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Changes to BBC Message Boards: Updates and fixes

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David Williams | 13:05 UK time, Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Today we are building the release candidate for the next version of DNA which includes a number of updates for the BBC's messageboards.

This will be deployed to our internal staging server for final testing ahead of a release scheduled for next Wednesday.

Here is a list of items that will be addressed:

- "Reply to" post to work across all pages.

- Posting frequency message to be correctly displayed instead of 'blocked'

- Posting frequency countdown to work correctly

- Remove confusing text when 'post is being moderated'

- Change to the correct set of emoticons for messageboards

- Empty pages on a Forum when number of threads was a multiple of the number shown.

- Large negative numbers to be eliminated from 'new posts' count on my discussions page.

- CSS fix for tiny column widths on Safari browsers

- Remove excessive amounts of pagination buttons on Forum page

- Fix an issue where an error prevented the posting button working

- "Stars" return for online users

- Main column width to be increased slightly

- "Reply" and "Report this" links location move to reduce accidental clicking

- Back to top button to be added

- Emoticons in brackets causing bad formatting of posts

- Each messageboard will be able to supply custom set of emoticons

- Editors and notable posts now highlighted.

- Last contribution on my discussion page to be a link

- An issue where the incorrect title of a messageboard is being shown

- Fix a typo in help text

- Fix an issue where centre column overflowed into the right hand panel when links where at the start of a post

- Fix an issue where threads were sometimes incorrectly being shown as closed

- Display name wrapped to two lines and shortened for long names

I'll keep you informed on further developments in future posts.


David WIlliams is Product Manager, BBC FM&T Social


Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

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

  • Comment number 2.

    Wow. What a list. I am curious as to how this new design was launched and no-one previously tested it. How did the team with all their scrum this and cascading that, get to launch an upgrade with over 23 bugs? Do you not have systems to avoid this sort of mess?

  • Comment number 3.

    Can we keep the conversation civil please.


  • Comment number 4.

    Thank you, David. I see there are a number of issues addressed that will be most welcome to members who participate in Food Q&A.

  • Comment number 5.

    Speaking as a self-confessed BBC GEL geek (see https://gelled.tumblr.com/%29 I've noticed that the DNA message boards still require the older Barlesque masthead (elegantly styled on the Nature UK boards, not so much the on the food boards). Any idea on when this will change? Just looks a little weird at the moment that's all!



  • Comment number 6.

    That's an impressive list for starters, David. We will look forward to the rollout.

    It would be nice for the new-style messageboard post preview function to display the formatting of the appearance of the final posted version. Currently, it seems the preview blockquote tag is not picking up the indent and italic within the preview mode div id="previewpost".

    Incidentally, is there an intentional difference between [span class="dna-inivisble"] and [span class="dna-invisible"]? (I'm using square brackets here instead of chevrons of course.)


  • Comment number 7.

    when reporting post by push complaint button "
    I believe this post is defamatory or libelous for the following reason:"
    the word "libellous" is misspelled the correct spelling is "libelous"

  • Comment number 8.

    This list of inherent failings tells a sorry tale indeed, and it is by no means comprehensive.

    But even so, perhaps we may assume that after an almost total absence of dialogue with message board users, the developers now finally recognise these two dozen or so shortcomings at least. In which case, how was it that the redesign project (which was initiated with no prior consultation with message board users at all) was allowed to go live before being tested?

    Where's the sense in launching a new design, asking users for feedback, collating that feedback after several days without any communication from the BBC hosts or moderators, listing a number of the chief complaints made and then undertaking to put them right in a week's time?

    One of the main complaints from users is that the message boards looked and worked a lot better before they were tinkered with, and I am sure that consultation PRIOR to restructuring would have proved far more cost-effective and led to a greater mutual understanding between service providers and service users, as well as a far more sophisticated blueprint for the design project to work with. The current catch-up exercise is a waste of resources that could easily have been avoided.

    I wish to make no excuses for those who have been uncivil, but I do recognise the considerable element of frustration and anger that has been engendered by a dire lack of communication over this matter from the very start. Surely these message boards are not just for the benefit of the BBC, but for those who post on them too?

  • Comment number 9.

    Each messageboard will be able to supply custom set of emoticons

    Who gets to choose?

    Does this mean The Bull will remain smiley-free?

  • Comment number 10.

    Thank you David, for the reassurance that the above-mentioned problems will be fixed.

    May I please ask about the comment "Main column width to be increased slightly" as at the moment it is dwarfed by the blank spaces either side.

    Will the message pane width be increased only "slightly", or significantly enough to make reading the messages easier and remove the current need to keep scrolling down so much?


  • Comment number 11.

    Can something be done to demarcate posts from one to the next-currently, with only a bit of shading (very faint at that), it is difficult to read. I really don't know why removing this was a good idea.

  • Comment number 12.

    It wasn't broke...So why spend precious time and money fixing it?

  • Comment number 13.

    But even so, perhaps we may assume that after an almost total absence of dialogue with message board users

    It was probably done on blogs, Chris.

  • Comment number 14.

    Thanks for getting back, Quite a list 23 fixes needed !

    _ Jekyll & Hyde_
    I hope the odd and incorrect two forms of view including differing numbers of pages per view are being sorted out by one or more of those fixes.

    Not YET listed as being fixed
    _ Closing Message_ (due to board hours)
    It is misleading that the bland message closed information is shown when someone merely accesses a board outside of opening hours. Remember that is picked up by & cached by search engines, and users do not always pass the home page when entering a thread. It is something I and others have remarked on recently.

  • Comment number 15.

    I presume the 'Ouch' messageboard will also be improved within the next few weeks, can you confirm that please?

    I also presume that the current 'Ouch' text size etc customisation will be lost as it is improved and standardised.

  • Comment number 16.

    I'm concerned about what "Remove excessive amounts of pagination buttons on Forum page" might mean. What is 'excessive', and what is the benefit of removing the buttons? And exactly which buttons are we talking about?


  • Comment number 17.

    John99 - I don't understand your comment about the "Ouch" messageboard being improved and losing it's text size and customisation, as "Ouch" changed to the new style some time last year.

    The ability of text size adjustment and colour scheme customisation was designed by the Ouch team to take into account the number of visually impaired users.

    I have read through Ouch and haven't seen any comments about an additional change, so wonder if either I have missed something or else you know something I do not.

    I first joined the Ouch boards early in 2005, and the current format is, of course, the third once since then.

    Do you really think that it will be changed yet again? Especially as apart from the customisation, the board as it is is virtually identical to the new format.

  • Comment number 18.

    #17 Rosie
    I am just an ordinary user with no inside info. I take the BBC announcements to mean literally that all boards will be improved including the 'Ouch' board.

    As you will already know the Food Host Ramona seems to like the current Text options you have on the Ouch mb and is even asking about putting them on the food board, but with the BBC standardising everything I would have thought the Ouch mb will loose out.

    We may be lucky and get a reply in these blog comments. You could also consider asking the question directly on the Ouch mb, maybe someone there will know what the BBC's intentions are, and be willing to reply.

  • Comment number 19.

    #18 John

    The Ouch boards were, after the change from the Howerd2 to DNA towards the end of 2005 were identical to all other boards. The only difference being the fact that the message panes were in a ghastly crimson colour which were extremely difficult to read even for those Ouchers who are not visually impaired.

    The last change is as you see it now, and was, I believe, the first mb to use the new format.

    The customisation of text size and colour schemes were designed by the Ouch Team for the Ouch boards, to enable those posters who are visually impaired a chance of adjusting font size/board colour to help them read the mb. And at that time the hootoo emoticons were used on the Ouch boards in place of the "regular" mb ones.

    Please do not forget exactly what the Ouch messageboards actually are, and for what posters. Therefore I honestly can not see that the BBC would change them yet again, and remove the facility for visually impaired people to change font/scheme in order for the mb to be available to them.

  • Comment number 20.

    An earlier post referred to the number of fixes planned this week as "impressive". This is looking at the matter from the wrong angle. The fact that so many fixes are necessary at all (and they are by no means all) is quite appalling.

    I am not running down the efforts of those fixing the errors. I am just sad that such extensive efforts are needed at this late stage.

    I worked in IT for 27 years. If I had released any piece of software with this number of errors in it in relation to its size, I would have been out of a job. Where does this attitude come from that the way to test a system is to release it on the users and see if they complain? Live testing should only be the final stage, after thorough and carefully thought-out system testing.

    Worse still, the nature of some of the errors strongly implies that the developers understood neither the requirements, nor even the features of the system they were replacing. Is there no longer a discipline of Systems Analysis and Design?

    Note that I do not refer to 'bugs', since this implies something which is not the developers' fault. I refer instead to errors - mistakes or defaults on the part of designers and/or developers.

    I hope a proper analysis will be done on what happened here, to include the communication (or shortage thereof) with the users during the unfortunate roll-out. I will not be surprised if we are told that "lessons have been learned", but I hope that will mean more than simply being able to recognise the mistakes when they are made again! The lessons have been documented and available for a long time. The professionals are the ones who have read and noted them.

  • Comment number 21.

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

  • Comment number 22.

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

  • Comment number 23.

    Rosie #19
    I do understand the Ouchers problems, but I am not sure the changes to that board do bring it fully inline with the newest revisions.

    Being rather cynical of some of the BBCs changes; to messageboards and elsewhere, I think it is worth asking, ( not that we will necesarily get any answer.)

    Have you asked your own Ouchers Host to comment ?

  • Comment number 24.

    Nothing in the way of an apology of course as the complaints haven't come from Daily Mail readers or a complaint to OFCOM about some triviality in a TV programme.

    As we know people at the BBC never mistakes and they are never wrong so rolling out a system that wasn't (fully) tested was the correct thing to do.

    I suppose when no-one is in danger of being killed when something isn't commissioned properly as in my line of work then it doesn't really matter does it? Apart from a bit of professional pride in getting something right first time....or if you fail explaining to the customer why and apologising.

  • Comment number 25.

    Can I ask commenters to stay civil please. 3Dots - David has explained the various things that will be fixed in the above post and I'm hoping for a comment from him shortly.

  • Comment number 26.

    Thanks for your comments.

    In a perfect world we wouldn't release a product with any bugs but the reality is some slip through.

    The development process included significant testing, not just from the development team, but also internally from various stakeholders and hosts. It's unfortunate some 'obvious' bugs weren't spotted but there's nothing like a potential audience of 15 million people to find things you missed.

    On communication I receive daily feedback from hosts passing on your comments to me highlighting issues and bugs and these all get added to our backlog to be reviewed and prioritised. Indeed this feedback prompted the focus on addressing as many of the issues we could address in our current sprint cycle. I'd love to spend more time on the messageboards and the blog to answer questions directly and immediately but I have to balance that with my daily responsibilities. I do review every piece of feedback I receive from hosts which is often a link direct to your concerns.

    To answer some questions.

    #5 - Paul Robert Lloyd - The initial messageboard refresh designs were implemented before GEL was completed. The messageboard admin tool allows the Barlesque header and the CSS to be updated so this can change as design resource is available. In short though, that's not under my team's direct control.

    #6 - Russ - Well spotted, I've forwarded the issue to our front end web developer who firstly was amazed someone checked the source, and secondly, will be cleaning up the class problem. Your first point I'll talk to them soon.

    #7 - rickipicki - I'll pass that on to the people who authored the copy for that.

    #9 - cricket-Angel Alder - the host of the messageboard. I'm sure they'll respect the community of the board and The Bull will remain emoticon free.

    #10 - Rosie - there's only a certain amount of width we can increase it by currently. We're making it as wide as it was previously.

    #11 - sparrows_wind - that's under the control of the messageboard host or their designer. We don't put a restriction on that in the vanilla skin

    #12 - madfor4 - please read my first blog on messageboard changes for the reasons why the boards were changed.

    #14 - John99 - the F page will eventually be removed and the NF (Forum & New Forum) page be the replacement. There are a number of reasons for this including better caching and improved page rendering speed. This change won't happen until all functionality or behaviour of the F page is replicated.

    #15 - John99 - We're talking to Ouch about this at the moment and, no, we won't be taking it away.

  • Comment number 27.

    7. At 3:08pm on 13 Oct 2010, rickipicki wrote:

    when reporting post by push complaint button "
    I believe this post is defamatory or libelous for the following reason:"
    the word "libellous" is misspelled the correct spelling is "libelous"

    Hi rickipicki

    You're quoting an American spelling variant.

    The correct spelling of the word in British English is 'libellous' - so the complaint form is not misspelt, the BBC is a British organisation.

    Here's a link to the word in the Oxford English Dictionary


  • Comment number 28.

    "Can I ask commenters to stay civil please. 3Dots" - Nick

    That was civil. I see absolutely nothing wrong in stating what I believe, and many others, to be correct.

    There was no abusive language in my post. Some comments may be 'hard to swallow' by you and the developers however we have every right to call you on these things since as people with no choice to pay the licence fee we want value for money and as with any service provided if we are not happy we are allowed to voice our concern robustly.

    It's not as if what I have said about what is going on has not been said before in many communications regarding how the BBC 'treats' it's 'customers'.

    Hence, there is a difference between 'robustly calling' and being 'uncivil'.

    Or does 'keep it civil' mean 'do not complain' only say how wonderful the BBC are handling all of this?

    I would consider being uncivil totally ignoring the user of a service for a week when they are complaining or giving feedback.

    Thank you.

  • Comment number 29.

    David: "In a perfect world we wouldn't release a product with any bugs but the reality is some slip through."

    I think using the word 'product' and 'stakeholders' sums up what is happening here...business speak and group think.

    A 'product' is something that is put on the market which one has a choice to purchase or not.

    The message boards are not a product as such...we have no choice of buying them or not.

    It really would help if all the business buzz-words were kept out of all this.

  • Comment number 30.

    #16 - David. Thank you for your response. Regarding my message #10 and your comment that you will be making the message pane as wide as it was previously, that means [on my 19" square monitor using Mozilla Firefox], an increase from 14cm to 16cm of actual type, whereas on this blog the actual type width in each message is 18cm.

    Even an increase to 16cm on the message boards still means the actual typed messages leave most of the monitor as just empty space and extremely visually harsh.

    The font on this blog is also far larger than that on the new format on the Food board.

    Is there any reason why the blogs should have wider message panes and larger size fonts than the message boards?

    Thank you.

  • Comment number 31.

    3dots - the "civil" part of my comment was not aimed at you. The next sentence was. Apologies for any unintended offence.

  • Comment number 32.

    Msg 26 - thanks for your responses, David.

  • Comment number 33.

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

  • Comment number 34.

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

  • Comment number 35.

    Can I ask people to stay on topic and please not disrupt the conversation. The topic is changes to message boards, not individual hosting decisions on this blog.


  • Comment number 36.

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

  • Comment number 37.

    Will the boards ever have some sort of search facility? This is one of the most basic functions of any forum, yet the Beeb don't seem to be able to implement it.

    Wouldn't be simpler to junk this antiquated relic from the 1990s and use some standard modern forum software with the sort of functionality we all now take for granted?

  • Comment number 38.

    GaryB007 - David mentions some of the challenges involved in enabling search in this post.

  • Comment number 39.

    RE Search facility: You can use Google to search just the food messageboards by adding the phrase site:https://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbfood after your search phrase.

    Could the BBC have a search button/link/typing area on each board with the domain for that board already inserted into Google?

  • Comment number 40.

    "on each board with the domain for that board already inserted into Google"

    Presumably with a * and a note below saying:

    * = Other search sites are available

  • Comment number 41.

    This blog post isn't really about search so can we stay on topic please.


  • Comment number 42.

    Feedback, tomorrow, R4 13 30: "Roger Bolton investigates why hundreds of you are up-in-arms over changes to the BBC radio message boards."

    Our Roger is fond of blogging these days, so something will probably appear on the Radio 4 blog.


  • Comment number 43.

    I wonder if Nick Reynolds will be contributing to the Radio 4 show,tommorow?

  • Comment number 44.

    Hi Fedster. Nope. I'm appearing on Feedback later today as part of my role looking after message boards, blogs and user engagement in the radio and music team. We recorded the interview on Wednesday. It mostly touches on what David refers to above and in previous posts over the last week or so. Why was this change made, have you fixed these problems, why did you not anticipate these issues, and what are your plans for the message boards on Radio 4 ? It goes out at 1.30pm today. Its then on iPlayer and repeated on Sunday: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00v73zk
    I spoke to Nick and David in advance of interview and of course have been reading all the threads/comments responding to the template changes as they've been rolling in. I've also been talking daily to Anna, the radio 4 host, and making sure she can brief the Radio 4 board users with timely information.
    Thanks again to everyone for their feedback which has helped us identify problems and apologies for what seems to be the time taken to deal with this. I'm aware that users have been frustrated. Appreciated.

  • Comment number 45.

    #44 - Jem Stone. Good morning. Regarding Feedback, which will be broadcast today, you mention that you will be appearing in your role of looking after message boards in the radio and music team.

    Will the the radio programme today be relating to the problems on Radio 4 message boards only, or does it address the problems on _all_ BBC message boards, not just those concerning radio and music?

    Thank you.

  • Comment number 46.

    Thanks Gem! I can't wait for the Message Board changes to be rolled out across the board (f'nharh) because when they are working they will be a truly world class implementation and design.

    Is that OK Nick?

  • Comment number 47.

    "when they are working they will be a truly world class implementation and design"

    How can you tell..?


  • Comment number 48.

    Having just heard the Feedback defence of this mess I can only say that it must be wonderful to be employed by the BBC IT department.

    I hope that those involved never have to work in the real world because they would find that the attitude of, "It was a bit rubbish, but so what?" will not get them very far.

  • Comment number 49.

    I think the BBC feedback here shows yet again how unwanted changes were only tested internally. Given the many mistakes made in so called software upgrades recently are they really surprised that so many glitches were present. Learn the lesson and get out of your ivory towers and utilise the licence paying audience properly. Time spent in the real world would be a welcome advance for many of the BBC management.

  • Comment number 50.

    Missed it due to unexpected callers, and am not sure whether I will be able to hear it on "listen again".

    Is there any way I would be able to get a transcript of Feedback?


  • Comment number 51.

    A transcript is an excellent idea, Rosie, for those of us who could not hear it live.

  • Comment number 52.

    Rosie #50 - you can "listen again" on iPlayer here:


    Alternatively, there is the podcast to download and listen:


    Then again, you could contact the programme to ask for a transcript:


    Which gives all the options except SMS and carrier pigeon..

  • Comment number 53.

    I paraphrased what i said in the interview at https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/radio/2010/10/changes_to_the_radio_4_messageboards.html
    The clip of just the message board item on Feedback is available in that blog post.

  • Comment number 54.

    Thanks, Squirrel.

  • Comment number 55.

    People could try the wonderful 'newly-improved' iPlayer to listen to Feedback.

    That is of course unless you find it as annoying to use as myself with it's newly-improved harder to use functionality...there's a bit of a pattern with all these BBC improvements isn't there?

    So, if you want to listen to this Radio 4 programme about the messageboards on a BBC 'platform' use iPlayer.

    Did I stay on topic?

  • Comment number 56.

    #53 - Jem Stone. Thank you.

    Thank you also Squirrel #52 - as yet I have never been able to "listen again" and have no idea about podcasts, but then as I am not a UK licence fee payer because I do not live in the UK, that is possibly understandable.

  • Comment number 57.

    Ah-ha 3Dots - that's why I posted a link here... All anyone has to do is click on it and then click where it says "CLICK TO PLAY" in the middle of that page... ;-)

    The BBC is a broadcast organization, as the word suggests broadcast is a one way, or one to many, process. I think in parts they still have a lot of problems with this modern many to many and yet one to one interweb thingy..

    You can't just rely on the mass of people to equate change with progress and believe you when you say it is better for them. They will come back at you and let you know the change is in the wrong direction.

    That's just my opinion and I don't want to steer this bus off course!

  • Comment number 58.

    Oops, sorry Squirrel...the slowness of the blog scrolling etc means I didn;t get to the bottom of the comments before starting the long prcoess of logging in and waiting for pages and pages of blog to scroll by.

    Could we please have the Post a comment t the top of the page please? When a blog gets too long I don;t bother reading it all. Maybe that's the point?

    "Stay on topic, Stay on topic"...

  • Comment number 59.

    Rosie #56 - "I am not a UK licence fee payer because I do not live in the UK" ... But you can use iPlayer to listen to radio programmes.

    The licence fee is only due from those people capable of receiving live television broadcasts as they go to air. That does now include computer and smartphone users with a UK (or via UK) internet connection. But it should not prevent your enjoyment of BBC radio.

    Using iPlayer may well spoil your enjoyment of radio, but that would be a topic for the iPlayer message board if you have problems.

    Must try harder to stay on topic eh 3Dots - otherwise Nick will be after us with his big moderation stick..


  • Comment number 60.

    It mostly touches on what David refers to above and in previous posts over the last week or so. Why was this change made, have you fixed these problems, why did you not anticipate these issues, and what are your plans for the message boards on Radio 4 ?

    I listened to the broadcast and did not realise it was specifically about the message boards on Radio 4. I thought Jem was talking in terms of all BBC messageboards. In that case, my questions in response to Jem on his blog will probably be deemed off-topic.

    I had scheduled The Archers message board to be upgraded by the end of the month. However we've now put that back until we've done some more testing and I'm satisfied that the latest round of bug fixing is successful. We will obviously be in frequent discussion with Mustardlanders throughout.

    What about the other messageboards that are due to be changed over, Jem? Are they also being put back until you're satisfied that the latest bug fixes are successful? And will you also be in frequent discussion with the users on those boards?

  • Comment number 61.

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

  • Comment number 62.

    Nippie Sweetie - Jem only has oversight of Radio boards. If there is a specific board you are interested in which is not a Radio board please let me know and I will try and find the right person to help you.


  • Comment number 63.

    On the new messageboards, there is a CSS alignment problem related to the blockquote function.

    In the general example:

    [p]First para[ /br]
    [blockquote]some quoted text[/blockquote]
    [ /br]Second para[/p]

    The first para will pick up the slightly more generous font sizing and kerning (as announced by Anna here), but the blockquote and the second para revert to the default original smaller font sizing and kerning. There's something in the CSS for the blockquote styling which is carrying through to any unquoted text following a blockquote.

    Without seeing the details of the CSS involved, it's not clear why this is happening, but I suggest you run some tests. Hosts are likely to want to change font sizing to suit different MB audiences, and this won't work properly if the underlying CSS structures are wrong.

    In any event, I'm far from convinced that using italic for the current blockquote fontstyling is the right strategy.


  • Comment number 64.

    Am I allowed to refer to Jem's statement quoted on this blog "We will obviously be in frequent discussion with Mustardlanders throughout.."?

    Is it allowed for me to ask where that frequent discussion can be found?

    Is that breaking house rules to ask?

  • Comment number 65.

    Could I suggest that block quote facility is initiated in a similar way to all other professional board designs? Seems pointless to invent a different way - especially with bugs.

  • Comment number 66.

    David Williams Or
    #62 Nick Reynolds

    Any chance of a list of the boards being improved. I am not sure which have been improved and which have not. It seems for instance as if

    Or if easier or shorter either
    - a list of those that will still be improved after Wednesday eg Archers etc
    - a list of those already improved by Wednesday
    eg Food, R4, R7

    - Ouch has been improved recently and yet will still be improved at some date in the near future (although you confirm #26*15 it will keep its variable text size etc options)
    - iPlayer looks much like the improved boards, and has had some of those bugs for months, but presumably also will get improved further to match these new templates that are talked about

  • Comment number 67.

    #62 - Nick Reynolds

    Good evening Nick. Would it please be possible to advise regarding the Food board problems as there appears to be some confusion as to what will and will not be fixed.

    Regarding the Ouch boards, I had understood that the last change was just that - the last change - as it was the first board to use the new format. Is there any intention of changing it yet again?

    Thank you

  • Comment number 68.

    I heard nothing on the Feedback programme that would make me change a word of what I said in post 20. To call significant design oversights and programming errors "bugs" is to dress them up as something unavoidable and beyond control. And if resources are so poor that the system was delivered without adequate testing so that the (unfortunate) users did the testing, then it should only have been released on one board, not several all at once.

    Similarly "problems" are demoted to "issues", which as far as I am concerned are merely matters to be discussed. The euphemism rules.

  • Comment number 69.

    "- An issue where the incorrect title of a messageboard is being shown

    - Fix an issue where centre column overflowed into the right hand panel when links where at the start of a post

    - Fix an issue where threads were sometimes incorrectly being shown as closed"

    These are errors or problems, not merely issues.

  • Comment number 70.

    I have to agree with Attila the Pun.

    We used to have "Computer Systems" now we get "IT Solutions"..

    So we had computer problems and computer errors (which are in fact HUMAN errors) but with IT Solutions..?

    Well you get "User Generated Issues" leading to a "Delivery Expectation Shortfall" which can only result in a further "Enhancement Review Project"...

  • Comment number 71.

    In an old-style board 'My discussions' listing, the urls given in the 'Latest post' field show an incorrect root where the thread being referred to is in a new-style board, e.g. a reference to a latest post in the Radio 4 blueys has a url of the structure:


    i.e. the thread number and F/NF board number are correct, but the root 'mbarchers' in this example is incorrect.

    Such links do work properly, so it is not a significant problem, but there may be some confusion if such urls are cut and pasted into messages for example.

    The above bug is not listed in the 23-bugfix rollout scheduled for Wednesday.

    New-style board 'My discussions' lists do not show the above bug.


  • Comment number 72.

    It is not clear what the intended target of the 'Latest post' field is. Is it:

    (1) the locator position for the latest post;
    (2) the top of the latest page;
    (3) the locator position for the latest post of the user.

    Currently, on new-style boards, the 'Latest reply' in board thread listings points to the last post in a thread (number 1 above), whereas the same field (called 'Latest post') in 'My discussions' listings points to the latest post by the user (number 3 above). These urls should be the same in my opinion, and point to number 1 above.

    (Current 'Latest post' targets on old-style board My Discussions listings all point to a default number 2 above, but I guess this will shake down as the old boards get converted over to the new style.)

    The activation of the 'Last contribution' field as a link on 'My discussions' listings, as noted in David's bugfix list, and assuming that the meaning of the field is last contribution of the user, should be to number 3 above. This would be consistent with traditional practice as deployed on old-style board 'My Discussions' and board thread listings.

    I accept that others' views on the purpose of the fields named above may differ, but until we know what the intended meanings are, we won't be able to check whether the implementation is correct.


  • Comment number 73.

    For the 'minus millions' bug in the 'New posts' field, will the url ascribed to the number of unread posts point to the last unread post?


  • Comment number 74.

    When is the Points Of View message board getting done? I think the sticky feature might be useful on that Message Board

  • Comment number 75.

    yes Lightoftruth - sticky, search, quoting, edit, italicising, bold, profile, RSS, subscription, signatures, peer thanks, thread options, avatars... in fact all the normal features of professional boards. I don't see anything in the tweaks proposed that we have been asking for.

  • Comment number 76.

    Thanks Russ
    you have made some clear concise comments, some of which probably are going to have to wait for the next raft of fixes. Only a couple of days to go now.

    #6 quotes not displaying as intended in preview

    #16 asked what excessive pagination numbers are being removed

    #72 pointing out lack of clarity about what links are intended to do (when they get fixed)and sumarising current confusing situation on old and newlook boards

    Some of the BBC responses being
    #26 David answering some of the initial comments

    #44 & #53 JemStone & the Radio Feedback

    I would still be interested in a list of improved and none improved boards #66

    Which may also help clarify the answers to Rosie's questions. About the Ouch & Food boards.
    I also note that the board closed message has not been mentioned in these fixes #14 (not the out of hours posting bug that hit the food mb then the R4 mb )
    the ambiguous message - search engines pick it up it giving a misleading impression threads are permanently closed)

    (My own comments #s14,15,18,23,66,76 - due to another fine improvement resulting in displaying "you" instead of a user name I have to logout, or scan source code to find my own comments in a blog now)

    I suppose the 23 bug fixes will get applied to all 'improved' boards at the same time, and to the additional improved boards.
    I suppose at least some of the fixes, by their nature, will impact on all boards oldlook and newlook alike, or this time may you just initially try the fixes live on only one messageboard.

  • Comment number 77.

    Hi David,

    you responded to my question at No11, thanks. I have asked the Host at POV about this issue, and have only been told that they have NO say in the redesign. Can you help on that?

  • Comment number 78.

    RE 76 - John99
    "due to another fine improvement resulting in displaying "you" instead of a user name I have to logout, or scan source code to find my own comments in a blog now"

    Yes, a slightly irritating 'improvement', but you can still find your own comments by searching for "you wrote:" or even just "ote:"

  • Comment number 79.

    Scrub the "ote:" bit.

  • Comment number 80.

    I find it unfathomable that with the long list of essential improvements we have been asking for, the one arbitrary tweak that takes priority is changing our username to "you". Can I ask the source of the feedback that resulted in that as a prioritised improvement? Is that really all that you feel needs doing?

  • Comment number 81.

    #80 ???? Officer Dibble
    You posted at 9pm Yesterday, did you get insider info. The messageboards my discusions now show 'you' (But only once, at the start of the listing,and I am not even certain it was a change made this morning)

    I find your comment slightly unfathamable, IF it relates to blogs, but then
    - I am only another ordinary messageboard user
    - nothing to do with the BBC,
    - and maybe you have seen some BBC comment about the use of 'you';
    - or have observed something I missed.

    I did find it an iritating improvement,in relation to blogs I think others may share that opinion, however no doubt many have opposing views and think it is great personalisation. as pointed ot above I can also search for 'you wrote' (fingers crossed other posters do not use such a phrase in their own posts)

  • Comment number 82.

    Initial look suggests

    - minus millions
    Well done These may now calculate correctly the number of posts

    - Total Posts
    iPlayer Message board still has problems with this
    My discusions displays text 'total posts' but does not then display the count.
    The food mb does however manage that. Proving that is possible and the intention of the Total Posts / Messages or whatever the text entry is to include an actual count of the total posts in a thread.

    - Last Contribution
    The iPlayer message board still does not provide a link to the users latest post although it does apparently manage to calculate the time of the last post. The Food mb seems to provide a link.

    - initial look only
    - using FireFox,
    I do know that despite BBC standards; and FF being a BBC fully supported browser; FF may not always display messages pages identically to for instance IE)

  • Comment number 83.

    Is this going to be the last Blog in this series ?

    I would hope another blog will be started about the success of these changes and any others coming up ?
    ( R7 mb seems to have had a stay of execution, as of course did the Archers mb )

    Did all fixes work ?
    What about any outstanding matters ?
    (see for instance my #72 above)

    I will have a look again in a couple of days, and read other's comments on the various messageboard threads about the changes; but possibly a glitch is on some 'my discussions' the count of 'new posts' is displaying instead, the total number of posts in the thread, instead of the number since my last contribution.

    That could of course turn out to be related to the reset after the change, it may sort itself out as the boards are used.

    [ or do I need to keep to the correct boards 'my discussions' to get correct numbers
    - and thereby loose the advantage of listings that include 'last contribution' links ]

  • Comment number 84.

    John99 - this certainly won't be the last blog post David writes. But as you might expect he and the DNA team are very busy so it may not be possible to give you an update until next week. I'll pass your comment on though.


  • Comment number 85.

    Hi all, the changes listed above were released this morning except one. This was the change to the column widths. Testing against boards that have already migrated, a couple had a problem where the increased width pushed the right hand column out too far and this would require a CSS update for the custom CSS used on that board. We rolled back that change until the CSS can be updated. This will be published as soon as we are happy the CSS is correctly modified.

  • Comment number 86.

    Well done. Just a few comments:

    1 'Latest post' url goes to the top of the latest page, rather than the latest post. I would prefer it to be the latter, particularly now pages are in 50-post chunks, but if it is to be the former, then maybe the field should be renamed 'Latest page'.

    2 The emoticons reference/resource needs to be added for new-style boards. (Or have I not spotted it yet?)

    3 The incorrect root issue (my #71 above) remains, but it doesn't seem to be causing any problems, and in anycase will disappear as the remainder of the boards get converted to the new style. Probably not worth spending any time on now.

    4 I'll forego my suggestion for a url in #73 above, but it would be very helpful to have a visual style difference (equivalent to that in the old-style boards) when the number of new posts in a 'My discussions' list is not equal to zero. Maybe this can and other cosmetic styling upgrades be discussed in next week's blog update.


    P.S. John, on the 'New posts' entry (your #83), you're right. Initially, when looking at this number (after this morning's changes), the number will display the total number of posts in a thread, but when you visit the thread, then return and refresh, the number will be ok.

    P.P.S. John, the formating of the iPlayer board has always been pants, and I suspect it will need some special treatment by David's team before it can be brought into line.

  • Comment number 87.

    81. At 08:55am on 20 Oct 2010, John99 wrote:
    #80 ???? Officer Dibble
    You posted at 9pm Yesterday, did you get insider info. The messageboards my discusions now show 'you' (But only once, at the start of the listing,and I am not even certain it was a change made this morning)

    I find your comment slightly unfathamable, IF it relates to blogs, but then
    - I am only another ordinary messageboard user
    - nothing to do with the BBC,
    - and maybe you have seen some BBC comment about the use of 'you';
    - or have observed something I missed.

    I did find it an iritating improvement,in relation to blogs I think others may share that opinion, however no doubt many have opposing views and think it is great personalisation. -

    Hi John 99 - No inside info, just a good guess what was coming, - the point being not whether it has merit, but that developers coded this feature that has not been asked for, has little real value -just an affectation - yet has diverted resources away from the much bigger needs that remain ignored. Why? Just who is all this re-vamp for?

  • Comment number 88.

    @ David / Nick (#84/5)
    Thanks for the comments above, saying you will give updates next week.

    - Any comment on whether the iPlayer board will be changed and improved ?
    - And whether the problems with that board will be fixed ?

    @ #86 Russ (& my #82/3)
    This is not looking as good as I had initially thought, although I have not yet had time to use the various mb much.

    _ Last Contribution _
    In 'my discussions', it seems once again, at least some of the time, to be picking up anyone's last contribution not 'my' last contribution

    _ New Posts (count)_
    That appears to zero unexpectedly.
    Possibly it sometimes counts new posts since the last contribution, which obviously is going to be zero !
    Or possibly it is counting new posts since 'my discussions' was last closed. (which could be intentional, but is unexpected)

    _ N / NF _
    That still seems to be a problem some of the time.
    I note for instance Food board users commenting on the message, replied to link sometimes displaying the number and sometimes not.

  • Comment number 89.

    Pages of messageboards are showing, sometimes inappropriately, as hidden
    did your fix about moderation messages not attempt to fix that.

    You will be aware quotations do not display as intended in preview.
    They also sometimes display incorrectly with tags instead of as italic text within messages

    Interestingly one post I made displays quotes correctly another nearby on the same page does not, a demonstration of the flakey behaviour of the messageboards.

    I do appreciate some of this may be down to the difficulties of trying to run oldlook & newlook boards in tandem, and of having boards that did not work properly to start with.

  • Comment number 90.

    In view of the continued uphill bug fixing, I'd scrap the new boards, roll back to old. - no one will miss the design changes, and the common look to the platform is not an imperative for users.

  • Comment number 91.

    Have more unannounced improvements been made ?
    Did this result in removal of accessibility / text options Or have you just moved the option and I have not noticed where it now appears.

    I do not at the moment see that option where expected on messageboards, & I do not for that matter see such an option on this blog either. ( Other than on the footer an informational link)

  • Comment number 92.

    To [DEMONSTRATE] what is being lost Click the link within the square brackets

    Note when in use
    Towards the bottom of the page is a clickable link allowing you to revert back to the ordinary 'graphics' version of the page and others allow change of size and colour of text and background.
    (This demo uses the link (... betsie/parser ...) pasted from the archers board, & currently although that fails to display with the content of this blog you are reading BUT it gives a fully functioning error report page that does demonstrate the principle and the lost facilities.
    For a proper demonstration go to an unimproved Archers page before the BBC break the feature with further unannounced improvements.)

  • Comment number 93.

    PS For more info on what is being lost read the BBC Betsie home page which is still saying the feature is available on BBC home page and BBC news sites.

  • Comment number 94.

    Could someone please reset the server for the Radio 4 blueys - they've broken down again.


  • Comment number 95.

    Just visited the POV message board. wow.

    What an awful mess.

    Who designed this?

    So the mass of white real estate (80% of which is unused ) is there merely to conform to an arbitrary design style and to enable the BBC to put the top-most guff - which could be above the board anyway.

    And all for what? What do we have that is an improvement? anyone?

    Who requested this? anyone?

    Who paid for this? anyone? oh, that's us.

    This is such a poor job.. and to think of the man hours spent at our cost to create this from scratch. In a time of austerity, FutureMedia should be ashamed of the process and the eventual results.

    incidentally, can anyone tell me where the link to your own Blog comments is at the top of your own messageboard listing? It has been removed.

  • Comment number 96.

    Hi OfficerDibble - regarding the lack of a 'toggle' for swapping between one's messageboard and blog comments, I requested this be reinstated a couple of months ago in the initial blog.

    The toggle appears only on old-style boards, which are now fast disappearing.

    The toggle can now be actuated only by plugging in the correct url in the address bar. Make sure you get the right address though - some of the blog comment list pages are corrupted and return zero content.


    P.S. I see the poor denizens of POV have been issued with the infamous Mk1 kerning and linespace settings! (The Mk2 settings are a little better.)

  • Comment number 97.

    I'll admit it. I was sceptical about the complaints other board users had (still have) when their boards were changed over, but blimey, what a dogs dinner they are. It is far too bright and the text is too small.

    It would appear from Russ's comment 395 here https://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbarchers/F2693942?thread=7763241&latest=1 that the POV boards have not even been given the latest upgrade. Why not? Why on earth did you go ahead with this Mk1 upgrade when there's been so many complaints about it?

  • Comment number 98.

    Nippie - a possible reason why you have not been issued with Mk2 settings is that they produce further faults when used with the quote function (see #63 above). It is possible that FM&T has already given up on any attempt at CSS alignment and correction.

    Or perhaps the Beeb is using up its old stocks of napalm on you troublemakers in POV.

    It will be interesting to see what happens to Mustardland next week. (Mustardlanders get special treatment, you know.)


  • Comment number 99.

    Can someone in authority please explain what the perceived improvements are with the new layout?

    More difficult to follow threads
    More difficult to follow your own posts
    Less clear quote system
    No additions ( search function etc)

    Do tell

  • Comment number 100.

    Since nobody from the BBC is responding to posts on the POV forums I thought I would try here.

    I, along, I suspect, with many others, really would like an insight into the processes that have gone on behind the scenes leading up to these changes. How can any right thinking person take was was a bit of a relic from the past, spend weeks making changes and then end up with something that is substantially worse than the original?

    Remember, this is our money, so I seriously would like some feedback here. I work in large company and things like this this simply would not happen.

    If you can't fix it, at least give us an option to use the old CSS Style Sheet. The old version was poor, but at least it was it was usable.

    The only reason that I think think of for this complete mess is that your intention is to make the forums so difficult to use that user numbers drop off and then you can use that as an excuse to close them. Remember you heard it here first...

    I await a response with interest.


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