The Loop: In the can

Welcome to The Loop, the Magazine's new letters column, including the best of your thoughts on Twitter and Facebook.

Who realised just how dramatic the innovation of the tin can would be? If you missed it, The story of how the tin can nearly wasn't traced in intricate detail (and at greater length than we would usually report) how it came about and how it changed the world. William Gillies tweeted that it was "one of those items that made the modern world possible". There was some debate about whether the can did more for food, shopping, technology, warfare or south London, but Paul Fowler wondered that since the original 1810 innovation of bottling was made public because of a 12,000 franc prize, "was Napoleon responsible for idea of open access publishing?"

To be honest there was quite a lot of debate too about our use of a moving image of tin cans scrolling across the top of the page.

The folk behind web design agency Message Digital in Brighton asked: "Really BBC, animated GIF banner images? What are you, 12?"

Richard Stubbs' reaction was: "Panic - the internet has gone full circle."

Ed Ball wrote: "The BBC taking us back to 1998 with a seemingly non-ironic animated gif on this article." While Sarah M writes: "The BBC News website has started using GIFs. Further evidence that they are a front for liberals."

Graphic story

Image caption The comic delved into human trafficking in Nepal

Dan Archer's graphic telling of the story of human trafficking from Nepal received much praise for the way illustrations can make a complex situation simpler and engaging. Particularly interesting to us were the tweets from teachers about it, including this from a geography teacher at St Ninian's High School: "Y10 Y11 Y12: Cartoon version of human trafficking story... what is the link to population and development?"

Another bit of innovation on the Magazine this week has been the introduction of two new video strands. Stop/Start will feature trends which are beginning or ending, and Real Time - the reinvention of a series which ran in the very earliest days of the Magazine - will tell people's stories in their own words.

Stop/Start looked at the trend for "suspended coffee" where cafe customers buy an extra coffee which is put in reserve for someone who can't pay for one themselves.

On the Magazine's Facebook page, Ste MoonShine McGee wrote: "What a bad idea, much better [to] think about why someone can't afford a coffee in the first place." Jibike Oshodi from Lagos suggested: "They should start suspended meals as well." Electra Kanvas wrote: "I saw that in Turkey years ago, but with bread. Much nicer if you ask me, since bread is an actual necessity."

Liam O'Farrell raised the question of profits, which had actually been addressed in the film. He said: "Having worked in a coffee chain, I can tell you the actual cost of a typical latte - £0.27. We sold them on at £2.30. Which means you think you're doing a good thing, but actually you're just giving 27p to the homeless guy... the rest is going straight to profit (that's how come it seems that coffee shops are everywhere!)."

On our Real Time tale of a big cat hunter, Chris Petzny tweeted: "I really think UFO, big cat or Saskwatch hunters ought to invest in better cameras. No more 'grainy' photos please."

On the loop

While lots of Magazine readers have been dancing in the street, welcoming the new look for Monitor letters (that's this page you're reading now), they were unfortunately unable to spend too much time writing down their feelings. So here are some letters (sent via the form on the right of this page) by people who don't like it. Sue from Royal Wootton Bassett writes "Don't like it!!", adding that it was actually a quote taken from her three-year-old granddaughter when presented with broccoli. She does say, though, that's it's an apt reaction, adding "Can we have our old stuff back please?"

Rosie Shaw, from Cambridge, is one who doesn't like having weekly letters rather than a daily selection. "Noooooo!" she writes. "You can't deprive me of my daily fix of letters just when I need it most! Next week I'm moving house, not because I wanted to but because my landlord terminated my tenancy in order to sell the flat (yes they can do that, even if you haven't done anything wrong and they only have to give you two months' notice). Until daily letters are reinstated, I will be withholding all compliments on your new look."

David Richerby, from Liverpool, objects that letters are not now quoted verbatim, and says that he's sorry but the new letter page is a disaster. Quoted verbatim, he says: "I'm sorry but the new letters page is a disaster."

He adds: "The letters were, in the main, clever and witty, and much of the pleasure came from their precise wording. I don't want to read your editorialized summaries of them: I want the letters themselves. We don't need to read 'he tweeted', 'So and so posted on our Facebook page that...' and so on. And while I'm at it, if I wanted to read your Twitter feed or the comments on your Facebook page, I'd be doing that on Twitter or Facebook, respectively. It's a travesty to claim that the author of the letters column is 'You, the reader' when 72% of the 629 words in the first edition were actually written by the BBC journalist. So long and thanks for all the fish."

Let's just hope David has made it back this week so he can receive an amount of kudos for his dedication to addition.

Jerome Perkins, London, generously fulfils Basil Long's prediction in last week's edition of people who will say they remember when "all this was teal".

"I prefer teal!" he writes.

Steve from Southampton writes: "The pleasure of the letters page was to see the replies to the previous day's post. I feel a genuine sense of loss." HB from Birmingham says: "I was scared that things might have changed too much with this new letters page. But Rob Falconer and Basil Long are still here. Phew."

And to prove we're listening, we will make a point of quote some letters in full. Especially ones like this, from Susie Brown, from Auckland.

"Thank you for providing such informed and varied reading. Live long and prosper!"

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