Guardian blogs can sometimes be a bit of a bearpit, while over at the sport/football sections you piss off your readership at your peril. So, when that part of the Guardian’s site got an overhaul, collective breath must have be drawn by editors and readers alike to see what the response would be.
But pre-empting this came guardian.co.uk’s sport editor, Sean Ingle, with an excellent example of how to engage and interact with your online readership. His blog post explained why they’d mad the changes, what was new and asked for feedback.
And feedback he got. Lots of it. But, here’s the impressive thing, a regular intervals Ingle popped up in the comments to address the assorted points brought up, explaining why certain things couldn’t be done, noting small tweaks that could be made, and on a couple of occasions , thanking people in the comments who’d pointed out a few missing bits or oversights. One comment cheekily asked if the sports site was hiring, to which Ingle responded ‘Maybe. Send me your CV.’
The thread was one of the most civil and intelligent I’ve seen, and benefited both the site and the readership but engaging with regular users and taking their points on board seriously. I’ve lost count of the number of defensive responses I’ve seen in other places when change has been made – Ingle’s thread should be held up as a model example of why bloggers and columnists should engage in the comments on their threads., as both sides can get an great deal out of the resulting discussion.
[And yes, I like the Guardian’s football and sport sites as lot. It’s intelligent, funny, and one of the first sites I visit every morning, and while the redesign does take a bit of adjusting to, I reckon the site will get even better].