Friday 18 March 2011

BBC closes Have Your Say

BBC News is to close Have Your Say - its comment and debate page for topical news stories. The exact closing date is not yet known, but the BBC say early April is "most likely".

The news was revealed in a blog post by social media editor, Alex Gubbay, which outlined the future of the social experience on the BBC website.

Rather than have "silos" of interactivity on individual webpages, the aim is to feature comment across the news website. The BBC is introducing Editors Picks and an option to recommend comments, which will "showcase interesting additional insight and perspective".

These changes have been in development for some time. In June 2010, Assistant Editor of Interactivity, Matthew Eltringham, told a News Rewired conference that the BBC was considering the introduction of Editors Picks and a Daily Mail style comment system with the ability for users to recommend comments.

Eltringham also indicated that Have Your Say, having moved to a BBC blog format, was in a "transitional phase". It appears that there might already have been talk of phasing it out.

It signals the next stage in the evolution of the BBC's approach to interactivity and the move is part of a broader range of changes to the BBC news website outlined by the editor, Steve Herrmann, on Wednesday.

Displaying audience comment has been a technical and editorial conundrum for a number of years at the BBC. Comments on blogs were strangled by spam in 2007 and various elements of comment moderation have been outsourced to Tempero.

The level of abuse in comments and the sheer volume that the BBC receives has also led senior correspondents such as Jonathan Agnew and Nick Robinson.

(And finally...the closure of Have Your Say means the people at Speak Your Branes, a blog that would sarcastically shred some of the more "interesting" contributions, will have to find themselves target.)


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