Changes to BBC Religion and Ethics within BBC Online
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