Follow the thread

1st October 2004 at 01:00
Bill Hicks takes a weekly look at the hot topics in the TES chatrooms

As a rule, launching a website is a precarious business. As those of you who logged in early last Friday to get a first taste of the new TES site and its forums ( staffroom) already know, our relaunch was not an exception.

It was not a good feeling, sitting here in our modest east London offices, aware that maybe hundreds of teachers around the world were jabbing away at the "post here" buttons, only to be greeted with the dread message, "Error 403". We could almost feel the vibrations of your frustration. As I know to my shame, computer rage can be just as intense, and just as dangerous, as the variety experienced by motorists on a traffic-locked M25.

So you'll understand why, at 10.58am, spontaneous and sustained applause shook the TES tower to its foundations, as veteran forum user ilovesooty asked: "Do I have the honour of being the first poster?" in the new opinion forum. And why, seven minutes later, there was much groaning and hissing as the site collapsed. Half an hour later, it's up again. Hooray! Oh no, it's back down. Boooo!

Some of our most tenacious posters were hanging on throughout, finding the right window, and posting comments. Well, we invited your criticism and, by God, we got it.

Given how popular the old forums were, we knew there would be some ruffling of feathers. fishandchips put it rather well: "It's like when I was six and my parents redecorated my bedroom without telling me and I hated it..."

Otto Sump complained and explained: "Too fussy, too much going on on the page. But then, I am a curmudgeonly old git, so I had already decided not to like it."

Inky was also unimpressed - "cluttered, pallid, squashed by excess information" -but was soon countered by moonpenny: "Ah, somebody has worked hard on this :-) Well done, website designery people. Ignore this grumpy lot. Lol. :-)."

Of course, we can't ignore any of you; we love the fact that dozens of you are taking the time to tell us in detail what you like and hate about the new site. We've already made several changes on your advice, and will make more.

Over in the personal forum, bauble doesn't like our new colour scheme and asks for the option to switch to "classic view". Hmmm. TES Gold. Now there's an idea.

Bill Hicks is editor of the TES website

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