Few join in Tung Chee-hwa's internet town hall meeting A review will be conducted 'very soon' to gauge public views on Hong Kong's first official online forum, the government said, as doubts grow about the effectiveness of the platform, even among members. Launched in March last year, the 526-member Public Affairs Forum was an initiative by former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa to raise middle-class participation in public affairs after the July 1 rallies in 2003 and 2004. Members include academics, engineers, lawyers, architects, businessmen and other social leaders. A year on, many have stopped posting views on the forum, as they have become disillusioned about its usefulness and how much their views count in major government policy deliberations. One member, Democrat Stanley Ng Wing-fai, criticised the way views are edited before they are posted on the forum, while another, who preferred anonymity, asked: 'Do you think Donald Tsang [Yam-kuen] will take notice of the forum, since it was created by Tung Chee-hwa?' There are now a total of 21 topics and 56 online polls being posted for discussion, ranging from a review of domestic rent policy and future development of the electricity market to regulation of amusement game centres. A discussion on the mandatory building inspection scheme attracted the most postings - 115 - up to March 15. As of January, there had been 1,500 postings made since March last year, and 2,600 hits had been recorded on the voting page. Mr Ng said the forum administrator, the Home Affairs Bureau, should stop editing posted views for public consumption. Mr Ng had earlier complained that his posting had been unfairly edited by officials. A Home Affairs Bureau spokeswoman said the postings contained publicity material for his party, which was against forum rules. Lawyer Leung Kai-cheung, also a member, said he believed it was time to revamp the forum to make it more effective. 'While it has its value in the fact that it gives people a channel to express their views on municipal affairs - which is different from the high-level views they discuss in the Commission for Strategic Development - there is a need to study its effectiveness,' Mr Leung said. 'The government really has to do a cost-effectiveness study as part of the review exercise.' A bureau spokeswoman said a review would be conducted 'very soon' to decide the future of the forum, but at this stage it would not be scrapped. She said it was hard to know how often forum views were taken into account during the policy-making process because the collected postings were passed to various departments. The public can access the topics and summaries of discussions at https://www.forum.gov.hk/en/index.asp .