Feb
2011

A sad day

They have killed Guardian Talk, of which my small corner was Film Unlimited.  No warning, no time to (((hug))) everyone goodbye, exchange contact details, shout “We’ll keep in touch, love youuuuu!”.  Nothing.  A switch was flipped (not really, it’s not run like Frankenstein’s lab) and we were out on our arses.  A pat-on-the-head message replaces over a DECADE of interaction.

I met my wife through those boards. We have a child now; she wouldn’t have existed.  We announced her birth there.  I’ve met so many great people (and not so great) through that board.  I have spent many evenings in the company of these great people (and all the others in the company of my wife), either in real life or online.

Now it’s gone. Gone, gone, gone. Almost ten years for me, ten years of thoughts, ideas, jokes, opinions, arguments, so many things which passed through my mind fell out onto the beautiful, crisp white space of FU.

It’s like losing a friend, having them cut out of your life without warning.  I’m not being precious (maybe a bit) or flippant (not at all) – this is a bereavement.

The wikipedia entry for guardian.co.uk responded immediately with this edit:

In February 2011 The Guardian closed down their talkboards which had been online for over a decade. This was viewed as worse than a thousand Hitlers and widely regarded as being the internet equivalent of what Thatcher did to mining communities in the eighties.

It was also the view of most that The Guardian in closing down the talkboard without warning or consultation were a bunch of gritpypes.

That edit has gone now, and the in-jokes it held will fade soon.  All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain.

16 thoughts on “A sad day

  1. Wow, I just found out about the closing of GUT, 30 days later. I posted a LOT on GU for several years, and it led me into some adventures. In the end, they brought me back to my first love (we initially met in 1974). In the fall of 2002, there was a thread entitled “100 things I want to do before I die.” I read with interest what people had posted, and began my own list. One of those things was to find out whatever happened to my first love. Within 10 days of posting that, I received an email from him (I hadn’t heard from him since 1977).

    A lot of suffering happened between that point in my life to the one where we were reunited.

    We have now been married for almost 4 years and are deliriously happy. Maybe Destiny used GU to make it all happen.

  2. A sad, sad day. The people I met throught the FU board all those years ago mean a lot to me and although I stopped using it (and Twitter, sorry about that Mr Moth), it was always reassuring knowing it and its denizens were still out there.

  3. I find it beyond sad and beyond ignorant that a community of people should have been cut off and closed down without warning or time to say farewell. Subsequent messages and pages to reconcile from the Graun are all very well and good, but strike me as more reacting to pressure and perhaps the work of a few team members at the Graun who were less than enthused by all that happened than any concession from the decision makers to the community they hosted and who helped the Guardian to become one of the most read online news sites internationally.

    It was mentioned in one or two of the tweet obits that this community was a forward thinker, an innovator in social networking terms – well absolutely. Whilst the media world pontificates about a mature social networking world and what it means it ignored one of the oldest, most loved and better developed communities out there. This wasn’t just about gossip. This wasn’t just a venue to vent your views. Although it’s fair to say both happened frequently and often most amusingly. It was a community that almost always came together for people when they needed help and support. Where people found friends online and often this seeped in to a world offline too. Where wives and husbands were found. Where families were founded. And most importantly where people had a voice when they most needed it. I know there were one or two people who used the Boards who suffered depression who might have otherwise shut themselves away from the world, but when they might not have felt capable of going out, they did find themselves capable of coming on to the Boards and meet the assembled community there. It’s a small thing, but no less an important one.

    I’ve been chatting on FU for years. When I say years, I actually mean more than a decade. When I first moved to London it helped me to stay sane, to be able to chat to people about my little obsessions and interests without fear of recrimination. I didn’t meet that many FUers in the flesh, but I met one or two on occasion, and it was always lovely to put faces to online persona’s and learn more about the people whose conversation I enjoyed so much and who kept me entertained on an almost daily basis for over a decade – and yes, even the cantankerous miserable sods. Friday’s closure choked me. Can I survive without FU – well of course I can. But the point is that I don’t want to. If I’d been offered a choice to pay to be a member of a little online club would I have done, absolutely if it meant I could stay in touch with everyone. If I’d been offered forewarning of closure would I have posted contact details and begged everyone to get in touch – you bet your bottom dollar I would and I like to think that they would have too, that I mean as much to them in my small way as they do to me. (Thank goodness that so many FUers adn GUers are such clever clogs and alternatives are already up & running)

    So thank you Moth for trying to voice what we all felt on Friday. And thank you everyone I have met and talked to over the years on FU. “It’s been emotional.”

  4. Come on, all you FUT lot! Get over to the replacement site and especially email all your friends and relatives and get THEM over…

  5. Edited. The reply from the Guardian reads like “We’ll give you a chance to swap emails, then fuck off our land”. A bit. Between the lines.

    Thanks to everyone who’s commented, by the way. I think a lot of us feel the same way; sadness, anger, all that.

  6. Yeah. Very sad. I never posted on Film, but FATGUT became a kind of home from home. Pleased to see I made a brief appearance as a euphemism on Wikipedia, at least.

  7. I’d only just found the talk boards, and now – !!! Been trawling for comments since this outrage happened and found your pertinent remarks.
    Plenty on CiF – taking up large chunks of this general purpose topic:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/25/you-tell-us?commentpage=all#start-of-comments

    and you probably know about this (but others may not:

    http://www.thegraun.com/

    where some clever person has installed the Guts of the lost world of the GU talk boards (haven’t signed up yet, but will keep old ID)

    What is missing from my life right now is somewhere I can let of steam where the ignorant, callous s could be affected by it. Couldn’t we have a virtual flash-mob or sommat?

    Good luck MrMoth -and all the dispossessed.

  8. Thanks for expressing this more elegantly than I’ve so far managed. I don’t know who you are, IRL, or were online, but thanks for this.

    Like so many other people, the idea that the GU boards were merely an online haven for nerds and social inepts is so far wide of the mark that the idea would need a passport to get closer to the mark. Of the small band of people who I regard as genuine friends, only 3 or 4 are not from GU, and yet I’ve gone through life with many friends and I don’t think I could be considered socially inept – inappropriate and plain wrong, perhaps.

    I shared some of the most traumatic times of my life with people on the GU forum (WDYDLN? specifically) and without them I know I would’ve struggled.

    What am I saying, “some of the most traumatic times of my life”? I lost my mother and I nearly died in a motorbike crash, and to a man (and woman) they were there for me. I’m actually welling up a little bit while typing this, such was the impact of knowing that they were there for me. Genuinely there.

    Thank you to all that were there, thank you to all that were annoying pains in the arse, thank you to every person who was a raving nutjob, and thank you to you for putting it so well and giving me somewhere to have a little wibble.

    GU is dead. Long live GU posters.

    Pete.

  9. Hear, hear. Especially the “not being flippant” part. Anyone who says “get a life” or “you need to get out more” … this is part of people’s lives. Wife! Baby! He could hardly have got out less.

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