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"Learning To Talk": Ask A Question

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Nick Reynolds Nick Reynolds | 12:10 UK time, Thursday, 3 July 2008

Are blogs like this one a useful way of newspapers and media companies reaching out to readers, viewers and users and becoming more accountable?

Or are they yet more meaningless electronic chit-chat, or worse still corporate spin?

Those are hopefully some of the questions we will be debating at a panel discussion called:

learning_to_talk.jpg

"Learning To Talk: Blogs, Media and Accountabilty"

Dates, venue etc: 5.30 on the Monday 14th July in the Council Chamber in Broadcasting House, Portand Place, London.

On the panel will be Paula Carter (Viewers' editor, Channel 4), Siobhain Butterworth (Readers' editor, The Guardian), Steve Herrmann, (editor, BBC News Online) and me.

Asking the questions (breaking technology stories permitting) will be Rory Cellan Jones (Technology Correspondent, BBC News).

This is a public event but by invitation only. So if you want to come make a request on the Facebook event page, indicate your interest on the Upcoming page or leave a comment and I'll get in touch with you.

If you'd like to ask the panel a question please do leave a comment on this post.

To kick things off I thought this column by Siobhain raised an interesting question which was relevant to blog. Siobhain says she "struggles with" the practice of comment columns by politicians in newspapers sometimes being ghost written.

What about blog posts? Are there any circumstances when a blog post can be ghost written?

If have any other questions for the panel please do leave a comment.

Nick Reynolds is editor, BBC Internet blog

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Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I'd like to attend this panel discussion and think I would have something to contribute. I'm the community editor at ZDNet.co.uk, which provides a space for members to post blogs: http://community.zdnet.co.uk/. My email address is karen.friar@zdnet.co.uk.

  • Comment number 2.

    Your "owl" logo is backwards!

  • Comment number 3.

    Interesting that this should crop up now. I'm increasingly starting to feel as those these BBC blogs (the only media related blogs I view) are nothing more than introspective navel gazing and a platform for the BBC to seek to justify it's actions.

    I'd love to know just how many hours are being taken up by BBC employees, who are funded by license-payers, to write a lot of the drivel that appears within these blogs.

    It still waiting for the BBC canteen staff to have their own blog but other than these employees (are they sub-contracted I wonder), it's beginning to appear as though you have to be prepared to write a blog to get a contract with the BBC at the moment.

    Many of the technical and editorial blog posts that I've read on this site over the last 4-5 months have contained ill-informed opinion, self promoting spin and defenses of BBC policy dressed up as 'a desire for public interaction'.

    I don't want my license fee to be spent on the BBC telling me about 'the challenges we've overcome to develop iPlayer 2.0,' or defending yourself regarding 'why we rescheduled Beeb 1 programs around Andy Murray (and by the way just think how lucky we are to have so many ways of watching BBC output),' or 'being calm, fair and balanced'.

    I pay may license fee for you to ensure that you are doing these things - so could you kindly get on with it and spend less time on the blogging!

  • Comment number 4.

    It is important to be able to track good judgement. If some commentator continually
    generates eloquence and abstraction but a lack of validity it is good to know. If someone continually produces meaningless chit-chat or spin, it is good to know who is doing this. Of course there will be abuses, like spam comments (viral advertisers) and ghost blogs but if someone posts something significant there will come a time where it is challenged and saying it wasn't directly authored doesn't really help with the credibility of the blogger's views. You could examine the people that aren't prepared to create any tangible personal record of decisions, choices and views and draw your own conclusions. Genuine blogs also save time in not having to have repeated discussions about whether someone actually posted something or not.

    To "articulate" #3:

    1) Is your post a criticism of blogs in general or just the BBC's?

    2) What would convince you that they were not "navel gazing" and a platform for someone "to seek to justify actions"? Can you give an example of a good blog that you feel has value?

    It doesn't take long to post blog comments which are often notes about on going discussion and thoughts (10 minutes?). If there is drivel, just post why it is drivel with evidence, if it's ill-informed, inform it, spin, cut through it etc.

    What blog subjects would you like to see? Without a blog, how would you communicate your views for peer review and discussion?

  • Comment number 5.

    marko - thanks for your comment and questions.

    My post is specifically a comment regarding the BBC blogs, which as I say I'm finding increasingly ill conceived.

    The other blogs I'd look at on anything approaching a frequent basis are all individual personal blogs and do not come under any corporate banner.

    And I think you highlight the problem with the BBC blogs in your post yourself.

    A blog comment is generally meant to take just a few minutes to author, and that's fine when it's an individual blogging. But in this situation you have individuals blogging on behalf of the Beeb.

    It's difficult to see how it's possible to have a blog posting "notes about ongoing discussion and thoughts" jotted down in 10 mins, which have also gone through what one hopes are strict BBC editorial procedures. The outcome, it seems to me, is that the editorial procedures are being bypassed to a great degree on some of these blogs.

    You ask for examples - the quotes in my penultimate paragraph in no. 3 above were meant to reflect what I consider to be examples of inappropriate blogs posted on this site recently.

    At work I'd never think it was best practice to come out of an internal office meeting and then go and phone my clients/customers with al of the details of that meeting. And that's exactly what some of these Beeb blogs are beginning to feel like - internal memos that have been posted for all and sundry to see.

    That is what, in my opinion, gives these blogs an introverted, navel-gazing feel. Here's a great example of what I mean, in an extract from Simon Thompson (Mashed TV - 30-06-08)

    "To solve the problem, it was decided that the Powerpoint needed to go into the Digital TV feed I was using - so off I went, armed with an old Linux box, and a couple of commercial pieces of TV hardware to make a TV service to show the Powerpoint."

    Don't take it personally Simon, but quite frankly I don't care, I don't need to know and I'm guessing few others do either! Just get on with your job that I'm paying my TV license for you to do.

    Finally for now you suggest, "without a blog, how would you communicate your views for peer review and discussion?"

    But surely this is just the point. As a member of the general public, I shouldn't be regarded as a peer of a someone, who hopefully, has been trained, educated and resourced to do their specific job.

    Yes its important that the Beeb consult with those that are paying for the service they are providing, but we are paying for them to do the the job - not for us to do it for them.

  • Comment number 6.

    articulate: You make it seem as if the blogs in themselves lack value. I found Simon's blog on Mashed very interesting. I didn't attend Mashed, so the blog was the only way I'd ever get to know about the technical aspects of what Simon was discussing. You may not care, but other people do!

    Whether that's enough people to justify the hour or so it probably took to write that blog post, is another issue. Equally whether Mashed is worth the BBC's time is another issue. "I didn't benefit from it, so why should the BBC spend money on it?"

    I find blogs like Simon's and any that give more information on how the BBC works both technically and 'politically' very interesting and makes the BBC more worthy of my license fee.

  • Comment number 7.

    articulate: I guess it really depends on what you're interested in.

    Being interested in the techy side of things, I find that particular post you highlighted quite interesting.

    I think the BBC blogs are a good thing, provided that too much time isn't spent on them. I enjoy having an informal style of communication from the BBC.

    It allows me to see the challenges faced by, for example, the average web designer at the BBC, and relate to it.

    The whole point of blogs (for me at least), is that they are informal, and I welcome the fact that they may bypass certain editorial criteria.

    We all use the BBC for different things. I feel I get a lot out of the BBC, but I don't necessarily listen to a lot of BBC radio. However, I don't feel my license fee is wasted on it. (Yes, I know it's not quite a fair comparison... but do you see my point?)

  • Comment number 8.

    The problem is there are two extremes of opinion that the BBC and the users have to try to balance off.

    1) Those, such as yourself, you believe that we (licence fee payers) pay the BBC's employees just to get on and do the job properly without having to blog all about it all the time.

    and

    2) Those who believe that, as licence payers, we are entitled to expect the BBC's employees to give us chapter and verse on what they are doing and why and to justify spending our money on it.

    Not an easy balance to achieve, but I think the BBC overall do pretty well, and I do read a lot of the blogs here frequently.

    Given the number of blog posts I have seen recently which are followed by both of the following types of user comments:

    "What is the point of this blog, surely you should just get on with it"

    and

    "That's not good enough, licence payers need to know more"

    I reckon they get the balance about right.

    :o)

  • Comment number 9.

    This will be my last post on this issue as I'm not as negative on these Beeb blogs as perhaps I've come across. That said I do feel my concerns are justified.

    I'll try to answer some of the comments directed towards me in last few posts briefly.

    Firstly I'm certainly not against blogs in general - I think they can be a very constructive communication mechanism, although I do think they have a tendency towards becoming introspective as I've stated above.

    Secondly, although I've changed career now, I've worked in IT / systems development for 15 years and still have an interest in IT in general - otherwise I wouldn't spend time looking over some of the Beeb blogs I do.

    And so again I'll reiterate / rephrase what perhaps my main concerns with these blogs are.

    The Beeb have a charter as a public broadcaster - TV / radio / web and for my money they do that really well (I'm loving watching Wimbledon in HD as I type). But as a publicly funded broadcaster their charter is to broadcast and not to spend time telling us the "everyday trials of an employee of the beeb".

    And so perhaps more seriously and leading on from that, I'm a little concerned that what we are increasingly seeing from the Beeb, especially in terms of news coverage; is a far smaller percentage of time / effort on actually reporting the news and a far greater percentage of time / resources being spent on editorial comment on the news.

    Personally, I'd prefer less of the editorial comment as I'll make up my own mind on what's being reported, rather than take the BBC line. But it's not just how it affects me personally, I'm concerned that, as a nation we are increasingly being told what the BBC think, rather than hearing the facts and then deciding what to think for ourselves.

    Where my concern for the blogs comes into this is that editorial comment being made on some of these blogs (due to the nature of blogs) isn't necessarily the official line of the Beeb, and won't necessarily have gone through the strict editorial procedures that are required of other broadcasting channels.

    So, if they BBC as a corporation take (for example) an anti-Microsoft stance they could do, and then could be held accountable for it. But why should someone like Darren Walters, who in my mind appears decidedly anti-MS, be given a platform to freely and informally post his own personal views on stuff.

    So the BBC have a charter for publicly funded broadcasting. They have no charter to give their employees a platform to give their own personal slant on things as far as I'm aware.

    Hope I've been able to convey some of my concerns clearly even if others don't agree with them. And thanks for all the discussion on the issues to all those who have posted.

  • Comment number 10.

    Articulate - I think you're confusing a "personal" tone with "personal opinion".

    The BBC should not have a "line" pro or anti anything and certainly not have an "anti-Microsoft" line. Neither should its' reporters.

    But a more personal and informal tone is exactly what blogs are good at.

    Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet blog).

  • Comment number 11.

    Well for someone who had written their last post on this apologies are firstly in order at the beginning of this reply.

    Thanks for replying Nick, but I'm sorry blogs like "Five tasks for Microsoft post-Bill" - (DW 30-06-8) aren't merely written in a "personal tone", they are full of "personal opinion".

    Unless that is, Darren and others, are speaking on behalf of the BBC in their blogs and therefore giving the corporation's "opinion", line, stance, call it what you like, on the future of Microsoft - then clearly it's not merely his "personal" opinion.

    Stating Microsoft need to be more open to open source, and that they should move on from Vista because it's been a failure isn't merely tone - it's comment.

    My personal opinion is that Microsoft can relate to open source in whatever they wish and that within a free market they shouldn't be hampered at all by state regulation. But the point is - that is "my personal" opinion.

    As a general rule, surely whenever anyone says anything via any medium, it's not merely tone that is being conveyed, hopefully there's some content in there as well.

    To say that "the BBC should not have a "line" pro or anti anything" is surely naive if you're going to write editorials about anything at all. The whole point of editorial comment, whether on a blog or elsewhere is to not merely to report the news but to pass comment on it.

    Before I go, again please don't think my main concern is that the Beeb are anti-Microsoft, or that I've particularly got something against Darren Walters or Simon Thompson. My concern is that I'm not sure the informal and personal medium of blogs is the best way for staff of a corporation to convey comment, unless you are happy for them to be official spokes-people for that corporation.

    I totally agree with you that blogs are excellent at giving an opinion in a personal, informal tone and that's great - the question is who's opinion are these "personal" blogs giving.

  • Comment number 12.

    articulate - again I think you are confusing "personal opinion" with "professional judgement and analysis".

    As a technology specialist Darren is paid precisely to provide this kind of analysis on blogs and elsewhere.

    That doesn't mean it's either his "personal opinion" or "the BBC's opinion".

    The blog you refer to actually shows how blogging can strengthen the BBC's impartiality - the comments on the blog give a wide range of views and reactions to Darren's thoughts, and he responds to them. That all adds up to a more complete picture than you would get with a conventional news story.

    It just has a more informal tone, that's all.

    Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet blog)

  • Comment number 13.

    Are you inviting some of the current 'top blogging talent' to this event eg Guido et al, or is this an opportunity for just the Guardian and BBC people to 'naval gaze' about their own internal blogging issues....?

  • Comment number 14.

    silverfoxuk - suggest some names and I'll try and invite them. But the session isn't really about political blogging. If Guido wants to come he can ask on Facebook.

    Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet blog)

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    The BBC Editors blog, i find, has sometimes strayed into the realms of defending output, such as the recent bulldozer incident with the shooting of the person involved.

    However, on balance, i believe a blog is the best way to "defend" or "justify" the actions of the BBC in a way that doesnt infringe on actual programming time.

    Also, it gives a good insight into BBC editorial policy in action, in those grey areas where it might be ok and it might not be ok to show something. It shows what the BBC editors are thinking, and should be widely encouraged, seeing as they are accountable to the license fee paying public.

    The Editors blog is one of the best blogs on the BBC.

    As far as blogs being ghost written - no. There is no conceivable way to ghost write a blog. Maybe you could phone a blog into an office if you can't get to a computer, but only if it is written word for word. But with email on phones, internet cafes, wifi, mobile internet, etc, there is no excuse to leave a blog to be ghost written. It is the personal thoughts of the writer that matter, not the conservative views of a professional writer/spin doctor type person.

    Andrew

  • Comment number 17.

    Politicians often make speeches written for them by a speech writer. The White House Press Secretary is the primary spokesperson for the President`s administration; it is understood that they are speaking on behalf of the administration and represent its opinions and policies (as well as spinning bad news). Government ministers rely on answers written by civil servants when answering questions at Westminster.

    In which case the answer might depend on whether a blog is designed to communicate an organisation`s views and positions, rather than those of an individual, regardless of whose name it appears under?

    As you raised the topic of `confusing a `personal` tone with `personal opinion``.
    I don`t mind a blog being written by someone with `personal opinions` providing that it is flagged as being an opinion piece. Most other media sites do have columnists, either regular contributors (bloggers) or guests. The closest the BBC has to this is The Green Room. I wouldn’t mind if the BBC had bloggers expressing personal opinions. I imagine one by J. Clarkson would be wildly popular [if expensive] for example. Why not open up the range of blogs to those with opinions?

  • Comment number 18.

    You ask the questions 'are blogs like this useful' and 'are they meaningless corporate spin'. The answer to both questions is "yes, but..."

    An short, it depends on the blog, the blogger and the quality of the blog post. A good corporate blog should provide a personal voice, and be willing to take on board criticism.

    I've got to say I don't think the Beeb is too bad at this: possibly a little too corporate and not quite personal enough but that depends on which 'Editor' is posting.

    But a bad corporate blog is a corporate spin one, because it becomes an unread joke, as does one which doesn't respond to comments. And usually these amount to the same thing. A blog is about having a dialogue with your readers, not just about another delivery channel for the spin you want to put on something...

    These sorts of blogs maybe are a way of appearing to be accountable, but I think the online publishing phenomenon makes organisations accountable anyway -- if the BBC say something outrageous and didn't have it talked about on THEIR blog, it would be publicly discussed elsewhere...

    And to me, a ghostwritten personal blog is a blog by someone who doesn't understand the point of blogging in the first place. But that would surprise me little with our politicos...

    Anyway, here's a few questions:

    1) Do mainstream media feel the need to respond to criticism made in blogs (not their own hosted ones, but others)?

    2) Is it ever right to redact/retract a post after the fact? (in the case of corrections, i would mean changing the original post as opposed to adding an 'Update:' bit)

    3) What do the people at the BBC (e.g. the Editors) get out of blogging? Do they feel it is worthwhile?

  • Comment number 19.

    The blogs are worthwhile for the most part.

    They're not as chaotic as HYS, without nearly as many opinionated knee jerking ranters.

    They're also better moderated.

    They give people the chance to have more in-depth feedback and interaction with the people responsible for producing the news.

    They *can* be one way to clear up misunderstandings - assuming the audience is receptive to begin with, of course.

    They're a lot less "formal" than news items - especially tech ones. Rather than having to dumb things down totally, reporters can get more involved with the things they write about, because they can "reasonably" assume their blog's audience is more targeted.

    But there is a downside, especially in "The Editors" - it sometimes feels the blogs are being used as a criticism-deflecting "mea culpa" vehicle.

    This might *seem* to be "A Good Thing"™, but given the BBC's knee-jerk abject anguish, obsequious groveling, and self-flagellation over everything and anything in the post-Kelley governmental tightening of the leash environment, causing corporate terror, it detracts from the overall "trust" in the blogs as being a more "informal" information channel.

    Some blogs, such as The Editors, can be valuable in explaining editorial decisions to the public. The question is, does using them in the fashion noted above really add to their integrity and public perception, or damage it in the minds of the public?

  • Comment number 20.

    Thanks for your questions and keep them coming.

    Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC internet blog)

  • Comment number 21.

    Healthy criticism often sharpens the writings of editors and creates essential exchange of view-points. Any editor worth his or her salt thrives on constructive criticism, suggestions. The BBC in particular is at the international forefront of news-gathering, comment and shapes people's views on a wide array of subjects. The editors' role is so very important and carries huge responsibilties and challenge. Readers have a golden opportunity to express their heart-felt views. Editors are then able to take on board valuable suggestions which could be a boon to the reading ang viewing public. So the blogs should be a permanent feature.

  • Comment number 22.

    I am somewhat suspicious and disenchanted about censorship by BBC editors in this forum or on HYS in regard to some topics... such as criticism of Israeli apartheid policies in Gaza and the West Bank... or criticism of $audi Arabia funding construction of "hate mosques" in Europe... or any cogent commentary that suggests that the DOCTRINE OF PERPETUAL GROWTH of the global economy and the global human population is insane and un$ustainable.

    My pen can probably out-write most of the editors herein, but it has an unfortunate proclivity for being bluntly and brutally frank and candid. A good example is the following question: Is Israel a democracy... or a radical Zionist theocracy?

    I wonder if THIS commentary will get posted. Chances are slim.

  • Comment number 23.

    Nick Reynolds: IMHO I think there are several reasons for blogs such as those from the BBC and Guardian.

    1) It provides an immediate outlet for information without waiting for a broadcast or print slot;

    2) It vastly increase the range of comment and information as there is no need to stick to the length of a slot on radio or TV, or dead tree space in a newspaper;

    3) It can keep an organization and/or blogger honest because it provide a space for errors of fact or judgement to be flagged up immediately;

    4) It also provides those who comment to have a conversation with each other;

    5) It provides instant access to a wider worldwide community, so the perspective on events is much wider;

    6) It provides inspiration for the blogger or organization;

    7) For those in "the Westminster Village" or "White City" or "Broadcasting House", they can have a better barometer of changing public mood.

    There are downsides:

    1) The green ink brigade can act as trolls. This can either be organized (like the logofreetv mob) or random (like the constant complaints about metric measures)

    2) Some bloggers never respond to any of the comments provided. This isn't simply rude, but undermines the purpose of a blog. Even if it is just "thank you for your comments" this overrides the temptation to broadcast rather than network.

    3) It is easy to adopt an unsuitable tone when disagreeing.

    I would therefore propose that:

    1) Blogs are better categorised into 'corporate communications' (such as an apology), 'personal opinion' (like CiF), 'broadcasts' (going to be unread by the contributor) and 'analysis' (like here)

    2) A commitment from the blogger to make at least ONE reply to any comments provided.

    3) Better support for cross-referencing with other sites. BBC Blogs don't allow URLs to be posted, CiF does. It is often very handy to point to facts and opinion on other sites.

  • Comment number 24.

    The BBC blogs are pretty interesting, but far more interesting are those run by individuals, like Guido Fawkes. These people are not part of the media establishment (yet) and are in a much better position to scrutinise and hold to account large organisations like the BBC.

    This is even more true in the US, where blogs contain far more information than the toothless corporate lap dogs that form the main stream media.

  • Comment number 25.

    The BBC blogs serve several useful purposes and they do affect the BBC employees who see them.

    The best (and perhaps also the worst) aspect is their individuality.

    Some, such as the WHYS blog, are designed to run up a maximum number of "hits" and thus involve a lot of listeners who have almost nothing worthwhile to contibute.

    Others have experienced, thoughtful and original people making worthwhile observations.

    One particular blog will eventually give the BBC a bad reputation. This is run with ostensible fairness, but is heavily filtered by the management to foster Israeli propaganda. In an amazing editorial practice, any postings giving examples of such bias or responding are censored out.

    Here, the idea of a popular blog or call-in program is a good one, but the particular management is not ethically or intellectually qualified to pull it off.

    The solution would be to change the management, not the blog.

  • Comment number 26.

    I do love the BBC Blogs but sometimes I can't help but feel that a lot of them are written to answer viewers' concerns, but they never actually DO answer them. They merely toe the corporate line and provide no more information beyond that which we already knew.

    What I would like to see is the people who write these blogs READING the comments posted by users thereafter and responding to them after a week or so.

    If you want to be truly interactive then there's no point just using the blogs as propaganda. Take the opportunity to engage with your audience.

  • Comment number 27.

    Just read 26 blogs, imho (notice no caps, I'm sort of a low key guy), best quote was from articulate, "So the BBC have a charter for publicly funded broadcasting. They have no charter to give their employees a platform to give their own personal slant on things as far as I'm aware." and, ....worst, least factual, convoluted and wordy at 12:14
    I'm a teacher and learn daily from the blogs and have your say(s) from BBC.
    My only suggestions are to use your software to implement subtopics. That way the readers as well as the bloggers would be able to easily be more on topic. And, I listen to "As it Happens" from Canada each night. I believe the subject matter of their topics would be excellent blog topics here. Thanks again for having these forums of communication.

  • Comment number 28.

    Hi Braintist

    You can include URLS . Unfortunately you need to include the HTML mark up which isn't ideal.

    We intend to fix this v.soon.

    BBC Internet Blog

  • Comment number 29.

    Blog-based accountability for programme editors sounds well-meaning but is likely to be too defensive and too much of a distraction from their main work (if taken seriously).

    My preference is for some BBC blog-accountability. If someone had the brief of blog (and blogger) watching, that would be an interesting way of developing the BBC blog community. Someone with a light touch- I am thinking of the byline pieces in the broadsheet press's media weekly supplements.

    An element of accountability IS needed for the blogs. Example: Brian Taylor the Scottish politics blogger hasn't filed copy for several days now and we are in the throes of a fascinating by-election campaign in Glasgow East which could turn out to be momentous for both Scottish politics and British politics. Last time I looked there were 314 posts in reply to his now out-of date piece, and the comments keep coming- there is phenomenal interest there. But there is no-one showing awareness of that interest (and thereby promoting the blog), no-one to ask about Brian's absence, nowhere to post him a get-well soon card if that is what is needed!

    How about it?

    Best wishes for the debate.

  • Comment number 30.

    It seems a serious mistake to delegate the handling of a blog.

    NEWSHOUR asks for comments, yet comments directed to NEWSHOUR are redirected to WORLD HAVE YOUR SAY.

    Thus, a serious break in communications, ethics and responsibility will have occurred.

    Integrity requires that an ethical program, such as NEWSHOUR, handle its own blog.

  • Comment number 31.

    probably too late, but:

    You need to clearly mark blogs as being "personal editorial opinion" or somesuch.

    Almost every time I go to a bbc blog (like justin webb's america) half the posts are claiming "this is biased, it isn't neutral, etc.."

    Some people clearly don't get the difference between News and a Blog. But I can't say I blame them when the BBC doesn't seem to have any kind of disclaimer.

    Personally, I find hearing candidly about some of the behind the scenes issues interesting... but it needs to be clearly differentiated.

    (and there HAS been a little TOO MUCH navel gazing and self promotion at times. )

  • Comment number 32.

    Jem: Whenever I make post with a URL in it, it just disappears! Perhaps it is only BBC people who can post URLs?

  • Comment number 33.

    I have contributed to these blogs since they first started.

    From my perspective the editors blogs are not the conversation we were promised. They do serve many a purpose but the editors have nearly all failed to take part. Write the blog and move on seems to be the approach, from the outsiders eye of course. Vanity would suggest that editors do trawl through the comments and read them, with very few ever daring to enter the frey. (you are an exception here)

    I find the blogs are useful for the audience because they a very public forum where the editors can be questioned directly and we can publish our own opinions. I have a blog which regularly gets 6 views a month so the chance to put your words on a forum which will have such a wide readership is to good to pass up.

    The BBC blogs seem to be going sour though, the level of one comment posters for me detracts from any ongoing 'discussions', the random moderating (if you cant get a post on during the day the same one can often be passed in the small hours of the morning) and more worryingly the downright censorship, some comments never make even though they seem to comply with the rules.

    Most frustrating though are the amount of editors who never reply. Some editors have never posted a reply to any of the comments on their blogs. As I say not the conversation we were promised.

  • Comment number 34.

    The WHYS blog serves to give a wide audience the feeling that they may be part of the BBC and should serve to increase interest in the BBC.

    To attempt to use the WHYS blog to handle comment directed to serious and ethical news programs is a serious mistake.

    I can be very specific, but those responsible for WORLD UPDATE, NEWSHOUR, etc. should seriously examine this question.

  • Comment number 35.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 36.

    Blogs are individual and intimate and the space we share is based upon trust, which these days is rarely found on the net. ghost-written blogs subvert the very concept.

  • Comment number 37.

    jimthought

    I have come to the conclusion that these blogs are used to blunt criticisms by allowing contributors to exhaust themselves undermining one another.
    Two items on which the BBC has avoided action and failed to give explanations, although there is ample evidence that viewers are worried about them.

    1 The drums beating behind the News and many other programs.

    2 The presentation of the

  • Comment number 38.

    Commenting on the Darfur issue, I believe that one of the main reasons that the west has not got involved militarily in Sudan or any African conflict was because of the events that took place in Somalia back in 1992-93. This was evident with the Rwanda in genocide in 1994, and is apparent now in Sudan.

  • Comment number 39.

    I understand some of Xie_Ming reservations about the beeb blog world.
    We will all probably hear from the some of the american side how anti semetic the beeb is and how pro Obama the beeb is, despite the fact that there has yet to be a really positive report about Obama to date.
    and rarely gives body counts for dead palistinians when it always gives number and names to the Israeli victims.

    bbc america's justin has brought us another of those about obama blogs. hitting back, where despite Obama's stance of if we need to comprimise to get some where but I do not like it and will wait and see aproach, again the bbc 's justin has said

    "That is the case with Obama too - he can flip flop all over the place with relative impunity provided that he looks serious on gas when voting time comes."

    from someone educated at oxbridge I would have thought he could report the truth rather than joining in with the right wing(though I suspect he is a dem ( oh but a hillery dem)) in promoting the twisting of words that has been persistant during the american election cycle.

    the BBC is meant to report fairly, that means truthfully.

    and it should be up to it's editors to not make up stuff to get a discussion going.

    maybe justin thinks there has been u turn by obama.
    i would like to be able to pull out in 16 months if all diplomatic efforts are going well.


    Obama says pull out.

    that is about the level I have read and it is disgusting.
    but I will carry on throwing in my scoop of manure to the mix.

    As for the url problem.

    look for ed ingleharts yoda says

  • Comment number 40.

    should add that there are some blogs Im interested in that have ended up in my beeboids folder in my RSS reader. It doesnt mean theres a lot of BBC stuff in all of them. Sometimes far from it.Now the BBC is using boatloads of Javascript and false popups to clutter up the browsing experience? Having a little little window which appears gambling online casino over-top of the webpage Im trying to read helps nothing. It disrupts my regular workflow, where I would load that content in a new window or tab, from which I can further navigate the content in a useful manner. Also the popup window does not interact with my window manager, which can make things confusing and/or difficult to manage.How does this improve anything?

  • Comment number 41.

    You could examine the people that aren't prepared to create any tangible personal record of decisions, choices and views and draw your own conclusions. Genuine blogs also save time in not having to have repeated discussions about whether someone actually posted something or not. http://www.birsesver.com

 

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