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From Swindon Town to Cape Town

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Lewis Wiltshire | 17:25 UK time, Monday, 24 May 2010

The weekend of the Championship play-off final has become, in recent years, a landmark signalling the end of the domestic football season, and every other year that means a major international football tournament is just around the corner.

This year that changed slightly - Blackpool have already confirmed their place in the Premier League for next season and yet we still have the League One and League Two finales to come.

Worker mows the pitch at Mbombela Stadium, South Africa
Everybody's getting ready for 11 June

But that major tournament is looming, with the World Cup opener between South Africa and Mexico just 18 days away. For the BBC Sport website and our partners who deliver the technology behind the site, 11 June will be the culmination of many months of incredibly hard work. Our World Cup website launched on 11 May as we marked a month to go until the tournament started (all right, for the eagle-eyed it launched with a month-and-a-day to go but we wanted to be ready for the 11th!) and there is still more to come.

The biggest of the still-to-comes, of course, will be the way we present our live coverage of the actual games. This will bring together the three most important aspects of following a match online - live video, live text commentary, and live data - but in a more compelling way than we have done for any previous event.

We are also pretty excited about John Motson's video blog, and the introduction of a legendary broadcaster to Twitter. John has already made a fantastic start in bringing this website's audience a glimpse into his extraordinary reservoir of memories and knowledge - this is a man who has worked at every World Cup since 1970 and interviewed every England manager since Sir Alf Ramsey.

As well as Motty, we will be giving users of the website a chance to experience the World Cup through the eyes of our rich pool of BBC TV and Radio 5 live presenters and pundits. There's a BBC bus touring South Africa, reflecting the culture and flavour of the nation hosting Africa's first World Cup, which Paul Fletcher from the web team has already blogged about. And the website will be making continued use of the world-class journalism produced by the BBC's sports news department, with the likes of sports editor David Bond and reporters James Pearce and Dan Roan in South Africa to blog or use Twitter to bring you constantly breaking news and analysis.

All of which is a brief taste of what we're planning to offer during the World Cup. There will be another blog nearer to the start of the tournament from us, outlining the coverage across TV, radio and the web.

But hopefully it also gives a pointer towards the way that the editorial content on the website is constantly appraised and at times shaken up. For the World Cup, a lighthearted take on proceedings will be available from comedian Mark Watson, who is presenting an alternative view called 'How to Watch Football'. Alan Davies, and also Danny Baker, will both have shows on 5 Live which will be available as podcasts, and Radio 1 breakfast show host Chris Moyles will provide alternative commentaries on selected World Cup matches.

Some of the other humorous elements of this site - Derek 'Robbo' Robson's blog, the Review of the Week blog and Quotes of the Week - will not be returning, as we continue to keep reviewing our editorial output. As part of that process, the Fun and Games section will be closing. We think that rather than house all of our light-hearted content in one place, this should be present throughout the site, whether it's the live text commentaries we produce, a Mark Watson video series or something else.

I would actually just like to pay tribute to 'Robbo' Robson for all he's done for BBC Sport. He's been telling it like it is on this website for nine years now - and while he's moving on, he will still be providing his particular perspective on all things sporting on a new blog here. Thanks for everything Robbo - and good luck.

I will be happy to discuss any aspect of the website content here, but a reminder also that I am on call anytime for feedback on our site via my Twitter page.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Exactly why were Robbo and Chris Charles axed?

    A proper explanation would be appreciated by their many loyal fans!

  • Comment number 2.

    Why has the BBC decided to end the Robbo Blog? It is a successful, widely read and highly valued peice of work. What is the logic behind the decision to end it?

  • Comment number 3.

    And no vote of thanks for Mr Charles of QOTW and ROTW fame? That man has single-handedly provide more lunchtime entertainment than many of the articles that the rest of the site puts together.

    Editorial review it might be, but asking your readers would have been a good start.

  • Comment number 4.

    So what is the point of this blog, other than state who has kept their jobs for the World Cup, and who is new

    Motty, only posting videos, so noone(plymouth) outside the UK can view, pathetic

    Mark Watson, Alan Davis, Danny Baker, pathetic choices

    Beeb, you already had 2 good bloggers with humour, Robbo and Chris Charles

    Explain yourselves to thos pay your wages

    Patheticpatheticpathetic
    Patheticpatheticpathetic

    Patheticpatheticpathetic

  • Comment number 5.

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

  • Comment number 6.

    I would also like to know why Robbo's blog was axed.

    It was the most widely read blog on the BBC sports site. It had certainly become a meeting place for a number of regular posters, which of course if you are a blogger it is one of your aims. Maybe it's popularity was something the BBC was unable to cope with.

  • Comment number 7.

    Really, really can't understand why Robbo and Chris Charles have to go.

    As a few people have said on Robbo's blog, insight + humour is both informative AND entertaining.

    Isn't that part of the BBC's remit?

  • Comment number 8.

    I've just been posting on Robbo's blog about my displeasure at his being axed, and a fellow poster directed me to this blog.

    Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

    I've just read through this blog, one attempt at an aside, otherwise not a great deal to write home about, and less to keep me reading. It would seem that the editors have gone for the bigger brand names, and Robbo has been replaced in his 'humour category' by Mark Watson. With branded comedians Alan Davis and Danny Baker chipping in with podcasts.

    I'm not taking anything away from any of these commentators who I'm sure are very bright and amusing. But I can hear their opinions elsewhere. Surely it's a prerogative of the BBC to defend quality journalism from people who are perhaps less well known but greatly enjoyed, rather than pitching in behind ratings winning big name stars?

    I disagree with the notion of banding Robbo as a 'humourous element' in the first place, I would say he delivers quality insight in an entertaining way. It's like saying Top Gear is a comedy show, because they pass information with a bit of attitude.

    I think you've lumped people into categories, assigned budgets against the categories, and somehow managed to sack an original voice and a major asset to your site. Perhaps you could reassign Robbo to a catergory called, 'informative, popular and very good at what he does.'

    I for one would applaud such a decision. It would seem the Charlie Brooker of football has been exiled. Shame on you.

    But the reality is I don't know what the thought process has been, beyond the platitudes I've read in the above blog. I can't imagine you're saving money by axing Robbo and employing bigger name stars.

    Most interested. Do tell more.

  • Comment number 9.

    Total shame both robbo and chris have been axed. Best sports blogs by far and I hope the beeb have a change of heart and try and get them back. Surely the number of people who have commented about this tells it's own story.

  • Comment number 10.

    keep reviewing our editorial output!!! What ridiculous rubbish, QOTW and Robbo are two main things I look for on here (and I spend an unhealty amount of time on here!) My best guess is that you are bowing to the pressure from commercial websites/channels who do similar blogs.

    Poor form from the BBC!! I hope your loyal readers/viewers will have at least a minimal consult (or at least check the amount of hits a page is getting)

    Disappointed....

  • Comment number 11.

    Where are the answers to the questions!!!!????

  • Comment number 12.

    1... cont'd

    I'd also be most interested to see the official page view count of all your Sports bloggers for the last year - maybe this will vindicate your decision to axe Robbo and Chris Charles; although I suspect maybe not!

  • Comment number 13.

    just wondering why robbo has been axed, the reasons given seem flimsy and unconvincing...

    was it something he said....

    did someone say 'democracy' ??

  • Comment number 14.

    well mr. editor, u can pay all the tributes u like but as u can see from the responses here, ur making a big mistake letting robbo and especially chris charles go - expect to see a dramatic fall in bbc sport views quite soon - the internet is the future of media and u r jeopardising the bbc's future

  • Comment number 15.

    The explanation given for discontinuing the blogs written by Niall Ashdown and Chris Charles are vague and unsatisfactory to put it mildly. If you are going to post articles such as this then you may aswell give a full explanation.

    Clearly the notion of spreading all comedy evenly across the bbc is ludicrous at best and at worst a falsification. This would be unless of course you consider the output of people like Phil McNulty to be comedy - in which case I might agree.

    After 9 years you may well feel that the "Robbo" blog has run its course. In which case why not say this? Otherwise you might forgive me for thinking that the only blogs being terminated are those which offer relatively loose moderation policies that allow for free discussion without the constricts of the pc brigade which populate all other blogs. As the public are required to pay a license fee towards the bbc I would appreciate a little more clarity in such matters.

  • Comment number 16.

    Get a move on - is it too many valid questions being asked and too scared to answer them!!!

  • Comment number 17.

    be a short delay

    yeah rite

  • Comment number 18.

    At the risk of repeating what everyone above me has already said (though how i'm supposed to know as it's now 10-45pm and posts from 7-51pm still haven't been approved by the Mods) why is no-one giving a straight answer to the question of why Robbo and Chris Charles have been sacked? Surely a blog that attracts over 200000 viewers in one week (well actually probably half a week as Robbo's second blog would've gone up after that) is a commodity that the BBC cannot afford to lose.

  • Comment number 19.

    As a publicly funded body the BBC should be providing a service for the people who pay for that service. Thousands of people enjoy Robbo and Chris Charles every week but the BBC would rather remove this and keep other blogs which are less popular, less well written and less enjoyable. Are you just trying to suck all of the fun out of life or is it that your sulking because your mate Gordon Brown lost the election?

  • Comment number 20.

    19. At 10:51pm on 24 May 2010, ColchesterFC (awaiting moderation)
    Where's my comment?All new members are pre-moderated initially, which means that there will be a short delay between when you post your comment and when it appears while one of our moderators checks it.
    ---------------------------------------------------------

    And as for this joke. A "short delay"? Do you really think that 3 hours is a "short delay"? British Rail had shorter delays than that and they were privatised for performing so badly.

  • Comment number 21.

    A shout out to Robbo and even a plug to the new "home". Ok fair does, but what about Chris "Not Craig, honest" Charles?

    So getting rid of these is because of "reviewing editorial output. But then your review of editorial output reckons that you should be excited about Motty talking about the olden days???

  • Comment number 22.

    Chris Charles will be staying on at the BBC so maybe he'll get promoted to Director-General and fix this mess. Not happy.

  • Comment number 23.

    Can't quite believe that Robbo, QOTW and ROTW have been axed.

    Is there a remit within the BBC which states that popular stuff shouldn't carry on.

    Why would we need Mark Watson (no disrespect here, Mark's a funny guy) when we've already got Charlsie and Robbo?

    What's next, jibbing off the humorous elements of the text commentaries?

  • Comment number 24.

    So Lewis Wilshire is responsible for closing Robbo and no more fun and games. This site is now boring

  • Comment number 25.

    So! Can anybody in the BBC explain why Robbo and CC have gone. Wrong and shameful decision. Great fun and ALWAYS value - something that I believe is close to the hearts of the thousands of managers in the BBC! No doubt all the modded comments are in support of the two best bloggers on the BBC. Not least of which they actually did reply to comments, unlike the over praised 'giants' like Peston et al.

  • Comment number 26.

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

  • Comment number 27.

    Very disappointed Robbo's blog's gone and absolutely gutted Chris Charles' ROTW and QOTW are going. Yet you say in this article "And the website will be making continued use of the world-class journalism produced by the BBC's sports news department, with the likes of sports editor David Bond..." Really? David Bond is world-class? Sorry but every blog of his I've read has been pretty pointless and barely worth commenting on. At least Robbo's and CC's create a bit of debate and are worth a laugh. I don't think I've seen anyone yet make a favourable comment on David Bond's blogs.

    As for Phil McNulty's, what's the point of commenting there when it takes an hour for the moderators to actually post it? And why doesn't anyone ever say why it takes so long for his blog to be moderated? He asks questions and tries to get a discussion going but it's not going to get very far if it takes so long for comments to be posted.

    I love the BBC website, some of the content and articles that go up are brilliant, but you're definitely making some changes for the worst here by getting rid of your 2 best blogs.

  • Comment number 28.

    Here's my last penneth, having contributed a few in complaint regarding sacking Robbo already.

    I'm wondering if he was saacked because there was sometimes a mixed response in terms of posts following one of his blogs? For ever 10 posts saying 'nice one robbo' thre will always be an individual who finds fault. Often the same names time and time again.

    This is part and parcel of blogs unfortunately. I very rarely posted on the blog but enjoyed it every week. There is a silent majority who don't post but do greatly enjoy his output. Fortunately you can measure this popularity by hits and return visits.

    I hope that you haven't taken the opinion of a minority of trolls, over the majority who enjoy the blog and return week after week? Do comment.

  • Comment number 29.

    Not much to add to the comments above except to praise the work of Robbo and Chris Charles. I'm reminded of the old saying "If it's not broke don't fix it"
    I'm not as anti Phil McNulty as some others here, as there is nothing wrong with extreme opinions as they can often spark quite interesting debates.

  • Comment number 30.

    Thanks for all the comments. The general theme seems to be that you want an explanation for why some of our blogs are not carrying on, and others are starting. I had hoped that was what we did in the main blog above, but just to repeat, it is part of an ongoing creative review of what we do on this website. Consider it part of the day-to-day editorial business.

    Over the 10 years that this website has existed, many different content features have come in and gone away again. 'Robbo' has been a fixture for nine years of those 10, so by any standards that is a very long run and we felt it was time to freshen things up, while thanking the creator of Robbo (for the record, that's Niall Ashdown) for all his hard work and pointing his loyal followers to his new website.

    As for Chris Charles, he still works for the BBC. Niall Ashdown is not contributing to this site any more, hence the public send-off, but Chris is still a part of our team. He's a key man and will continue his fantastic work for us - we just won't be using two of the blogs he wrote any more.

    Also, I apologise for the length of time it took yesterday evening to publish some of your comments, and some have said that is also the case on other BBC blogs. This is due to a small moderating team who have a lot of BBC blogs to look after, plus the 606 website, and sometimes it can take a while. Overnight I think it took too long, though, and I am sorry about that.

  • Comment number 31.

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

  • Comment number 32.

    #30 Lewis

    I was just about to post to join the many people who are not happy that Robbo has gone. You've just beaten me to it with your latest post but I'm afraid that it is largely corporate speak that says nothing.

    Phrases like 'freshen up' are used when someone wants to say something in common language which doesn't actually say anything at all other than point to something that is hidden.

    We don't want Robbo externally, we want Robbo on here! Surely you can see from the popularity of Robbo's blog that we don't want a 'freshen up'.

    Also, I don't know if it is just me, but the constant use of and harping on about Twitter is getting annoying. I don't want to get BBC content from an external site. If there is something worthwhile to say, say it on BBC.co.uk or don't bother.

    Finally, on the issue of moderation, once again there has simply not been a satisfactory explanation of why certain blogs are pre-moderated. It doesn't happen for other blogs and any dodgy comments can be deleted afterwards anyway. There is no upside to it, only a downside which is the stifling, to the point of suffocation, of a discussion within a blog.

    Perhaps you could post a link to the editorial guidelines that prescribed the moderation of blogs please?

  • Comment number 33.

    Who on earth makes a decision like this? It just goes to show how aloof the BBC has become! Viewing figures as well as the number of posts will tell you that this is a massive mistake, and I just hope it's some ridiculous joke! Why does it need 'freshening up'? Web-traffic too high when the Robbo blog comes out?

    What's there to look forward to now on this site? Motty? Phil McNulty? No thank you, the Robbo blog was what I used to look forward to and it's now been cruelly taken away from us.

    Hang your head in shame BBC, best news the Sky Sports website could have had for many years!

  • Comment number 34.

    After Roger Mosey left the Sport Editors blog was largely neglected until Lewis Wiltshire turned up and said along the lines of he would post every Month or so,but he hasnt and nor has Rogers successor

    My question to you Lewis is why are you keeping this Blog alive,even though you rarely post here and no 1 else from BBC sport bothers to post here regulary,surely this blog needs "freshining up".

    I think it is a bit hypocritical for the BBC to close 2 football blogs which are popular and appreciated,yet this Blog which is neglected by BBC Sport is kept open.

    As said before stop the corporate speak Lewis and give us the real reasons on why the BBC have decided to axe such loved blogs.

  • Comment number 35.

    #30 - thank you for explaining some of the moderation work. The amount of times this is brought up on other blogs (McNulty's being the prime example) and nothing is said at all regarding why it's taking so long. Although I think if you want people to comment and have a debate (which is surely the point of the blogs) then perhaps the moderating team or the way posts are moderated needs to be looked at.

    As for getting rid of Robbo and Charles' review of the week and quotes of the week, I really do hope you've got something fantastic in the pipeline taking their places. If not I don't see the criticism ending anytime soon as you are taking away some real fan favourites. Next you'll be telling me Dirsy's cricket text commentary is going to reigned in as well just to make sure there really is as little fun on here as possible.

    I have to agree with post #32 as well, do we have to have all the constant twitter chat? If it's worth saying say it on your own website.

    As I've said I do love the BBC website it's by far my favourite on the interweb thingy. However I am still disappointed that some of my favourite blogs are going when there are others that contribute a lot less. I just hope things being brought in to replace them are going to keep me as amused, I doubt it but I'll give them a chance.

    Sorry quick other thank you for Chris Bevan's blog on previous World Cups. Think they're one of the best things that's been done on this website since it started.

  • Comment number 36.

    The BBC website - and the BBC in general - has always had an uncomfortable relationship with humour when it is not ringfenced into its own "comedy" slot.

    Just look at any of the multitude of painful attempts to introduce humour into any BBC sports coverage or current affairs programme. It almost always has the same hide-behind-your-hands embarrassment factor of Peter Liley's notorious 1998 conference speech http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/189869.stm - it's just not something they do well and it's painful to watch.

    That's why it worries me when they say the humour will be "spread out" amongst the general coverage - this will not go well.

    I spent a very happy decade working for BBC News, and trust me - they do many things very well, but bringing humour into general programming is not one of them. And nor is quite getting how Blogs are supposed to work.

  • Comment number 37.

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

  • Comment number 38.

    Spot of bother, why? why? why? The thing is as we speak i'll be probably poster no 40 on this blog (if lucky) and Robbo's had well over 350 and counting as i type. In the past few years I've known the Robbo Blog he's averaged over a thousand comments. So is it a matter of "he thinks he's big so we'll show him the door" or what?

  • Comment number 39.

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

  • Comment number 40.

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

  • Comment number 41.

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

  • Comment number 42.

    JDR

    Have another go but clearly tone it down. I'm quite curious now. (And I'll bet the Mods didn't tell you what part of it broke the house rules either!

    Come on Mods, if you want to explain your coverage you've got to be prepared for it to be two way, good and bad, or what's the point?

  • Comment number 43.

    Hello again.

    There are three issues here which a few people have raised, and I thought I'd address them in turn.

    Twitter - and its use on our site. We use Twitter as a reporting tool which feeds into our site, as a way of expanding our reach, and as a means of being more accountable. As a reporting tool, it can be useful for correspondents and reporters to tweet and then for us to pipe those tweets into this site - you can see an example of this right now on our F1 page. As a way of expanding our reach, it can be useful, to bring our content to as wide a range of people as possible. And in terms of being accountable, I find it useful that people can ask me questions any time, which often wouldn't justify a full-length blog here.

    Which brings me to the use of this blog. Fedster is absolutely right that I did say at one time I would try to blog here once a month. I haven't done so since February, so apologies for that. I can only blame pressure on my time, but being accountable and available to discuss this site is something I want to do, and enjoy doing, and I have been doing so on a weekly, if not daily, basis on Twitter during that period as described above. Also, this blog is not just about the BBC Sport website, but is for editors across BBC Sport as a whole to discuss their output, and others like Carl Doran and Phil Bigwood have been on here since I last blogged.

    Lastly, there have been some follow-up comments about the different forms of moderation. Pre-moderation, where all comments are looked at before publication, does not, I admit, make for a rapid-fire conversation. But unfortunately it can sometimes be necessary on blogs where there is a history of off-topic and/or inappropriate comments. For those blogs that have not been blighted by that sort of behaviour, we are able to leave them in reactive moderation, which means all comments go through and we are alerted to them if there is an issue. To be honest, this particular blog is not really the place for very speedy debate, and is more of a forum, but as I have previously said, the lack of moderated comments last night was not great and I apologise.

  • Comment number 44.

    Can't believe you axed Quotes of the Week / Chants / Review / etc just before the World Cup. I would have disagreed with the decision to axe them anyway, but couldn't you have waited for a few weeks? Think of the gems we'll miss from the WC.

    And no, I really don't think that a few clips of Alan Davies 'trying' to be funny will make up for it. The beauty of QOTW was that it featured humour from across the entire country, from fans to players, managers to posters. Where will this content be now?

    This really is a disgrace. And your answer above implies that you've already answered our concerns in your first post here - no you haven't, you tagged a few sentences on after espousing the joys of 'Motty on Twitter' etc, when clearly this is a major change which should have been the focus of an entire blog from the editor. Twitter is not suitable for things like QOTW (quotes more than 140 chars?) and the thought of Motty on Twitter is scary. Very, very disappointed.

    Bring back QOTW.

  • Comment number 45.

    It is shocking that some of the worst censorship on the BBC website is on BBC Sport blogs, in the name of "moderation".

    My comments have never broken any house rule. It appears that more pointed forms of criticism are no longer allowed on BBC Sport blogs.

  • Comment number 46.

    This stinks of 'freshening up' for the sake of 'freshening' up, and at the end of the day, that's not good enough.

  • Comment number 47.

    "46. At 2:15pm on 25 May 2010, OneBeeInLondon wrote:

    This stinks of 'freshening up' for the sake of 'freshening' up, and at the end of the day, that's not good enough."

    The reality is probably more complex, full of intrigue and backstabbing, with egos, and mediocre journalists, jealous of the popularity of better writers who don't have the same clout as themselves.

  • Comment number 48.

    RobboGate - the ditching of a much-loved widely read blog just shows how out of touch with its audience the BBC is. Just how narrow and exclusive and hegemonic the BBC is.

    I always used to support the BBC against the current political pressures to reduce or abandon the license fee but not any more. Youve shown yourself to be totally unresponsive to your audience. Only one solution:

    Privatise the BBC. i don'tt wnat you to take a penny more of my money to spend on your government-determined cultural propaganda.

    Sad day.

  • Comment number 49.

    The old adage "if it aint broke don't try to fix" would seem to apply to the two contributors in mention. So "freshening up" seems to be a bit of a cop out to me.

    However it is very interesting to note you saying "Pre-moderation, where all comments are looked at before publication, does not, I admit, make for a rapid-fire conversation. But unfortunately it can sometimes be necessary on blogs where there is a history of off-topic and/or inappropriate comments."

    Now this is as fair a reason as I've seen so far on this page as to why the Beeb has scaled back the blogs in question. It's no secret and I don't think anyone of the "regulars" would deny that Robbo's and CC's comments sections will go wildly off topic with little impetus but it must be said that they all soon enough come back round to the blog's content soon enough and a healthy debate and conversation ensues.

    Would it be fair to say that the sheer number of comments generated, especially on Robbo, was a factor in the recent decisions made?

    If you've got a small mod team that have to handle all blog's comments AND 606 (for all of their faults I wouldn't wish that task on anyone) was it simply too much of a workload for them?

    And if I was to be very cynical, I might summise that the decison was weighed up as "axe the blogs or hire more mods". And which one of those options saves the Beeb money? ;)

  • Comment number 50.

    Hi Evil-Weazel. I genuinely did enjoy your post, but if you'll permit to say so affectionately, you're right that you are being very cynical! I am very happy to confirm this was not a factor in the decision. I have stated what the reasons were above - part of an ongoing editorial review, and just a move that we felt we wanted to make to keep things fresh and moving forward.

  • Comment number 51.

    Of course you're permitted! This is an open forum and you certainly aren't breaking any house rules! ;)

  • Comment number 52.

    #50 Lewis

    a move that we felt we wanted to make to keep things fresh and moving forward.
    ---------------------------------------
    Lewis, isn't the content on the BBC for us, the license payer, not 'we' the editorial team.

    Us users can decide if it is fresh or not. Robbo was one of the most popular blogs on here and you've taken it away.

    Thus far, your reasoning doesn't make sense.

  • Comment number 53.

    3. At 1:32pm on 25 May 2010, Lewis Wiltshire wrote:
    To be honest, this particular blog is not really the place for very speedy debate, and is more of a forum
    -------------

    Main Entry: fo·rum
    Pronunciation: \ˈfȯr-əm\
    Function: noun
    Inflected Form(s): plural forums also fo·ra \-ə\
    Etymology: Latin; akin to Latin foris outside, fores door — more at door
    Date: 15th century

    1 a : the marketplace or public place of an ancient Roman city forming the center of judicial and public business b : a public meeting place for open discussion c : a medium (as a newspaper or online service) of open discussion or expression of ideas
    2 : a judicial body or assembly : court
    3 a : a public meeting or lecture involving audience discussion b : a program (as on radio or television) involving discussion of a problem usually by several authorities


    As you can see from the above your use of the term Forum and the dictionary version are at variance. Topics which are discussed in a forum, are usually acted upon in a postive fashion. Here it seems you are applying the Brian Clough rule of "lets discuss the problems, then we'll do it my way'

  • Comment number 54.


    Ok so the Robbo and Chris Charles blogs are gone as part of a "change of editorial direction" and "freshening up". After 9 years there is perhaps an argument to be made for some change. It does seem coincidental though that the blogs which offered relatively unrestricted posting have been removed. It also seems to have been done with little or no thought for the publics opinion.

    I say this as someone who could be quite critical of the Robbo blog in the past but surely the bbc must recognise that if a blog is to be a legitimate forum for debate then a reasonable moderation policy must be adopted and one which allows for legitimate criticisms and differing of opiions. One of the biggest reasons for the popularity of the Robbo and Chris Charles blog was that they offered a liberal moderation policy. Would the blog have been as popular without this? I doubt it. Would other bbc blogs be more popular if they adopted it - almost certainly.

    There is something ironic when you see the likes of Phil McNulty proclaiming "let the debate roar on", "leave no argument untouched" and "lets here from all sides involved" when his blog moderation policy allows for anything but and any disagreement or criticism of his own opinion is met with deletion.

    I am slightly cynical myself of the motives behind the changes and the vagueness of terms like "freshening up" and "editorial reviews" mean little to me unless spelled out in plain language. The problem as I see it is that the most heavily moderated blogs such as Phil McNultys are treated this way due to high level of criticism that they attract. Perhaps certain figures in the bbc are immoveable within the organisation and as such everyone else has to suffer from the paying public to people like Niall Ashdown.

    Simply put is this just a situation whereby the bbc does not wish to open itself up to the negatives associated with unrestricted moderation (potential libel, employing more moderators etc) and are not prepared to consider the qualitative output of certain other bloggers due to the position or power they hold in the bbc?

  • Comment number 55.

    50. At 4:58pm on 25 May 2010, Lewis Wiltshire wrote:

    Hi Evil-Weazel. I genuinely did enjoy your post, but if you'll permit to say so affectionately, you're right that you are being very cynical! I am very happy to confirm this was not a factor in the decision. I have stated what the reasons were above - part of an ongoing editorial review, and just a move that we felt we wanted to make to keep things fresh and moving forward.

    ------------------

    i dont think you understand, Lewis, with respect. "keep things fresh and moving forward" is a meaningless corporate statement in the context of something people enjoy and treasure.

    There are precedents of course

    Cromwell "We've banned Chistmas, we want to keep things fresh and moving forward".

    The serial adulterer : "Bye darling, I just want to keep things fresh and moving forward. She's 23."

    The Republican "Sorry Liz, we're going to keep things fresh and moving forward" (well i gree with that one so never say never)

    Robbo is a national treasure and you lot seem to have had the experience and missed the meaning. And Im sorry, but the reason so many of us doubt your corprate-speak representation is that Robbo was your most popular blog. Are you going to cancel Eastenders (hope so) Mtch of the Day....don't think so.

    Please dont insult our intelligence. We like football but we're not thick. Well, I am, but some of them aren't. I just don't see what right you have to make this kind of irrational decision without consultation when we pay your wages.

    You have shown nothing but contempt for your audience. I don't expect this post will do anything to crack the corporate facade.

  • Comment number 56.

    Well put, JDR. Its the Jonaton Woss/Frankie Boyle scenario.

    BBC - if all you can offer is the bland and the anodyne, Im not sure youve got a future.

    Educate, entertain, inform?

    the new Reithian values:

    Abdicate, ennervate, deform (thats the bowdlerised version)

  • Comment number 57.

    43. At 1:32pm on 25 May 2010, Lewis Wiltshire wrote:
    Lastly, there have been some follow-up comments about the different forms of moderation. Pre-moderation, where all comments are looked at before publication, does not, I admit, make for a rapid-fire conversation. But unfortunately it can sometimes be necessary on blogs where there is a history of off-topic and/or inappropriate comments. For those blogs that have not been blighted by that sort of behaviour, we are able to leave them in reactive moderation, which means all comments go through and we are alerted to them if there is an issue.
    -----------------------------------------------------------

    I am assuming that you aren't typing any of this with a straight face Lewis. If there is one blog that has a history of "off-topic and/or inappropriate comments" it is Robbo's yet it still isn't pre-moderated. Stop spouting the company line of "editorial review" and "keeping things fresh and moving forwards" and tell us in plain english the real reasons. How can employing Motty to do a blog about previous world cups be in any way seen as moving forwards?

  • Comment number 58.

    "it is part of an ongoing creative review of what we do on this website. "

    Thanks for the reply - can you please outline the terms and parameters by which the creative review was undertaken - what categories against which were the blogs assessed - how was that assessment "scored" - qualitative or quantitatively - how many blogs were assessed against the creative review criteria?

  • Comment number 59.

    50. At 4:58pm on 25 May 2010, Lewis Wiltshire wrote:
    Hi Evil-Weazel. I genuinely did enjoy your post, but if you'll permit to say so affectionately, you're right that you are being very cynical! I am very happy to confirm this was not a factor in the decision. I have stated what the reasons were above - part of an ongoing editorial review, and just a move that we felt we wanted to make to keep things fresh and moving forward.
    -------------------------------------
    This I don't buy. For my conclusion I had to assume one fact. The Beeb wants readers on their website! They want hits, hits generate advertising revenue and your site is covered with adverts Internationally.

    Robbo brought more hits to the BBC Sports site per day/week/month than almost all the rest of the bloggers combined. Any editor worth his salt, when reviewing content, will also be mindful of generating revenue, without revenue the business suffers and dies. Now, the BBC answers to a different God and with a nod from the Government can increase fees but who in their right mind would sell cornets without ice cream? Well, if subsidised by the dairy farmers, maybe!

    As a distant Brit I start my search for news from home at the BBC website. When I found out that I could also connect with the unique British sense of humour and the unique British perspectives on all matters, Robbo's blog became a hugely relevant web destination for this emigrant!

    I can read any number of match reports written by your staff that deliver absolutely nothing beyond what I could glean from the box score!

    I can read the blogs and be left wondering who urinated in the BBC talent pool.

    The fact that Robbo's blog is being discontinued and the excellent Mr. Charles is disappearing from the site is incomprehensible as a business decision.

    This is the best bit....."....and just a move that we felt we wanted to make to keep things fresh and moving forward"

    There isn't a piece written on your website that approaches the freshness of the Robbo blogs, nothing as funny and current as the updates penned by Chris Charles.

    I think that the "we" you mention have probably made a mistake.

  • Comment number 60.

    Lewis, you use the term "freshen things up" but how is bringing Motty (a national treasure but is now a bit like your grandad who now and then gets a bit confused) and Danny Baker (How long has he been around?)

    I cant see what these two will add to the website that isnt already there.

    Robbo and Chris Charles are good at writing blogs. Many people visit the site first and foremost to read those blogs. Im sure a good proportion then view other blogs / articles.

    Why ditch popular items? I think your number of visitors to the site will now decrease.

  • Comment number 61.

    #55 3 hours and counting to pre-mod! have you sacked all the moderators as well as robbo. is jdr right? now he's left are you hoping you won't need them?

  • Comment number 62.

    Well it's now nearly midnight and comment #55, posted at 8:14pm is still 'awaiting moderation'. But comments posted on 'Mottys' new blog are going through in minutes. However you define a 'forum' vs a blog, this wait is ridiculous... is it designed to kill off debate on this subject?

  • Comment number 63.

    "For the World Cup, a lighthearted take on proceedings will be available from comedian Mark Watson"

    And you kindly give us a link to Mark Watson's work..........

    "Nothing
    May 23, 2010 | 23 comments
    I haven't done a blog today. I've just finished doing the football show. It was quite good. Thanks enormously to anyone reading who came to watch.

    I am awfully tired. I've worked ever so hard this week. I was hoping to write a blog as part of the show tonight but it didn't quite happen."

    -----
    5 out of 7 sentences begin with "I".

    Is the expectation that this bloke will appeal to your website visitors more than the Robbo blog? I think somebody's got a screw loose.

    In 2 days it's had 23 comments. Over two blog pages Robbo has had over 1,000 comments in the last day.

    I'm sure messrs Watson, Baker and Davies are fine and talented blokes but "Editorial review"? You're 'avin a larf!

    It's akin to replacing Ronaldo with Elmander.

  • Comment number 64.

    Well, I'm sure Robbo's first uncensored blog will be interesting tomorrow...

  • Comment number 65.

    Sorry Lewis I can see youre a busy man, so am I, and I do appreciate you taking the time to answer these points when there obviously isn't a great managerial pressure on you to do so (since the BBC is broadly unresponsive to audience concerns) but just two more things.

    1. Robbo's blog was sui generis. It wasn't "blighted" by off-topic comments, the off-topic comments were the reason for its popularity. The Phil McNulty approach is the other extreme, practically telling people what specific issue they should be posting on. Fine, but I hope you'd agree this wouldn't be appropriate to a comedy blog.

    2. I thought you agreed that overnight moderation of posts was unacceptable. Are you just being nice to us in the hope we'll go away?

    3. I recognise that to you this is a small throw-away issue in a busy schedule, but to us the issues are the accountability of the BBC and its apparent haughty indifference to viewing figures which implies that you hold the less obviously middle class elements of your audience in contempt. And obviously my specific beef is you removed from the BBC website the only reason I ever visit it - Robbo's blog. Can I have a license fee refund for yet one more element of your services that I will never use, please?

    OK I said 2 issues, I gave 3, but no one expects the Spanish Inquisition, particularly busy sports editors.

  • Comment number 66.

    50. At 4:58pm on 25 May 2010, Lewis Wiltshire wrote:
    I have stated what the reasons were above - part of an ongoing editorial review, and just a move that we felt we wanted to make to keep things fresh and moving forward.
    --------------

    Going to add my voice to this as well, not that its likely to make a difference, but surely the reason to 'freshen' something up (a completely non phrase anyway) is if it has actually got stale, i.e. no one reads it, no one enjoys it, no one comments on it - that would be the definition of a stale blog. Not two of the most popular bloggers on here (someone has asked before can we see the viewing figures). Surely the BBC is obligated; considering we pay for this, to provide the punters with what they want, not what you people up high think we want.

  • Comment number 67.

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

  • Comment number 68.

    "Lastly, there have been some follow-up comments about the different forms of moderation. Pre-moderation, where all comments are looked at before publication, does not, I admit, make for a rapid-fire conversation. But unfortunately it can sometimes be necessary on blogs where there is a history of off-topic and/or inappropriate comments."

    You seem to be spouting official lines Lewis. Everything that gets through on the Robbo comments gets through on the McNulty comments. The difference is it gets through a lot more slowly.

    This means that the people commentating can respond to McNulty or, in effect, no-one. 'Debate' is supported only by people posting comments to other posters who don't realise that the people they're responding to have moved on in the 30-60 mins it takes for a post to become visible.

    McNulty covers the biggest games. These are all games that most have seen and which certainly have match reports. There is little to no new factual content in a McNulty blog, the purpose of which is presumably to allow people to discuss the events that everyone's already seen/heard of. Restricting this to debate with one person (who I don't think would deny having no noticeably better grasp of footballing events than the average poster) is ridiculous. Yes, you'll still get comments but you're relying on the naivety of new posters rather than genuine debate.

    And I'd just like to make this point again - Everything that gets through on the Robbo comments gets through on the McNulty comments. Moderated comments are almost exclusively, on both blogs, personal insults or rude comments (the recent "don't mention the Terry Affair" drive aside).

    I don't honestly how it takes so long to moderate a stream of innocuous posts but the fact is it can take half an hour or more to let 10 or so through. So who's wasting the moderator's time? I could go now to the McNulty blog and post 10 short on topic comments and ten short off topic comments. None of which would be blocked but they'd take about an hour to come through. The point?

  • Comment number 69.

    55. At 8:14pm on 25 May 2010, blogdubdrib wrote:
    This comment is awaiting moderation. Explain.
    ------------------------------------------------

    It's all very well coming on an apologising for the delay in moderating the comments but it would seem that apologising about it is all you have done rather than sort out the problem. It's now 11am and comments from over 14 hours ago (see above) are still waiting. How is this in any way acceptable and what do you plan to do about it? If this situation continues you will lose all of the people that follow the blogs not just the ones disgusted by the removal of Robbo and Chris Charles.

  • Comment number 70.

    We're currently 2hrs and 50 minutes ahead of the moderators btw. From what I can see none of these posts are off topic banter, none of these posts are rude and none of these posts take more than a minute or two at the outside to read.

  • Comment number 71.

    So Robbo got sacked?

    Yet McDulty stays?







    Makes perfect sense to.........................who?

  • Comment number 72.

    Dear Editor

    The 'moderation' backlog is now 15 hours and counting (back to #55). Is this acceptable or are you trying to discourage debate on this issue?

    Yours etc,
    Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells

  • Comment number 73.

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

  • Comment number 74.

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

  • Comment number 75.

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

  • Comment number 76.

    Lewis said... 'I will be happy to discuss any aspect of the website content here...'.

    Yes, I can see you are. It took how long to moderate the comments? How long will it take to reply, another day?

    I dislike the saying 'well it's my license fee...' but once again we, as the viewer or user, get no say in what the content of the site is. That's right axe the popular things and keep the the sport's chief football writers blog where most people just comment to tell him he's wrong and it is so highly moderated there is no room for any decent dicussion.

    Danny Baker and Chris Moyles, comedy geniuses in their own houses, well done BBC!

  • Comment number 77.

    I will be happy to discuss any aspect of the website content here
    _____________________
    I've tried to Lewis.I've tried to post about the strength of feeling that Robbo and Chris Charles have gone.I've tried to show how we've collectively done something about it.When the links to that got removed I merely pointed out what we'd done.That got removed.
    Overall,I know of approximately 800 people that have stated their displeasure at the BBC decision to remove Robbo and shuffle Chris Charles under a cupboard.I do hope this gets to see the light of day...

  • Comment number 78.

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

  • Comment number 79.

    Thought I'd post it again to see if I get a response from Lewis.

  • Comment number 80.

    "We're currently 2hrs and 50 minutes ahead of the moderators btw.
    --------------------------------------------------------------

    Whoops, my bad, I thought it was 8am, as other have pointed out I was 12 hours under when I posted the delay. Back to my point though which was, which of the last 20 posts took so long to 'moderate' and since only 1 was blocked, what was the point of pre modding?"


    Why was this text deemed to have broken the house rules?

  • Comment number 81.

    Right work this one out lads.

    My post #71 and #78 are the same, I copied and pasted it. So #79 will now make sense to you all.

    However #71 remains and #78 was modded!

    Any idea why???

  • Comment number 82.

    Lewis

    Agree with Trotter. - you've made a mistake. Amongst your mistakes is assuming that a comedy football blog will not have eloquent proponents when you chop it. The above contributions show how wrong you are, again. As far as I'm concerned, this is not the end of this matter.

    The last time this "forum" attracted anything approaching the expression of outrage on this page is when you brought back the Oxbridge boat race to the beeb, no doubt to "freshen things up" and "move things forwards". I hope that phrase is starting to sound as ridiculous to you as it does to me.

    Try and understand how this looks to people who do like football and didn't go to oxbridge or who isn't otherwise a member of the deeply middle class, dinner party, guardian, tennis and museli brigade.

    It makes you look like a self-serving elite. (And please don't insult me by saying that you too went to a comprehensive and like a pint.)The BBC is hegemonic, root and branch. You proved that to be true when you sacked Robbo.

  • Comment number 83.

    Lewis,

    So far this blog and your responses have simply added insult to injury.

    Your polite repsonses are the deepest form of rudeness if all you aim to do is fob us off or keep us at arms length from the truth, pacified like children.

    Hope you respond again. Hope you're not like Mark Watson "awfully tired" of this already.


  • Comment number 84.

    Motty - freshen it up son - hang on ....
    Danny Baker - have you seen gazza lately???? Now there's a thought.....

    Pathetic decision.

  • Comment number 85.

    Hands up people who have actually read this blog? or is everyone like me skipping the blog text and only using it as an avenue to talk to the editor.

  • Comment number 86.

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

  • Comment number 87.

    Would the BBC be prepared to publish the viewing figures for each of the blogs on your website to corroborate the need to freshen things up. How about publishing the page hits that the last 10 blogs from each of Robbo, Chris Charles, Phil McNulty and the sports editor to see how they compare. Surely something only needs freshening up if it has lost it's appeal which is clearly not the case with Robbo adn Chris Charles' blogs. I dare you to publish the figures or are you scared that they would show this decision up for what it is - disgraceful.

  • Comment number 88.

    Baggie - Ive read it - my hands are up - now they are typing - now they are up again

    Cant wait for motty to freshen things up - what a joke - we are being fooled!!!

  • Comment number 89.

    didnt read the blog, wanted to voice my anger of Robbo and Chris getting the sack.

    All I will say is BOOOOO bbc BOOOOOOO!!!

  • Comment number 90.

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

  • Comment number 91.

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

  • Comment number 92.

    Over the 10 years that this website has existed, many different content features have come in and gone away again. 'Robbo' has been a fixture for nine years of those 10, so by any standards that is a very long run and we felt it was time to freshen things up
    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    How long has the BBC been broadcasting television Lewis and how long has Eastenders been on air? By any standards that is a very long run. Surely after all these years it needs freshening up. After all several million people watch every episode (I'm not one of them) so it must be time to take it off air and maybe replace it with Mark Steel and Motty talking about the best moments from the 1958 world cup.

  • Comment number 93.

    You have to laugh at the moderation on this blog. Anyway, it's all on the petition page, and my website. Click on my name above.

    I suppose the link to the petition for Robbo and Charles to be reinstated is not allowed either.

  • Comment number 94.

    1. At 7:00pm on 24 May 2010, you wrote:

    Exactly why were Robbo and Chris Charles axed?

    A proper explanation would be appreciated by their many loyal fans!

    -----------
    12. At 9:02pm on 24 May 2010, you wrote:

    1... cont'd

    I'd also be most interested to see the official page view count of all your Sports bloggers for the last year - maybe this will vindicate your decision to axe Robbo and Chris Charles; although I suspect maybe not!

    ------------


    Nope! I've re-read my 2 original posts and I can't see where it says I'd like you to give me an explanation in B.B.C. (Big Baloney Corporate) speak! I'm also still waiting to see those page view counts for your Sports bloggers.

    Now, are you going to respect your viewers and License fee payers, and give us a full and proper explanation of how and why these decisions were made?

    Ironically, I think this is simultaneously both your least popular, and most popular blog! I wonder why.

  • Comment number 95.

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

  • Comment number 96.

    As I have said before, I am genuinely happy to talk about the content of the BBC Sport website. However, on this one specific issue, there really isn't an awful lot more to say on Robbo's blog, and Quotes/Review of the Week. Ultimately my job, and that of the management team within BBC Sport, is to make decisions about output. We made one here. Some people have agreed with it (admittedly not on this blog!) and some have disagreed with it, and it's definitely fair to say those views have been reflected here. Having heard everyone out, it is time to close this conversation, but I thank everyone for their comments. Lewis.

 

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