The purpose of the site is to provide independent (from the broadcasters, infrastructure companies and Digital UK) information about the choice people can make to watch free to air television services in the UK.
Having many years of technical, managerial and communications experience - and particularly after seeing at first hand the failure of ONdigital to communicate the technical difficulties - I thought the would be plenty of people who would need straightforward technical digital TV assistance.
When the site launched the only form of "feedback" was a personal email service, but on 7 October 2005, I introduced a direct commenting service. This has on the whole been very successful and popular - over 88,000 comments have been posted since then.
Many people have assisted people from all over the UK and around the world, and these contributions have made the site a lively and helpful place.
However, 28,500 of these posting are mine, and it is taking an increasingly large amount of my time.
In addition, the number of occasions where personal attacks are being launched on me and my professional knowledge, or I have to deal with uninformed and incorrect answers being given to people has increased.
The main upshot of this is that I spend very little time doing the "top line" site tasks, such as writing articles, upgrading the database information, adding in new sections such as the radio transmitter and YouView pages and so forth.
Whilst I appreciate that visitors can reasonably think that "in a democracy we are free to discuss pros, cons and preferences", this site is not a democracy, UK Free TV is my project.
Therefore I am proposing that:
1. Certain sections pages will be closed to further comments. I really do not have the time to spend going round and round in the same loop discussing same things, such as with the tedious digital radio haters. Such discussions add nothing to helping out people with their reception issues and will be moved to a holding page or deleted if they are insulting.
2. Some sections will be pre-moderated. Comments will not appear until I approve them.
3. Off-topic comments will be deleted or moved. For example, questions posted about Freeviewreception in Jersey posted on the Winter Hill page. I will normally move them to the general purpose Feedback page.
4. I will then will have the time to improve the resolution and accuracy of the transmitter coverage pages, upgrade the radio transmitters section and provide information about the upcoming local TV, IPTV and YouView.
Thanks Brian, your proposals for YOUR site are fine with me. Its been a great source of news and information for several years for me and I'm all for you snipping where necessary to reduce the load so you can carry on providing this unique source of accurate information. The PIAs will not be missed!
I seriously hope you don't class me as a Digital Radio "hater" Brian. If only the quality matched the hype, I would be thoroughly satisfied. After all I did embrace the technology at a very early stage (in summer 1999 purchasing a very expensive Technics ST-GT 1000 still going strong but mainly in FM mode these days sadly, even though I recall you didn't believe this date when I first told you). I actually think your site has been one of a very few areas for good reasoned discussion on this subject and although certain arguments may have gone round in a bit of a loop, in the main the contents of the blog have certainly been beneficial to me personally. I have learned an aweful lot whilst admittedly having a bit of a winge from time to time, but without challenge, people can miss such a lot at the planning stage making unnecessary and incorrect assumptions. Hopefully pointing out some of the serious issues, which only time & switch off (whenever that will actually be) will tell accurately. Only then will we see and hear if the promises match the hype and all pitfalls have been fully or even partially resolved. Withouht the concerns expressed by the average and I have to say "caring" listener who is going to take notice. There is no point ringing BBC Information these days, manned by very inexperienced people with very little technical knowledge, who try and fob you off with any old rubbish using the oft trotted out phrase that your views will be paseed on to ... blah de blah, when you know full well they won't be. Digial text is still printing out garbage in the p200 SAVINGS section for certain accounts after over a year since I pointed out a basic error in the display for both Freeview and Freesat viewers !! YOUR SITE IS INVALUABLE !! Please don't get disillusioned. Keep up the good work and try not to redact too much. If you don't want to answer as many queries, fair enough, but let others (especially the well qualified bods) help you, unless they are spouting total rubbish. I am all for fair and well meaning and argued "freedom of speech". Many Thanks for all your hard work over the period, I discovered you quite late in the day in Winter 2009. Finally, my genuine hope is that as many people as possible receive digital radio (especially DAB) across all networks across the country and in cars in the best possible quality, speech and music stations alike. Very best wishes, Nedbod
I agree with everything Michael said. I love the idea of putting Luddite trolls in a sealed room where they can fulminate about DAB or global warming...
But I'm sure you could free up far more time and help a lot more people if the site was redesigned. Rarely has a site had so much unique, top quality content that is so hard to find.
Channelling visitors to FAQ before (and after) they ask questions, as many merchant sites' Contact Us / customer service pages do would help reduce duplication.
And may make it clearer to new visitors where they need to post.
I find even simple vBulletin style forums like AVForums or Digital Spy far easier to navigate. I find the 'From Latest Comments' panel more frustrating than enticing (especially on the e-mail updates) as it often contains just a baffling few words like:
Briantist Mr g collins Please can you;
Briantist michael Can you explain a bit;
Nick T Yes I suppose you can count no;
Mr g collins I have a problem with; etc
That said, it is a helluva site for one person to have created. The info is the most informed and accurate of any such forum and I hope it will go from strength to strength.
Hi Brian - Thanks for sending me here from the thread I posted on.
I knew about that thread from the "Related Stories" panel on the "Delusional Arguments" thread. I knew about that because I got an email linking to it - presumably because I am a DAB delusionee! (Though in fact I have no view on DAB; just want to keep R4 FM!)
Anyway, I join in appreciation of your site, which is very useful. And I hope it make you some money.
Although I have been here a fair amount, I am not entirely clear on the structure of the discussion threads. But i have never looked into it either.
"I want UK Free TV to be a positive place about finding solutions, choice and saving people money."
Sums up why I'm willing to give my time to contribute on your site but not on many others. Some other sites appear to have blatent commercial agenda's (or their contributers do).
We may not all agree on everything all the time but at least most bring something usefull to the discussion as for the rest & the agenda boys a closed darkened room may be best for them !
Netbod i may not share your view on dab as my experiance is different however, your view is still noted for two reasons,
1) Your depth of knowledge & interest in radio.
2) You post about many things not just to knock one thing like some do !