Football fans are fuming at the BBC, who are about to do to the chat forums what Vinnie Jones did to Paul Gascoigne’s testicles. As of 30th of this month, the Fan’s Forum on BBC Scotland’s sports section will close, as will the various message boards for sports throughout the UK.
It appears the Beeb is bowing to political pressure and recognising that it brings nothing special or unique to web forums, so should leave them to the private sector.
But what pleases the authorities has done nothing for the popularity of the Corporation among punters.
The man in charge of the BBC’s sports message boards is Chris Russell. He explained on his blog why the old broads were closing down in favour of a new site supporting the Five Live radio phone-in show, 606. “There are message boards available for almost every sport on the world wide web, and we don’t believe that the BBC’s commitment to be distinctive in this area merits the vast expense that traditional message boards require.”
He adds: “While some of the message boards feature high quality content, they are still prone to people trying to annoy or provoke fellow users. Safeguards are in place on the new site to
help prevent this, including a feature allowing users to remove comments posed on articles they have started.”
Overwhelming anger is expressed in the 150 or so comments attached to Russell’s blog. ‘Come on the Hoops of Hesselink’ writes: “None of us want the proposed changes. We’re not resistant to change, we’ve simply seen how the new forum works on 606 and feel that the current design of the forum is better. We’re under no illusions, we don’t own the boards but the BBC
are simply ignoring the views of the users of the forums, there was no consultation with us at all.”
A punter on the Celtic board has a more plaintive cry: “You can only get access to the BBC at work and no other sites. I ain’t looking forward to when they change the boards round, I’m going to have fek all to do all day! What a bag o’ pish.”