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Changes to BBC Religion and Ethics within BBC Online

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Aaqil Ahmed Aaqil Ahmed | 12:12 UK time, Monday, 13 June 2011

I wanted to let you know that we will be closing the BBC Religion and Ethics messageboards on Monday 27 June.

The messageboards will remain visible after this date but the opportunity to add new comments or open new threads will no longer be available.

The BBC Religion and Ethics web site will remain.

In January 2010 the BBC announced changes to BBC Online - 'doing fewer things, better' - in the face of a 25% budget reduction for the service. Ian Hunter, Managing Editor of BBC Online, blogged back in January about moving away from isolated discussion forums like the messageboards which appeal to relatively small audiences, to an approach that spreads comment and discussion more widely around our websites. Do read his blog post as it will give you some important background.

We've had to make some tough decisions but I want to assure you that the decision to close our BBC Religion and Ethics messageboards was not taken lightly, as I know users have enjoyed being part of the varied discussions on the messageboards about all kinds of religious and ethical topics. However, the cost of maintaining this messageboard has become impossible to justify for a relatively small group of users. What's more, as we've seen with the meteoric growth of Twitter, Facebook and other social networks - there are now many ways to interact and share information online.

I believe we can offer a more cost-efficient and a much better service online for those that want to be informed about religious and ethical news and also engage in religious and ethical debate; a service that will appeal to many, and be directly related to the religion and ethical stories of the day, and our BBC TV and Radio programmes. This is why today I am pleased to announce the new BBC Religion and Ethics Blog.

We'll launch the blog in late 2011 and it will be hosted by an expert editor, based in Salford and part of the BBC's Religion and Ethics team, with an overview across the whole of the BBC's Religious and Ethics programming on TV and Radio. We'll host contributions from leading figures in politics, religion, news, ethics and the media. The blog will be a new way to take a topic further and find out more, whilst also offering you the chance to participate in a wider religious and ethical discussion.

I will be sharing more news about the Religion and Ethics Blog soon.

All that remains for me to do now is to thank all of you who have contributed to the Religion and Ethics message boards over the years. It was a lively forum of religious and ethical debate and I hope you, and many, many others will enjoy reading and contributing to our new Religion and Ethics Blog.

Aaqil Ahmed is Commissioning Editor Religion and Head of Religion & Ethics

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Sad, but I understand budget cuts. I hope the new blog will allow for theoretical debate as well as current affairs in religious matters.

  • Comment number 2.

    I'm not surprised, to find the BBC offering these message boards seemed too good to be true.

  • Comment number 3.

    Well Aaqil, it is no surprise, lets shut up the small voices and replace it with the voice of 'experts'. Sorry but you have got it wrong, of course half the posters are barking but it is just another move that marginalises opinions a touch outside the mainstream.

  • Comment number 4.

    In the interests fo public disclosure:

    What does it cost to administer these boards?
    How many people?
    What salaries are they paid?
    How many users do these boards have?

    Will I get an answer?

  • Comment number 5.

    @The 6th Beatle You might if you can be bothered to go to the trouble of making that a proper FOI request.

  • Comment number 6.

    Will the blogs select what comments can be screened?

  • Comment number 7.

    I don't suppose it occurred to anyone to ask if any of the users would be willing to moderate the boards for free?

  • Comment number 8.

    I, for one, am not in the least bit surprised. There are, as has been said, places to discuss things elsewhere. But are they as trusted and safe for newbies as here? Are they as informative?

    Some of us will migrate to FB or Twitter, yes. But the wide spread of viewpoints will be lost and the world will narrow.

    But then, that's Big Society for you...

    Anyone who wants to join us, is welcome. We are off to FB, and an ex-BBC Religion discussion board will arise from the ashes. It won't be as good, but that's the way it is.

  • Comment number 9.

    'Cuts' can be so inclusive. However, the loss of the bbc's funders free expression of opinion has taken on such a consistent pattern across all of aunty's manufactured output while other stuff continues to flourish, shows that if the he who pays the piper doesn't call the tune then someone else will.

  • Comment number 10.

    Hi Scaramunga

    It's not a case of asking if anyone would do it for free - volunteer moderation as you suggest is not a possibility for the BBC - we are legally responsible as publishers and are bound by editorial guidelines that we could not rely on users to moderate to without a contractual arrangement that they would meet those standards. I also doubt many users would be happy having to find several million pounds' worth of liablity insurance :-D

    The closest we get to it is using reactive moderation, where we rely on users to report rule-breaking content, but not to actually moderate it.

    Paul, Editor, Moderation and Social, BBC Online

  • Comment number 11.

    Of course we have already an example of what will happen - when the "Today" message board was closed. We were assured that opportunities to comment in other ways would be expanded to compensate. They were not. The editorial team decides where, when and on what people can comment. There is no opportunity for a real discussion.

    There will be no more real debate on the BBC R & E web site.

  • Comment number 12.

    Dear Aaqil,

    I can understand the BBC's decision. The groups must cost a fair bit to run and only provide a service to a small minority - and are largely unrelated to the BBC's core activity.


    I have posted some good stuff on the BBC's religion boards over the years.
    What will the BBC do with the past content?

    (1) Could the BBC archive all the content (which should be cheap enough, since it is all text) for future researchers.

    (2) Better still, any chance of making it all searchable online, as was done with the old newsgroups on Google groups ?

    Even better, could you send me all my past posts ?
    ... no, thought not ... :) Ah well...]

    Best wishes
    Jonathan

  • Comment number 13.

    This is a down right liberty and the stuff about budgets is rubbish..What is also rubbish is the right of appeal we have against this decision..
    This is a social network of boards which allow [on most occasions anyway] the right to free speech and expression...And its exsistence should not be dependent on the trivial relativity of finance..
    There must of been other places where the bbc could of saved a few pennys to keep these boards going but my main objections to thier closure is based on the fact that its users have had no visable chance of appeal against the decision...!
    OUTRAGE...!!!!!

    Chef...

  • Comment number 14.

    What a rotten shame. I hope it can continue in some decent format. I wonder if it's possible to have a blog where, vetted, details can be given if people prefer a more informal approach.
    Nick

  • Comment number 15.

    Dear Aaqil,

    I can understand the BBC's decision. The groups must cost a fair bit to run and only provide a service to a small minority - and are largely unrelated to the BBC's core activity.

    Thank you to you and your team for running the religion boards all these years.


    I have posted some good stuff on the BBC's religion boards over the years.
    What will the BBC do with the past content?

    (1) Could the BBC archive all the content (which should be cheap enough, since it is all text) for future researchers.

    (2) Better still, any chance of making it all searchable online, as was done with the old newsgroups on Google groups ?

    Even better, could you send me all my past posts ?
    ... no, thought not ... :) Ah well...]

    Best wishes

    Jonathan

  • Comment number 16.

    Hi Aaqil,

    Would you consider an alternative to closure? Maybe the BBC could ask for volunteers to be admins on the boards? I would be more than happy to do this. I am sure there are others too.

    These boards do provide an excellent service to the public. In a country which is host to people of many religions it does provide an excellent, neutral, space for people of all faiths to engage and learn about the views of others.

    Kind Regards

  • Comment number 17.

    It was widely reported before the last election, that Cameron met with Murdoch. One of the conditions that Murdoch gave for his support to the Tories was that Cameron cut the BBC's budget if he got in. Cameron agreed,and we're seeing the results now.

  • Comment number 18.

    Cotumely: Along with a nudge to the competition commission to let him keep Sky News (which he has, no matter what any learned pro Murdochites say).

  • Comment number 19.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 20.

    Particularly worried about stories of promises of alternative means of expression not being fulfilled.
    When a messageboard closes a community is effectively destroyed, any research on this in terms of effects?

  • Comment number 21.

    And so the BBC dies a little bit more.

    On the plus side, it's one less place for the Creationists and religiously-inspired bigots to abuse "respect" for their beliefs so that they can spread their lies.

    (Is H2G2 going to be closed down as well?)

  • Comment number 22.

    Inconceivable! A blog entry about board closures...

    And that, Scaramunga, is as close as you are going to get to an answer about volunteers. The CCT may have made a complete hash of moderating (hiding comments at the drop of a hat, however ridiculous the complaint was), but they are right to say that the potential liability for an organisation as influential as the BBC is enormous, and simply not worth the risk. True volunteers, who wouldn't receive expensive training, would have to be completely separate from the Beeb. Yet then, no-one would have any guarantee that a new board had not been set up by someone with a very different agenda from what the BBC once loosely espoused.

    I set up the Alt R4 Boards to examine precisely what 'emailheaven' could or couldn't do on his board. He can delete a member, if they request it, for example, even if he refuses to heed such requests. He can't, from what I can gather, read PMs, because I can't see that I can, either, but I have recommended that anyone still unsure should create their own boards, however basic, to test this for themselves.

    I'm not promoting my board to the extent that he has, *because* it is more of a testbed, but anyone who wishes to help me test it is welcome to join. I'm a bit more concerned with holding Radio 4 to account for its actions than amassing an impressive member count, and with consistency rather than changing forums at the drop of a hat.

    And if you understand what I'm saying, I want you to, mmm, take my hand...

    http://s4.zetaboards.com/Alt_R4_boards/index/ :)

  • Comment number 23.

    "It's not a case of asking if anyone would do it for free - volunteer moderation as you suggest is not a possibility for the BBC - we are legally responsible as publishers and are bound by editorial guidelines that we could not rely on users to moderate to without a contractual arrangement that they would meet those standards. I also doubt many users would be happy having to find several million pounds' worth of liablity insurance :-D"

    Why don't you mention 'Health and Safety' or 'The Data Protection Act' while you are at it? Or just 'Computer says 'no'. I never read such tosh.

    There would be nothing to stop volunteers signing up to the same guidelines as the current staff. As for 'liability insurance', are you saying that the BBC has to get some special extra coverage for its 'Religion' boards? Even if you need it, you can get 'several million pounds' worth of cover for very little, not that the vast numbers of the other sites on the internet where people can leave comments usually bother with it.

    So why are the BBC really choosing to cut the boards as opposed to elsewhere?

    "However, the cost of maintaining this messageboard has become impossible to justify for a relatively small group of users"

    I would say that the reason is the exact opposite. The professional staff want to restrict remaining resources to an even smaller group of users - themselves. As others have remarked, we heard this stuff about providing 'other platforms' when they closed other boards. It didn't happen then, it won't happen now.

    But each time they do this, the BBC chip away another bit of their 'unique public service' defence. One day, Mr Murdoch will come for you and you will find that there is nobody left who cares.





  • Comment number 24.

    Sadly I'm not surprised at this closure. I'll miss the verbal duels, but I guess that with a greatly reduced budget, this closure was on the cards. I hope the new R & E blog is as popular as the christian message board and that the likes of TW, Colin, Elvis, Letusreason, etc.. continue to post blogs there...

  • Comment number 25.

    This is really sad but I would agree with some others that it's been on the cards fo a while

  • Comment number 26.

    Hi hotmousemat

    It's not "tosh" at all. Health and Safety legislation has very little to do with it, but in fact the Data Protection Act is relevant - part of moderating a service means investigating user behaviour which means access to users' personal data. So there's another thing that will need to be specified in the contract with the volunteers. Because of this access all the moderators are CRB-checked - another cost and imposition on these volunteers.

    Who then manages the shifts to make sure that these volunteer moderators start working on time to the agreed targets, and gives them feedback or removes them from their (freely-provided) duties when their performance is not good enough? Who ensures that enough moderators are working when the traffic is high, or that they escalate serious issues to the appropriate authorities, or keeps a record of changes to guidance, reporting restrictions, ongoing user management issues, or technical failures and developments? Another volunteer?

    You have misunderstood the point I was making about liability insurance - when a company is commissioned by the BBC to provide a service such as moderation, they enter a commitment that they have insurance cover which ensures that if they make a mistake - for example, allowing the publication of a libellous comment that result in an expensive legal action against the BBC - they have insurance in place that can pay out should the BBC need to seek to recover the costs, which probably wouldn't be acceptable for individual volunteer moderators. There are of course other ways of doing this, but all involve a balance of cost and risk, and certainly none are free.

    Volunteer moderation can work very well on small privately-run forums - they are not bound by the BBC charter or are as likely to be sued or prosecuted under UK legislation for any errors - but the BBC is a very different case. I hope this gives you a better understanding of the realities of moderating user comments on a site such as bbc.co.uk, and of why it is a possibility that has been considered, and found to be inappropriate, by the BBC.

    Paul

  • Comment number 27.

    But each time they do this, the BBC chip away another bit of their 'unique public service' defence. One day, Mr Murdoch will come for you and you will find that there is nobody left who cares.

  • Comment number 28.

    "It's not "tosh" at all. Health and Safety legislation has very little to do with it, but in fact the Data Protection Act is relevant....all the moderators are CRB-checked - another cost and imposition on these volunteers....Who then manages the shifts to make sure that these volunteer moderators start working on time to the agreed targets.."

    Anyone who has ever dealt with a bureaucracy will recognise this stuff. And anyone who has ever run a volunteer based organisation will know that the CRB and DPA are not the mysterious and menacing legal minefields you imply. If there was a will, you could do it.

    But more generally, you are going in completely the wrong direction. Do you think that when the next round of cuts comes, the BBC 'Religion & Ethics Blog' is going to be seen as a priority? If you want to save yourself, the answer is to reach out and involve more people; if the message boards currently attract only a 'relatively small' group of users, the answer is to get more people involved! In one sentence you point to the 'meteoric growth' of social networks, in the next you say you are closing your own one down. Think about that.

    But social networks are outside the expertise of your 'expert editors'. So you go for the option that they are comfortable with. Your choice, in my opinion; your mistake.

  • Comment number 29.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 30.

    CCT: 'Who then manages the shifts to make sure that these volunteer moderators start working on time to the agreed targets, and gives them feedback or removes them from their (freely-provided) duties when their performance is not good enough? Who ensures that enough moderators are working when the traffic is high, or that they escalate serious issues to the appropriate authorities, or keeps a record of changes to guidance, reporting restrictions, ongoing user management issues, or technical failures and developments?'

    They will 'police themselves', and/or 'wither away', of course.

    Honestly, the justifications you cook up for your actions...

    Incidentally, now there finally *is* a board closure thread to be on topic about, I can ask you why it is that my comment on 'TCIYs' (the 'Come on, anna!' thread), in which I anticpiated that board's closure announcement by one day, was hidden for consideration of its suitability for over ten days, unhidden *only* after I complained about the post myself, with tongue firmly in cheek, and then a few weeks later and some time after the board *had* been closed, hidden permanently, with an email telling me, unusually, that I could reply to it if I had a problem with the decision. I did reply, twice, and you never responded.

    Why the CCT judged a post to be OK by un-hiding it, and then changed their mind, is something I would very much like to know...

    And bravo, hotmousemat!

  • Comment number 31.

    Interesting that the only responses to posts on the blog are firstly on purely technical and legal issues and secondly NOT from the supposed author of the blog.

    Did he actually write it, has he even looked at the responses or this yet another case of an executive just pretending to listen?

  • Comment number 32.

    CCT...since the BBC rightly has concerns about legal issues, will the new Facebook and Twitter presences have suitable controls? Especially when you consider the Twitter furore recently. Surely the BBC will leave itself open to an even greater threat of legal action should the sites not be properly regulated. Can you answer that?

  • Comment number 33.

    Good point, Sparrow.

    And Religion & Ethics board users, I know it's not the same thing and it can take a bit getting used to, but have you thought about using The Village Hall or The Bull, over on the BBC's Archers messageboard? It seems relatively safe from closure - for the moment anyway - although you never know when the BBC is going to drop the bombshell on the few remaining messageboards.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbarchers/NF2693944

  • Comment number 34.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 35.

    Hi - we are starting to drift a little off topic. Please stick to the topic - which is the closure of the Religion message boards.

    Thanks

  • Comment number 36.

    Off topic? I hardly think so. People are rightly concerned and disappointed that various boards are closing. Smilie was simply posting a link to an alternative BBC board.

    Or should we only now be referring people to Twitter and Facebook now? I have absolutely no confidence in either of those media in providing a suitable alternative to anything the BBC once provided so well....but so long ago now.

  • Comment number 37.

    After World Service, "Ouch" and now Religion&Ethics going to Facebook, maybe the BBC can buy Facebook? Oh, darn, I am not on Facebook.

  • Comment number 38.

    >>Nick Reynolds wrote:
    Hi - we are starting to drift a little off topic. Please stick to the topic - which is the closure of the Religion message boards.

    Thanks

  • Comment number 39.

    Great. MY attempt to reply whited out again...

    >>Nick Reynolds wrote:
    Hi - we are starting to drift a little off topic. Please stick to the topic - which is the closure of the Religion message boards.

    Thanks

  • Comment number 40.

    AND I failed to save the post before I sent it... Oh, no, it did save. Using angled brackets must have messed it up...

    }}Nick Reynolds wrote:
    Hi - we are starting to drift a little off topic. Please stick to the topic - which is the closure of the Religion message boards.

    Thanks{{

    Can you get someone to write a blog entry about the impending closure of the OUCH!! boards, then, so that we can discuss how the BBC is failing in its 'duty of care' to a vulnerable part of the community?

    Or maybe a catch-all entry for the Beeb's rolling removal of message boards, and absence of any public forum, natch, to protest about it?

    Note that my last two attempts were no more than a minute apart, flea notwithstanding. How weird is *that*?

  • Comment number 41.

    Joe K - You can find a blog entry about the closure of the Ouch message board here.

    If you wish to have a free wheeling discussion about this topic try this thread on the Points of View message board.

    Thanks

  • Comment number 42.

    Linking out to POV....nicely done, especially when it's fairly obvious that not even the Host there bothers reading.

    Our boards are being closed at an accelerating rate, we're being linked out to blogs. We then try to discuss our concerns on the blogs, and when we do? We're told to stop, or go back to where we came from. Frustrating, isn't it?

    It's also a shame that the blog authors rarely come back to answer questions on THEIR blogs. What is the point in them putting their name to it? The Ouch blog post, and the messageboard technical blogs were the worst examples of it.

    And yet blogs are still held up as the way of the future? What absolute nonsense.

    I do hope I get a reply to my question to CCT a couple of posts upthread. How will the BBC cover itself legally when hosting Facebook pages?

  • Comment number 43.

    I'm having trouble sending my new post. If it duplicates, don't sue me...

  • Comment number 44.

    }}At 07:28 18th Jun 2011, Nick Reynolds wrote:
    Joe K - You can find a blog entry about the closure of the Ouch message board here.

    If you wish to have a free wheeling discussion about this topic try this thread on the Points of View message board.{{
    Thank you, Nick. The Ouch blog entry is certainly attracting seemingly universal condemnation. It is on the Ouch! blog, of course, which many wouldn't know about at all if you hadn't provided the link.

    And I have contributed to that Points Of View discussion. POV can be quite arbitrary about what they allow to be discussed, closing topics on either the 'BBC Television' *or* 'The BBC' board if they aren't about BBC Television*, so it will be interesting to see how long that thread lasts.

    *I muse again:
    BBC Television - Points Of View
    BBC Radio - Feedback
    BBC Online - Input? (who is the internet Roger Bolton, or better yet, Chris Dunkley?)


  • Comment number 45.

    The BBC are spending a billion pounds (by time the dust settles) for an HQ up north that no one wants. That is why you can no longer afford the religious boards which have had thousands of posters on over the years. I can't see much interest in a future blog. Hardly a message board, is it?

  • Comment number 46.

    'I do hope I get a reply to my question to CCT a couple of posts upthread. How will the BBC cover itself legally when hosting Facebook pages?'...

    No response to this. Will Conversocial be used as the moderation tool on BBC-related Facebook pages? I cannot imagine that the BBC will not use some form of moderation, considering how seriously they take legal issues.

    It's especially relevant I think that people who DO make the switch over to FB, are aware that there is *some* form of 'protection', albeit in a different form to yellow triangles...

  • Comment number 47.

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

  • Comment number 48.

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

  • Comment number 49.

    Joe K - as I've already said you are off topic.

    Thanks

  • Comment number 50.

    OK, then, how is this for 'on topic'?

    The person who wrote the blog entry above, Aaqil Ahmed, said that 'social networks' independent from the BBC, including Facebook, would be acceptable alternatives to the messageboards the BBC is slowly phasing out. I pointed out that Facebook is not very accountable to its users. I don't think it could have been my alternative name for Facebook that you objected to, but I'll leave it out just in case.

    I then said that people could 'bet' that the BBC would disavow (sp?) all knowledge of the adverse consequences of its actions if (when?) things wen't 'pear-shaped'.

    Now, I can't really see how any of this is 'off topic' to this discussion.

    I will also note in passing that you seem to be taking a special interest in this, Nick, and pretty much every blog entry and its comments, although you are not a moderator. Fair enough, if you have the authority to do that, but we would actually appreciate the blog writer himself taking an interest in the responses to what he has written. Do you have the authority to suggest that all contributors *should* take at least a little time to respond to comments?

    And the box is still messing up (this is my second -third - attempt). D'you have any idea what the problem might be?

  • Comment number 51.

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

  • Comment number 52.

    Joe K - I am the host of this blog and in this context have the authority to remove off topic comments.

    BBC people who write blog posts are not obliged to answer comments, although we do try to encourage them to do so. A lot will obviously depend on what the comments say.

    However if BBC people don't respond to comments that does not give users who comment the right to break the house rules.

    So please stay on topic. The BBC's obligations on Facebook are off topic. The closure of the Religion message boards is on topic.

    Thanks

  • Comment number 53.

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

  • Comment number 54.

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

  • Comment number 55.

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

  • Comment number 56.

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

  • Comment number 57.

    Now, I know from experience that when someone registers a complaint, they receive comfirmation that the issue is being investigated, and in this case, that comfirmation would be by email. I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received...

  • Comment number 58.

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

  • Comment number 59.

    'All posts are reactively-moderated'. This means that an ordinary member of the listener/readership thought it was worth reporting me for noting that I had misspelled 'confirmation', and 'the moderators' thought the report was worth acting on?

    I still have had no confirmation...

  • Comment number 60.

    The religion boards are still open, but no-one will say exactly how long 'til... 6pm?

  • Comment number 61.

    '52. At 15:59 23rd Jun 2011, Nick Reynolds - I am the host of this blog and in this context have the authority to remove off topic comments.

    BBC people who write blog posts are not obliged to answer comments, although we do try to encourage them to do so. A lot will obviously depend on what the comments say.'


    Interesting as much as for what is said as not. And I thought modding was by mods according to 'rules'. Cartman, eat your heart out.

    Still, chipping is great. Might try and encourage that here...

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2011/05/our_next_step_in_news_blogging.html

    Preferably not of the 'flying in the face of what's obvious, all is great..'/'it's my ball...'/'no it's not just because...' variety.

  • Comment number 62.

    '60. At 11:26 27th Jun 2011, Joe K wrote:
    The religion boards are still open, but no-one will say exactly how long 'til... 6pm?'


    Hey, that's better than, say, a Nick R blog, which closes at 5pm these days (having opened after 9am usually).

    So the BBC is trying at least to reach out to those who pay the licence fee. If only when they are at work.

  • Comment number 63.

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

  • Comment number 64.

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

  • Comment number 65.

    'We'll host contributions from leading figures in politics, religion, news, ethics and the media'

    So we are to be lectured by a BBC selected 'nomenklatura' as to what we should think. Wot fun!

  • Comment number 66.

    'So please stay on topic.' Nick Reynolds 'host'

    Is it 'on topic' or 'off topic' to comment on a post by the host?

  • Comment number 67.

    That rather depends on what the host has said, Bx4...

  • Comment number 68.

    'That rather depends on what the host has said, Bx4..' Nick Reynolds

    In this case what the host has said is not about the topic of the closure of the religionboards and so is off topic and so you should censor yourself.

    I notice that the exciting new blog will be hosted by an 'expert editor' are we to be told at any point in what this 'expertise' will consist of?

  • Comment number 69.

    I hope the closing of the BBC messageboards won't mean that the replacement (a blogger?) won't be something forcing religion down our throats with no right to reply.

  • Comment number 70.

    Is there nothing that this governement wont interfere with? Is nothing sacred? I would be interested to know. As things stand Mr Cameron is making sure that he wont be re elected. I look forward to the next forum though I can't see how it will be different Can anybody enlighten me? Regards Regina

  • Comment number 71.

    My reply at #64 was gauged to illustrate the logical fallacy of associating forum numbers with quality of debate, at least when the debate in question has been misrepresented. I see no reason why it should remain hidden while 64 has been restored, and I'm not going to appeal for it's return. I'm just pointing out my opinion on its validity.

  • Comment number 72.

    It is a very poor show that the blog author has not seen fit to respond on here leaving a few rude and aggressive posts from "the host" as the only voice of the bbc and its not a particularly helpful voice.

  • Comment number 73.

    It is always best to look on the brighter side of every situation. It is quite unfortunate that the message board will be shut down however I do believe the move to facebook and Twitter will be more cost efficient and budget friendly since BBC can make extensive use of the various free applications and pages available on these sites. In addition, BBC religion and Ethics will open its door to a wider and more diverse audience since these two social networking sites – facebook and Twitter enjoy a greater number of active users. This change will be enriching for users worldwide.

  • Comment number 74.

    Change is inevitable in this ever unpredictable world and I do agree that the financial cost of a message board with few users is ridiculous especially in these times. I would hope that whoever is in charge of the new initiatives being introduced will see to it that it is properly coordinated meaning that inappropriate content is not permitted on the blog. Users have a tendency to use these free sites to advertise their business or create mischief. Therefore an effective screening process should be designed so that only substantial comments are posted for review.[Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]In that way, the credibility and quality of the blog will not be compromised.

  • Comment number 75.

    barry since the bbc decided to run down its messageboards the number of users have fallen dramatically.However before that threads would regularly move into thousands (yes thousands) of posts and hundreds of posts were the norm. you say the cost is ridiculous...do you know how much the cost is? and would a slight shaving from the chap leaving the bbc with a £400,000 redundancy and £4 million a year pension have covered it?
    Brian the move to the 2 other companies that the bbc advertise in almost every arena is the end not a new beginning for all the messageboard areas being destroyed by the bbc..and although change does happen it doesnt mean you lie back and except manipulated changes which are for the worst

  • Comment number 76.

    GOODBYE VOX POP?

    I hope not.

  • Comment number 77.

    Hello friends, from "Join Together" Mick.

    A bit late I know but it was a pleasure to meet so many who have become such good friends especialy those with different opinions and Gods, long may PEACE be between us.

  • Comment number 78.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 79.

    So when does all this new stuff happen, then?

 

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