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Comments and making our coverage more social

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Alex Gubbay Alex Gubbay | 09:25 UK time, Friday, 18 March 2011

Following on from our website editor Steve Herrmann, I wanted to share with you more details about how we plan to integrate your comments into our stories, as one element within our overall aim to make our website feel more social.

Screenshot of Have Your Say

And why, as part of that strategy, we have decided to close our Have Your Say platform.

We have for many years made a virtue of including UGC (user-generated content) in our output - for example, within our recent coverage of both the Middle East and Japan, across TV, radio and online, you will have seen, heard and read lots of newsworthy first-hand material which has either been sent directly to us or which we have sourced and verified from the wider web.

But take one look at our popular Live Page coverage on any big story, and you'll now also see tweets, comments, blogs and other web links regularly curated within our overall narrative to help provide context and rounded reaction to unfolding events.

We have also for many years run our Have Your Say debates, but within a specific section on the site, often in something of a silo away from the rest of the content. So having changed the underlying technology last year - to bring it into line with the pan-BBC system, we are now in a position to surface that interactivity more within the stories - themselves.

Screenshot of comments

And in doing so, we hope - with the introduction of editors' picks and the return of a recommend option - to showcase interesting additional insight and perspective.

Editors' picks will be the default view once any comments have been selected, but users will be able to then tab to see all comments and also rate them, functionality I know has been sorely missed since we had to remove it in last year's transition phase.

The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed us trying out our comments module across different stories in recent months. The full functionality (including rating and promotional modules showing numbers of comments) is not yet implemented, but should be within a matter of weeks.

Even at this point, we will still only enable it on a selection of content each day, determined by our editors and the news agenda - as is currently the case with Have Your Say. Moderation will also work exactly as it does now.

However, once we have rolled out, we intend to close Have Your Say in its current form - most likely in early April. Though World Have Your Say - the BBC's global interactive news discussion show - will continue across BBC World Service, World News TV and online.

It is a reflection of the changing online landscape and the advent of social media that we feel the time is now right to move on from Have Your Say.

This process is essentially about us online focusing more now on encouraging discussion around our content itself, rather than looking to host or manage a community.

As my colleague Ian Hunter mentioned a couple of months ago - in terms of bbc.co.uk as a whole, "the next phase of our approach to social will be to move from a site which offers a few fairly circumscribed social experiences to one which is more social everywhere".

And indeed embracing the different ways and places we can look to do that, on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere, as well as on our own site.

This is why, in the coming weeks, you will also notice changes to our share tools (showing total shares/breakdown by site and using short URLs), making it easier for you to send our stories - as with this story - onto your friends and comment on them via your networks.

We have also built up a more established BBC News presence on social media - spearheaded by our @BBCBreaking Twitter account - which last week broke through the 1 million follower mark. We'll be doing more to make this and our other BBC News social media accounts easier to find from the website.

At the same time, we're also taking the opportunity to think about how we can better promote and integrate key information, stories, pictures and video which you send or share with us into our online output as well as TV and radio, and more consistently signpost when we want it, and how.

I'm really proud of the excellent curation and audience relationships we build from our UGC team with so many people each day - and I want us to reflect that even more clearly when the result of that work is, to name but a few examples, video which makes it into a package on our News at Ten, a great interview which leads the Today programme on Radio 4, or an iconic image for a website photo gallery.

We have some thoughts in development now, but any feedback would be appreciated, not least about ways we can make it easier for you to submit newsmaking content to us, especially via mobile, and even if you also intend to post it online in other places yourself.

In the meantime, I'll come back on here soon to confirm when comments will be fully functional across the News site, and the precise closing date for Have Your Say.

Alex Gubbay is BBC News's social media editor. You can find him on Twitter @AlexGubbay

Comments

Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    Thus far, at least, I like everything you do in your online environment, BBC, and it does indeed enhance the experience.

    Kudos to all concerned and special thanks for the effort!

  • Comment number 2.

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

  • Comment number 3.

    Oh, heaven preserve us!
    Previously, the isolation of Have Your Say allowed the rest of us to avoid the tinfoil hatters, the Provisional Wing of the Daily Mail Readership, the BNPers and the Expats who queue up to say how the country's gone to the dogs. So of course what you do is bring them into every story! Well done!

    And at a time when more and more news outlets are choking up their comments sections to preserve the value of their own content, suddenly struck by the realisation that some banal nonsense from 'UKPatriot57, Basildon' offers no added value and only detracts from the debate and the reputation of the journalist and news source concerned.

  • Comment number 4.

    Have your say is not perfect but it at least allowed an open forum for debate where each contributor was equal. This new format may stifle debate and will no doubt skew views in favour of the extreme minorities.
    I also feel it will lead to yet another dumbing down on the BBC.

  • Comment number 5.

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

  • Comment number 6.

    I must agree with CartmanEazyE. The beauty of the current stand-alone 'Have your say' is that you do not have to read the rants of some of the idiots who post. However, the default view of 'editors picks' should cushion us from the worse posts.

  • Comment number 7.

    I, for one, won't be sorry to see the back of Have Your Rant and the menagerie of 'interesting' types who have come to inhabit it. I think, though, that the BBC needs to be careful in how it deploys the comments option.

    On other sites, comments from users work best when they support editorial pieces and provide an arena for healthy debate. Often it would not be appropriate for this to happen with straight journalistic pieces. Facts are facts. Opinion is opinion. The difference between the two needs to be made clear.

  • Comment number 8.

    Surely this is just another phrase of gossip about political and social issues, sadly I must have had an impression publics opinions meant something.

  • Comment number 9.

    3. At 10:37am on 18 Mar 2011, CartmanEazyE wrote:
    Oh, heaven preserve us!
    Previously, the isolation of Have Your Say allowed the rest of us to avoid the tinfoil hatters, the Provisional Wing of the Daily Mail Readership, the BNPers and the Expats who queue up to say how the country's gone to the dogs. So of course what you do is bring them into every story! Well done!

    And at a time when more and more news outlets are choking up their comments sections to preserve the value of their own content, suddenly struck by the realisation that some banal nonsense from 'UKPatriot57, Basildon' offers no added value and only detracts from the debate and the reputation of the journalist and news source concerned.
    /////////////////

    And may we be preserved from the tin pot arrogance and condescension that you exude. i can't wait for the added value that your comments are going to bring to the new format.

    It seems to be however, puting all of your unconvincing BBC flim flam to one side, that this is just a selective form of censorship and a stifling of free speech. Whilst I don't agree with loads of comments on the present HYS I do value the right that the posters have had to post them ( as much as the moderators allow ) as well as much of the banter and even insults that fly around.

    Can't say I will be taking the same interest or contributing to the new format. As said, more BBC control over our views being aired.

  • Comment number 10.

    More social! Who are you trying to kid? You just want to have more editorial control.

  • Comment number 11.

    I find myself using this website less and less everytime you tamper with it.
    The original where we could find our comments, navigate easily and reccommend others was completely engrossing and informative.
    I was addicted.
    Now its about as exciting as facebook.
    If its not broke don't fix it.
    You have ruined what was a great site.

  • Comment number 12.

    First we lost the ability to recommend posts, then very long posts were enabled (and oh boy, did some people take advantage) and Have Your Say became something less interesting and much less pithy.

    I've seen the new format and it's just the same as that offered in many places...boring. The previous format was much better.

  • Comment number 13.

    So it begins. The beginning of the end....

  • Comment number 14.

    What I fail to understand is that you went from the old system (which was poor for someone scanning through comments) changed to a new system, which was easier to read and enjoy, to then throw this away and use the old system once more just under the stories rather than on a separate page.

    Why bother with the intemediate step at all?

  • Comment number 15.

    6. At 11:13am on 18 Mar 2011, torchy2 wrote:
    I must agree with CartmanEazyE. The beauty of the current stand-alone 'Have your say' is that you do not have to read the rants of some of the idiots who post. However, the default view of 'editors picks' should cushion us from the worse posts.'

    As long as they agree with the editor's opinion - right?

  • Comment number 16.

    If you look at some of the previous HYS debates, you'll notice that not all comments can be delivered in 500 characters or less. Trying to add meaningfully to a debate can be seriously curbed by this "cap" on characters. It also makes it much more difficult to cite previous posts, meaning the reader will have to then trawl back through numerous references to understand a (usually) very valid point.

    I understand that BBC want to be seen to be streamlining content. They, like successive governments, are trying to put a positive spin on a negative action. The only decent thing to come from this will be the reader-recommended posts, and even then they may not appear on the "editor's picks" front page so could well be lost in the miasma of banality from certain other posters.

    Or, to keep things within the pre-set limits of the new set-up:
    Not enough space. Can't reference properly. Positive spin on negatives. Recommendations return is good. Sad to say goodbye to a better forum.

  • Comment number 17.

    So, Mr Gubbay, you cannot justify the changes except to pretend tweets and facebook are more fashionable methods of debating. Perhaps you should have checked it out with your license payers (Note: Maria Ashot comment #1 lives in California) before deciding to stifle debate because the new system is worse than the one it replaces.

    How many complaints about the new "NOT HYS" approach and changes has the BBC received Mr Gubbay?

  • Comment number 18.

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

  • Comment number 19.

    I would like to wholeheartedly recommend
    11. At 11:26am on 18 Mar 2011, Semisatanic

    I used to visit the old site daily now once a week is about my limit and if it is the new style comments I don't bother reading much as I don't like the format.

  • Comment number 20.

    So instead of keeping all the serially apopleptic in one place, every single story will now be followed by an attempt to swing the subject around to how everything is the fault of the bankers, Israelis, coalition, fascists under the bed. I've got a better idea. Just close down HYS. My apologies in advance to the emergency services who will have to clear up all the exploding heads.

  • Comment number 21.

    I don't believe a word that comes from the BBC anymore.
    The original excuse for changing this site a long time ago was to save money.
    No you have changed it more times than the NHS.
    It must be costing a dam site more to employ all these people who are slowly dismantling this website than it would have to keep its original format and in their blindness they still believe its an improvement.
    Do you listen to us at all?

  • Comment number 22.

    It all went downhill for me when the Recommendations system was stopped. Now you have to read through pages of dross to get to anything informed. In the old system the most recommended posts tended to be the most poignant.

  • Comment number 23.

    When I read through these comments it just cements my opinion. How arrogant are these people that they deride everything but what they want to hear as nonsense and coming from idiots? Sad, sad little people.

  • Comment number 24.

    11. At 11:26am on 18 Mar 2011, Semisatanic wrote:
    I find myself using this website less and less everytime you tamper with it.
    The original where we could find our comments, navigate easily and reccommend others was completely engrossing and informative.
    I was addicted.
    Now its about as exciting as facebook.
    If its not broke don't fix it.
    You have ruined what was a great site.

    *********************
    couldnt agree more, I shall be very sad to see it go,

  • Comment number 25.

    This new idea wont generate debate at all, its just soundbites you are after, thats all. Quick rants and comments and gone. I assume this is a money saving measure rather than any real attempt to improve the service and frankly, the writing was on the wall when you took away the ability to add a thumbs up to a comment. This will just make you like all the other news pages, comment here and be gone. Ta beeb, HYS was one of the things that mad the new site so readable and in depth debate possible. Now its going to be fish and chip wrappings for the virtual world... just like all the others... so much for being different.

  • Comment number 26.

    And what makes you think that the editor's view/chosen views are the correct view? I say this because my intuition is yet to fail me and my views and opinion/suggestions have been right on News items, issues and policies. Therefore, I more than trust my own judgement more than I would the Editor's/Editor's pick. Popular choice/most recommended does not necessarily mean better decision/judgement. The BBC provides a valuable service to all and should not be limited or encourage bias/propaganda for popular opinion.

  • Comment number 27.

    /////11. At 11:26am on 18 Mar 2011, Semisatanic wrote:
    I find myself using this website less and less everytime you tamper with it.
    The original where we could find our comments, navigate easily and reccommend others was completely engrossing and informative.
    I was addicted.
    Now its about as exciting as facebook.
    If its not broke don't fix it.
    You have ruined what was a great site./////

    I think that is the whole point.

    The problem with the site is that the BBC finds itself hosting a forum in which the views of the majority can be expressed very easily. Those views tend to clash pretty much head on with the BBC's world view.

    Like 'liberals' everywhere, the BBC believes utterly in its right to its views, and in our right to agree with them.

  • Comment number 28.

    I will miss HYS and I don't think the new approach is as valuable. it is a shame and I disagree with your strategy. On the whole the BBC remain a positive force but this takes away a place I used to come for a lot of entertainment. RIP HYS

  • Comment number 29.

    606, now HYS.

    Not much point visiting you now.

  • Comment number 30.

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

  • Comment number 31.

    I see the political wing of the BBC is in action again thay dont want the TAX Payers having any say thay must control all.

  • Comment number 32.

    In the early days we used to have polls on here.
    Can we have one more to find out how many users would like the old format back?
    And could the BBC tell us how many users it would take to change their mind and give us back what we want?

  • Comment number 33.

    GRRRRRREAT NEWS!

    This is sure to make the miserable, self-important, politics obsessed, hateful people very happy.

    As we all know, being able to recommend a pithy, badly thought out, jingoistic, politically biased opinion that you agree with is very important on the internet.


    You see; it keeps them in one place, and gives them the idea that people actually acknowledge and care about their opinions.



    All reality aside, I suggest removing the whole thing for the reasons set out prior to this paragraph that I am now writing and have almost finished with a full stop that will appear at some point here, but not right now; that was merely a semicolon, suggesting that I am going to continue because my thoughts on this situation have not yet been seen nor read. Oh I'm sorry that actually was a full stop, but I have more to say, so I guess I will just use another comment instead.


    Anyone want to have a protracted argument about this? That way I can pretend I'm right by restating my opinion ad nauseum and rebuking you for yours.


    Thank me very much :)

  • Comment number 34.

    11. At 11:26am on 18 Mar 2011, Semisatanic wrote:
    I find myself using this website less and less everytime you tamper with it.
    The original where we could find our comments, navigate easily and reccommend others was completely engrossing and informative.
    I was addicted.
    Now its about as exciting as facebook.
    If its not broke don't fix it.
    You have ruined what was a great site.

    ========================================

    I completely agree. I started writing a post but then saw yours; you've said it all, perfectly.

    RIP HYS.

  • Comment number 35.

    RIP HYS.
    You will be sorely missed.
    As for the new format.........I'll wait & see.
    :(

  • Comment number 36.

    This is the second major 'improvement' of this site.
    I liked the original idea where, if someone had made a valid point you could recommend it. Thus after the subject had been rumbling for a while you could see which opinions were gaining support from the sites readers and contributors.
    Our media is being dumbed down enough and I for one expect more of the BBC than Red Top jourbnalism.

  • Comment number 37.

    Our family don't tweet or do facebook, but we appreciate the benefits of BBC HYS and it's international presence.

    Like so many recently government changes, rapidly over-taking the BBC's independence - we apparently, have absolutely no choice, regarding changes to BBC HYS either.

    Very disappointing - and very sad too; as a publicly owned broadcaster and a publicly owned website - yet no public consultation.

  • Comment number 38.

    Can anyone recommend another debate site that runs simillar to the old (current) HYS?
    I can't get away from the idea that the editors picks will toe the party line & not actually be representative of peoples differing views.

  • Comment number 39.

    'I find myself using this website less and less everytime you tamper with it'.
    So much so I'd nearly forgotten my 'login' details! I'd always thought this was a grownup site, progress or just a cheaper alternative!

  • Comment number 40.

    So, can we safely assume that Twitter and Facebook will swallow up BBC online content and opinion? OMG!

  • Comment number 41.

    Who are these Editors who make their picks? Who are they accountable too?

  • Comment number 42.

    So the BBC will decide what what comments are recommended as well as moderating.

    Effectively it is not an open forum any longer, is it BBC?

    It has been clear from the start that the BBC is not comfortable airing peoples views who don't match the BBC line. This is just another step.

    So far we have had:
    Politically correct moderation
    The end of recommending posts
    Increasingly non-sensitive topics
    and now BBC selected posts.

    Are you public service or not BBC? It just seems to me that HYS in a nuisance to you which you wish you had never started and now you are killing off bit by bit.

    Shame on you.


  • Comment number 43.

    Alex has had his say and got his way.
    Dave has had his say and got his way.
    We just got in the way having our say.

  • Comment number 44.

    When I first read that the BBC were closing down HYS I must admit that I immediately thought "oh yeah, auntie is stifling user input" and "must be too many non-leftie non-liberals for the mods' taste"

    BUT

    The proposed format works not too badly on other blogs, and I particularly like the proposal to reintroduce the recommend option.
    Editor's picks will at least reinforce the idea of bias within the BBC as editors picks always seem to me to be the most anodine, wishy washy rubbish on the thread.

    Hopefully they leave threads open for a bit longer than they seem to on blogs where the system works already, some on five live for instance are shut within seconds of a programme's ending, not much chance for the development of a deabte in that scenario

  • Comment number 45.

    32. At 12:18pm on 18 Mar 2011, Semisatanic wrote:
    In the early days we used to have polls on here.
    Can we have one more to find out how many users would like the old format back?
    And could the BBC tell us how many users it would take to change their mind and give us back what we want?

    ----------------------------------------------
    Good point.
    The license payers pay your wages so how about you ask what they want? Or is pleasing your customers not on your agenda?
    Or do we have to get a shed load of celebrities behind us to convince you?

  • Comment number 46.

    Please leave Have Your Say on the site. It is one of the highlights of my day, both reading and posting comments. Sometimes the issues are not what I expect or want but it does give us all a forum to vent.

  • Comment number 47.

    I do hope these changes mean that people who clearly do not know about the topic concerned or who did not even read the BBC's reporting are less likely to contribute.

    If I wanted inn-informed views instead of news, I would go out and buy a newpaper full of that kind of stuff.

    HYS's heyday was a few years ago. Now it seems to attract unsavouriness.

  • Comment number 48.

    I hope there is going to be some form of 'like' button for comments.
    Its a bit 'up yourself' for a faceless editor to showcase what (s)he thinks are the best comments. The unwashed massess should also be able to say what they think are worthy.

  • Comment number 49.

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

  • Comment number 50.

    Suggest users of HYS get in touch with their MPs to encourage restoring the 'political' and 'recommendation' led version of HYS.

  • Comment number 51.

    I think most HYSers do it for recreation, fun, even.

    How that sits with the BBC's *declared* worthy and weighty objectives I don't know. I'm not sure I care, really.

    Whether the new arrangement will provide much scope for fun we'll have to wait and see. However, as far as I can make out the BBC appear unconcerned by this aspect.

  • Comment number 52.

    This basically means your outsourcing your server to twitter?
    So while you still provide a world service to many countries who don't contribute a penny to your income you are happilly dumping on the people who do?

  • Comment number 53.

    Does Twitter not contradict the BBC advertising rules?

  • Comment number 54.

    I liked it best when people could vote on comments.

  • Comment number 55.

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

  • Comment number 56.

    Wrong move BBC

    just for once take note of what the users want

  • Comment number 57.

    Hello and thanks for the comments so far.

    While I appreciate not everyone will necessarily agree with what we are doing, I do want to reassure on a couple of points:

    * Rating/recommend will be returning as part of our new comments module once the full functionality is implemented.

    * We will be retaining exactly the same editorial approach to enabling comments as we currently take with Have Your Say - so taking an overview on which stories we enable for discussion each day. Moderation will also work in the same way it does now.

  • Comment number 58.

    post#22 is right on.
    Also have a look at the last and current Libya topics.
    Because the previous topic responses were not to the liking of the BBC editors they reintroduced the same topic with a barely perceptable change to the subject and wiped off previous posts. There is no editor in chief any longer at the Beeb - just censor in control.

  • Comment number 59.

    I don't go to Have your say much now since the old format was thrown out. I quite like the recommendations flags (up and down) on other news editorial sites because it saves me posting something similar but I get the opportunity to agree/disagree with the poster's view. With the blogs, I love to see the total number of comments because that means there's for and against, mainly, in those blogs and I do, generally, use those blogs as "education". Someone will call me a sad b....r but, that is my opinion!

  • Comment number 60.

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

  • Comment number 61.

    So you have put it out of it's misery at long last. The 'new' format sucked and the 'topics' became absolutely risible in the main. Countless posters tried to tell you that. But what do we know, eh?

    Thank you and goodbye.

  • Comment number 62.

    This is good news BBC and looks to be a great innovation. Cant way for the new design.

    Well done. I will say, being able to comment is the best de-stress in the world. I can vent my anger (According to the house rules of course) around the various issues and enjoy reading other perspectiv es many of which I would never have considered.

    Excellent step forward.

  • Comment number 63.

    When you make any moves like this, I think as a tax-payer funded operation you have to note that the number of us who comment on anything here is TINY compared to the numbers that actually view the website contents.

    It is not for the BBC to run shouting opinion boards and the HYS system has always sat very strangely within this site. Much of this made much worse by an uneven moderation policy that also lets through much that other forums would reject long before they were complained about (use of capitals, off topic, flaming and so on.)

    The HYS also had the problem, as you note, of being divorced from the article and the summary often being a very inaccurate portrayal of the issues highlighted in the original article.

    Therefore, having comments directly linked to articles makes much more sense.

    However, I also see you are wanting to bring the return of the idiotic Recommend button.

    Okay, I know the BBC is on a mission to be more controversial than anyone else, but this is truly a stupid decision. The recommend button was routinely used by loosely organised groups to push unpalatable views to the top of the list. Right wing organisations (who seem to be more organised than the left wing) used to boast about it on external forums.

    It is really simple maths.

    500 people visit the comment stream.

    10 people like a nasty post and vote for it.

    490 people DONT like said post and.... er .... do nothing.

    Said nasty post ends up as the most recommended post.

    Yes, I know you want to be seen as "social" and "cool" but this is not Facebook. The "Like" button on facebook is generally used for saying "oh, what a cute dog" or "don't you look silly" and not for "should we change human rights."

    You have three choices, therefore.

    1. Put a Thumbs up AND Thumbs down option next to posts. At least that means people can vote stuff back down. (It takes three lines of code and a couple of minutes to write)

    2. Do NOT put any recommend system in - personally I think this is better.

    3. Put the Facebook Like button on so that the rubbish is sidelined to peoples face book profiles and not shoved down our throats.

    Of course, those things are really boring when what you are trying to do is demonstrate how nasty, racist, vindictive and stupid people can be. But I don't think it is the BBCs job to promote that. Straw poles never work, they always skew the facts. The BBC has a duty to be factual on their website.

    When the recommend button was removed, the BBC got a pile of complaints about it - that only represented the tiniest fraction of people who read the site. Are you really going to bow to the pressure of the few to make this site a mess for the many?

  • Comment number 64.

    Character length is an issue, put a higher cap on it if you have to have one.

    Also an option to order the previous comments in order as opposed to starting from the last page would be nice and preferably the amount shown on a page.

  • Comment number 65.

    Real shame that HYS is no longer going to be with us. All the discussions are in one place and you don't have to go searching for individual stories to comment on as we will moving forwards. I'm glad to see the voting system coming back as i always found it very interesting to see which comments were most popular and whether others agreed with you - bit of a sanity check lol.

    The model that you are looking to adopt is the same as your competitors to an extent and seems to be a lot lower grade of HYS.

    Leave HYS separate but feel free to increase the number of stories that are commented on.

    It would be great if the BBC News website personnel listened to its users for once.

  • Comment number 66.

    This process is essentially about us online focusing more now on encouraging discussion around our content itself, rather than looking to host or manage a community.

    Rubbish!!! This is all about trying to avoid controversy and about stifling debate.

  • Comment number 67.

    @ RubbishGirl, post #38;

    "Can anyone recommend another debate site that runs simillar to the old (current) HYS?"

    Why, yes. The one you're on right now... :o)

    You're on the Editor's Blog right at the moment; but if you check the links on the right-hand frame, near the top of the page, you'll find other blogs by various BBC correspondents.

    These blogs have always - correct me if I'm wrong, Mr Editor! - run on a similar basis to the format we're using now, even from before the point that the regular HYS changed to it from the old system. (And I agree with various posters, above - trying to cram the answer to such questions as "Is governmental reform necessary?" into a mere 500 characters was not the easiest task in the world).

    The discussions tend to be more in-dept on particular issues, rather than generic "Left vs. Right" questions such as "Should we reform the Public Sector", etc. as the bloggers are generally very well-versed in their particular field.

    As an added bonus - because they're not quite as easy to get to from the Main Page as Have Your Say, a lot of the more radical members of the HYS Loony Brigade are simply too stupid to find them; which makes for more interesting discussions, on the whole.

    Fear not, though - there's still a regular smattering of wing-nuts, should you start getting homesick for HYS.

    Assuming, of course, that they're not planning on doing away with those blogs as well. Mr Gubbay; if you're going to do another update, would it be possible for you to confirm this?

  • Comment number 68.

    I hope that the new format will look much as the blogs (Peston's Picks, Stephanomics), e.g. where each poster and their post is identified with a logical number, time and date posted and Username. Actually, all that's missing is the Recommend Up or Down next to the Complain about link. Please do it this way. Easy to follow. Plus, you can always see the "story" at the top of the page, you can always find your comments on that story (and other stories) by clicking your Username. The amount of room for a poster's post just expands down the page. You have a Preview and Post comment button. And, you can copied and paste other user's comments. In other words, use the Blog style but put Recommend Up/Down Flag at least.

  • Comment number 69.

    I don't see what's so terribly wrong with what we have now and I'm surprised at a time when the BBC is supposed to be saving money you can find the resources to make the changes.

    Still, I'll keep an open mind and see how the new system performs. The Recommend facility was never important to me and still won't be, I'll see how user friendly it is.

  • Comment number 70.

    I've become very disenchanted with the whole of the BBC in recent years this is just another nail in the coffin, has anyone noticed how bias the BBC has become not just on the website but on their Broadcasts.
    I read and watch news from various outlets and you only seem to pick on subjects you (BBC) want to talk about. Come on lets have a bit more control over subjects to discuss. What about us readers having a say on what subjects we might want to discuss maybe you could incorporate this into the new format.

    Oh I forgot the BBC is only interested in taking our licence Fee not letting us have our say.

  • Comment number 71.

    #47. At 12:40pm on 18 Mar 2011, Phosgene wrote:
    I do hope these changes mean that people who clearly do not know about the topic concerned or who did not even read the BBC's reporting are less likely to contribute.

    If I wanted inn-informed views instead of news, I would go out and buy a newpaper full of that kind of stuff.

    HYS's heyday was a few years ago. Now it seems to attract unsavouriness.

    --------------------------

    I think you will find that even in the so called "heyday" there were plenty of comments full of unsavouriness, and equally as many comments rejected for breaking the rules.

    I miss the recommendation button as well, but I certainly do not miss the fact that in the "heyday" comments were not moderated and published in the order they were received like they are now. Many a time I would see comments being published ahead of mine, and when mine was finally published it would go in on page 10 or later where there was absolutely no chance of someone else seeing the comment and maybe thinking it was worthy of a recommendation.

  • Comment number 72.

    Oh no!

    Now I'll have to go all the way to the Daily Mail website to find out how exactly this country/young people/students/TV/The government has 'gone to the dogs' and how Thatcher/National service/'mickey mouse subjects'/radio/revolution will make everything much better like it was in the 50s

  • Comment number 73.

    Why bother asking us for our comments on your new format? We are only the licence payers.

    I shall probably use other sites/forums instead

  • Comment number 74.

    This decision appears to signify a change in direction for the BBC's online offering, not just a revamp or an attempt to increase the social aspect of the site. I have used both old-school HYS and the newer Comments sections, and it seems to me that whereas the former was aimed at encouraging objective and reasoned debate, the latter is more of an attempt to Facebook-ise or Twitter-ify the BBC News website with somewhat more shallow and flippant commentary.

    Personally, I find the "Editor's Picks" a bit irritating - not only is it *your* opinion as what's most worthy of reading, but why shouldn't I see as a default what everyone has said? And the newest-first ordering means it's really cumbersome if I want to read the entire conversation.

    I must admit, together with the blog you link to about the overall changes to the site, I am one of your users (and licence fee payers) that isn't at all impressed with the majority of the changes...

  • Comment number 75.

    Good news about ratings being returned. Please instruct moderators to avoid bias and to stick to the House Rules which should be applied evenly to all.

  • Comment number 76.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 77.

    Who picks the editors who make the picks?
    And will you tell us what criteria those editors use for picking?

  • Comment number 78.

    Come BBC why is it taking so long to moderate comments Oh maybe you don't like what people are saying so just easier not to bother.
    Does anyone know of a site that will allow users to have their say.

  • Comment number 79.

    11. At 11:26am on 18 Mar 2011, Semisatanic wrote:

    I find myself using this website less and less everytime you tamper with it.
    The original where we could find our comments, navigate easily and reccommend others was completely engrossing and informative.
    I was addicted.
    Now its about as exciting as facebook.
    If its not broke don't fix it.
    You have ruined what was a great site.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To a certain extent you have a point, but the original HYS format was clearly being abused by people like 'righty right wing' 'city slicker' and others with their multiple id's recommending their own posts over & over.

  • Comment number 80.

    Mr Gubbay, you may be proud of what you are doing. I find the other formats difficult to follow. On the version of HYS as we have at present those who wish can have a discussion. Sometimes it's heated and slightly off-topic, but people are involved. They aren't specialists, but then no one is on any of the formats (including at times your own journalists who manage to get things wrong).

    For the posters who are criticising HYS, they didn't really have to use it.

    Now perhaps if HYS is disappearing we can negotiate a reduction in the licence fee. I mean, I pay for what I want. I don't want to pay for something that I want and don't receive.

    If you didn't receive a licence fee, but received payments as people saw fit for value for money - you might have to think again. But it's a cushioned little world really, isn't it, at the Beeb?

    At a brief glance up until your post at 57, I think I saw four people supporting what you are doing. Or was it five?

  • Comment number 81.

    38. At 12:26pm on 18 Mar 2011, RubbishGirl wrote:
    Can anyone recommend another debate site that runs simillar to the old (current) HYS?
    I can't get away from the idea that the editors picks will toe the party line & not actually be representative of peoples differing views.

    =====================================================

    Might have to set something up ourselves?

  • Comment number 82.

    Shame.

    The comments on stories format has some serious usability issues. You only see 20 comments at a time with the latest first, so on a hot topic where comments are flooding in, you can't go from one page to the next (previous) without missing some comments. And if you hit the refresh button you get the editor's picks view and you have to go and find the page you were on. And the editor stops picking long before the comments stop.

    I tend to agree with comment #18 from General_Jack_Ripper. I've given up with the BBC Homepage altogether now because it keeps forgetting my preferences and filling the page with crap I don't want; it's just not worth the effort any more.

  • Comment number 83.

    HYS was not perfect, it enabled comments rather than debated topics (streamed), so we could not challenge individual statements.

    The new change looks worse, so this is probably my last post.

  • Comment number 84.

    Perhaps something else the BBC might like to take into consideration.

    Many people who are retired use HYS. People who have stated on here that they are completely disabled and don't go out very often use HYS. Many of us who are out of work and becoming a bit despondent use HYS. It's not quite the interaction we would have had at work at lunch-time, but looking at some of the views on here, it is clearly important. Yes, I may be a bit sad, but keeping in touch regularly with people if I'm not specifically going to an agency or interview costs money, and the visits to agencies and interviews are becoming more and more infrequent - from the economic situation it seems as though it may be that way for a while yet.

    Before you remove HYS perhaps you could post on the heading how many users there are?



  • Comment number 85.

    Just change the URL to www.BBC-facebook-twitter.co.uk and be done with it.

    Congrats on the 1 million followers but what will you do when this 3rd party is overtaken by the next? Or when Facebook decides that, on top of giving away your privacy, they will also require your first born? In order to use a website I pay for with my tax, I must sign up for two other American companies - gee mister, thanks for that.

    The BBC stories are going to be trolled to death.

    Final question: will we be allowed to own our text after this change or is the BBC going to continue owning the copyright on my masterful works of literary skills? I'm going to need a payment for each word soon - just a heads up.

  • Comment number 86.

    Look at the comments on this site, BBC mandarins. Do you actually want intelligent, articulate people to hate you?

  • Comment number 87.

    This is what we do in Britain; we take something that works really well and is very popular, and we trash it.
    The central forum that "Have Your Say" was a quick, convenient and useful way to see lots of varying opinions on a small number of very topical subjects. The "recommend" facility also gave a further insight into other peolpe's thinking.
    Ah well. The BBC will be gone completely anyway, once the trendies get their way.

  • Comment number 88.

    If you really are going to bring back the recommend feature in a few weeks (I'll believe it when I see it), why did you get rid of it in the first place?

    I have to say I'm disappointed to read that moderation will remain as it is. It's getting rather tiresome trying to work out the quirks and foibles of the thoroughly arbitrary imposing of rules and in some cases enforcing of non-existent ones.
    How about a little editorial openness for once, or are you worried that your biases will be exposed?

  • Comment number 89.

    Absolutely disgusted by this.
    I was already so despondent about the way HYS was heading as to send an email bemoaning the fact to the BBC some 10 days ago. To which I did not receive any reply. It's obvious now why.
    Hys has got worse and worse over the last few years of it being dumbed down and especially since we have no longer been able to rate comments.
    It has been the main reason I visit the BBC news website and if the BBC goes ahead with the planned changes then I for one will cease to use the BBC news site altogether. What with the increasing video content and Facebook/twitter etc it's all going rapidly downhill for those who value content over appearance.I have a feeling that this is politically motivated. The powers that be aren't happy for the wide and international audience to see just how much the people disagree with a large part of their actions.
    Hello Al Jazeera and Reuters....

  • Comment number 90.

    Hello and thanks for the comments so far.

    While I appreciate not everyone will necessarily agree with what we are doing, I do want to reassure on a couple of points:

    * Rating/recommend will be returning as part of our new comments module once the full functionality is implemented.

    * We will be retaining exactly the same editorial approach to enabling comments as we currently take with Have Your Say - so taking an overview on which stories we enable for discussion each day. Moderation will also work in the same way it does now.

    So basically now your telling us nothing has changed but you have spent a fortune changing it?
    Give us a break.
    We're not Daily Star readers on here.

  • Comment number 91.

    While the editor may make good selections for the promoted views (editors picks), how do we take care of potential bias from an editor with weighted ideas?

    Historically we've seen content removed, most of it rightly, but just some, that met all the rules, was subject to wrongful personal bias and removed.

  • Comment number 92.

    I did not mind the BBC having censorship rights over my debating issues.

    To remove the format from bad to worse was one thing.

    This last move shuts the door, for like others, as I do not "tweet", "twit" or "twitter".

    Debate is sometimes as good as a single comment "BBC's Question Time"

  • Comment number 93.

    Slightly lateral, but on the topic of alternative fora, I spent some time using a site called "Answerbag". At the time I started using it the answers were informative, for the most part, and people took time to write a reasonable comment. You also got a good class of insult. But all that changed when they decided to "modernise" the site, and so I looked elsewhere. I found HYS and enjoyed commenting where I felt I held an opinion or could otherwise contribute to the debate. The insults have been of a reasonable standard, and I believe I have only ever complained once. Now Beeb are modernising this site, so I'll have to take my masochism and opinions somewhere new. I hope I meet again with many of you (virtually). It's been real.

  • Comment number 94.

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

  • Comment number 95.

    Hello BBC will you be including the topics that are pre-moderated?

  • Comment number 96.

    Hmmm. I can't say I welcome back the old recommended system, as it seemed pretty clear there were some well orchestrated fringe groups who would twist any debate into one of their pet hate subjects and then vote for it en masse. The dislike button to go with it and produce a net result would moderate a lot of this.

    The Editors' Picks also seems deeply flawed and open to the personal views and whims of the editor, which surely defeats the purpose? A good example recently was on a rare story highlighting the majority of the population were at best ambivalent about the royal wedding. The first comment on the editors' picks was from some fawning monarchist and was hardly representative of the views underneath if you read on further. So on the one day when the BBC took some notice of the majority view on this, they simulataneously tarnished it and gave an immediate false impression of the underlying comment base from its readers.

  • Comment number 97.

    Oooo - this sounds exciting! Will it still be called Have Your Say (HYS) although behave differently? Chuffed to read the recommend button is returning - missed it. I know, I should get out more :) Not being a member of other social networks, HYS is my preferred point of expressing a topical viewpoint - and I like that it's moderated. Good luck with the forthcoming new style - quite looking forward to it.

  • Comment number 98.

    81. At 1:57pm on 18 Mar 2011, ruffled_feathers wrote:

    38. At 12:26pm on 18 Mar 2011, RubbishGirl wrote:
    Can anyone recommend another debate site that runs simillar to the old (current) HYS?
    I can't get away from the idea that the editors picks will toe the party line & not actually be representative of peoples differing views.

    =====================================================

    Might have to set something up ourselves?

    ---------------------------

    Awardspace offers free web hosting with database (LAMP). Not the best servcie on the free option but its an option to start out?

  • Comment number 99.

    72. At 1:37pm on 18 Mar 2011, Atheissimo wrote:
    Oh no!

    Now I'll have to go all the way to the Daily Mail website to find out how exactly this country/young people/students/TV/The government has 'gone to the dogs' and how Thatcher/National service/'mickey mouse subjects'/radio/revolution will make everything much better like it was in the 50s'

    Wonderful. Now someone has blamed it all on Thatcher/The Daily Mail I can leave the site in peace.

  • Comment number 100.

    Why change what works/. You havent given a valid reason

 

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