Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)

Friday, 19 March 2010

"Have your Say"

The BBC has made quite a few changes to their "Have your Say" pages.

Mrs Rigby did, once upon a time, contribute the odd thing to HYS. She stopped because the 'only so many' characters for a comment - (was it 200, including spaces?) - made it a bit hard for her to say what she thought, although it certainly made contributors think, focus in the issue, and use language concisely and carefully.

That character limit has gone, which means the comments have grown - some of them look like mini-blogs, which some might say is a good thing, but it's no longer quick to skim what 'people' are saying.

Moderating hasn't improved. It's still very slow - there are, currently, more than thirty comments on this page (about the future of British Pubs) 'awaiting moderation'.

It used to be possible to 'agree with' a comment. That was a fine idea, because it was quick and easy, and also saved seeing the same thing written again and again. Being able to rank comments according to 'most popular' was a good way to get a very general idea of what 'readers' thought.

Can't do that any more.

The only thing anybody can do is 'complain about this comment' - which would end up with it being removed. It is no longer possible to 'agree'.

The BBC wants people to
Send us your ideas for new topics and you can set the agenda for a global conversation.
Global conversation?

For goodness sake! In whose dreams?

And, in these data-sensitive, terrorist-hunting, days when you can be thrown off a train for writing down the "wrong" word in a piece of paper, who would, truly, wish to write anything that could end up on a page like this - with your name and where you live written next to it?

The HYS pages are, according to BBC
... where we aim to offer you a platform to discuss and debate key stories making the news agenda.
Umm, actually, since when did news have an agenda?

News is :-
1 newly received or noteworthy information about recent events.
2 (the news) a broadcast or published news report.
3 (news to) informal information not previously known to.

— PHRASES no news is good news proverb without information to the contrary you can assume that all is well.
Agenda is :-
1 a list of items of business to be discussed at a meeting.
2 a list of matters to be addressed.

— ORIGIN Latin, ‘things to be done’.
The two should, surely, be mutually exclusive?

Or doesn't Mrs Rigby understand basic English any more?

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