ABC to shutdown online messageboard, users unhappy.

ABC is directing viewers to private and commercially-driven social media platforms to make comments on it shows instead of an ABC-moderated messageboard.

A Moderator at abc.net.au told users, “We are sorry to inform you that the ABC TV Viewer Discussion message board will be closing down on Friday, 16 March, 2012. We apologise to those who have been active on this forum over the years and hope you will join the ABC conversation on the other program message boards as well as on Facebook and Twitter.”

While it will continue to offer some program-specific message boards, the ABC TV Viewer Discussion messageboard allows for a variety of topics and less-popular shows.

Current topics include Gardening Australia, Misfits, Spooks, GP, Big Babies, Planet America, Inspector George Gently, Advertising, ABC and Promo Content, ABC TV News, Golf vs Bowls, Kitchen Cabinet, Accused, Miniscule, 7:30, Doctor Who, The Drum.

Some general topics may now be buried in Facebook and Twitter, both of which are foreign-owned commercial ventures and require individual registration.

Message Boards that will remain on the ABC platform include:
At the Movies
Australian Story
Foreign Correspondent
Four Corners Open Letters
Collectors
Compass
First Tuesday Book Club
Gardening Australia
Good Game
Good Game Spawn Point
Media Watch
Poh’s Kitchen
Q&A
Rage
Re-enchantment
Spicks and Specks
Kids’ Message Boards
Index of ABC3 Chatter boards
ABC3 Chat-a-box
Escape from Scorpion Island
Studio 3 Chat
ABC TV Fiction
iview – feedback and technical issues
Documentaries

But users are unhappy with the proposed shutdown, with many venting their anger at Aunty:

This messageboard is the only one of its kind where viewers can discuss /offer feedback on the wide range of general ABC television programs and I think it’s very well patronised, (unlike most of the individual program sites which are virtually deserted most of the time). Wouldn’t think it takes much to keep something like this going really.

If we thought the other boards or Facebook or Twitter were better, we wouldn’t be here, would we? I’ve used the program-specific forums and they’re nowhere as good as this general site.

Who is the genius who decided shut us down? Start sending emails, letters etc to your local member, the Minister of Communications and Media Watch !

Excuse me, fans of Dr Who are the most active users of this site, where are we supposed to go. There is no “program-specific message board” for Dr Who nor is it listed in the “ABC TV Fiction” list.

Yes, sad really. Will miss the lively chats some of us have had on here over the years…

What a complete joke. Anyone can see from the number of posts that are generated that this is an active message board.

That’s what happens when you put bean counters and ex-political hacks in charge of national assets. It’s a prelude to the quashing of criticism and the eventual sell off of the national broadcaster.

I hardly ever post, but probably like many others, I do read comments by other people, and think this forum is absolutely great and should be permanent. ABC should be proud to have hosted it and should keep on doing so.

There’s absolutely no need to shut this down, it’s petty mindedness at it’s worst. I expected better from the ABC.

ABC is going to Twitter for “viewer feedback”. I don’t know too much about it, but I think that the tweets aren’t archived anywhere, but just appear and if they are not read they disappear . Correct or not ? How much discussion from multiple contributors can result from this sort of system ? It seems that the ABC doesn’t want too much evidence of dissent left lying around.

140 character message length limit on Twitter doesn’t exactly foster discussion.

10 Comments:

  1. A retrograde step by the ABC. Making direct contact with the ABC is a fairly useless exercise, as nobody there seems to want to own any issues. Of course, if you are a somebody, you get a response, but for the rest of us mortals – we don’t count!

  2. “can’t see any justification for this action. The admin and overhead costs are low and users feel they have a voice.

    I’ve used the individual program boards in the past and there’s hardly any activity there, unlike Have Your Say.

    You have to wonder what the real reason is for shutting it down”

    For sure – certainly wouldn’t cost much to keep this up and running . It is a particularly good board, compared to most and is very well patronised.
    Provides valuable input and information from messageboard contributors regarding a wide range of ABC tv shows.
    Perhaps they are a just a little too critical of certain shows for management’s liking??? regardin

  3. Hey Jennome,

    You can find contact details for every ABC office, unit and division here:

    abc.net.au/contact/abc_offices.htm

    And if you want to email someone personally: Every ABC staffer’s public email address is lastname dot firstname at abc dot net dot au

    So for example, the MD is scott dot mark at abc dot net dot au

    Hope this helps.

  4. Good luck trying to email the ABC. As a regional radio listener I have often felt the need to vent (or otherwise) to our local station, but it’s impossible to find an appropriate email address anywhere on the ABC website, not even the presenters’ emails are published.

    I’m presuming most of the complaints are on the forum itself, something I didn’t realise existed.

  5. I can’t see any justification for this action. The admin and overhead costs are low and users feel they have a voice.

    I’ve used the individual program boards in the past and there’s hardly any activity there, unlike Have Your Say.

    You have to wonder what the real reason is for shutting it down.

  6. Secret Squirrel

    A ridiculous decision that will save a few pennies but was worth much more to those who patronised it. Twitter and FB have their place but are no substitute for a discussion forum, which is why there are still thousands and thousands of them all over the web, with new ones starting up every day. Plus they will disenfranchise a whole segment who don’t want to register on either FB or Twitter.

    A poor decision, most likely made by someone far removed from the conversation, and who seemingly either doesn’t understand, or doesn’t care about, the differences between the various forms of internet communication.

  7. I would only post my comments on a message board as I don’t have a twitter account, don’t want one either. Hope you are not going down the same path, David.

  8. whilst I think the BBC made the same mistake when they closed there forums, the idea that Doctor Who fans would be left with no where to discuss Doctor, is absurd.

  9. Although understandable why ABC are doing this (C4 and the BBC here made such moves long ago), Twitter and Facebook are no substitute for the dialogue you get on forums.

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