Tom Cannavan in Chile on his barrel throne ready to receive homage!
Time as the last showers of a typically wet English Bank Holiday clear away for a few reflections about wine bulletin boards
Let’s start with some thoughts from Jamie Goode (the wine anorak) following the news that the bulletin board on erobertparker.com will henceforth be open to subscribers only:
'The death of the wine bulletin board?
Just heard the news that the erobertparker.com wine forum is to go subscriber-only (see the announcement at http://dat.erobertparker.com/bboard/). While I can understand the reasons for this, I think it’s a mistake. The move to hide material behind paywalls limits the number of readers, viewers or listeners, and in any form of media, eyeballs (or ears for some?) are the currency. You really want as big an audience as possible. I’m not sure that erobertparker crew have ‘got’ web2.0 at all.
Times change. These days, online fora are being replaced by social networks – a sort of distributed model of communication, which is hard to control (so big media treat it with suspicion), but is actually more vibrant and compelling. Twitter, Facebook and Blogs are where it’s at if you want to connect with fellow wine nuts online.’
Jamie may be right, although I fancy he has rather overstated his case.
It is nothing new for a wine bulletin board to be open to paying subscribers only – as far as I know Jancis Robinson’s forum on her Purple Pages has always been subscriber only.
With one notable exception I’m not a great visitor of wine bulletin boards – I was a very occasional visitor to the erobert forum and equally occasionally I glance at the winelovers’ board. However, I’m a regular participant on Tom Cannvan’s civilised wine forum of www.wine-pages.com and I can’t see any signs of imminent mortality here – rather the reverse.
The wine-pages forum was founded in April 2004 with Tom Cannavan as the first member to register on 26th April. Member number 3538 signed up yesterday. Incidentally the latest member is from the USA, so perhaps someone who was formerly on the erobert board…
As of 17.36 on Monday 3rd May 2010, 21,967 threads and 363,533 posts had been made on the wine-forum, which has also spawned other fora, including beer, whisky and an off-line forum where members organise frequent themed wine meals. The leading poster is the remarkable Keith Prothero, who has clocked up 17,494 posts since he signed up on 29th April 2004. This means an average of eights posts a day and just under 3000 a year. His closest challenger, Alex Lake, is now on 12,084 and is the only other member of the wine-pages to have topped the 10,000 mark. There are 17 members with over 5000 posts to their ‘credit’, assuming this is a fitting description for such industry!
Debate on wine-pages is as I have already indicated civilised and members are welcoming to newcomers and happy to pass on tips and suggestions. Sadly wine-pages is male dominated but perhaps this is true of other wine bulletin boards or perhaps even bulletin boards as a whole. There are no regular female contributors to wine-pages. Also, although there are over 3500 members, only just over 300 have made more than 100 posts.
A number of regulars on wine-pages have their own blogs, are on Facebook and some may even – twatter – but none of these media, I suspect, offers quite the same sense of community as a good bulletin board.