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New ways into blogs

Giles Wilson Giles Wilson | 13:52 UK time, Thursday, 17 April 2008

The upgrade to our blog software which I mentioned yesterday seems to have been a success. I promised today I'd explain a bit about changes to the way we're handling comments.

From today you will need to be registered to post comments on any BBC blogs, including any of those which are part of BBC News (Nick Robinson's Newslog, Peston's Picks, Mark Mardell's Euroblog, Justin Webb's America, and others and The Editors, to name a few).

All our research, as well as our instincts, tell us how important it is that one should be able to add comments to a blog. Indeed some would say it is the defining characteristic of a blog - and when a blog author takes part in the comments you can see the value of it. I know we probably don't do this enough in the BBC (something highlighted by Alf Hermida's analysis (pdf link) of BBC News blogs), but will continue to strive to do better.

Since we started blogging in earnest (with Nick Robinson in 2005) across BBC News we have published tens of thousands of comments. And as you might have seen, we have shown ourselves unafraid to publish plenty of comments which are critical of the BBC. We draw the line at comments which are abusive, offensive or libellous, but otherwise we've got a pretty strong stomach for comments. This is part of what people expect from blogs.

However, we have had some technical problems. It's often been frustrating to leave comments (and also frustrating to publish them) because of slow response times. Part of the problem was that we were asking too much of our software. So we thank those of you who have had patience with us and haven't given up. We fully expect the new software upgrade to have addressed our problems.

So why are we introducing registration? One problem we've had is that we were getting overwhelmed with spam - dozens a minute. Registration will help with that. But we're also conscious that whatever part of the BBC website people are using, the basic functions should be the same. So if you have already registered - eg with a messageboard, BBC Sport's 606 or with Have Your Say - then you will not need to register again to comment on blogs. And if you register here on blogs, that will give you access to messageboards, 606 and Have Your Say.

Naturally you will still be able to read everything on the blogs whether or not you have registered or logged in.

We are not alone in this. Many large blog publishers all over the web - including the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, and even blogs like Boing Boing - now have registration. It seems to be an effective balance between maintaining access to the blog and the standard of debate.

If you're interested in exactly how the new system will work, there are more details from the BBC's Jem Stone and also the house rules.

In a matter like this there are always competing interests - no doubt some people will feel cheated that they now have to register to leave a comment. Sorry if you feel like that. But we've thought long and hard about the best thing to do, and believe that this is likely to be the most effective and efficient way of publishing as many comments as possible.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Good to see these new changings. Hope that now i will not have to wait for comments to get post.

  • Comment number 2.

    Here's hoping it's an end to all those time-outs!

  • Comment number 3.

    Why can’t I use my openid with you? Why do I have to remember yet another username?

  • Comment number 4.

    And, is your new software the reason why your feeds are now unreadable? All the formatting has been taken out. I have to click through to your web site to read the article — I can’t read it in my browser as before.

  • Comment number 5.

    Does this mean our contributions will now actually get through first time????

  • Comment number 6.

    I can't see how to create a link between my handle and my blog as I could under the old system.

  • Comment number 7.

    As we're on the subject; Can we use HTML emphasis? [I]I'll try some just to see what happens.[/I]

    And are there ways we can format a URL so it appears as a word? As you do in the blogs.

    And thank you for not appearing to have a word limit. I have been impressed by the high standard of some contributions in the various blog comments; and some do require space to develop an argument.

  • Comment number 8.

    Aaargghhh! The BBC News website now has 'embedded video'............allegedly; but not if you're in the 21st century and use Firefox instead of IE! Sorry, didn't know where else to post this, but........get it sorted, please, Beeb!

  • Comment number 9.

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

  • Comment number 10.

    I'd like to know what *took* so long to upgrade it. You do so over one night and it seems al went well.

    Is your need for a larger TV licence *that* crippling?

  • Comment number 11.

    So far so good.

  • Comment number 12.

    I guess the concept of Akismet was too novel and new for the BBC to have discovered for the spam handling.

    I'm not sure linking posts to the same user system HYS uses is wise though.

    Does this mean the HYS moderators are going to be moderating blog comments as well now?

    Let's face it, the HYS moderators have a record of letting through comments because they're controversial over comments that are intelligent.

    Syds @ 8: I use Firefox, I can see the embedded video (or have so far, if it wasn't geo-locked)

  • Comment number 13.

    As the blog about the redesign of the BBC News website seems to have disappeared with your upgrade, I am posting the following comment here - only taken five days to post anything........


    Just seen the terrible orange button in your BBC header - for those who don't know, the black one is for the BBC and the header below that is for BBC News!

    Please remove the orange button as:

    1. It is pure gimmick and of no value.
    2. It's a horrible colour - doesn't exactly compliment the red of the BBC News header. Any designer will tell you that orange and red are a no, no!

    PS: Text is STILL TOO LIGHT and there are STILL problems displaying in Firefox - please sort.

  • Comment number 14.

    Why can I see and read comment from other users that are still awaiting moderation?

    Thought the idea was to NOT read them until approved.

    As you say 'seems to have been a success.'

    Keyword: 'seems'

  • Comment number 15.

    I wonder if the comments work now or is it still error 502?

  • Comment number 16.

    Yeah, actually being able to *post* comments is one of the better aspects of the change (even if the "Other posts" page user names links from makes me wonder if it was done by an intern who's only just learned HTML 3.2).

    When the main design changes came out not so long ago I posted a comment that the colour scheme breaks accessibility in a huge way on the text colours (on all three - contrast, brightness, and luminosity).

    Unfortunately, that seems to have been totally ignored :(

    The whole idea of CSS is that site-wide changes can be made editing just one file ... why does it take so long for someone to tweak them nonetheless?

  • Comment number 17.

    Glad to hear that its been nicely integrated. I've just tried it out (obviously) and it was nice and easy for me to log-in using my existing 606 credentials.

    I just hope that this will be the first step to creating a real 'customised' BBC homepage, that will rely on logging in (as in iGoogle) rather than cookies - as the Beeb does currently.

  • Comment number 18.

    I just realised one of the nice things about the blogs - it is with the old styling. I am still not a fan of the spacing on the site since the change, nor the waste of space banner, nor the fact that the text seems to randomly change size in firefox.....

  • Comment number 19.

    Well, won't this just be fine and dandy if it works: I enjoy the blogs, but had completely given up on them because I found it impossible to post. If this comment gets through, well done!

  • Comment number 20.

    I use the very popular Safari web browser and, so far, I am having to switch to Firefox to sign in. Was this tested on different browsers and platforms? I don't get how difficult it seems to have been to get this far, and I definitely don't think BBC Online deserves any extra kudos for allowing comments which are critical of the BBC; that's what blogging is! Welcome, Beeb, to the 21st century. You still aren't quite there yet.

    That said, I'm very happy that some action has been taken to address the issues, and if this works it'll be a huge step forward.

  • Comment number 21.

    Lack of post preview is annoying.

    Comments feed would be nice.

    Trackbacks/pingbacks would be even nicer - you can still moderate their appearance on the page (not the "Blogs linking here" thing).

    The user info page is even worse than the blank page from earlier though! ... half the width of the content area is taken up with the user name, full height blank space below, the other half tightly squeezing in the user comments.

    *Please* tell us that's going to change, maybe putting the user name at the top then using the full width below it for the comments??

  • Comment number 22.

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

  • Comment number 23.

    Once again, you're adopting an "everybody else does it so it must be correct" position on the changes. Along with this, you've still not addressed a majority of the arguments raised when you re-modelled the news and sports pages. Your pages still don't even render properly in all browsers.

  • Comment number 24.

    When did the Daily Telegraph start registration?

  • Comment number 25.

    Just posting a comment to test out the new system, hopefully it will be better than before.

    Oh and by the way, I wouldn't play up the links between the BBC blogs and Have Your Say. Many of the BBC bloggers write properly and whilst I may not always agree with them, with a modicum of sense. I wouldn't exactly call Have Your Say a great bastion of sensible debate.

  • Comment number 26.

    All I ever wanted, really, was an end to the 502 error message - it got so bad I stopped even trying to post.

    I do think it might be a mistake linking up with the howler monkeys on HYS, though...

  • Comment number 27.

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

  • Comment number 28.

    Great to see it working!

  • Comment number 29.

    Registering commenters is good move to weed out mishief makers. Ever thought about a captcha verification placed prior to each comment, just in case?

  • Comment number 30.

    How come you never mentioned on ANY one of your blog sites that you have to enable cookies for your system to work? Well I suppose it's still better than what you had before which often didn't work at all but then almost anything would have been. So far it looks like you gone from worse to bad. I guess for BBC that's an improvement.

  • Comment number 31.

    Yes, the delays/crashes can be a nuisance. Registration is an entirely reasonable and proportionate response to the spam issue.

  • Comment number 32.

    Using my 606 membership is all fine and dandy, but when blogs like World Have Your Say (which is currently run on wordpress due to the shoddiness of the old BBC blogs) return to the BBC blog network will I be able to create a second membership just for blogs and keep my 606 and blog registrations separate?

  • Comment number 33.

    Moonwolf @ 12 - I can SEE the embedded video window, but it won't play................maybe we're on different FF versions, although I do appear to have the latest update; or maybe it's the 'Aeon' plug-in causing problems?

  • Comment number 34.

    Re: *Syds_Sports and embedded video.

    Just tried the embedded video in my FF and it's working fine - I'm using v2.0.0.13.

    BTW - the very small typeface that sometimes appeared alongside images etc seems to have gone - methinks that maybe, just maybe, they have employed a proper programmer to sort the site out.

    I still have problems with the light typefaces, too much white space and the wishy-washy couldn't care less appearance of the site.

    When will they learn that the overall appearance of the site is an indication of the site's authority.

    Put simply, strong, clear and simple graphics, typefaces and design suggests authority and trustworthiness.

  • Comment number 35.

    No registration is required to post a comment under Daily Telegraph articles. Only in their Blogs section. The Telegraph also lets you post a link to your website.

    The system on the BBC site is quite one-sided. Heavily 'moderated' and gives nothing back to the poster for his/her contribution.

  • Comment number 36.

    Well, you guys certainly have gone into agonising contortions for over a year to sort your blogging problem out. Having said that, it's certainly good to see that you have finally done something about it.

    I also note that you seem to be paying attention to the "Being Discussed Now" section on the sidebar, but it needs something to separate it from the "Blogs Linking Here" category underneath it because they merge if nothing is being discussed.

    Coupla quibbles:
    *Lack of the user-friendly "Preview" function is a step backwards. The old blog had it.

    *What about HTML? I'm testing it now but if you had "Preview" I could test it and then tailor my comment accordingly.

    *Really good idea to link to the other comments of registered users across the BBC blogs. We keep on moaning at the BBC about lack of openness, so we should be prepared to be totally open ourselves.

  • Comment number 37.

    OK, great, you've got HTML. Now perhaps a brief note next to the comment box about what HTML you accept would be helpful.

  • Comment number 38.

    Well let's hope the moderation is less politicised than on the Radio 4 messageboards, where they seem to crack down on pretty much anything which doesn't tow the B.B.C./New-Lab line.

  • Comment number 39.

    I may not be looking in the right place, but is there a help area around? I've already got a login which applied to h2g2 - however, my login and my display title are different, as the title seems to be a merger of my old login and a user title that was associated with it on h2g2. I'd like to change this (much as I love the letter 's,' I'm not sure I need to be defending it for all time) - but can't find any sort of account home page where I can fiddle with account settings like this.

  • Comment number 40.

    Wow, the post got through! O.k. I'll admit it, I'm quite impressed. Who knows, perhaps this could even signal the start of a rebuilding of trust between the B.B.C. and its audience.

  • Comment number 41.

    606? 502? Embedded video? What are you all talking about? Would like to point out I use safari and have no problems signing in. Ever. Did it just now to check.

  • Comment number 42.


  • Comment number 43.


    if you really want to abandon your campaign for the much-maligned and oft-misunderstood vowel, go to h2g2, then select "Preferences", change your nickname and it should (in theory) change the display name.

    Your login and user name will stay the same, but the name that shows on the blog comments (and any of the DNA boards) will change.

  • Comment number 44.

    @John_Wright - The comments (and therefore the login service) were tested in Safari 2.02, 2.04 and the latest Safari 3 release. Can you post your Safari version/build number?

    @TrueToo - Comment preview will follow shortly. The HTML allowed through should be the same as MT Comments system, although I agree some supporting text would be helpful.

  • Comment number 45.

    Slightly niggled that you have taken away the ability to be able to directly reference your own blog unless you can do it here with HTML tags

    Testing now Kubernetes

  • Comment number 46.

    Testing (square brackets are used on the left for reference since they would disappear if they worked...):

    [b]: test
    [i]: test
    [strong]: test
    [em]: test



    [font face="Arial"]:
    [span style="font-weight:bold"]test[/span]
    • test

    1. test
  • Comment number 47.

    "This comment is awaiting moderation."

    "All posts are post-moderated."

    1 =/= 2

  • Comment number 48.

    Moonwolf - thanks, let's test this out.

    Oh - and obviously I continue my battles for the vastly underappreciated 19th letter of the alphabet, but these days I prefer to fight in secret. Hidden identity, and all that.

  • Comment number 49.

    Understand your thinking re the requirement registration. Pity, though, that you've now added a hurdle to the connectability between people, comments, other sites, etc.

    As commenter #45 notes, your 'handle' won't link to your own place on the net but to a user profile here on the BBC site. Can't see if you can add info to your profile. Can you?

  • Comment number 50.

    China has allowed her people to access this website, as you have asked for. Now you'd better prepared for the jump in server load, and hire more moderators :)

  • Comment number 51.

    To: Giles Wilson:

    Okay! Let's take this blog for a test drive and see if my comment will be posted or even acknowledged for consideration. In the past it has been impossible to comment on blogs... which was why I stopped reading them regularly.

    Here goes... POST COMMENT!

  • Comment number 52.

    @SBReboot - Thank you for testing the HTML parsing. The moderation messages above the Post Comment form should now be accurate :-)

  • Comment number 53.

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

  • Comment number 54.

    Why do I keep getting a .htpasswd authentication window every time I visit The Editors Blog front page for Interactive Media Player?

    Also, this blog (and Internet and front pages are showing Comments (0) even though the "Being discussed now" widget is accurate (as is the post itsemf).

  • Comment number 55.

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

  • Comment number 56.

    Dear Mr Wilson

    A bigger thankyou to all at the BBC for not throwing in the towl on this one,


    and for the future?

    perhaps you might risk letting some of us into BBC Centre to participate in the shows and further down the line perhaps help make some of them?

    best wishes and thank you for 'Son of Blog'


  • Comment number 57.

    Why do I get a window with this message?

    'To view this page, you need to log in to area “BBC Embedded Media Player” on'

  • Comment number 58.

    What if one is experiencing problems with bias and ideological intolerance on the Message Boards? Is their any editor's-type blog to air frustrations in this regard for the 5live MBs,for example, after one has exhausted, in vain, all the means of redress on those boards? I have found blatant bias against pro-Palestinian viewpoints on those boards.

  • Comment number 59.


    it is always nice to see change.....

  • Comment number 60.

    Like #57 I also have been getting the same message 'To view this page, you need to log in to area "BBC Embedded Media Player" on' when I look at the BBC's site.

    This is the only place I've found a reference to the problem. Had to create a User ID just to tell you... What does this mean?

  • Comment number 61.

    I've successfully used some HTML in the code for bold and italics as well as getting the odd special character like & to show up using the HTML
    construct, but u and a tags don't seem to work.

    I know they shouldn't be over-used, but they can be useful and occasionally even essential to produce formatted columns, for example.

    Is there a guide of allowed tags anywhere? Or a test area which can be used for practice?

    tt test follows:

    quote test follows:
    a b c d


  • Comment number 62.

    Test of HTML coding to see what works on BBC Blogs

    HTML character formatting:

    • <b> or <strong> - for bold

    • <i> for italics

    • <strike> for

    • <big> for

    • <small> for

    HTML Links
    <a href="">BBC Politics</a>
    will give this: BBC Politics but any & in the URL must be replaced with &amp; to get past the parser

    <ul> for a group of bulleted paras:

    • <li> for each

    • <li> and every

    • <li> paragraph

    <blockquote> for indented quotations:

    Oh what a tangled web we weave when once we practice to deceive.

  • Comment number 63.

    Test of HTML coding to see what works on BBC Blogs

    <table> for tables

  • Comment number 64.

    Test of HTML coding to see what works on BBC Blogs

    Special Characters (HTML Entities)

    • & - type &amp;

    • < - type &lt;

    • > - type &gt;

    • ¡ - type &iexcl; or &#161;

    • ¿ - type &iquest; or &#191;

    • £ - type &pound; or &#163;

    • © - type &copy; or &#169;

    • ¹ - type &sup1; or &#185;

    • ½ - type &frac12; or &#189;

    • ÷ - type &divide; or &#247;

    • Æ - type &AElig; or &#198;

    • æ - type &aelig; or &#230;

    • ç - type &ccedil; or &#231;

    • ñ - type &ntilde; or &#241;

    • â - type &acirc; or &#226;

    • ü - type &uuml; or &#252;

  • Comment number 65.

    More HTML Testing


    <p> Testing



  • Comment number 66.

    <RICHPOST>More HTML Testing<BR /><BR />The &lt;br&gt; Tag produces an error, presumably because it's not "matched" with a &lt;/br&gt; Tag.<BR /><br></RICHPOST>

  • Comment number 67.

    Character set testing:

  • Comment number 68.

    I'm sorry if some of my posts above seem rambling, but as there is no user guide to the HTML available for use in the new blogging system, trial and error seems the only way of establishing what works and what doesn't.

    The subset of HTML available is clearly adequate for most purposes except publishing tables of data where true HTML tables would be useful if not overdone.

    There is a serious flaw in the font and/or character and/or codebase handling however, which means that the symbol for GBP is unavailable as well as accented characters, even those which are needed in normal English usage such as the accented E on or near the end of fiance, fiancee, soiree etc.

    If fact no characters above #127 seem to display in comments although they are held correctly in the BBC database.

  • Comment number 69.

    PS to my #67 & #68

    The odd collection of displayed £s and ?s in my #67 are all regular HTML characters above #127. They display correctly in my user profile or even in notepad if you "View Source".

  • Comment number 70.

    <RICHPOST>More HTML Testing<BR /><BR />The &lt;br&gt; Tag is normally used alone in HTML, but in blog comments, the CrLf [Enter] or [Return] key generates an automatic &lt;br&gt; by the parser. &lt;br&gt; does work if you want it to, but has to be matched with a &lt;/br&gt; Tag.<BR /><BR />This line was entered <br>&lt;br&gt;without line breaks but <br>&lt;br&gt;appears as multiple lines <br>&lt;br&gt;by using &lt;br&gt; and &lt;/br&gt; Tags.</RICHPOST>

  • Comment number 71.

    More HTML Testing

    The <p> Tag is normally used in HTML to separate paragraphs of text and is accepted by the parser. As always, it has to be matched with a </p> Tag.

    This line was entered

    <p>without line breaks but

    <p>appears as multiple paragraphs

    <p>by using
    and Tags.

  • Comment number 72.

    For interest

    I have compiled a simple "how to" for inserting links into comments making bold, italic and bold italic text and inserting block quotations

    "I'm truly sorry man's dominion,
    Has broken nature's social union,
    An' justifies that ill opinion,
    Which makes thee startle
    At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
    An' fellow-mortal!
    Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me
    The present only toucheth thee:
    But, Och! I backward cast my e'e.
    On prospects drear!
    An' forward, tho' I canna see,
    I guess an' fear!"

    Robert Burns, R.I.P. (To a Mouse)

    My notes are here

    I hope they are of use.

    Happy commenting (and surfing)!

  • Comment number 73.

    More HTML Testing

    <i> or <em> gives italic text

    This should show a BBC picture of Gordon Brown

  • Comment number 74.

    Does the BBC feel any responsibility to contribute to the discussions in blogs?
    I am not the only one to ask why, these days, we have to suffer the beating of drums behind the NEWS and many other programs.
    Come on Beeb. Do you intend that contributors just blow off steam without anything constructive happening?

  • Comment number 75.

    <RICHPOST>This post is the result of my experimenting here and elsewhere with HTML using the new blog parser. It isn&#39;t exhaustive and is obviously subject to change if the BBC techies fix known issues.<BR /><p><b>HTML coding that works on BBC Blogs</b> Special Characters (HTML Entities)<ul><li>&amp; - type &amp;amp;</li><li>&lt; - type &amp;lt;</li><li>&gt; - type &amp;gt;</li></ul></p><BR /><p>HTML character formatting:<ul><li>&lt;b&gt; or &lt;strong&gt; - for <b>bold</b></li><li>&lt;i&gt; or &lt;em&gt; for <i>italics</i></li></ul></p><BR /><p>HTML Links &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;BBC Politics&lt;/a&gt; will give this: <a href="">BBC Politics</a>, but <b>every</b> &amp; in the URL must be replaced with &amp;amp; to get past the parser.</p><BR /><p>&lt;ul&gt; for a group of bulleted paras:<ul><li>&lt;li&gt; for each </li><li>&lt;li&gt; and every </li><li>&lt;li&gt; paragraph</li></ul></p><BR /><p>&lt;blockquote&gt; for indented quotations:<blockquote>Oh what a tangled web we weave when once we practice to deceive.</blockquote></p><BR /><p>The &lt;br&gt; Tag is normally used alone in HTML as the only common exception to the rules on closing Tags. In BBC blog comments, the CrLf key [Enter] or [Return] generates an automatic &lt;br&gt; by the parser. However, &lt;br&gt; does work if you want it to, but has to be matched with a normally meaningless &lt;/br&gt; Tag.<br>This line was entered <br>without line breaks but <br>appears as multiple lines <br>by using &lt;br&gt; and &lt;/br&gt; Tags with no whitespace between them.</p><BR /><p>The &lt;p&gt; Tag is normally used in HTML to separate paragraphs of text and is accepted by the parser. As always, it has to be matched with a &lt;/p&gt; Tag. </p><p>This line was entered </p><p>&lt;p&gt;without line breaks but </p><p>&lt;p&gt;appears as multiple paragraphs </p><p>&lt;p&gt;by using &lt;p&gt; and &lt;/p&gt; Tags.</p><BR /><p>Remember, every &lt;html tag&gt; needs to be closed with a corresponding &lt;/html tag&gt; working from in to out. So to get <b>bold</b> and <i>italic</i>, you need <b>&lt;b&gt;</b><i>&lt;i&gt;<b>bold italics</b>&lt;/i&gt;</i><b>&lt;/b&gt;</b></p><BR /><p><b>HTML coding that doesn&#39;t work on BBC Blogs</b><BR />Special Characters (HTML Entities) Only the entities shown above seem to work. Even &amp;nbsp; for extra white space produces an error. HTML special characters above &amp;#127; don&#39;t produce an error but neither do they work, just giving a square:&quot;£&quot; or a Question Mark:&quot;?&quot;, so you cannot use pound signs or accented characters.<BR />HTML formatting the parser ignores:<ul><li>&lt;u&gt; for doesn&#39;t work!</li><li>&lt;strike&gt; for doesn&#39;t work!</li><li>&lt;big&gt; for doesn&#39;t work!</li><li>&lt;small&gt; for doesn&#39;t work!</li><li>&lt;tt&gt; for doesn&#39;t work!</li><li>&lt;quote&gt; for <quote>quoted text</quote> doesn&#39;t work!</li><li>&lt;ol&gt; for numbered paragraphs doesn&#39;t work and nor do the &lt;li&gt; sub-paras within the &lt;ol&gt;</li><li>&lt;table&gt; for tables don&#39;t work, and neither do &lt;tr&gt; or &lt;td&gt; tags</li><li>&lt;img&gt; for images do not work</li></ul></p><BR /><p><b>Errors</b><BR />If your post is accepted, you should see it as the most recent post on the thread - usually awaiting moderation - unless there are more than 500 posts on the thread when you get dumped back to the first page.<BR />If your post contains HTML Tags the parser can&#39;t deal with, it will just ignore them but the formatting of the resulting post will be, at best, unattractive.<BR />If your post contains an HTML Entity the parser can&#39;t recognise, you&#39;ll see &quot;<b>dnaerrortype=XmlParseError</b>&quot; in the URL the browser goes to after you press &quot;<b>Post Comment</b>&quot;. You can usually recover the text to re-edit it by pressing the &quot;<b>Back</b>&quot; button on your browser.<BR />For safety, especially if your post is a long one, copy it to the clipboard before attempting to post it.</p></RICHPOST>

  • Comment number 76.



  • Comment number 77.


    Text in the Center ->[center]text[/center]

  • Comment number 78.

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

  • Comment number 79.

    Any idea when we'll get the ability to preview our comments before posting? Someone mentioned this would follow shortly but that was back in April!

  • Comment number 80.

    As political bloggers will have noticed, the new software splits onto a second page after the first 500 comments.

    The user profile links can't take you directly to those postings, but if you need to do so, you can like this.

  • Comment number 81.

    Today my attention has been drawn to some changes in the way the parser operates, making my #75 above at least partly out of date. This is my first attempt to establish what has changed.

    Firstly and most usefully, if your post fails, your text remains in the textbox with an error message displayed below, instead of the previous "dnaerrortype=XmlParseError" in the URL.

    & can now be entered as a single character, but &amp; can still be used if desired.

    < - you still need to enter <
    > - you still need to enter >

    Formatting still working:
    <b> - for bold
    <strong> - for strong
    <i> - for italics
    <em> - for em

    Full URLs are now automatically detected as links, viz:

    But you can still enter "pretty" links as fully-formed HTML. So <a href="">BBC Election 2005 search</a> will give: BBC Election 2005 search, and any &&s in the URL no longer need to be encoded specially.

    <ul> for a group of bulleted paras:

    • <li> for each
    • <li> and every
    • <li> paragraph

    <blockquotegt; for indented quotations:
    Oh what a tangled web we weave
    when once we practice to deceive.

    &pound; fails with an error message, and £ (GBP sign) is accepted but does not display correctly. Same is true for the EUR symbol.
  • Comment number 82.

    Format testing


    this is quoted text


    1. 1st

    2. 2nd

    3. 3rd

    img - BBC logo:
  • Comment number 83.

    <RICHPOST>Testing of &lt;br&gt;&lt;/br&gt; tag pairs<BR /><BR />This<br>line<br>has<br>multiple<br>tag pairs</RICHPOST>

  • Comment number 84.

    Following changes to the BBC blog parser early today, I performed the testing above and can confirm that there are 3 important changes relevant to us users:

    First, and perhaps most importantly, the vast majority of errors are better reported and give you the opportunity to correct them in the window that reports them. The URL shown in the address window of your browser will end with #dnaacs and will usually show the message: "There has been a problem... Your comment contains some HTML that has been mistyped." below the Your Comment tex box, which will still contain the text you typed, followed by a message which tries to give a clue to problem. If after pressing Post Comment the URL ends in #dnaacs, your comment has not been accepted by the parser.

    Second, if you enter a complete URL such as it will usually be automatically be converted to a proper hyperlink - but don't bank on it with complex URLs! Proper hypertext links can still be used as before such as BBC News Front Page, as demonstrated in #75 above.

    Third, & can now be entered as a single character - perhaps just too late for all the Bradford & Bingley posts, but there'll be others! The official HTML construct of &amp; can still be used, and in fact must still be if you need to demonstrate coding. For example, to show how to display a < on the screen, one must type &amp;lt;.

    Other coding works or does not as shown in my #75 above.

  • Comment number 85.

    Can you speed up the moderating please? Especially at night - It can take over an hour to get a blog posted!

    Thank you

  • Comment number 86.

    I think that registering to leave comments is the best thing you guys did, there was starting to be to much nonsense going on, this seemed to have cut down on some of it !

    Pregnant Mama - Janet

  • Comment number 87.

  • Comment number 88.

    Yes you are right. To comment against a blog you must be registered.

  • Comment number 89.


  • Comment number 90.


  • Comment number 91.

    Testing html

    government spin
    giant ponzi scheme

    Small firms take long Christmas

  • Comment number 92.

    • for each

    • and every

    • paragraph

    • you want to include
  • Comment number 93.

    I enjoy your blogs that the BBC has provided to the guests and users of the services!

  • Comment number 94.

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

  • Comment number 95.

    From the latest comments on the Nick Robinson blog, it would appear that the bug which stopped GBP signs from showing along with almost all character above ASCII 127 may have been fixed at last.

    Here's some test characters:

    GBP: ££££££££££
    EUR: €€€€€€€€€€
    Accented e1: éééééééééé
    Accented e2: èèèèèèèèèè
    Accented n: ññññññññññ
    Accented c: çççççççççç

  • Comment number 96.

    Sorry - #95 above does not work.

    From trial and error of others, it seems that beginning a comment with <meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html;charset=utf-8" /> allows some characters above ASCII 127 to be used.

    Here's some test characters:

    GBP: ££££££££££
    EUR: €€€€€€€€€€
    Accented e1: éééééééééé
    Accented e2: èèèèèèèèèè
    Accented n: ññññññññññ
    Accented c: çççççççççç

  • Comment number 97.

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

  • Comment number 98.

    displaying £ etc.

    change text encoding on your browser to Western ISO 8859-1 or windows 1252 or try different western european settings. This needs to be set whenever you start the comments page or refresh the page.

    £= £

    If you do that you should see above another method which encodes the pound sign into UTF-8

    Just enter these characters using Charmap on screen keyboard. Copy then paste where required. pounds will then appear without changing encoding.

    The Comments page is in UTF-8 0-127 normal above that requires 2 bytes) and the comment box produces ordinary ascii(0-255 characters) producing an error when anything above character 127 ASCII which includes pound signs and accents, is entered. What's the point of that?

  • Comment number 99.

    re: 98 Character or text encoding how to change it.

    On IE7 goto Page-Encoding-Western European ISO.

    On Mozilla Firefox go to View-character encoding-western 8859-1

    On Apple safari its View-Text Encoding-western European.

    Then the pound sign and accents will show. You need to do that every time you start the comments page or refresh the page.

    Unfortunately, this does not show the '€' .

  • Comment number 100.

    Test: £££££ &&&& €


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