS is NOT the way to treat license payers. BBC IS accountable (that's your homework for your next blog, I believe).


    From your blog above......

    "In particular I have one in mind about ACCOUNTABILITY which seems to lead naturally on from this one."


    So, I think we posters to POV messageboard, actually have the right to be VERY VERY ANGRY with BBC over the treatment which has been meted out to us. If you decide to withdraw/cut a swathe through POV messageboards, then you will simply be re-enforcing the perception that BBC don't want to hear from the "great unwashed", who are able to express THEIR true feelings on messageboards. BUT, that BBC are more than happy to talk to bloggers, when THEY (BBC) set the Agenda/blog topic.

  • Comment number 89.

    Nick, you say

    "But the trouble with having a relatively open board is that if people can start threads about anything at all, they will, even if its unrelated to the subject matter of the board."

    I've found the BBC's Ask Bruce! webwise site and when asked, "What are messageboards?", this is what Bruce replies


    and on page 2, you'll find his definition of what going off-topic means.

    If you then follow the link to "What does it mean if people go 'off topic', this is what Bruce replies


    You'll note that he says

    "Moderated sites tend to go off-topic less often because the moderator can ask people to get back onto the board topic.

    In fact, often sites will even have an off-topic message board. They have these so that if some users start discussing motor sports on a beauty tips board they can tell them to go and post their thread there instead.

    Off-topic boards are also useful because it's not that people want to kill off a thread on motor sports, they just want it to happen somewhere else. "

    Food for thought perhaps?

  • Comment number 90.

    Nippie, well done for finding that (I think Nick has opened a can of worms, as we all go looking around BBC website, when we used to be happy frequenting JUST POV)

    I found this bit interesting, and, perhaps Nick, you should chew this over, BEFORE you start fiddling/destroying POV messageboards.


    "Message boards can be a bit like that sometimes. So don't be surprised if you go to a website on cookery and find that everyone is talking about world politics."


    YOU seem to be trying to change the format of messageboards, Nick. THEY do not conform to what YOU would like messageboards to be. BUT, some computer nerds designed messageboards to be what they are. THEY are NOT blogs. If YOU wade in (having admitted that you know less about messageboards than we do), and try to curtail them/form them in the likeness of blogs, then you really have NO concept of messageboarding.

    I have NO idea why someone would designate a blogger to re-design/do away with messageboards. As YOU already admit POV messageboards are a BIG area - too much, I think for a Newbie/blogger to come into, and try to mould into what he perceives as "Messageboards". What we definitely do not need is Messageblogs or Blogboards.

    It's like saying thirty players should play the first forty five minutes of a game as football, and forty minutes as rugby (can I patent that idea). It wouldn't work on many spheres, mainly the footballers would be looking for stretchers when the nasty rugby player hit them in the chest with a ball from the kick-off. What I am saying is, Blogging is for footballers, messageboarding is for rugby players (much more robust, a bit rowdy at times, but basically a team/community who will support each other in the scrum). Ne'er the twain shall meet.

    Embrace what IS a wonderful set of messageboards on POV, get more input from BBC employees (up to Heads of Depts), and police the boards more effectively. Add a search facility, return the quote facility, take away the 3/5minute wait between postings, and take on-board suggestions from messageboarders. Job done. And, I'll let you take the credit.

  • Comment number 91.

    Niclaramartin, that is really an excellent post, and I agree with every word.

    Nick please take note !

  • Comment number 92.


    I'm not sure if you have popped into read the POV messageboard thread started by Nippie, BUT, the posters over there don't seem to know that there is EVEN a second blog here.

    As we have said before, you are trying to ask assistance from messageboarders on POV, and you have taken the discussion to YOUR home patch. They have no idea how to get over here, or indeed to even look to see if there was a follow up blog. People just thought that the link which other posters were putting up, was in fact, your original blog.

    This is exceptionally poor dialogue with YOUR community. In THIS area YOU are a BLOGGER. When you wish to have dialogue with messageboarders, you SHOULD put on your MESSAGEBOARDER hat, and conduct your enquiry over on POV Television. I do not know how many times you have to have this spelled out to you. Any decision you come up with regarding messageboards will be tainted by your shambolic interaction with messageboarders.

  • Comment number 93.


    By the time I've got to the bottom of this my eyes are sore. That I don't get with a Message Board.

    Why write 1000 words when a few will do.


    Sorry to be blunt, but I think you'll find that most agree with me.

  • Comment number 94.

    I found this ok, from the link clearly at the top right hand side of the first blog page. It was only because I read about a second one that I went looking, though. I had not known of it beforehand.

    Nick, you didn't tell us, on our messageboard, that you had done this one.

    What are you trying to hide/do/prove?

    Ok, so the first one was getting too long, so you opened up another one, well, this also is going to get to be too long, so will we have to look out for the third version?

    I'm inclined to think I'm correct on that.

  • Comment number 95.


    In your introduction you state "Our moderators put in a lot of effort to ensure that inappropriate comments are removed from the boards". I have to challenge this statement as it simply is not true any more.

    For many months the moderators (such as exist now) have been very inconsistent with their removal of inappropriate comments. Some threads are running at the moment that quite obviously break many of the house rules and yet the mods persistently ignore them. Other, more inoffensive and topical threads have been closed down, with no prior warning. I believe that this is a cynical ploy to discredit the messageboards and thus make it much easier for the BBC to close the POV boards down.

    With respect - I'm sorry to say that your cavalier attitude thus far to a subject dear to the hearts of many posters to the messageboards is yet another example of the BBC treating its viewers, listeners, licence fee payers (whatever) like children.

    I have copied this over from your previous blog - I only discovered you had opened another blog thanks to posts left on the POV messageboard. This situation is now a complete "dogs dinner"!!

  • Comment number 96.

    I'm not a poster on POV, but I do like the idea of the BBC having blogs or discussion areas for stuff that isn't just news and Blue Peter. (I'd gladly reply to a Songs of Praise or Doctor Who blog...)

  • Comment number 97.

    Orville you should go over to POV, there are always an ongoing discussion about Dr Who and Songs of Praise. We don't do news there (just how bad it is getting presenter wise) but the occasional Blue Peter thread does turn up.

    Beth, that link on the right isn't always there, I usually have to click on to Nick's name to come here or go to my comments in my discussions.

    Anyway its been 2 years since we lost Doug - that I cannot believe. (rose smiley)

  • Comment number 98.

    My grammar is atrocious!

    Blame the cherubs! Getting me distracted whilst editing.

    Of course it should have read there IS always blah blah blah..........

    Nick, not getting onto you, but you really have to come over to POV (h2g2 is a totally different kettle of fish, that's Whisky's department) - the next time you have put your next blog up about more findings about POV you put a link up. If you don't want people to add to it just close it but who am I to suggest this, I am just a lowly old television licence holder.

  • Comment number 99.

    Nick Reynolds said...

    "When I have a plan or made a decision, I will of course tell you about it."

    Oh boy! How to win friends and influence people...

    Personally I'm hoping that was just a dodgy bit of phrasing, unfortunately, what's written on sites like this tends to come back and haunt you for years to come.

    As I linked to earlier, there are some wonderful articles on the hub about communications and transparency when interacting with the public via the web.

    One of the important bits is to keep your users involved... If you come up with a plan and tell your users what you're going to do as a fait-accompli, then you're asking for trouble needlessly...

    As I said earlier, I hope I'm wasting my time here and you think I'm stating the obvious... But, unfortunately, from this side of the screen it doesn't appear that way.

    Ok, we all know that the buck stops with you, you have the power to do whatever you like with the sites. But, if you want to keep an existing community and your existing users happy, instead of coming up with a plan and telling us about it, come up with a plan and talk to us about it... We might be able to help you, come up with additional ideas that you can't see from your side of the screen...

    On a slightly different note, this blog is becoming, quite frankly, unusable and unreadable in its current format, so I doubt I'll be posting much more.

    Possible hints at improving the blog format to make it more useable for high levels of traffic and user comments...

    1) Blogger has the sole rights to create an article.
    2) Users can start separate conversations under that article
    3) The conversations under the article have better functionalities... (20 posts to a page, quote function, etc.)
    4) Users have a way of centralising any conversations they are involved in (including better navigation to individual posts)

    Now, even if you agree with all four points there and have the budget to develop the blogging software to do all that... Hold your horses. Everything I've just described can be done under DNA and can be fully integrated into existing messageboards across the BBC. Talk to Jim Lynn.

  • Comment number 100.

    Morning Angelic.

    Doug - Two years (sad smiley). Sorely missed.

    Morning Nick

    Hope you are enjoying this War and Peace of blogs.

    I am NOT shouting this morning, BUT, I do have a few points which I feel I need to spit out, and make you aware of.

    1. You SAY you want a "conversation" about your original topic. BUT, as has been pointed out, for a "conversation" to progress and not stagnate, YOU have to come back and talk to us. THAT is just not happening.

    2. You might as well have asked us, "What do you like about the transport system in UK", as ask us what we like about messageboards and how WE can improve them for YOU. For the simple reason that it is too wide a discussion. Some people will live in an area with great transport systems (like to post a lot), whilst others live in the country (prefer infrequent posting). Some will have trains/cars/buses/bicycle tracks/underground...... (like to frequent lots of DIFFERENT types of threads), whilst others have to yomp to the nearest bus stop (only like one or two types of thread), YOU seem to want to travel in a tank, in a private lane, with traffic police every ten yards to stop the plebs spoiling YOUR journey. (wink smiley)

    3.We have posted many suggestions, and YOU have not come back to acknowledge which bits you have found useful, (shakes head smiley), or to then ask us WHICH areas YOU still have problems with. We are floundering about in the dark with absolutely NO idea of what YOU like about messageboards (probably nothing), and which are the main areas YOU have difficulties with. If you came back and said, "Good point, but from a financial/staffing logistics stand-point, it's not really feasible", we may surprise you and agree (it's been known to happen)

    4. WE do not want blogs, so, you will have to accept that. Perhaps from your position it would be easier to have just ONE area, where all postings are made (Blogboards or Messageblogs), BUT, we have clearly demonstrated that bloggers (like yourself) don't really want to messageboard, and messageboarders don't want to blog. You will have to bite the bullet and accept that the Licence payers WANT separate types of communication. I would think the TRUST feel that the Licence payers should have access to the route of communication THEY want.

    5. Come back, BEFORE you reach a decision, and highlight the areas YOU have problems with, and let us (the experts) try to resolve some of them for you. You never know, we might actually be reasonable people.

    6. I think you have been looking at the messageboards, and thinking "My God, it's absolute chaos out there" Well, you know what, it's not. It's like turning up at the Champs Elysée in a car, and panicking about which lane/exit you should be heading for, but most posters/Parisiennes know exactly where THEY are going, and will let you join in safely. Occasionally there will be the odd accident/offensive posting, but in the volume of traffic that is to be expected (and cannot EVER be done away with). What DOES cause problems at Champs Elysée AND POV, is when there is NO policing, and it's allowed to become a free-for-all.

    7.So following on from point 6, you need ENOUGH policing (without becoming a Police State), but allow the posters to decide what THEY find offensive (unless it is something illegal). As has been said, the VASTTTTTT number of a HUGE population of posters to POV are delightful, witty, helpful, challenging, intelligent....... and can be left safely to post inoffensive (if somewhat nutty, and occasionally off-topic postings). As with EVERY gathering there are the odd nutters (and once discovered they SHOULD be asked to leave). I notice when I dropped in on Nick Robinson's blog re the MP who was arrested, that early in the afternoon yesterday, there was a stream of about TWENTY postings, almost one after the other, which were hidden/being checked by moderation, so clearly people get close to the knuckle on blogs too.

    8. Come back to THIS blog, and tell us the areas YOU are still having problems with, and THEN, get over to the messageboard and talk to the posters there.


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