Just before Xmas niclaramartin asked a number of questions in a comment on my previous blog post.
Rather than writing another long comment I thought I would answer them in a new blog post. Nicalamartin's questions are in italics.
1. Why has Points of View programme stopped "advertising" the POV messageboard?
Points of View hasn't stopped advertising the message board. At the end of each show and often in the body of the programme Jeremy Vine refers to the POV website and the messageboard. They have, however, stopped doing a feature called the 'message board moment' which looked a different messageboard threads. They tell me they found the messageboard comments were much stronger if they were used in the body of the programme.
2. Is there a timescale to phase out POV Television and Radio messageboards?
No there is not. No decision has been taken about any part of the POV boards.
3. As "the Executive in charge of the boards as a whole", why, are you ONLY hosting bbc.co.uk/Digital/BBC messageboards, and somewhat distant from "Television" and "Radio"? And is that YOUR decision or that of your superiors?
Last year we had a situation where there was a danger that no part of the POV boards would be hosted. Not good for the community, or for the quality of the boards.
In order to deal with this on a temporary basis I decided that I would host the BBC, bbc.co.uk and Digital boards (as explained in this previous post).
But I didn't feel that I would have the time or the expertise to host the Television and Radio POV boards. I agreed with BBC Vision that they would host the TV board (and in due course Rowan started hosting that board). Jem Stone of Audio & Music agreed to host the Radio board.
This was my decision although I obviously had to get agreement from Jem and Roo Reynolds.
4. Has a decision been to "marginalise" the Television and Radio messageboards, with the ultimate aim of removing them from BBC?
No. No decision has been taken about any part of the POV boards.
5. Why will you NOT talk to messageboarders on THEIR board? Your liking of blogs/control by author is NOT a reasonable argument to use, IF, you genuinely WANT to reach the largest number of messageboarders and receive the BEST input?
It's untrue that I won't talk to messageboarders on the POV boards. I do. But I find that the quality of comments I get is better on the Internet blog than on the boards. People seem better behaved, and you get a wider range of opinion. Threads on the board seem to slide off topic too easily and seem to end up focussing on my behaviour rather than the questions I am interested in discussing.
I put links on the message boards to the blog posts to encourage them to come to the blog.
6. Will BBC be trying to cut back on messageboards (including Television and Radio)?
I can't speak for the whole BBC but as Jem says here we are trying to improve the functionality of our blogs and message boards across the board.
7. Do BBC want blogs/twitters and technical boards to be encouraged, whilst minimising the "pull" of POV Television and Radio messageboards?
No. The question is "what's the best way of engaging with licence fee payers online?"
Sometimes this will be a twitter feed, sometimes a blog, sometimes a message board.
But all of them stand or fall on how much effort is put into hosting or maintaining them. A poorly hosted message board, a blog where comments are not responded to or a twitter which is never used will not be very useful.
8. Do BBC want to be seen as censoring/marginalising viewers' comments, in preference to asking only the questions THEY WANT to hear the answers to?
No. We don't want to censor or marginalise comments. The questions are "what's the best way to get feedback from viewers about the things they care about?" and, in this instance "are the POV boards a good way of getting feedback?".
9. ITV (as you linked to) don't have a problem with viewers commenting on their programmes, will BBC (in future) be denying THEIR viewers that same freedom?
No. I don't think the BBC has a problem with viewers commenting on programmes.
We provide a lot of places online and on radio and television where they can do so. The question again is what is the best format and place to do this, and how much hosting or engagement is needed.
Or to put it another way - is what you're getting back worth the effort you're putting in?
10. Can you categorically confirm that POV Television and Radio messageboards WILL NOT be closing, and that there is no plan, which has been discussed to close them, or move them further to the edge of BBC, and eventually out/closed?
As I've said already I have no plan so nothing has been discussed. It would obviously be foolish of me to promise you that nothing will change ever.
I do have some ideas for how the POV boards could be improved, and become more focused. I will share these with you in my next blog post.
11. Why do you like blogs - it appears not very many messageboarders like them at all, and we have been vocal about WHY? We still don't know what you see as the pluses to blogging (from the point of view of posters OTHER THAN the original author/blogger)?
In my last post I explained the advantages I think blogs have. To quote myself:
...there's a trade off. People who comment have less freedom on a blog than the blog owner. But in return there's more chance of a useful result, of the blog owner participating and actually giving you answers.
12. Are you genuinely trying to IMPROVE all POV messageboards, or, ONLY the three techie boards - seeing "Television" and "Radio" as frivolous, and serving no purpose, other than a meeting place for posters to meet and "chat"!
I am trying to improve the whole board.
And as I've already said at the moment my opinion is the reverse of what you suggest.
I actually agree with you Niclaramartin when you said the bbc.co.uk board is effectively "moribund". The BBC and Digital parts of the board don't get many posts. The television part of the POV boards is in iny opinion currently the most useful part of the boards.
There'll be more on this subject soon!
Nick Reynolds is editor, BBC Internet blog