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Changes to Have Your Say

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Alex Gubbay Alex Gubbay | 12:12 UK time, Monday, 15 February 2010

Next week, we will make some changes to the News website's Have Your Say section.

BBC iD logoThe technology we currently use to host debates will be replaced by the system we use for our blogs - including this one. That system includes BBC iD, our sign-in process for comments and other user-generated content, which we are rolling out across BBC Online so you only have to sign in once to use any of our services.

This means old Have Your Say accounts will no longer be valid; so if you do not already have a BBC iD account, you will need to create one.

Some elements of the current service - including recommendation - will not be carried over to the new system, but we hope the switchover will address the most frequent complaint we get about Have Your Say: that comments take too long to appear.

We are not promising instant publication, but we are confident that moderation queues will be significantly reduced and the moderation process more transparent. With any luck, there should be a big improvement in your user experience.

The developments are the first step in a gradual development of our interactivity, and I look forward to keeping you up-to-date with further enhancements over the coming months.

*** UPDATE 13:00 Wednesday 24 February ***
We have just published our first debates on the new system - one on Ofsted's criticisms of the Three R's, and one on the political situation in Nigeria.

Alex Gubbay is BBC News's social media editor.


Page 1 of 11

  • Comment number 1.

    I do hope you are going to fix all of the faults in the BBC iD system before you let it loose. If you do not already know what they are then you can contact me and I'll point them out to you one by one.

  • Comment number 2.

    Does this mean that a comment posted will not take up to 4 days to be published

  • Comment number 3.

    ***"Some elements of the current service - including recommendation - will not be carried over to the new system"***

    I see.

    One of the most useful and informative parts of HYS is the ability to use it as a gauge of public opinion courtesy to the "recommendation" feature.

    The problem for the BBC is that most of the recommendations are contrary to the BBC's left-wing liberal bias, aren't they?

    The solution? Simple! Abolish the recommendation system on the back on an "improvement".

    This wouldn't have anything to do with the forthcoming General Election and the BBC's desire to protect its New Labour masters from bad press, would it?

    Of course not!

  • Comment number 4.

    As a license payer who works abroad I'd like to see the BBC iD linked somehow to my license which would in turn allow me to watch the audio and video content that is typically blocked for overseas users.

  • Comment number 5.

    Why are you removing the recommendation system? Surely, by definition, shows readers which comments are popular...

    Without a rec system comment-boards are wide open to astroturfing by people with a specific agenda, posting multiple comments in favour of a specific side of the debate in order to give the impression of mass support where none exists...

  • Comment number 6.

    #5 Why are you removing the recommendation system? Surely, by definition, shows readers which comments are popular...


    Because the recomendation system is manipulated by a tiny handful of individuals under a variety of names,self voting (which is ridiculously easy) to make their own opinions seem far more popular than they are. Somedays you can actually see it happen. It'll be 5.30 in the evening, they'll be no other activity on the site apart from one particular comment getting 5 recs a minute while everything else is ignored.

    Pretty much any regular (addict) on the site knows exactly who i'm talking about.

    I wouldn't be suprised if this gets moderated because in the past the beeb really haven't liked people mentioning it, as myself & others have found out. Maybe its a 'voting scandal' too far.

  • Comment number 7.

    Hopefully the new service will contain more reasoned arguments and opinions. Despite the obvious pitfalls I too used to always read the Recommendations to judge opinion - shame it is going. I do feel sorry for the sad sacks who have nothing better to do than inflate the recommendations of a particular view. HYS was to me a pleasant diversion for a few minutes not a way of life!
    We will no doubt get many comments about the new version of HYS soon enough!

  • Comment number 8.

    "but we hope the switchover will address the most frequent complaint we get about Have Your Say: that comments take too long to appear."

    Just how will that make any difference ? Regardless of the software used to host the debate, if a real person still has to moderate a comment then that's the bottle neck, not the implementation of the underlying data handling.

    And if the best bit, the 'Recommend' button is removed then HYS will just become like any other web forum; I think this change will result in people drifting away from HYS - maybe that's the real reason for the changes ?

  • Comment number 9.

    Well I do hope that the moderation process becomes more transparent. It's totally opaque at the moment. If my comments are rejected, I usually have absolutely no idea why. I'm familiar with all the house rules and would never knowingly break them.

    I have, however, noticed that when my comments are rejected, they are usually critical of the Labour government. I hope that's just coincidence and not evidence of an unwritten house rule that says "thou shalt not criticise the Labour government".

  • Comment number 10.

    While the recommendation system was not perfect, I do wish that the BBC would take a leaf out of Reddit's book and allow voting up and down of comments and ordering comments by popularity (heuristically mixed with some new ones to avoid staleness), and allow threading of comments. Reddit manages to keep debates sane (in terms of readability at least!) for thousands of comments - it's about time HYS was able to cope with the volume of traffic that it receives.

  • Comment number 11.

    Please re-think the RECOMMENDATION system - this is something that should be carried forward and not deleted.

  • Comment number 12.


    Illogical, goldCaesar. The BBC iD system is intended to iron out multiple "signing in" so as to prevent multiple voting regimes, so it is a case of protecting "recommendations" whilst removing them!

    The problem is that the BBC iD system does not work. My partner and flatmates, who share this and one other computer with me, cannot actually get their iDs to work even though the satisfy all the criteria the BBC set down in re-registering. Emails are responded to, they sign on, they make a comment and, hey presto, the error message "An unexpected error has occurred. Please reload the page and try again." appears. This leads into a loop which can only be broken by signing off. When you sign in again, same thing happens. This has now been raised as an official complaint and will proceed to the BBC Trust unless it is fixed.

  • Comment number 13.


    I know nothing about BBC ID - does it remember which computer you've posted from & limit you on that?

    Because if all you need is new passwords linked to new e-mail address to create each new id, then the problem will remain. The self reccomenders must spend a huge amount of time doing what they do, making getting multiple IDs more difficult or time consuming just isn't going to dter them.

  • Comment number 14.

    What ultimate difference will it make. Same old left wing, PC, liberal BBC bias personified by the current first BBC commandment, ' Thou shalt not criticise gays ' - any such comment will be rejected or held for moderation until question has passed.

    Second BBC commandment and subject to the same restrictions as the above, 'Thou shalt not criticise the government or any of it's social/cultural/multicultural policies.

    Particularly welcome however are all comments critical of religion, particularly Christianity ( but naturally excluding Islam ) Israel, America ( excluding Obama )Tories and anything supportive of traditional family values and traditional British culture and it's fast disappearing way of life under a deluge of multiculturalism and mass immigration.

    At all times the BBC reserves it's right to retain and defend it's de facto monopolistic position and be sacrosanct from all and any criticism particularly it's profiligate waste of and self indulgent use of our licence money.

  • Comment number 15.

    Agree with sanbikinoraion.

    The BBC should be enhancing the democratic features of this website by adding the ability to downvote as well as upvoting comments instead of removing the voting system altogether.

    They could learn some lessons from The Register, which permits comments on almost all articles and provides for upvoting and downvoting both the article itself and the comments made about it.

    The ability to downvote is important. A comment may get 400+ "recommendations", but if 500+ people *disagree* with that opinion then it should, probably, have a lower ranking that a comment that only 200 recommended, but only a few actively disagreed with. The ability to rank by upvotes, downvotes and balance of votes would be useful.

    In any case, removing this democratic feature of HYS at this point in time smacks of political interference and/or bias, even if this is not actually the case. This change should be re-thought or, at the very least, put on hold until after the General Election.

  • Comment number 16.

    Some HYS "debates" have thousands of entries. Clicking on the Most Recommended tab enables us to see the mood of the debate. It's not a perfect indicator by any means, but it's better than nothing. No one wades through a thousand posts (although I did once when it was a HYS asking people to post their best jokes). The blog system places prominence to those who post first - so it will be biased towards those with time on their hands.

    Moving to the blog format seems like a step backwards. My hope is that the recommendation function is retained and a way is found to eliminate self-voting and multiple voting.

  • Comment number 17.

    I totally agree with #10 sanbikinoraion. This is an opportunity to ditch the recommendation system and introduce something far better. Threading or the ability to add comments to other people's comments is essential for a proper debating forum; too often I see misinformation propagated as fact on HYS. Stale comments which end up buried unseen on page 56 due to large batch publishes are also a problem that could be addressed. I hope the BBC doesn't miss this opportunity to provide a better service.

  • Comment number 18.

    I agree with James Rigby that the 'recommended' feature should be kept and ways to eliminate multiple voting should be found, as it IS a good way of judging the mood of the forum. Also, it would be good if the moderators could butt-out from shaping the mood of the forum as they tend to reject views that are contrary to what they'd like to hear, or leave a post "awaiting moderation" until the topic is closed.
    Our fathers and grand-fathers fought in wars so that we could have free speech, not so that the BBC get's idea's above it's station as to what views can and can't be expressed on their forums.
    JUST REMEMBER THIS BBC, WE are the license payers! WE pay YOUR wages. You are OUR servants AND YOU'D DO WELL TO REMEMBER THAT!

  • Comment number 19.

    18. At 3:11pm on 15 Feb 2010, its_dave_here wrote:

    it IS a good way of judging the mood of the forum


    I don't think you understand the sheer extent of the manipulation by multiple/selfvoters. For an example, keep an eye on the currrent' most recommended' on the 'You Tube' strand, you might notice something happen everytime someone gets close to his number of recs.

    And he's harmless.

    In the worst case scenario sometimes pretty much the first 2 pages are rigged. It used to be mainly associated with far right parties, but a couple of weeks ago, during a debate on a lib dems policy announcement one of my own comments (broadly supportive of the lib dems), about 8 hours after being published jumped from complete obscurity with around 5 recs, to second place with aproaching 100. This happened in under an hour.

    Which suggests to me that other parties/posters/unknowns are getting in on the act.

  • Comment number 20.

    its_dave_here wrote:

    JUST REMEMBER THIS BBC, WE are the license payers! WE pay YOUR wages. You are OUR servants AND YOU'D DO WELL TO REMEMBER THAT!

    Sorry dave - no chance. The BBC is entrenched institutionalised left wing liberalism and is the communications arm of all that that represents.

    As such it has long departed from being a reporter of news to being the most influential and 'respected ' broadcasing body to significantly shape the news and to influence public opinion by making the news fit it's own bias and sociopolitical agenda, eg, environment issues and climate change; evolution and Darwinism. The first,increasingly being demonstrated for the myth that it is and the latter long blown out of the water.

    For the BBC however any opposing views might not exist. Such is it's influential position of broadcasting monopoly it treats any such comment that you level with disdain.

    It's time for it to be dismantled and reassembled along the lines that Lord Reith originally envisaged. It has become a Frankensteins monster.

  • Comment number 21.

    Aye #15 - agreed. The Reg system is nice and clear.

    Also, adding comments to ALL articles might be nice. OK, important. But then so would adding the byline of the author. Oh, and maybe more transparency over moderation - not just a "hold back views we don't agree with and then close the debate" that currently occurs.

  • Comment number 22.

    I'm sorry the 'recommended' option is going but I think I understand why. Sometimes I feel that there is definite lobbying, especially when I see posts with several hundred recommendations. It would be nice if the BBC could find a way to limit the number of recommendations any one post can accept and to stop 'self-recommending'.
    Maybe that's technically too difficult.

  • Comment number 23.

    It is sad but not surprising that the BBC found a way of getting rid of the gauge of majority opinion found in the Readers’ Recommended list of Have Your Say.

    The BBC has been worrying about this since at least January 2008 when, Peter Horrocks (BBC Head of TV News?) wrote a lengthy blog questioning the credentials of the comments on HYS. He described how they considered deleting one topic after it was found that the majority recommended comments were not to the BBC’s liking. To his credit, he then wrote:

    ‘The BBC has made a commitment to listening to the views of its audience. And I have no doubt how any attempt to down-play or disregard their comments would have been seen as censorship and a conspiracy by the BBC to prevent their strongly held views.’

    Yet, HYS with its Readers’ Recommended section highlighting the majority opinion stands out like a sore thumb compared to the liberal/left propaganda put out constantly by the BBC. I suppose it was only a matter of time before the BBC was to find some way of suppressing it, especially with the election on the way.

    It is crude and obvious and I hope, in time, that the BBC does not get away with it.

    This should rightly be seen as censorship and a conspiracy by the BBC to prevent strongly held views.

  • Comment number 24.

    "Some elements of the current service - including recommendation - will not be carried over to the new system"

    Many 'Most recommended' do not fit with the BBC's left-wing default position. So what do they do, remove the feature! Appalling decision.

    "The developments are the first step in a gradual development of our interactivity"

    How does this statement match with the one I highlighted above? It should now read:

    "The developments are the first step in a gradual reduction of our interactivity to shape things so we get the responses we like"

  • Comment number 25.

    so does this mean it wont be moderated anymore? and will the posts be a bit quicker posting?

    at the moment it looks like you wait till the subject is over its age and dont bother posting some of the posts

  • Comment number 26.

    How is this a step forwards, of the 'recommended' button is no longer there? Do we end up with blogs containing 5000 comments, sequenced by time, so it will take so long to read them that it becomes unworkable?

    I have never believed in the crowd who whine about some perceived left or right wing bias - if anything it tends to be the rabid right, not the loony left who come out on top around here - but not having some kind of straw pole control is ridiculous. I have argued, several times, that we need a 'disagree' button alongside the 'recommend' one, for all of those of us who do not agree with the top recommended view, and thus cannot get an opinion seen before it is lost in the maelstrom.

    I do not look forward to the prospect of not having a limit on post length. Wading through someone's 5000 word rant on why everything is wrong with the world is going to put most people off coming anywhere near here.

  • Comment number 27.

    I would like to join my voice to the pleas for a rentention of the 'Recommended' facility - if only to show myself that I do not always spout complete rubbish! Seriously it is a good if informal measure of opinion. The suggestion of a counter-system to record "I don't agree with this" also has merit but might be difficult to program - unless you just put 2 counters on each comment, one for Agree and one for Disagree.

    If the pages of blog-style postings are to get as long as the old HYS debates, a search facility would be good, too.

  • Comment number 28.

    @18 Patty

    The new version will be just as "rigged". In fact it will be easier to top-list your views because, while a single user can (unless they have multiple accounts) only "recommend" once, they can post multiple times (as I have here).

    So unless the BBC restricts individuals to a single (or 2 or 3) posts then the "rigging" is likely to get worse rather than better.

  • Comment number 29.

    I see.

    One of the most useful and informative parts of HYS is the ability to use it as a gauge of public opinion courtesy to the "recommendation" feature.

    The problem for the BBC is that most of the recommendations are contrary to the BBC's left-wing liberal bias, aren't they?

    The solution? Simple! Abolish the recommendation system on the back on an "improvement".

    This wouldn't have anything to do with the forthcoming General Election and the BBC's desire to protect its New Labour masters from bad press, would it?

    Of course not!

    Under the new system i will not be able to recommend this, and i wish i could, excellent comment

  • Comment number 30.

    How can we convince you to change your mind, the appeal of Have your say was the recommendation. To see lots of comments is fine but to see lots of comments with others approving/disapproving shows a direction the debate is going in. Please keep moderation, its great.

  • Comment number 31.

    One good thing about this thread, royalalbertdock is giving me some prize comments to smile about. To be so convinced of the righteousness of one's own point of view is delightful.
    Keep it up, my friend. You do only represent one hue of the spectrum of views here, but you are so entertaining!

  • Comment number 32.


    Thanks, for giving the audience the heads-up with regards to the forthcoming changes to Have Your Say...

    And, I hope that the "bugs" will be taken care of before the old HYS system is disabled...

    (Dennis Junior)

  • Comment number 33.

    @ #23 KennethM: Just to be clear, BBC HYS does not represent the 'majority opinion' of the country as a whole, it only represents the majority view of people who have regular access to the BBC website (and have a penchant for trumpeting their own opinions). That's a biased representation towards professional males of middle age and an under-representation of women, the elderly and the lower classes. For example, look at any topic touching on women's rights and the skewed bias becomes immediately obvious. Don't be fooled into giving recommendations more credence than they deserve.

  • Comment number 34.

    Lots of people are complaining about the loss of recommendations from the new system but please do not give in to their pressure. All of us who visit HYS regularly know full well that organised lobby groups and individuals who use recommendations to artificially inflate the (apparent) popularity of their comments.

  • Comment number 35.

    There's no point in keeping Have Your Say at all without the 'Recommended' feature!

    Some comment pages span into the hundreds - very few people have time to trawl through the lot. By clicking the Recommended tab, we can read the comments voted most popular, instead of just the last few to make it into the list.

    Really, this is a backward step. Any old newspaper or blog can list comments as they are on this page - the BBC Have Your Say section has always been better than this.

    Leave things as they are please - I'd sooner wait for comments to be published than scroll through page after page of 'This comment is awaiting moderation' and not be able to support other comments by clicking 'Recommend'.

    Frankly, this all seems like a way to get rid of Have Your Say by the back door, since people will gradually stop using the system once it provides no benefit.

  • Comment number 36.

    I think if you reject a commet you should be told why.If someone has the time to reject they have the time to give the reason why and you should be able to appeal.

    Why not have reject if others complain about and save you time and money.

  • Comment number 37.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 38. i know i cant seem to get updated changes to stick on bbc film network since it updated to bbc ID

  • Comment number 39.

    goldCaesar - I agree with you, but read my post again. Recommendation IS a good way of judging the mood of the forum, and should the BBC find a way of stopping people placing multiple-votes for themselves, it should be an even more accurate representation of the mood? Surely?

    royalalbertdock - I'm not kidding myself for one second that my rant will make any difference whatsoever to the way the BBC represent things, but can you tell me that what I said didn't need saying, and that it wasn't a fair comment?

    I'm just amazed that my comment got past the moderators and that it actually got printed! I've had much less controversial posts rejected!

  • Comment number 40.


    "Just how will that make any difference ? Regardless of the software used to host the debate, if a real person still has to moderate a comment then that's the bottle neck, not the implementation of the underlying data handling."

    Exactly. The large queues are nothing to do with the software. They are to do with the BBC's insistence on vetting every single comment. This strategy is expensive, archaic and totally unworkable in today's fast-moving online world. Originally "Have Your Say" worked by people sending in emails, with the BBC selecting a few of the "best" ones to be published. There were of course many accusations of censorship and of the BBC selecting opinions they liked.

    Eventually the BBC announced a move to a new automatic system and they promised that your comments would appear instantly since many of the debates would be Reactively Moderated. With Reactive Moderation your comment appears straight away and is only removed if it's inappropriate (swearing etc) and people complain. If you take a look at "Have Your Say" on any day, you will of course find precisely zero reactively moderated debates. The problem is that with reactive moderation, the BBC lose control of the argument.

    Probably the nail in the coffin of reactive moderation was the debate on Google's involvement with censorship in China a few years back. Inevitably some people pointed out that the BBC also engaged in censorship and the BBC quickly pulled those posts. People were shocked and made posts pointing out the irony of censoring such posts in a debate about censorship. Then the BBC started pulling those posts as well. Eventually the BBC gave up and all the top rated posts were about BBC censorship. I complained to the BBC about their behavior and I received a reply informing me that posts mentioning BBC censorship were "off topic" and thus had to be removed. Rather worring isn't it?

    The BBC might like to pretend that full moderation is used to stop lots of silly and abusive posts, but the real reason is to keep control of the debate and exclude anything they arbitrarily define as "off topic". So, for example, in a debate on Iran, pointing out that the BBC participated in the coup in 1953 might be considered "off topic". Although the BBC might conveniently think it's off topic, you might think it is very on topic and interesting. That's why it is essential that there is some kind of recommendation system. Posts that people consider to be off-topic or uninteresting are given low scores and those of merit are given high scores. Who wants to wade through a myriad of unorganised mediocre comments? This move is going to kill "Have Your Say".

    The BBC's desire to control the debate is also evidenced in the restructuring of many of the news related message boards. The audience used to be able to post topical questions or news stories to debate, but this is no longer the case. They are all like this board. They post a question they want you to talk about and that's where it ends. It's bad enough for any news site to be operating in such a narrow and restrictive way, let alone one that is publicly funded.

    If you are going to have comment and debate on a news site, you should at least be able to comment on the stories that they are publishing, yet we cannot even do that. Why can't I just click on a "discuss" button under a news story and post my thoughts? Is that too crazy, expensive and impossible? I'm sure the BBC would suggest so, but it is in fact quite possible and is the direction many news sites have moved in. CNN being just one example.

    If you want to see how well things can be done, look no further than Slashdot. The popular technology comments site handles an enormous number of comments and they have zero budget compared to the massively funded BBC. On Slashdot your posts appear instantly, there is a recommendation system, threading, html formatting etc. Why is it just so impossible for the BBC to provide such features? It's not a question of money, it's that they are too controlling and their thinking belongs somewhere in the last century.

    Instead of moving backwards, the BBC needs to look at the much more open direction that debate is moving on other news sites. Otherwise the discussion will just move elsewhere.

    P.S. I don't know why I bothered typing all this really. The BBC never listens to its audience. Even if this blog was full of posts by the finest minds on the planet, all condemning the plans, the BBC would just ignore them and proceed as planned.

  • Comment number 41.

    the biggest problem with hys as it is for me is the poor moderation. you will see so much stuff that is completely off topic that gets through. example: the man of the year debate containing plenty of comments from people saying their man of the year wouldnt be gordon brown. That wasn't the question! So why are comments like that getting through? and why do comments I make pointing this out then not get published?

    Doesnt sound to me like this new system is going to make it better in that respect, more likely worse.

    enjoyable thread this though. some of these comments are so paranoid! i laughed my head off!

  • Comment number 42.

    You don't say why you aren't carrying across the 'recommendation' feature. This is a great tool to gauge opinion, but it may be better to not allow 'recommending' from the 'most popular' page. I think that distorted the support of some opinions. Even if that weren't possible, I'd rather see that feature as it was than not at all.

  • Comment number 43.

    Would it not have been much fairer and democratic to ask the licence paying users of HYS IF they wished to change or how they would like to change the system. It is very clear the vast majority of the users of this service wish for example to retain the reccomendation system..

    The ONLY logical conclusion I can think of as to why the BBC are doing this is to reastrict and control even more the content of what gets posted. IE more left wing regulation of a media that is supposed to ne impartial

  • Comment number 44.


    I agree that most posts on the internet are biased towards the groups you mentioned.

    The BBC tried to improve the situation a few months ago by advertising HYS on television but I have no idea if it improved things at all.

    I think the majority of posters (the majority I was referring to) is the best we can hope for as we cannot make people post who don’t want to.

  • Comment number 45.

    Hi Everyone,

    I look after BBC iD at the BBC. We've rolled it out on lots of sites now, and we test it very rigourously, If you do have problems, please visit out help section or email

    We hope having a single sign in across the whole BBC website will make it much easier to be involved with the site, as once signed in, you'll be signed in everywhere.


  • Comment number 46.

    At 1:57pm on 15 Feb 2010, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:
    "Well I do hope that the moderation process becomes more transparent. It's totally opaque at the moment.."

    I totally agree with this and feel that it would be more helpful if the poster can be told "Rejected - breaks rule X" which at least gives you the chance to understand what you are doing wrong.

    "I have, however, noticed that when my comments are rejected, they are usually critical of the Labour government."

    The BBC is entirely neutral and arbitrarily rejects comments in favour of the government too when they appear not to break published rules. I suspect its just whim of the individual moderator!

    I agree that recommendation is pointless all the time certain people manipulate the process to get their recommendations artificially high.

  • Comment number 47.


    My comment was not a criticism but merely meant to be a wry reflection on the fact that anything that us BBC licence payers have to say concerning the way the BBC conducts itself would make the slightest difference. Have you ever listened to a BBC spokesperson respond to a complaint. I have made various complaints and have always received the standard disingenuous pro forma brush off. The BBC has become a law unto itself and needs a root and branch overhaul with many needing to be thrown off this left wing gravy train.

  • Comment number 48.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 49.

    Oh dear, am I ever lost in this new system!
    It took me (Don't laugh) over one half-hour to find out HOW to make a comment. (Stop laughing!!)
    I understand and agree with removing the recommendation.
    What I'm wondering is how I'll be able to recognize very popular point-of-views (vs. my own). I used to like making this comparison - just to see if I was in the same ballpark or in another field entirely.
    Anyway, wish me luck.

  • Comment number 50.

    This needs saying over and over again, even though it's constantly disregarded by HYS: What contributors want is a REASON for being rejected. Which House Rule was broken? Don't HYS moderators understand how many disgruntled contributors there are out here when comments which seem perfectly reasonable get seemingly-arbitrarily rejected?

    Don't moderators realise how much it looks like political bias when that happens?

    Don't pretend this hasn't been pointed out to you, because it has - dozens if not hundreds of times!

  • Comment number 51.

    Will I still be able to get a record of all my submissions; I mean (selfishly) - mine and mine alone, just for my ego's sake?
    If yes, how will I get them - by topic, date...?

  • Comment number 52.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 53.

    Retrograde step BBC. "Recommended" section must stay, censorship must go. Our licence fees pay your salaries and in view of the size of many of them, we do not need the state broadcasting service dictating us how to behave.

  • Comment number 54.

    Quite right too Albertdock I have three licenses so would get three votes and my partner has non ... so the women would not approve... and the pub has one for five tele's ... and the hotel down the road several hundred!...

    The BBC Documents say The BBC is for all in the UK who use its services or might use them... so HEAR HER SAY! The licence fund is held in trust to to deliver the BBC purposes as set out in the Charter and in the governments memo. The World Service, BBC America etc have different rules. On my interpretation of the documents there is no justification for the BBC offering blogs, HYS, message boards, or audience supplied news. They are a waste of the licence fund on a band of ......

    Incidentally anyone can set up a net radio or TV station so why not have a go (but ask you lawyer first.and Internet provider first... they both will charge!!)

  • Comment number 55.

    Alex Gubbay - BBC News wrote:

    "And by moving onto BBC iD, we also hope to make very real improvements right now to the moderation process, not least the time it takes for comments to be moderated."

    I'll repeat my point ( #8 ) as you have clearly missed it :

    It does not matter what software use you to host the HYS forum - with pre-moderation, someone still has to read and approve everyone's postings. So can you explain how that will be improved by simply using different software ?

  • Comment number 56.

    In reply to #55

    Because a pan-BBC system is better equipped and supported to cope with the volume than a bespoke HYS one.

  • Comment number 57.

    dear Brian of the cam why are you here... Go and 'Have Your Say' on Sky. You don't have to put up with a 'state' broadcaster. If you don't watch the programmes when they a being 'broadcast' you don't even need a licence.

  • Comment number 58.

    I agree with the previous comments about the removal of the Recommended feature, and why.

    It's clear that as no technical reason why it can't be carried over has been given, it's because it doesn't fit in with the BBC's opinion.

    So much for the BBC Charter.

  • Comment number 59.

    Just don't "throw out the baby with the bathwater"!

  • Comment number 60.

    What is the point of Have Your Say without the recommendation system? How will readers be able to gauge opinion is on any particular topic?

    Guess I won't be bothering with the BBC website as much. I'll go over to Reddit.

  • Comment number 61.

    It's about time. I quite like the iD feature on BBC blogs.

    Also - the current recommended feature is a load of crock. It is excruciatingly skewered towards whatever posts happen to be on the front page, and whatever populist far-right drivel some idiot has written on the first page and has been recommended endlessly for by simpletons sharing similar views. You need only mention the words "immigration", "BNP" and have an excruciatingly unwitty name, and you're suddenly the messiah of HYS. I guess that's probably a flaw of HYS's regular contributors rather than the system, though.

    In my opinion, if a recommendation feature is ever implemented with BBC iD, then the BBC would do well to add both positive and negative recommendation boxes. Opinions are never only positive on any post. That kind of self moderation would also allow for semi-moderated debates to pop up far more frequently. It might also stop people posting illogical, extreme views, and encourage them to think about moderating their tone.

  • Comment number 62.

    I appreciate the development. Good that sign in only once

  • Comment number 63.

    Problem # 1:

    Current HYS House Rules place ALL the responsibilities on the HYSer and NONE on the Moderator!

    Even in the current system all that was needed to see what moderators do was to have an additional line at the top of each comment such that the first two lines looked like this:

    "Submitted: Tuesday, 15 February, 2010, 14:00 GMT"
    (Change 'Added' to Submitted')
    "Published: Tuesday, 15 February, 2010, 22:00 GMT"

    Straightaway, HYSers would know that this particular comment was withheld for 8 hours while many others submitted at the exact same time were published soon after!

    Even in the new system this MUST be done. Let's see if it is!

    After reading most of the comments here I agree with the need for:
    >UpVoting AND DownVoting rather than No Recommending!

    Personally, I see the likes of BNP or whoever 'forcing' their views to the top with a huge 'pool' of 'friends' as OK! They wouldn't need to do it if their views were being listened to and addressed by the powers that be.

    Even if BNP is considered as racist I personally don't find them offensive and many, many times I've recommended comments which appear to be from BNP supporters simply because the comments in Q had 'just plain common sense' or were a very good analysis of the particular issues under discussion!

    In reality, the BBC will do what it has already decided to do. Nothing users say will change 'the system'. Why? What happened to all the old comments which simply disappeared (!) and to all the suggestions which HYSers gave even at that time about improvements?!

  • Comment number 64.

    Ponderable # 1:

    Will the 500-character limit stay? Will the BBC retain the option of making some debates have a 700-character limit as was done for a few debates right after the subprime crisis?

    I prefer the 500-character limit as it actually made me go back to the concepts of précis writing (last done in school) while trying to pack in as much information, or contradictory viewpoints, or make a comment have as much punch as possible with enough information to support my viewpoint. In this sense, the feature is educative as it forces people to use the minimum number of words to make the maximum amount of sense!

    A suggested improvement is to have a empty one line slot (before the HYSers comment starts) where the date and time of the comment the HYSer may be giving a riposte to, or correcting a factual error in; can be copied and pasted without wasting the precious 500-characters. This is very important when reading the riposte especially when only a phrase or a sentence or two from the original post is being used to make the riposte. Many times I've noticed that a particular phrase or sentence used out of context from the original comment makes for sensational reading but was actually quite appropriate when the comment was read in its entirety.

  • Comment number 65.

    Advice # 1:

    I heard this on a BBC programme where the topic was connected to the USSR. The interviewee used words to the effect:

    'The KGB spent vast sums of money and resources to stop people from talking! Then they had to spend an absolute fortune to find out what the people were whispering!' What a fantastic summary of the KGB in USSR!

    Trying to muzzle people's views has never worked in the history of mankind and never will in an Absolute and 'Forever' sense. For certain periods of time it IS possible to muzzle views. Ultimately the fisherwomen (!) in France physically fought with the Palace guards and played their important role in the French Revolution as did the peasants play their important role in the Bolshevik Revolution.

    If what the BBC calls the so-called vocal minority hijacks debates it is more important to address their grievances/views/ideas/fantasies with an adequate dose of reality, facts and actions rather than a dilution of their voice.

    This is my advice to BBC editors and powers in the 'BBC system' - if the BBC wishes to maintain its reputation and original intent of 'batting straight down the middle'!

    Thus, linking a retort or riposte to the original comment (called threading if I'm correct) should've been a more important 'improvement' in BBCs HYS rather than whatever is contemplated at the moment. Why should this be so? I've seen the SAME HYSer make a factually incorrect statement, say, two years ago and then again in a similar debate, say, two weeks ago! This was despite the fact that at least one person had pointed out the factual error in each debate. The problem perhaps was that the person who made the factually incorrect statement did NOT read the correction. That isn't surprising when hundreds of comments are dumped in seconds while hundreds await moderation for days! If threading were to exist then those who make factually incorrect statements or have certain extreme views based on incorrect facts can hopefully, over time be educated by the other HYSers, provided of course the original commenter returns to the debate after making his/her comment. This would be a much better way for people to see why they have differences and learn from others at no cost. Hopefully this makes everyone more Centrist rather than more Extremist; for want of better terms to address the moderating of people’s views and ideas.

  • Comment number 66.

    Although it is obviously regularly abused, I like the recommendation system. Particularly when there are 100s of recommendations for a particularly asinine point of view. It makes me feel very superior! In other words, recommendation adds to the fun of HYS. I know the BBC disapproves of fun, but please make an exception this time.

    I'm surprised comments are taking too long to publish. I've been using HYS for years and have never found that a problem. Are you going to upgrade your censorship software? Currently, it's bloody stupid. Is it true that it's programmed by Uzbeks? Come to think of it, are the moderators Uzbeks?

  • Comment number 67.

    65. At 04:47am on 16 Feb 2010, Max_Mahajan wrote:


    No offence Max but your'e blatantly one of the most consistent self/multiple voters, you've been doing it for years, its no wonder you don't want to see any changes to the recomendations system.

    Your doing it right now on the 'youtube' strand, although as usual i can't actually see any political affiliation or agenda in your comment, that doesn't make it either fair or representative.

  • Comment number 68.

    #52, Alex Gubbay - BBC News:

    "Technically, continuing the recommendation facility simply wasn't possible as part of this switchover."

    I find that statement worrying in the extreme. I can see two possible explanations for it, neither of which is at all palatable.

    1. Your web developers are seriously lacking in the sort of skills they need to do their job. Seriously, how difficult could it be? If you genuinely can't figure out how to do such a simple thing, then something has gone really, seriously wrong.

    2. There is another reason why you are removing the recommended feature, and you're not being straight with us about what it is.

    So which is it? If it's option 1, then why not post details of the technical problem on the BBC website? I am confident that a lot of quite smart web-savvy people read these forums, and would almost certainly be able to suggest a solution. If it's option 2, then now would be a good time to come clean and tell us the real reason.

  • Comment number 69.

    The recommendations system is flawed in HYS since the whole system is governed by a moderator. The first few entries, and the whole of the first two/three pages of the subject to appear (i.e. not via the most recommended) will always have greater exposure than those hidden on pages eight, eighteen or eighty.

    The problem the BBC have is poor software, poor moderation, poor website management and an overly prickly need to control people. It is one thing to censor a posting that breaks the law; it is quite another to censor it because it breaks a BBC heart.

    BBC staff need to drop their grand ideas about themselves and realise they are servants of license payers and not masters and mistresses.

  • Comment number 70.

    52. At 8:28pm on 15 Feb 2010, Alex Gubbay - BBC News wrote:

    None of this is about trying to censor opinion or stop fairly reflecting the balance of comments.

    Technically, continuing the recommendation facility simply wasn't possible as part of this switchover.

    I am sorry but that is just rubbish. The way your coders have written the HYS may mean that it is technically impossible, but that just means that you have some very poor coders. Are you really telling us that it is impossible to have a HYS where people post comments and others up or down rate them? Perhaps you haven't been to YouTube or one of the hundreds of other sites where this feature is implemented.

    You are either getting bad advice, or telling porky pies!

  • Comment number 71.

    Re: 67 goldCaesar

    No offence taken! I definitley don't have 50, or 100, or 200 or 300 or 400 different user names. (Anyway my long alpha-numeric password prohibits me from typing it 100's of times and I don't use 'Remember Me' on any computer.) I have precisely ten but I use them effectively and they're not 'dummy' user names as I post under them. You can see my 'User profile' and you will see my posts with anything from zero to 300+ recommendations.

    My tricks are to, if possible, get into the debate at the earliest and structure my comment based on what I feel is the 'pulse' of public opinion while projecting my viewpoint at the same time. I give my comment a boost of 3 to 5 votes in the beginning (and that too only if required) and then it just gets 'swept up' if my reading of the 'pulse' has been correct! Otherwise it languishes on whatever page.
    If I had 300+ votes under my belt you would see me topping every debate like someone called 'TopsyTurvy' used to do or for some time 'Syed Mateen' used to do. In actual fact, I've managed to reach the numero uno spot in less than ten debates out of 700 to 800 debates since I registered on 7 November 2007!
    At one point of time when HYS on radio &/or TV was a weekly Sunday show & I used to listen to it every Sunday I had (almost) 'a world record' for frequency with which the same person managed to talk on different topics for a few years and subsequently on WHYS on radio when it became a 5-days a week show! How did I manage that? My votes didn't help but I'll tell you why. Even though by training I'm a Mechanical Engineer and an MBA the response I got to whatever I spoke about on air as well as the response I got from people recommending my comments made me realise that I had a knack for writing or delivering a punch line even though I have no professional training in journalism!
    I've had comments where my 'Left Wing' or 'Right Wing' or 'Whatever Wing' comment was catapulted like crazy to 100's of recco's simply because the guys who have those kind of votes had opinions similar to mine. At other times it rose in stages over a few days.

    Given that you seem to have a bee in your bonnet about the YouTube comment would you admit to all of us that you are "Richard, Buxton"? In fact my YouTube comment is a 'balanced' comment which will appeal to anyone as I haven't discovered and published some new Law of Gravitation (!); all I've done is packaged the wisdom of history and fitted it into the context of the debate. See the trick! Easy and educative to others!
    I never supported or do support no changes to HYS. I support DownVoting and if implemented you can DownVote me all you want with your multiple votes!

  • Comment number 72.

    I hope this means that the badly set up AUTO censorship will cease. For some reason the BBC auto excludes perfectly good words because in a different context, 'it may be offensive'. There are many words that are offensive that should be used , in context, to illustrate a point, other words that have more than one meaning, and yet more in which the offence is in the eye of the reader.
    I will give a simple example, slag, a perfectly valid word to describe clinker,etc. in engineering, but censored by the BBC, even when used in context.

  • Comment number 73.


    That is clearly futile Mr Gubbay. The BBC moderation system is governed by the numbers of people you have on "duty" (as moderators) as compared to the "flow" of comments. So, if the BBC place a "hot" subject on their boards then they can anticipate greater activity, and, if the subjects are as bland as they usually are, you can expect less activity.

    In the case of the Editor blogs and 606 (both now controlled by BBC iD) the traffic is fairly predictable, and, in 606, is governed by "opening times" too.

    The problem is the BBC's lack of innovation within the website format chosen, poorly designed and even more badly written. It was not long ago that the system collapsed and I assume you use the same "third party" provider as before. So they dictate what is "technically possible" not the BBC. I have seen many victims of public service IT via out resourced systems and none of them have been very pretty.

    Please tell us what technical expertise exists within the BBC Mr Gubbay.

  • Comment number 74.

    71. At 09:10am on 16 Feb 2010, Max_Mahajan wrote

    Thanks for your honesty in admitting that you do use multiple log-ins to manipulate the 'most reccomended' though i'm not completely convinced by your 'only 3 or 4'.

  • Comment number 75.

    Dear Editor,
    Your new proposals on new applications are widely welcomed.
    I am a regular,constant writer to your all programs from A to Z.
    Thanks for publishing of my comments.
    I have strongly recommended to my friends,relatives,students and other like minded persons to be a member of BBC World Services.
    As on today, i am not able to contact or for easy interactions with your editors,news readers from any networks.
    In BBC Global Minds website,since so many days, i have been seeing only November videos.Why?
    There are so many latest news,events,effects of latest events for members,users comments in BBC.
    But, some times, you have taken very small,very old events,very old sayings to be commented by us.
    I wish that, BBC World Services to be maintained as a number one in world communication networks.
    Rest of likes and dislikes will be known or shared with you in forthcoming days.
    Best wishes.,

  • Comment number 76.

    Re: #74

    Do you really read and then really digest goldCaesar?!

    I said I have precisely ten. And I may use none or all of them depending on strategy. Anyway read ALL my comments above seriously and carefully as well as my 2nd comment on the YouTube debate. But this is going away from the issue. The FACT is that BBC's HYS system has severe flaws which need to be addressed. Multiple voting in only one of them and it doesn't bother me. For those who believe that ALL comments on the first 2 or 3 or 5 pages are ALL a result of multiple-voting then those people can start reading the comments from pages 3 or 4 or 6 onwards! Simple!

    I take debating seriously and I have learnt a lot from the comments made by others; whether they're in agreement with my views or not! I debate with a simple guiding principle which is this:
    If the Prophets of the 9 major monotheistic religions in the World couldn't change the behaviour of humanity on a permanent basis for the Good of all, then Mr. Mahajan's views are quite unlikely to change the World!
    If I get ten or twenty recommendations I'm satisfied as it shows that there are at least that many people out there who will take the trouble to read my comment and then take the trouble to click 'Recommend'
    And what about, "Richard, Buxton" and about your multiple votes?!

    I'll mention another problem with HYS which no one has done above. Someone posts a very caustic comment which says among other things that 'All Christians are idiots'! That comment will be published, a request to delete it because of its nature will be rejected AND if I were to write an EQUALLY (no more and no less) caustic comment defending Christians (even though I'm not a Christian) my comment will never see the light of day! Is that moderation or censorship or 'moderators-allowing-what-they-agree-with' or lunacy or what?!

    I have done it and I am flabbergasted.

  • Comment number 77.

    I have to agree with the many comments criticising the current Moderation Policy. A number of posts seem to be kept deliberately stuck in a moderation queue for no discernible reason and then remain unpublished. These comments are more often than not polite, well crafted, articulate and break none of your house rules. It seems that if you hold mainstream, centre ground views then HYS don't want to know I also strongly agree that the recommend system should be retained, and an additional feature should be added to enable readers to disagree with a post. This would surely be more indicative of general public opinion about a particular topic?

  • Comment number 78.

    So to make HYS "more interactive" you are removing the Readers Recommendations" functionality?

    I see.

    Obviously the embarrassment of the BBC & its Pravda-esque liberal left moderators & the BBCs political world view do not concur with the votes of the ordinary TV Tax payer - of which I am proud to say I am no longer one.

  • Comment number 79.

    Max baby, i'm not aware of richard buxtons work, which is odd, the amount of time i spend on here, but if you say he's cheating i'm sure its true.

    I only singled you out as an example because you happened to be posting yesterday, obviously other, far more prolific culprits such as John 'man with a million names' adair would have been more apropriate. but he wasn't on yesterday when the topic started (at least under that name).

  • Comment number 80.

    Ok, so this is nothing to with the obviously catastrophic event last year where HYS vanished for over a week? Just be honest please.

  • Comment number 81.

    So "Have your say" will disappear and a blog on "today's political potato" with no author will be added.

    Is that it? I am intrigued by what those "further enhancements" could be.

  • Comment number 82.

    I am glad you are getting rid of the recommendation system. All it did was allow minority groups like the BNP to mobilize ~200 people to vote their comments to the top of the pile.

    It's a shame you don't allow a properly structured debate though. By publishing comments in the order they are received only the first 10 or so posters will get any significant readership and the rest will be ignored as tl;dr.

    By having a structured debate with user moderated comments those which make the best arguments and answer specific points will become the most visible. It also allows posts by extremists like the BNP to be responded to directly, which is the best way to deal with them.

    I can understand that the BBC is concerned that any system where posts can be judged by other users might offend people whose posts are negatively moderated, but such is the price of having any kind of debate.

  • Comment number 83.

    ""80. At 11:13am on 16 Feb 2010, geezershoong wrote:
    Ok, so this is nothing to with the obviously catastrophic event last year where HYS vanished for over a week? Just be honest please."2

    Imagine that historic resource the HYS database was - just gone. The thoughts, opinions & voting patterns on HYS would have been a gold mine to future historians.

    But it contained alot of politics & opinion that the BBC obviously did not want to be a part of any future history.

    Easier to erase the thought crimes of the un-enlightened non compliant enemies of the state broadcaster.

  • Comment number 84.

    What a neat way of stopping any anti governnment / anti BBC or criticism of any contentious subject by stopping the reccomendation system. When I was in Berlin during the cold watr the East Germans used to have a similar regulating system on its broadcasters radio stations to prent dissent or criticism. Give it six months and HYS will be as potent as Gardeners World or songs of praise.

  • Comment number 85.

    84. At 11:34am on 16 Feb 2010, Steve Day wrote:


    blimey Steve ,its an oppurtunity to give your opinion on the events of the day, we were never going to start a revoulution from the pages of HYS.

    I think you need an altogether different platform to achieve your lofty ambitions.

  • Comment number 86.

    It seems totally pointless to do away with the reccomendations. Why bother to ask for people's views if no-one is able to reccomend someone's comment. A thoroughly retrograde step.
    Not good enough BBC.

  • Comment number 87.

    45 Simon Cross
    “We test it very vigorously” rubbish.
    Of those blogs that restrict one to 500 characters I have sent two E mails to your help line, both unanswered, asking why I cannot in some instances get more than 400 accepted. Do spaces count or/and paragraphs? Make it 500 words and not including punctuation.

    Of all the requests for extra buttons and facilities they are all possible.
    In the land of IT if you can do something manually outside of the computer, like phone, post or put a cross on paper, you can achieve the same result with a computer and with more refinement.

  • Comment number 88.

    Abolishing the 'recommendation' system could be seen as making sense. The system is easily abused, and people can 'gang up' or multiple vote to boost the ratings of postings they like.

    But other organisations manage this just fine, with a star system giving an average rating, and proportions of approval v disapproval.

    The BBC could do this, but won't. This fits a pattern. The Message Boards provided uncomfortable reading for the BBC, often reflecting public opinion rather than the BBC view on issues such as Global Warming, immirgration, the wars etc. So they had to go. Even HYS, which the BBC gets to pre-moderate, shows the same trends, so it is being toned down.

    The message is clear - you are free to think exactly what the BBC does.

  • Comment number 89.

    Recommendation - will not be carried over to the new system.

    Why not?

    Dont you think that asking your readership what they want might be an idea before removing the most popular feature of the service!

  • Comment number 90.

    48. At 7:54pm on 15 Feb 2010, you wrote:
    This comment has been referred to the moderators

    So what seems to be the problem or are you waiting for time to run out? The same old PC censorship at work again?

  • Comment number 91.

    Instead of presenting this change as a fait accompli I think the BBC should have solicited the opinions of HYS users first. My ideas would be -
    1. Keep recommendations, but also allow disagreements to be registered. Currently HYS will tell you that x people agree, but not that 2x people don't. The Daily Mail's website manages this.
    2. Show published time as well as submitted time and allow sorting by either. I have had comments published a day after submission, so they become lost in the backlog.
    3. Have a trial run of no moderation. Automatic filters could exclude obcenities, other offensive comments would be referred to moderators by readers. Moderation and censorship are often synonymous.
    4. If a comment is rejected an email should be sent to the person submitting it explaining which rule was broken and how it was broken.

  • Comment number 92.

    A lot of good comments here and I agree, a massive backwards step.
    Yes, HYS is regularly swarmed by the BNP (do they making signing on a condition of membership?), but as the election approaches I am sure that the other parties will be getting in on the act restoring some sort of balance.
    Not that balance bothered me that much (how could it? - I am a regular BBC news visitor....), I am quite capable of ignoring the comments of the obvious bigots and members of the lunatic fringes, and we all know who they are.
    Thanks also all for the suggestions of where else to look for a debate. Without some means of recommending comments (I like the downvoting idea), HYS will become worthless. Like others, I suspect that this is the intent. I certainly will not be sticking around to trawl through hundreds of often content-free comments looking for the odd gem. I can do that on the current editorial blogs, where often the same topics are under discussion (regardless of the intent of the OP).
    HYS was far from perfect, but good fun while it lasted. It is distrubing that the BBC has to be so disingenuous about the reasons behind it's destruction....

  • Comment number 93.

    #84 and #85

    I agree with you, Steve Day, that the current system lends itself to the reputation of being politically biased, censored unnecessarily, of having moderation bias, and of being the product of a control freak regime.

    goldCaesar does not observe the damage this achieves in terms of impartiality and neutrality, nor of those who are targeted by moderators, or by the BBC, or by other users (many of whom may be BBC employees).

    It is significant that the BBC have not ironed out the problems that reeked havoc on the whole "public interface" last year.

    Here is a summary of what a flatmate of mine has done to retrieve his "accepted*" BBC iD.

    He wrote to the team running the "refused" comment. They said it was the membership team. He wrote to the membership team and, initially they auto-responded, and then said he was "banned" from the area of the "refused" comment but this was managed by that team. He wrote back and is still awaiting a reply to "why he was banned". The stock answer to the problem is that there are too many staff doing facile jobs and not enough people manning the coal face. Witness the fact that many of the FAQs and complaints links do not work.

    *To be accepted my flatmate went to the site he was "banned" from (he didn't know he was banned!). He went through the demanded conversion process to a BBC iD, and signed on to the site he was "banned" from. He made an entry on the site he was "banned" from. Then when he submitted the entry he received the message "You are restricted from this site"!

    Oh and the other interesting thing is that he is also unable to post on any other blog, except he doesn't get told anything about "banned" or anything else - just "An Unexpected Error Has Occurred. Please Reload this Page and Try Again."

    Best of it is he hasn't posted anything on the site he was "banned" from - ever!


  • Comment number 94.

    #10. sanbikinoraion wrote:
    "While the recommendation system was not perfect, I do wish that the BBC would take a leaf out of Reddit's book and allow voting up and down of comments and ordering comments by popularity (heuristically mixed with some new ones to avoid staleness), and allow threading of comments. Reddit manages to keep debates sane (in terms of readability at least!) for thousands of comments - it's about time HYS was able to cope with the volume of traffic that it receives."

    I utterly detest those sites, particularly fora, with yes & no voting buttons. They are magnets to mischief-makers and can wreck enthusiasts' fora. They turn a perfectly serious site into a mess.

    The HYS Recommend button was ok but pretty unfair because of the manner in which posts were dumped, sometimes hundreds at a time, after clearance by moderators. I once kept the HYS site on a second window so I could check after posting a message. Some time later in the space of 5 minutes it went from awaiting moderation to page 18 of the comments list. It's fairly evident that most readers look through maybe 3 or 4 reply pages so trying to treat HYS seriously could be disappointing and a waste of time.

    So in balance, maybe leave out the Recommend button at this stage. I haven't found the recommendation score particularly useful. Sure it can highlight popular opinion; it can also highlight popular naivety and ill-informed opinion.

    All in all, HYS can only improve if moderation is faster so people can hope their time and effort in posting messages is more worthwhile.

  • Comment number 95.

    @Alex Gubbay

    Are you going to come back and post the exact technical reason for the omission of Recommended feature?

    We're all waiting with baited breath to the reason why the BBC, who once led the world with broadcasting standards and developments can't get a wee button on the internets to work.

  • Comment number 96.

    Agree with earlier posters: new software will make no difference to moderation time. If a person has to view it then a post will be held up. If you have employed more reviewers only THAT will speed things up.

    Keep recommendations or some version thereof! Allowing users to view the hottest comments is what allows real debate rather than wading through the inane posts no one would vote for.

    Standardise rejection criteria. As a fairly frequent contributor, I've had posts rejected for no obvious reason. Unpublished due to time constraints is fair enough, but don't tell me I've broken the rules when I certainly haven't.

    How about restricting the number of recommendations from a particular IP address in a given period?

  • Comment number 97.

    Have your say is the mouthpiece of pressure groups like the BNP, Global warming sceptics and political(mostly right wing)grass roots campaigners. People who have the motivation to manipulate the recommends system and bias the discussion in their favour. A disagree button won't help. They'll be able to multiple recommend posts they like and multiple disagree with posts they don't. It'll make things worse. In chronological order of the time they are posted. The flood of posts from these fanatics will be easier to see. The recommend system is false. The posts aren't really a 'must read'.

  • Comment number 98.

    What will happen to the left biased moderators when no-one bothers to post on the new HYS?

  • Comment number 99.

    I have to say; I'm not sure I understand how this new ID system is going to 'reduce moderation queues' or 'improve the transparency of the moderating process'. The problem, in these areas, is that you're trying to effectively mix Reactive and Full moderation in the same debates. What's the point in making your mods read and vet each and every single posting if you're then going to let readers 'alert a moderator' and complain about postings that have already been pre-cleared?

    You should make all debates Reactively Moderated, and leave the complaints/referrals system in. Posts which are genuinely offensive or in serious breach of the rules can be brought to the mods' attention by other posters. There'll be plenty of time for them to check on each reported comment if they're not being forced to wade through hundreds and hundreds of perfectly legitimate posts in order to find the handful of offensive ones that must surely get posted in most debates. This would sort the 'moderation queues' problem out immediately, as there wouldn't be any queue at all.

    And to make the process more transparent; well, as several posters here have pointed out already, all you need do is have your mods leave a note when removing the content of a post to say it needed to be closed - to whit, which rule was broken. If a post doesn't break any of the rules, or contains only some minor technical breach of one of the formatting rules, it should not be closed. If a mod can't make a definitive ruling on which rule has been broken in any one instance, he/she should not be allowed to close it. All this would make the moderating process entirely transparent, and completely free the BBC from any accusations of "controlling the debate" or "moderator bias" (not that this means the members on the extreme fringes of the partisan scale will stop making said accusations, every time they have to read something on the BBC they don't entirely agree with, of course!)

    Finally, I'll say that I'm not too bothered about the loss of the Recommendations system. I'm frankly not that interested in learning how many times your average agenda-driven, partisan loony is prepared to start a new user account in order to bump their own thread to the top of the "Readers' Recommended" section so as to make it look like whatever worthlessly-biased viewpoint they're currently espousing actually has some support.

    (Note, to all those bemoaning the loss of a "Guide to public opinion" and accusing the BBC of "trying to suppress popular opinions" - you do realise that there isn't actually any limit to how many times a single person can create new accounts and then "Recommend" their own posts over and over again, right?

    In fact, those who think that the "Recommended" section can really tell you anything about general public opinion need to realise that most of the other group I mention above - the various posters now trying to accuse the BBC of "lefty bias" and "controlling the debate" and "suppressing my viewpoint" with these changes, etc. - are generally only complaining because mainly they're the sort of people who do exactly the above, and now they're about to lose their opportunity to pretend that their viewpoints have any real support outside the confines of their own minds...)

    Good luck, Mr Gubbay, with the planned changes. But, I'll say it again; you're not going to solve either of the problems outlined above - the ones you mentioned in your initial post - simply by changing the way people sign in to the BBC.

  • Comment number 100.

    Why does this new blog style constantly class me as a new member...? I have commented in the new style for months now.. Fix it before replacing the existing HYS.


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