Profile for John99 (U13871221) permalink

Listed below are comments made by John99 between Sunday, 28th November 2010 and Wednesday, 15th December 2010

You can also view a list of John99's posts.

  • Trialling search on BBC message boards

    4:16pm on 15 Dec 2010


    _ Search POV Messageboard _
    I note that the POV Host is anticipating the Search function be is being extended to that mb, any news on that front ?
    Which boards are being provided with this and when, any provisional news ?
    POV comment is:

    I note changes to messageboards were made again today.
    Are we going to get an updated blog post on the outstanding issues with messageboard fixes ?
    You are ignoring comments on your previous blog post:

  • Why do south London trains suffer most in the snow?

    12:19pm on 14 Dec 2010

    I am surprised someone has not developed a system to remove ice from the third rail. Possibly a small attatchment to the underside of the train, or perhaps something very small, but that had its own wheels, and could be pushed ahead of the train.

    Something as simple as a set of scrapers &/or counter rotating wheels may do the job ie a mainly mechanical sytem, but coupled with modern monitoring technology.

    I imagine costs would be low.
    Development costs would be a one off, running costs would be low, capital costs would be miniscule compared to the cost of the train itself or compared to modifying/electifying a section of track.

    I know above (comments #42 & #56) heated third rails are mentioned, and although I have not got a clue what technology is used I imagine that would be a more expensive system, at least if the ice problem is only a few days a year.

    No doubt this will have been thought of in the past, and dismissed, the diference now, compared with only a few decades earlier, is that there are all sorts of electronic and optical monitoring and control technology that is cheap and reliable.

  • Changes to BBC Message Boards: Updates and fixes

    11:36am on 14 Dec 2010

    @Nick #381
    Sorry to hear of your problems, hope you are better and back in work full-time soon.
    Would it be possible for the blog author to post an updated blog, on this subject.

    That may actually reduce your workload by answering a lot of the outstanding questions, and obviously you should not need to heavily edit any blog from the BBC technical team.

  • Trialling search on message boards: technical details

    11:05pm on 10 Dec 2010

    @Mark Neves
    Thanks for replying.

    - case insensitive search - [ idiot smileys not available :-) ]
    My mistake.
    My original comments in #1 were based on me misreading your post.
    I thought the searches were case sensitive, which did not seem a good idea. I re-read what was written after reading your comment.

    As you say any search feature is better than nothing.
    But we can already search using an external search engine, unless the BBC plans to prevent that.
    It is would therfore be an advantage if any internal BBC search facility had features that complement or are somehow an advantage over an external search. At present a BBC search may be slightly easier to do than using an external search engine but, I think, returns much the same results.

    I note you say the title is searched, and i have confirmed that* but I note text in the message that matches is highlighted by being shown in red, that does not happen to text in titles.

    * For instance I searched for the term 'cod'
    and obtained posts where cod was in the title but not within the post body.

  • Changes to BBC Message Boards: Updates and fixes

    4:18pm on 07 Dec 2010

    More mentions of fixes, apparently tomorrow, but no comment on this blog about such fixes.
    (see )

    And no comment on David Williams latest blog (the one about the searches)

    I can not remember whether it has been mentioned in this blog thread; it has been mentioned somewhere; but Hosts posts do not display correctly, look at the one I link to above, the permalink "Link to this" on that is overlapping the next post.

  • UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities: a preview of why the new BS8878 British Standard for Web Accessibility matters

    2:54pm on 07 Dec 2010

    @ Jonathan Hassell

    Thanks for replying.

    The betsie parser did not just work on the Ouch site it worked on many sites including other messageboards such as the Archers, and on BBC news sites.

    Would it not have been better to delay changes that broke the betsie parser until a replacement tool was available ?
    In that time the BBC could have trialled some of the BBC messageboard changes and fixed the bugs.

    If the tool works it will solve the messageboard accessibility issues. Presumably this is the tool first promised back in February 2010 (link in comment #2 above). When is the tool expected to be trailed some time next year presumably ?

    The BBC is not even officially commenting on the bug fixes of the messageboards at present the last blog about that was 13th October,
    although from message board host we learn more improvements are due, but not the detail of the changes.

  • UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities: a preview of why the new BS8878 British Standard for Web Accessibility matters

    11:30pm on 03 Dec 2010

    "... wish I could afford the £100 to read a copy of BS8878 "

    Unless things have changed it is allowable to read, and possibly even copy parts of standards free of charge. Public & University libraries make them available under certain conditions.

    I know one of my local libraries which is NOT "Listed" will provide copies at a charge, in all probability I would be able to obtain access free, even online at that library if: it were for private research, as a student, or as an accredited journalist ( which I am not).

    "Listed" libraries should be able to help, at no charge see BSI site:

    You may also find some local charitable organisations hold copies of BS8878 and would permit you to read it. Or maybe you could find an accredited journalist, surely this is a newsworthy story.

  • Changes to BBC Message Boards: Updates and fixes

    10:43pm on 03 Dec 2010

    @ Nick
    "as you have rightly surmised the change you saw earlier in the week on the Archers message board was caused by a technical failure and has now been corrected."

    ;-) A few more uncorrected technical failures of that type may be welcome !!

    In #319 you asked me to stay on topic
    The changes you have made however resulted in comments I have made in this very thread being altered, and information I provided being deleted by the BBC changes, so I think commenting about that is very much on topic. You obviously read my comment but then ignored most of what I asked.

    The main subject of my comment #318 however was regarding
    1) New Release 8th December
    2) Recent Changes to the Archers

    You have not provided us any information about that new release.
    You clearly from comment#326 were not even aware of those changes ( until #337)

    Why can we not have comments from someone ie David Williams who should understand the messageboards and what the BBC is doing with them. This is after all his blogpost, and a very much unresolved issue.

    Why do we still not know, authoritatively
    - what bugs the BBC is currently fixing ?
    - what bugs are still to be fixed but the BBC is aware of ?
    - what other issues are being addressed ?
    - when changes may be expected ?
    - which boards are being changed next ?
    And I would add
    - iPlayer messageboard is a mess,
    + is that going to close shortly ?
    + or are the bugs on that being fixed, if so when ?

    And of course what is happening now with The Archers, clearly the Archers Host, has to refer elsewhere for answers.

    If neither you, David Williams, nor Hosts can answer questions why can we not have a blog from someone who can. Hopefully someone will eventually escalate complaints to the BBC Trust or get Freedom of Information answers to some of these questions.

  • UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities: a preview of why the new BS8878 British Standard for Web Accessibility matters

    8:47pm on 03 Dec 2010

    You say
    " By training BBC product managers in this practice, our aim is to ensure that all BBC web products are able to provide a consistently good user experience for all our audiences. "

    I would say you are a resounding failure.

    I would go further, I would say that the recent BBC changes are YERY GOOD example of how to disadvantage users with disabilities.
    (Apparently a user thinks the RNIB agrees the BBC is doing badly see: )

    This (main blogpost above) is posted by the BBC who used to have a text only option on many messageboards and on important parts of the website including news pages.

    In fact it was far more than a text only option it was designed:
    - as text only so it could be utilised to easily feed into speech generators
    - to allow choice of text size and colour, with choice of contrasting backgrounds

    This was called the BBC betsie parser.
    The Home page and some of the technical details still exist:

    However the BBC removed this without warning from site after site and messageboard after messageboard. The improved messgeboards besides loosing that feature tended to have small text with vast amounts of wasted space in a glaring white, and that was an improvement ?

    The Ouch messageboard retained something similar to the betsie parser, but no-one knows for how long.
    The BBC did issue a blog post about a proposed feature
    but has since said that will not happen.

    So now the BBC has seriously degraded the accessibility features over a large portion of the BBC site and messageboards, yet still tries to spin the idea that it is friendly to persons with disabilities. I do not think your post stands up to scrutiny.

    Would you like to comment on the current state of the "improved" but bug ridden mesageboards, and advise when you are going to restore the sort or accessibility features you have been recently wiping out over vast tracts of BBC online content.

  • Changes to BBC Message Boards: Updates and fixes

    8:34pm on 02 Dec 2010

    I mentioned a New Releas in message #312

    In fact The Archers messageboard was changed again recently, users liked the changes. (Which presumably were unannounced as tends to happen with the BBC these days)

    Today The Archers unexpectedly changed back to an older version, unfortunately not to the original and well liked one that worked with script but to one of the BBC improvements.

    Has anyone at the BBC even noticed the change, and where are the BBC comments on the New Release and progress with bug fixes.
    BBC messageboard Hosts are again going to have to apologise for BBC unannounced changes.

    I note the temporary restriction of comments to 300 characters has been lifted, I wonder how long before a limit is introduced again.

    Another couple of changes
    - comments links do not show up as links in preview
    - a href= type links have been banned, in comments, and existing ones removed !

  • Updates to the comments function

    8:27pm on 02 Dec 2010

    More unannounced changes have been made.
    Yet more changes are about to happen, apparently a
    " a technical release next week."
    { ]

  • Changes to comments on BBC Internet blog

    8:22pm on 02 Dec 2010

    @ Nick

    I guess we will have to wait to see what happens.
    It would be nice to be given advance warning of changes a bit more often.

    Especially changes that have been planned and thought about in advance and when implemented destroy links we have already added to comments.
    If you had advised users in advance at least we could have stopped using such links.

    Surely another step backwards, the links of a href= type look a lot neater than the full length links. At least on the messageboards the full length links are truncated, recently on these blog comments the full length links were tending to overlap other areas.

    I note you have not commented Nick on restricting the length of users comments other than to say it was a glitch.
    When is the glitch going to be introduced as an improvement, and are you going to then keep comments down to a tweet length ?

  • Why do south London trains suffer most in the snow?

    01:23am on 02 Dec 2010

    #23 Does Merseyrail just have better weather.
    Possibly there is less very cold weather and less snow. I have lived in the SouthEast and my sister does at present, I certainly have such a subjective feeling. I currently live near to the Merseyrail Northern line.

  • Changes to comments on BBC Internet blog

    00:24am on 02 Dec 2010

    @Kit Green,

    a href= Links
    such links display and work in preview and even within the profile but not in the comment itself.

    Again check my profile comment# 57 above contains a link that you will be able to see and use.

  • Changes to comments on BBC Internet blog

    00:16am on 02 Dec 2010

    No idea what the BBC intends, they do not tend to tell us much.
    Links to old blog comments do seem to work again.

    Links from profiles to coments do not work
    But if you try the profile in some older boards they do still work, and in those boards pre-existing a href= links display and work.
    a href= links also display and work in preview, maybe thy are back again.

  • Changes to comments on BBC Internet blog

    4:05pm on 01 Dec 2010

    Thanks for a speedy response.

    A glitch ?
    although the specific pink error message seems like a bad omen that you are at least trialling restricting users comment length.

    What about the other points I mentioned, like
    - the links appearing in my profile but not in my actual comments for instance.
    - the blogs and mesageboards expecting a js enabled browser but not warning of this fact

  • Changes to BBC Message Boards: Updates and fixes

    12:17pm on 01 Dec 2010

    New Release

    Now the BBC POV messageboard host is mentioning a new release on December 8th.
    Where are the blogs about this ?

  • Changes to comments on BBC Internet blog

    11:15am on 01 Dec 2010

    _ CENSORSHIP _ Limit on size of Comments.

    Without warning on another blog post I was told my comment could not be previewed because of an error.
    Once I attempted to post I was told it was too long by a number of characters.

    It would appear that we are now restricted to 300 characters, and that includes any links. Another BBC improvement !

    This is a maximum length message

  • Changes to BBC Message Boards: Updates and fixes

    11:09am on 01 Dec 2010

    Many bugs and problems remain.
    David Williams remains silent other than the pet searches project.

    Blog comments now restricted to about 300 characters and that includes links !
    or is that just another bug with blogs changes

  • Music Showcase now live for testing

    4:42pm on 30 Nov 2010

    _Missing Feedback Link_
    The faq about known issues contains text may also be intermittent performance issues typical of an 'alpha' website release. If you believe you've encountered a bug whilst using the Showcase, please let us know at [link to feedback form].

    The text does not at present contain a link.

    I guess I cam across some of the intermittent problems.
    At one stage I was unable to use the page zoom untill I had reloaded the page.
    At another point, using the 'Duffy' clip [ p00c9qf7 | 128kbps | aac | AK of ] I got stuck in a loop, and despite already having played most of it I got into a repeating loop of a short part of the clip.

    The player was also overlayed with an announcement "This content does not seem to be working, please try again later"

    _ Volume Slider _
    It possibly would be more intuitive if it worked the same way as the usual EMP as in iPlayer, rather than having to click on the volume bar area.

    It does seem a good idea to have such a collection, and is a good idea to offer Alpha and Beta tests.

  • Changes to BBC Message Boards: Updates and fixes

    4:49pm on 29 Nov 2010

    #301 zeldalicious
    " What on earth has happened to being able to quote????"

    Quoting on improved messageboards is no longer in boxes with the correct link added by the messageboard.
    Now improved quotes are merely shown as paragraphs of indented italic text.

    The BBC has tweaked the quotation and the previews a few times whilst doing the improvements. Such tweaks have resulted in whole blocks of text disappearing in some older posts, however you should still be able to use quotes on messageboards.

    This is a BBC explanation of how to quote someone else's message:

    It appears the BBC is not going to allow that feature on these blog comments.

  • Updates to the comments function

    09:54am on 29 Nov 2010

    By the way why have a repeated and apparently redundant number in the links. (look at the link in my post above where the number 103477009 is repeated twice )
    Is this for instance an indication that blog comments may become threaded at some time in the near future rather than be merely linear comments all replying to the Original Blogpost.

  • Updates to the comments function

    09:47am on 29 Nov 2010

    _ Missing Links _

    The blogs profile page, for a user such as myself, currently lists comments and includes a header for each comment that is a link.

    The header also indicates the time and date of the comment.
    The link itself goes only to the origianl BBC blogpost not to the comment.

    If I remember correctly the profile from messageboards that used to display Blog Comments used to include a link to the actual comment. In fact I imagine the date and time text is probably intended to be a link.
    I note the link itself is terminated in ".html#P"

    Apparently of course the new format links to comments do not contain a "P", although they do contain a repeated number.

    I have commented on some of these matters in the other blog, ( ) and apparently some changes are being made.

  • Trialling search on BBC message boards

    3:58pm on 28 Nov 2010

    As programme searches are mentioned look at this BBC site :
    Described as
    The BBC Programme Catalogue is a prototype that allows you to search for information on over a million BBC radio & TV programmes, dating back 75 years.

    Has that now just been left to stagnate ?

  • Trialling search on message boards: technical details

    3:49pm on 28 Nov 2010

    This does not seem to have received many comments either on this blogpost or on the Food site. Maybe publicising it on more boards would generate more interest, as I suggested in comment#1.

    Is there in fact a silent group starting to use it on the Food board ?
    any usage stats yet ?
    How often is it used on the food board 1 in 1000 visits for instance
    and how many searches are tried on an average day ?

    I did note the bangers and mash fix seems to have worked. (see #3 & #5 above)
    Any chance of feedback especially re searching thread titles ?

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