Sky News has very quietly launched a new ‘message boards‘ area, built (as I understand it) in-house by the team behind MyKindaPlace. Presentation is pretty basic, almost primitive in fact. Anyone expecting extra forum-esque goodies like personal profiles, RSS feeds, rating systems, etc etc will be disappointed. So far, discussion is entirely dominated by the ‘UK News’ channel, and specifically Madeleine McCann threads. Minimalist registration required to post, with post-moderation applied.
I freely admit I’ve got a blind spot when it comes to open forum spaces like this. I just don’t ‘get it’, but other people have made a success of them. (Very few, though.) Sky probably has a strong enough brand to pull it off, but it’s going to take a lot of effort. Possibly more than they realise.
Again though, I’m wondering if they wouldn’t have been better to just install an off-the-shelf forum package. There are quite a few (fairly obvious?) navigation and usability issues, which I’d have expected any established forum package to have resolved. I particularly like the look of bbPress (from the WordPress crew), although development seems to have slowed lately.
I’ll have more to say about Sky News in the next day or two… 😉