back to article BBC's Today Programme shutters message board

BBC Radio 4 news flagship The Today Programme said today it will axe its online message boards at the end of this month, prompting anger and charges of censorship from users. Editorial changes to the board's rules in 2006 blocked listeners from creating threads on topics of their choice, which one commenter on the closure …


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  1. b

    Have your say...

    is a teeming pit of absolute mentalism

  2. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Great Debate Requiem ..... Heralding AIReprise

    The Underground Success with the Great Debate board was just thought Too Radically Able and Enabling to Control, which led to Heavy Immoderation and Format Changes in an Attempt to Steer Opinion towards BBC Controllers Agendas.

    More than just a Few of Innovative Proposals aired as Lead Comment on the Boards whenever they were Working Fit for Communications Purpose, were Enlightening to the Point of Brilliance which easily outshone any Light Offered by the Establishment Servering Vested Interests with Interests in Maintaining Exclusive Control of Commerce and Finance.

    A Lack of Future Intelligence will also render such Controls Vulnerable to AIMakeOver, which will Server them Better with Betas.

  3. Greg

    Ah yes, Have Your Say

    If anyone would like to see samples of the kinds of cretins that inhabit the HYS forums, look no further than the magnificently titled

  4. Jon

    spEak You’re bRanes

    HYS is always a good source of comedy comments for this site:-

  5. Paul Fleetwood

    Have your say is remarkable

    if you want to identify all members of the provisional wing of the Daily Mail, it's the place to go

    I do worry that the questions they ask of the public are a bit inflammatory, they seem to be along the lines of "Thieving Gypsies: what are your unfounded prejudices?"

  6. Senor Beavis
    Thumb Up

    @ Greg

    Genius site. Do you share my view that the posts in the site were in fact originally authored by TVGOHOME?

    Gosh, isn't it always illiterate, narrow-minded f**k weasels who have the time to respond to articles?

  7. Martin Owens


    Another closing of a great DNA based community for which the late great Douglas Adams gave his name to.

    They better not come hunting for h2g2 or I can't be held responsible for the letters of complaint I write.

    It's a shame because instead of thinking about community as a living beast that needs to be carefully transported from one habitat to another. One that needs feeding and careful maintenance. The BBC seems to regard online forums as so much roast beef.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    L - Looking like Lions

    When they say "right-wing commentators", do they actually mean "people who disagree with the opinions of the Today Programme's presenters and/or its guests?" I wonder how long before Polly Toynbee over at The Guardian has her commentary page shuttered up, or moderated, because people disagree with her.

  9. Eponymous Cowherd

    The difference between moderation and censorship....

    is a concept the people who run the BBC messageboards have great trouble in understanding.

    There is a select clique of posters on the BBC boards who are fatal to cross.

    These individuals fall into two camps. The "left-wing, PC camp" and the "I love the BBC and want to have the DG's babies" camp.

    Nay-say any one of them and you will receive derisory comments from them by return. Complaints to moderators about these people are universally ignored. Attempt to fight your corner and you will be put on pre-moderation or banned outright.

    I gave up with the BBC messageboards over a year ago when I was banned for arguing the deficiencies in iPlayer with one of the "I love the BBC" brigade. I pointed out that the same programmes can be had over BitTorrent at higher quality and without DRM as were offered on iPlayer. Given the boot for, apparently, encouraging illegal activities.

    Frankly the loss of the any BBC messageboard is no loss at all. Messageboards are only useful when posters can make free and frank contributions. The BBC censors allow neither.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Not in my back yard

    I hope they don't all come here...

  11. Waggers
    Thumb Up

    Good move, beeb

    The BBC have long held a policy that they won't provide stuff online that's available elsewhere (at least, that's the reason they gave for shutting down their free fantasy football service - I haven't found anything quite like it since), so this accords with that approach - there are hordes of other places for the fascists to go and voice their narrow opinions.

    The forums were a great idea but they *were* overrun by a vocal minority of right-wing extremists, most of whom were almost certainly not Today listeners. (Judging by the level of illiteracy on the boards, very few of them would actually understand much of what's said on the programme).

  12. Pete James

    Guantanamo Bay? This is nothing like Spain!

    There is only one problem with any messageboard or forum; the patrons.

    I run a forum in the UK and I can sympathise with the BBC. In fact, the 'dead hulk' comment made by one commentator is exactly the tiresome, reactionary bollocks written by someone who makes no effort to maintain such a place but kicks off when changes are made or it gets shut down.

    People simply need to wake up and realise that morphing into Keyboard Jockey v 2.1 is as pointless as knitting fog, herding cats or getting a truthful answer out of Dawn Primarollo. Forums, messageboards and social sites across the web will open and then close due to intolerant online behaviour - the BBC is no different apart from it's sheer size and resource. Sadly no messageboard is safe until the human race truly becomes better than all other animals and learns to respect each other. Which will be a long, long time.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BBC = govt mouthpiece

    The BBC is the PR wing of the govt - or more accurately they're the PR wing of whoever they think will win the next election. That's all they ever have been and we fund that!

    I think HYS must be sponsored by Northcliffe Newspapers. It IS the only way of explaining why the majority of topics started in HYS end up with the ultra-right wing "sod off back to your own country" mob hijacking the topic.

    I asked for my details to be removed after a comment I made where I called Peter Hain facile was deleted. In the same thread were plenty of comments saying "fuck off back to your own country" and they went unmoderated. Nuff said I think?

  14. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Don't count your Chickens, maybe All is not Lost in the Plot.

    "Forums, messageboards and social sites across the web will open and then close due to intolerant online behaviour - the BBC is no different apart from it's sheer size and resource."..... By Pete James

    Posted Monday 19th May 2008 14:37 GMT


    The "problem" which closed the Great Debate and its later emasculated clones had nothing to do with intolerant online behaviour .... and all to do with Enhanced Privilege Behaviour which rendered Insight into the Mining of Information for Government Use/Plagiarism.

    "I asked for my details to be removed after a comment I made where I called Peter Hain facile was deleted. In the same thread were plenty of comments saying "fuck off back to your own country" and they went unmoderated. Nuff said I think?" .. By John Naismith Posted Monday 19th May 2008 14:55 GMT

    When it is so easy for them to deny access to posting, allowing the boards to descend into the lowest common denominator of verbal abuse rather than considered reasoning, must have been an executive decision to cynically justify closure. Although it may be just a Pause for a ReLaunch of the Classic Definitive Treed Board which allowed Multiple Threads to Evolve/Emerge from Posts in String.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @John Naismith

    Actually those supporting Labour almost unanimously accuse the Beeb of being a Tory mouthpiece whilst those supporting the Tories believe Aunty is just another part of the government propaganda wing*.

    This has been the case for at least the last 30 years that I can remember.

    *I am sure the Libdems also have an opinion on the matter but as they are libdems no-one really cares.

  16. Matt

    @Paul Fleetwood

    Or questions like "Why do you think Gordon Brown makes such a great PM", "Layabout unemployed people: A waste of taxpayers money?"

    I've also noted that the BBC mistakes comments given on HYS with UK public opinion.

  17. Jonathan Richards
    Thumb Up

    All is not lost

    > Sadly no messageboard is safe

    Some people will be familiar with Groklaw []. It is a blog with a relatively limited scope, but addressing pretty inflammatory issues around technology and the law. It's a haven for considered comment and polite discussion, not that the trolls don't try to drag it down from time to time. So I don't despair of the Internet entirely.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Presumably it would be too much trouble

    for one of the oh-so-dedicated posters of Today's message board to set up shop elsewhere in the Interweb using one of the many readily available message board engines, allowing the free flow of debate outside of the nannying aegis of the Beeb, as has happened with online forums since before there even was a WWW? Or is it that they're just hung up on posting on an official website?

  19. Dan

    re: Don't count your Chickens, maybe All is not Lost in the Plot.

    I think my brain may be broken, amanfromMars just made sense.

    Stop because I think my brain has.

  20. Rob Davis
    Go comments system to provide expertise to BBC?

    Perhaps they should draw on the expertise of and its comment system. The comments on articles here are never problematic. But then perhaps this is a niche site that attracts more congenial readers.

    Otherwise, consider the service.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Good riddance. May HYS go the same way ASAP

    Spot on b (first poster). HYS makes the reg comments look like the epitome of intelligence, wit and tolerance (which is no mean feat if you ask me). If you ever doubted that this country was stuffed to the gills with small minded morons, then a quick peek at HYS would put you straight. Now today has gone, may HYS go the same way and sink without trace asap, along with most of its posters.

  22. Alex

    dear, dear.

    The rot has been there for awhile.

    @ John Richards: The old Science&Nature community moved to Science File ( back in 2005 when they did changed the format and messed up the moderation of the S&N boards. And the new format is horrendous.

  23. JohnA

    The BBC censors everything anyway

    Does anyone really believe that the BBC is really accountable to the license payers? Or that it gives a shit about shutting down debate?

    Wake up and smell the coffee, people.

    The BBC is simply continuing its practice of censoring (== Fully Moderating) opinions that don't chime with its own narrow viewpoint.

  24. The Mighty Spang

    today has gone down the bog

    message board censorship? pah.

    It now employs Evan "twinkle tits" Davis. A bloke who presents "dragons den" (a reality tv circle jerk dressed up as a business show).

    Coming next... Bruce Forsyth and Simon Cowell present "The World Tonight" and Graham Norton fronting "The Westminster Hour".

  25. Stephen Jenner

    The BNP is Left Wing....

    Writing as a right winger, I wish to point out to the author that the BNP is NOT right wing. It is very much; a party of the left, the policies of this party are largely an extreme version of left wing, socialist ideas... In fact their heroes are remembered for having the word "socialist" in the title.

    People that vote for this party, are nearly all, disgruntled Labour supporters. They believe in big oppressive, nanny state government, which is quite the opposite of the right, which are libertarian, liberal and want the government to leave them alone, we don't want to know, we don't want nationalised industries or "services", neither do we want to get involved in foreign wars or nationalist ideals. We don't want ID cards, or to pick on foreigners in our midst, although right wingers are known for wanting controlled immigration, which is something quite different, and nothing to do with controlled emigration, as practised by NAZI’s, ZANU, and espoused by BNP.

    The traditional battles between BNP and the ANL of the 1980's or The NAZI's and the communists of the 1930's were merely factional fights, one bunch of leftists fighting with another, Hitler was a member of the communist party before he formed the NAZI party, Mosely was a member of the Labour party before he formed the BUF.

    The parties of the right in this country are indeed a rarefied thing, since the Conservative party has been hijacked by the left, but there are a few remaining right thinkers there, for a list see:

    Another right wing party would be the UKIP, and there are many right wing organisations, like the Libertarian Alliance and various "think tanks". We are indeed a fractional lot, freedom comes in many flavours.

    From the good ole USA I would identify Ron Paul as a right winger.

    Please excuse my pedantry, but I just thought I would keep you informed.

  26. Peter


    I do concern myself when those who believe they know better 'protect' me from the thoughts and opinions of others so I may be better guided to the 'correct' viewpoint that they seem to believe they are in a better position to judge... and moderate.

    Whilst trolls and the like can be very wearing, one can always skip and/or delete grotesque viewpoints. But in seeking information it is often interesting what diamonds may be found in the slurry. Which makes wallowing solely in one's own comfort-zone mud hole a rather restricted exercise in navel-gazing.

    Hence I lurk (and occasionally pitch-in, which can be... 'testing') across all sorts, from Biased BBC to Guardian CiF.

    As to the BBC... well, I think they opened a Pandora's Box with 'free' (subject to moderation) comment, regretted it, and are trying to either kill it off or reduce it to a more manageable entity.

    Under the guise of 'resolving' what was a totally inexplicable, but certainly woeful system (Error messages all the time), they have instituted a whole new effort that has reduced both numbers and quality of comment to a dribble... of mostly dribbling numpties. So where once I enjoyed participating on the BBC2 Newsnight blog, on top of the 'regulars with a bit too much time in the day' it's hardly worth it any more (lack of preview, no more hyperlinks, no user ID links, concerns of data security, etc). Certainly I have better ways to spend my day.

    Just, one might imagine, what the were trying to achieve. 'First they ditched HYS because of all the nasty righties, and so I could not post....'

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    free comment

    You want real debate and fearless questioning of those in charge - don't bother looking to the BBC for it. Much like it's mostly pointless looking to them for ruthless truth seeking journalism, or anything other than endless grovelling at the feet of the "rich and powerful".

    BBC - Blairs Bitch Corporation

    We didn't fight for the BBC when the Gov' castrated it over the David Kelly affair. We didn't complain over the blatant 9/11 hatchet job, the unchallenged and obviously engineered end of Charles Kennedy (the result of which is we're probably looking at another few years of Tory rule and if you think the Labour Gov' is scary just wait till the tories get in to power), the dumbing down of News Programs, "magazine type articles" slapped into the middle of current events programs, the totally uncritical coverage of Israel's monstrous behaviour in Palestine, America's behaviour globally and the endless fawning over rich business types, it is all, largely, our own fault.

    We didn't man the barricades, we didn't take to the streets, we didn't force an election, we just shrugged in dumb resignation and carried on whining about petty things. In a society where, arguably, well over half the population weren't even aware that something had changed there was little hope of any real resistance.

    Woe! Woe to us.

  28. Mark SPLINTER


    If you analyse the bias of the articles on you will see that the BBC are quite clearly a loosely allied network of liberal biased nazi communist jewish muslim soviet politically correct new tory conspirators of blairite/livingstonian/cameroonian darkness. I for one welcome our incompetent and disparate propagandising overlords.

  29. Andy

    "Have Your Say" - LOL

    After making over a dozen polite, non-inflamatory, (vaguely) intelligent comments on HYS, I gave up. Not one appeared.

    I suspect that the moderators simply ban anything that they don't think is interesting. The problem is not censorship. It's that the BBC (Bless 'em for everything else) don't understand the internet.

  30. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: "Have Your Say" - LOL

    I ban boring posts. Possibly not enough of them. But then we're not paid for by the licence fee. Makes all the difference. And I'm sure they have been over-zealous. Still have trouble equating comment moderation with 'censorship', though.

  31. TMS9900

    Have Your Say...

    ... here:

    MUCH more entertaining than the Brown Broadcasting Corporation of the People's Soviet Socialist Repulic of Brownistan.

  32. Ascylto

    New Depths

    If anyone wants evidence of just how far the BBC has sunk ...

    There are forums AND ONLINE VOTING for ...


    p.s. Perhaps we could get Ant and Dec to come on board to add a little sparkle of fraud. And maybe Jeffrey Archer could convince us of some genealogical connections, after all ex-cons and discredited politicians seem to get an inordinate amount of airtime on the BBC.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Commenting on HYS

    Is pointless. There's such a huge volume of either arrant bollocks or "Me too" on any given posting that anything I post will be read only by people reading in a very short time slice, or by people who I'd rather not be read by: those who have time and personality disorder sufficient to plough through more than one page.

  34. david wilson

    BBC-specific problems

    I guess that the BBC would have particular problems when it comes to message boards, even assuming it could be bothered to run them properly.

    Some people have an 'I pay my licence fee, I should be able to write whatever I want" attitude, and take immense umbrage if they ever get a post moderated, however moronic the post was 9and the more entitled the feel, the more moronic the post seems likely to be).

    The BBC may also tend to attract not only people with a feeling of entitlement, but a significant number of people who actively dislike the organisation and don't really care if the forums do suffer.

    The 'community' to 'random-whiner' ratio seems pretty low.

    The name 'BBC' is particularly attractive to the kind of person with time to kill and an ego that thinks everyone else is in desperate need of the enlightenment only they can bring, as well as to regular trolls.

  35. R Laval

    Graham Norton fronting "The Westminster Hour".

    Now that I would actually turn the idiot box on for.

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