Monday 28 June 2010

#Newsrw: BBC considers introducing Daily Mail-style comment system

The BBC is thinking about overhauling its comment system to allow users to comment beneath news stories.

Speaking at the News Rewired conference last Friday, the BBC's Editor of Interactivity, Matthew Eltringham, specifically mentioned the functionality offered by the Daily Mail website.

Which is interesting because much (in this case, rather dark) fun has been poked at the results of the Mail's occasionally erratic moderation procedure on news stories and the comments themselves.

Eltringham said the BBC was also considering highlighting the best comments by a process of editorial picks. But he said there are questions about how these would be chosen and by whom.

The move would be a departure for the BBC which currently siphons off audience comments on the news: on other webpages such as the Have Your Say section of the website; on correspondent or programme blogs; or within specific 'Points of View' web stories.

While the ability to comment 'below the line' would enable debate to gather around individual news stories, Eltringham was aware that it would undoubtedly raise other editorial questions.

He was discussing comments in the context of the future direction of the BBC's Have Your Say webpages. Earlier in 2010, Have Your Say was moved to a blog format and he described the pages as being in a "transitional phase".

Rather like the Mail's commenters, Have Your Say contributors have also caused much ironic amusement/exasperation (delete as appropriate).

Eltringham said the BBC was also beginning to work a little bit harder to engage with the audience on non-BBC platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

He said the Corporation was only moderating comments on these sites with a "light touch" because web-users would expect more robust opinion to be available away from the domain.


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