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End of the road for RIBANet

This Friday (28 February) marks the end of the road for RIBANet, when the self-help, closed-door internet forum for members is officially shut down

According to the RIBA, numbers had dwindled to less than 0.1 per cent of the RIBA’s membership. The institute also claimed that it was costing £500 per head to keep the service going for its 30 regular users.

The move has been criticised by RIBANet’s fans, who have branded the closure ‘a needlessly hasty piece of IT vandalism’.

However, RIBANet user William Sutherland of Lake District-based WS Architecture has already stepped in to fill the void. Bemused by the institute’s decision and as a demonstration of what was possible without huge financial support, the architect, ‘threw together a free forum in about four minutes’.

In less than three weeks the private, architect-only forum – at http://architecture.boardhost.com – already has 62 registered users.

Sutherland seemed laid-back about its future, adding: ‘We’ll continue to tweak how it works in whichever way the community would like.

‘There is no drive for members particularly. If architects like it and find it useful they will join, if not, they will go elsewhere.’

Readers' comments (7)

  • William Sutherland

    Thank you for the mention and the url of the new forum.

    In setting up the 'rescue' forum I have been very touched by messages of support from small practices, sole practitioners and retired architects who all dropped in to ribanet as means of keeping in touch.

    William Sutherland
    Ambleside

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  • Although RIBANet will go tomorrow it will be interesting to see how the RIBA deals with the knowledge base it contains, for there is a wealth of information in in. I suspect that being of the ether rather than in hard copy it will not recognise its value and all will be destroyed.

    Burning books comes to mind.

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  • The RIBAnet forum has been a very valuable resource, but its use declined thanks to the RIBA's lack of support or promotion to its members. It is a great shame that the RIBA does not value such a useful communication tool. Now it has gone, I wonder why I am spending nearly £400 a year to be a member of the RIBA?

    Thanks to the efforts of one ex RIBAnetter, William Sutherland, the new forum is now far more healthy than RIBAnet was in its dying throes.

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  • PHILLIP THOMAS

    The RIBA have consistently under-supported Ribanet citing twitter and Linkedin as viable alternatives.
    They both, patently, are not.
    They are not closed and they do not have the excellent peer control that Ribanet had and ArchitectNet already enjoys.
    The RIBA has promised a replacement, but not starting until 2015.
    A group of users met with the RIBA over a year ago and were promised consultation and input, neither of which have been forthcoming.
    Despite supposedly being a Member Institute the RIBA just doesn't seem to get the value of this sort of simple, peer to peer forum, but is blinded by social media fora hype.
    Disappointing? Yes.
    Will the RIBA listen and take note? No.
    How much are they spending on the new website, that could include access to and promotion of ArchitectNet and how much longer will it take?? Who knows - members certainly don't.
    Phillip Thomas
    Cheltenham

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  • The last bit of RIBA that was relevant to my small practice - first they bludgeoned through financial reporting in the chartered practice, so we left that scheme, then they shut down the only RIBA service I actually use, making my 'membership' fee a vanity payment - so this will be the last year I succumb!

    Thanks to William for stepping in to fill the void - though I note that RIBA intend to have a replacement ready for 2015! (you could not make it up!).

    If you are an architect (ARB registered) then come and join the conversation, it is like having a room full of expert friendly colleagues - and nothing like the slanging match that is the Linked-in "forum".

    James Holmes-Siedle
    All Clear Designs

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  • William Sutherland

    Just announced that Ribanet will finally close at 4pm on Friday 7th March 2014.

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  • William Sutherland

    I don't mind helping out (via the ArchitectNet forum) but having elderly retired members contact me confused and angry (thinking I'm the riba) after architect friends have told them what the riba clearly has not, that their email service will stop tomorrow, I could do without.

    Not reporting the closure in any of the riba's media outpourings, the practice newsletter or even by personal email to everyone who might be using the service looks like a ploy to minimise bad press and protest (or am I just being cynical?)

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