BBC BLOGS - The Editors
« Previous | Main | Next »

Sniffing out edits - update

Steve Herrmann Steve Herrmann | 12:33 UK time, Friday, 3 November 2006

Apologies to those who haven’t been following this, but here’s a brief update on my recent posting about the News Sniffer website.

A graphic of the BBC News websiteAs far as we can see, what the site is now showing looks like a more accurate picture of which comments are removed from our Have Your Say pages - when we posted on Tuesday these looked wrong. To make things more complicated we NOW think we’ve got a bug on our side which causes some comments not to show up - we're looking into this.

That doesn’t mean we aren’t removing some that break house rules - we are. To try and demystify how the Have Your Say pages work, I asked Matt Eltringham, a senior journalist in our interactivity team, to explain. There’s more on the pages themselves (under house rules) but here’s a summary:

    “The HYS debates are operated by a team of moderators who work across seven days a week from 0700 to 2300. Every day we receive about 10,000 emailed contributions to the debates we have started - debates often suggested by our readers.
    “These debates can be either fully or reactively moderated. If a debate is fully moderated, it means that all the comments are read first by our team of moderators before they are published on the site.
    "A reactively moderated debate means that some users who have registered with us through a simple online process beforehand are able to post their comments directly on the site without first being read by a moderator. Therefore, in reactive debates, all members’ comments are published on the site, then comments that break the house rules are removed by the moderation team. Most of the comments that break the house rules are highlighted to us by users who click the 'alert a moderator' button.
    "Regardless of whether a debate is pre or post moderated the presumption is that all comments should be published unless they break the house rules. These ban defamatory, abusive or offensive comments. We don’t edit comments or correct spelling or grammar.
    "But the sheer volume of contributions means that in practice we simply aren't able to publish all of the comments that don't break any of the House Rules.”

One more thing - you may also be interested in this interesting analysis of the News Sniffer site.


  • 1.
  • At 06:25 PM on 03 Nov 2006,
  • Adam wrote:

Matt Eltringham is wrong when he says "We don't edit comments or correct spelling or grammar." I've had my spelling corrected in my posts in the past. Specifically, "Bliar" was corrected to "Blair".

Shame really, because the spelling error was deliberate.

Anyway, pleased to hear that you're looking into the bugs on your site. I think HYS is great, but the bugs can be a little annoying.

  • 2.
  • At 11:24 PM on 03 Nov 2006,
  • anon wrote:

"Regardless of whether a debate is pre or post moderated the presumption is that all comments should be published unless they break the house rules. These ban defamatory, abusive or offensive comments."

So according to the BBC mods, posts that call for the killing of Jews/Americans do not break the house rules and get put up (in fully moderated threads)

"We don’t edit comments or correct spelling or grammar."

You do edit comments - I myself have had one edited. It usually appears as "edited by (random letters)"

  • 3.
  • At 11:28 PM on 03 Nov 2006,
  • why censor quotes wrote:

Can you ask the HYS mods why they ALWAYS censor posts that: (a) have quotes from the Koran commanding Muslims to (i) murder non-believers (ii) not take Jews/Christians for friends (ii) cut off heads) (b) quotes from Iranian leaders proving their desire for a nuclear weapo n to use against Israel and (c) quotes from PA/Hamas/Hezbollah leaders that their objective is the destruction for Israel and that "Palestine" is merely a tactic to gain support in the West.

None of the above breaks the house rules by the way.

  • 4.
  • At 04:37 AM on 04 Nov 2006,
  • Pamela S wrote:

Would you care to point out the Reactively moderated forums on HYS?

All I see are Fully moderated forums and yes I am registered.

After reviewing some of the HYS listings on News Sniffer, I've got to say I'm appalled at the editorial behaviour of the BBC admins. A prime example was in the "Pope insults Islam" debate - Some comments simply point out the reactionary nature of the global Islamic community. Whether such a viewpoint is "right" is completely irrelevant - it's a valid opinion being censored for no apparent reason.

  • 6.
  • At 07:37 PM on 05 Nov 2006,
  • Sahib Al-Nassir wrote:

BBC, London
letter to the editor
Prague 05/11/06
Dear Sirs
I would like to express my deep dismay of your stand on the live transmission of the court sentencing Saddam Hussein .5/11/06
I have been all my life a listener of the BBC World and later a supporter of the BBC since I had to emigrate to the UK in 1977 . I took the BBC to my heart , It was for me the only un bias source of information from my old country .an institution of high standard and very professional .as far as politics , cultural , or Art programmes .
As a follow British citizen of the UK I must express my deep concern of the way your reporters comments from London and from Baghdad this very day .
Despite the differences of opinion on the war against Iraq , or the legality of the War and the occupation . I can`t understand how could you take such a stand on the sentence of the court against such person as Saddam Hussein ( A brutal dictator by self admission ) you can be against Tony Blair , against the war on Iraq , against the USA , but definitely you can`t forget what saddam did to the Kurdish people. the Marsh Arabs to the total Iraqi people and to Kuwaiti .
I am very sorry that you have drifted away from the high standard of journalism . a unique characteristic used to be as a nature of the BBC .
Is the disliked of Tony Blair has clouded your vision that much ?
What a shame ?
Sincerely yours
Sahib Al-Nassir - Architect

This post is closed to new comments.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.