Blog Courtesy

It’s Mark here logged in on the generic log- in as Word Press has decided not to recognise me any more.

World Have Your Say was set up as a programme to – among other things –  provide a safe forum for people to talk to each other. Challenge views yes, disagree yes, even get angry if that’s the way you feel about things but it is not a place for personal attacks. By all means tell someone they’re wrong (in your opinion)  but don’t have a go at them personally or we won’t allow you on air.

The same applies to the blog. We will not print comments that degenerate into childish and , frankly, cowardly attacks on individuals. take issue with their views by all means but leave the personal stuff out.

I used to work at a station here in the U.K, and often when we discussed a subject we’d get the most damning and insulting text messages. When we attempted to contact these people to see if they wanted to speak to people on the radio  it’s amazing how shy and retiring they suddenly became.  

In the short history of this programme we’ve brought together people with astonishingly diverse opinions on a whole range of subjects. It’s crucial to our understanding of important issues. I’m not going to allow the programme and the community around it to just miss the point of WHYS. You get personal,your comments won’t appear.     

28 Responses to “Blog Courtesy”

  1. 1 Mark
    January 25, 2008 at 16:36

    It seems irrational to me that the owner of a blog site which solicits comments and has complete control over what will and will not be printed should complain to his audience about what is submitted rather than just exercise his obligation and right to enforce his own rules. This reminds me of a professor I had in college who ranted to students who came to class about the unacceptable attendance record of those who didn’t. At one point for awhile some weeks ago, it seemed anything submitted was instantly posted without any editorial review. A reminder of what the rules are should be sufficient.

  2. 2 steve
    January 25, 2008 at 16:51

    I suppose antisemitic posts are okay, but calling them out on it isn’t okay. I under stand the message the BBC is giving out now. INsulting, and inciting hatred towards an entire group of people is fine, but then calling the person who says that a goosestepping nazi liar is not fine. Understood BBC.

  3. January 25, 2008 at 16:51

    That’s what i thought i was doing Mark. Until recently it hasn’t been a problem but now it’s becoming one i thought it was sensible to remind people of what i think the rules should be. Rather than just not publishing comments without explanation. Nothing irrational about that – and as far as i could see i wasn’t complaining about anyone.

  4. 4 Will Rhodes
    January 25, 2008 at 17:22

    Like anything else, you have to set a line that cannot be crossed and not allow it to be. On my blog I allow people to comment by registering their e-mail address before they are allowed to comment. That email is sent to me and if I deem it not compatible with what I want on my blog, I edit it or delete it – OK, I don’t have that many who comment at this time, and those e-mails will, if my blog grows, get to quite a few, then I will determine if this process is worth while.

    But all that said, if comments are moderated, you have the control on what goes on the blog or not. Your blog, your rules. I know the BBC has a fine reputation to upkeep, as so they should – yet, if people don’t understand what the rules are, that should be put to them fairly and concisely before they post. A page with posting rules would help somewhat, but people being people will try to break or bend them – if the posts don’t show up and they complain, post a link back to them with the rules page URL.

    Will Rhodes – ex-pat in Canada.

    PS, if you wish to see my blog click on my name and it will link you to my wordpress blog.

  5. 5 VictorK
    January 25, 2008 at 18:12

    This seems a perfectly reasonable standard to uphold, but there are rather big loopholes.

    As Steve has pointed out, anti-semitic remarks have been posted a number of times on the blog. Do such statements get a pass since they’re not ‘personal attacks’ – just attacks on an entire people?

    And if someone makes an idiotic remark (e..g. suggesting that the US really runs Pakistan) is it permissible to observe that the remark is, well…idiotic? Where do you draw the line between personal attacks and ridicule? After all, mockery, if it’s done right, is going to be taken very personally by the person on the receiving end of it. And what about bloggers who make claims that are paranoid or simply crazy? The West is rich because of the slave trade; the West still controls Africa and African leaders are mere Swiss bank account-holding puppets of Bush and Blair; the US is the world’s worst violator of human rights; George Bush is a war criminal; there is a conspiracy against Islam; etc. I’d be sad if we can no longer dismiss that kind of nonsense by telling its purveyor to up the medication.

    Posts containing vile language, racial slurs, or that are 9 parts personal attack to 1 part argument don’t deserve to be published. But plain-speaking, ridicule and even sharpness, even when they have a personal focus, don’t seem to me to be such bad things. They certainly make for a more lively blog.

    p.s. – I remember being quite impressed by the appearance of the anti-semitic posts on the blog; they were almost always challenged – in very forthright terms – and the overall impression was that here was a blog that really took ‘freedom of expression’ seriously, allowing anti-semites to post and giving their critics full rein to demolish them. It wasn’t the kind of thing I’d seen on any other blog before. It’s a pity – though I understand why – that WHYS looks to be turning into one blog amongst a million as far as that kind of licence goes. .

  6. 6 steve
    January 25, 2008 at 18:44

    Bravo VictorK.

  7. January 25, 2008 at 18:55

    My problem is all of a sudden none of the posts in the latter half of the show are showing up moderated on my screen until the show is over. Before the longest it would take is about 2 minutes or else the post wasn’t moderated.

    First I thought this was deliberate and it really had me PO’d because it’s so difficult to have a discussion beyond ego to begin with and if you can’t see a post that originated at 6:29 until after 7 when the show is over it makes it impossible to have a discussion.

    But now I think it may just have to do with my IP address. Does anyone else have this problem?

  8. January 25, 2008 at 19:20

    I agree with BBC WHYS on this position. In order to have a civilized discourse, there has to be a way to disagree amicably

  9. 9 Zak
    January 25, 2008 at 19:25

    So after writing in about my issue it has magically disappeared even though Ros assured me that everything was normal before. But I’d still like to know if anybody else saw this trend on the discussion from the 22nd, and 23rd, Monday and Tues. Every post after 6:25 didn’t appear on my computer until after 7 and then there was a huge flood of about 30 posts including 2 of my 4; that really didn’t do much but confuse me.

    And in light of this particular rant against the public I’m skeptical that it wasn’t one of these so called measures of moderation to alleviate “attacks.”

    BTW: I called the BBC childish and ignorant for this lack of appearance on my screen, but I take it back, even though it wasn’t posted, honest: So can you please still publish this post.

  10. 10 Xie_Ming
    January 25, 2008 at 19:35

    Anti-Zionist is NOT anti-semitic, although that is part of the propaganda.

    The same individuals raise the same hue and cry, for the same reason. The truth about Israeli policy toward the Palestinians (and, indeed, toward all gentiles) must be suppressed.

    For, it the truth is not shouted down, or the media cowed, the evil would be universally recognized.

    If necessary, one could start a continuing thread on Israeli deeds and policy. The facts will speak for themselves.

  11. 11 Joey
    January 25, 2008 at 21:39

    This is a great section to comment for listeners experiences of the show.
    The most attractive object of this programme is it’s unique forum. The BBC can’t define what class and respect are, and then ask people to do that, obviously.
    But for Americans that are not aware, the BBC is all about class and respect. I think that rubs off on it’s listeners, as I’ve found from listening regularly over a few years.
    Mission of the BBC, to bring the best of the world to the most amount of people.
    Try to follow that one… because no one can lead above that ideal.

    By the way, according to Websters, class and respect:

    class- high quality, best of its kind, a group, set, or kind sharing common attributes

    respect-to refrain from interfering with(also see self-respect)

    Thank you.
    Denver, Colorado USA

  12. 12 George in Gerogia, USA
    January 26, 2008 at 07:31


    Israel Does have the right to exist.

    Hamaz Is responsible for it’s actions.

    There is your conflict.

    The discussion needs a break through on these points.

  13. 13 George in Georgia, USA
    January 26, 2008 at 07:35


    asking two things at once confused me:

    put the location on the message

    and be civil.

    I mistyped Georgia above.

  14. 14 Neil McGowan
    January 26, 2008 at 09:00

    There are some professional shills on these message-boards, and they deserve to be identified as shills when they post.

  15. 15 Thomas Murray
    January 26, 2008 at 19:26

    I should go a bit further and require each respondent to log-in with a password.

    I think the malicious use of another person’s name and e-mail address to print vile comments in order to get the 1st party banned is possibly more common than one thinks. This website venues highly-charged political passions; an area of human behavior that owns its own library of dirty tricks. I know that there are people in Louisville who’d do it to me out of shear idleness. (“Will no one rid me of that meddlesome priest? Doh!”)

    The New York Times and Los Angeles Times websites require passwords for similar reasons. You might change “Website” to “Website or Password” to get the job done.

    –Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

  16. 16 Richard Beers, USA
    January 26, 2008 at 22:03

    There can be only one solution to personal attacks and it includes a round file cabinet and a check box appropriately labeled ‘banned.’

    Now, on to the topics of the day…

  17. January 27, 2008 at 15:01

    I have never understood why people who are probably usually civil and reasionable in real life stoop to personal abuse and attacks when they post on the internet. Having said that if you have comment moderation turned on there is no need for any such comments ever to make it through to being published.

    There is a fine line sometimes between robust debate which I am all in favour of, and abusive postnig and each blog owner I supose has to make their own decisions about which ccomments fall either side of that line.

  18. 18 marksandell
    January 28, 2008 at 10:48

    Thanks for all the above postings. Very much appreciated. Clearly for some of you the rules don’t work and i’m not going to go down the road of just getting rid of stuff you disagree with. I think you’re right that some postings have made it on the site which in retrospect shouldn’t have but not many. And VictorK’s point about “plain speaking” and “ridicule” is well made, as is Neil’s point about shills. We’ve very rarely not published comments and aim to keep that record going but Steve, i disagree with your point about “WHYS looks to be turning into one blog amongst a million” : A lot of blogs i read seem to indulge in personal and abusive postings presumably because people like reading them. Not this one.

  19. 19 ZK
    January 28, 2008 at 14:46

    I think it’s very fair to institute this rule. Pretty simple, really – argue the content and not the contributor.

  20. 20 charis
    January 28, 2008 at 16:26

    for me, it’s more like what did Martin Luther King acheieve for the peoples of the world?
    i think it is parochial in the extreme and insulting at the least to narrow what this man did to “Black people”.
    because of MLK, civilization has been turned on it’s head and black people are not the only people whio have benefitted. he changed the way humanity sees itself or how we see one another. the word “tolerance” has taken on a new meaning from gay rights to immigration to equal employment opportunity to human rights, to the rights of minorities of all kinds….he changed the way the western “white” world sees not only black people, but how they see the chinese, the indian, the pakistani, the brazilian, the japanese, the aborigine, the mexican, the handicapped, the gay, the aged, the oppressed.
    it is sad, therefore, that anyone no matter how placed will narrow down his achieve to “black people”.
    you may say that i’m attributing too much to the man, but i’ll like anyone to challenge the veracity of my statements.

    for black people anyways, as far as i am concerned, he changed the way “white” people see us in a way that Mandela has not and never will. he was the freedom fighter that Mandela has refused to be and can not be.
    where Mandela chose to institute a “truth and reconciliation committee” instead of justice letting the people of soweto die in vain, letting steve biko die in vain..
    where mandela chose to cuddle up to the west…

    anyway, i’m sorry this is not about mandela….

    Martin Luther King is the greatest black man ever to have lived….yet.

  21. January 29, 2008 at 14:20

    the term antisemitism is abused ,a semite includes arabs as well as jews ,it describes the people of the region , how european jews got it to mean just jews is a long complicated tale

    zionism is a descriptive of a sect of the jewish peoples ,it also gets complicated with many neo con armogeddonist christians teqniclly decieved into praying for the end time anticipated by the zionists

    according to zionist belief the messiah will come and defeat the palestinians [sort of like shooting fish in a barrel i would think ],with them palestinians herded into ghetoes, that would put the warsaw ghetoes to shame

    jesus the messiah said by thier deeds will we know , as jerusalem means city of peace , it becomes confused that we would know who wants the city of peace logiclly would be doing deeds of peace [i think a case could well be made against both parties ,not ,meeting the peace precondition to ”peacfully ‘controle the city of peace]

    it is a frustration that these decended from the same root ,both claiming to love god ,should fail for so long to get that the true messiah [jesus , the christ]revealed about the new covenant ”to love god and to love neighbour”

    its not complicated [one] god gave all live thier lives to live ,one [satan] reviles all life , he seeks to return ALL life back to dust ,clearly those who love are serving god [the living loving light ]

    whilst any who kill [or respects not an others life serves satan]it is not too hard to see that jesus [as well as his/and \our father [god] weeps

    as for martin luther king ,why do any criticize the man ,he never said he was perfect ,indeed may well be shown to be far from it , but to critisize the departed is purely bad taste ,who are any of us to demean someone who was killed purely because of the colour of his skin[whatever that colour may be

    little has been said of the indonesian dictator ,[the javanese dictator ,whop oppressed the sovereign island states , into an abusive indonesia [controled and run as a fiefdom , by 3 of the larger islands under the colusion of the usa big buisness ibntrests

    ,an invasion began by japenese buisness intrests ,that were turned into amerincan buisness intrests , run by the javanese dictator ,but so the dead may rest in preace ,little will be spoken about a real dictator, why accept ridicule of the king

  22. 22 John in Salem
    February 22, 2008 at 16:48

    I contribute to other forums that have rules and some of them simply don’t allow some topics to be discussed because they’re too polarizing.
    I may be totally entitled to my own worthless opinion but I don’t consider the BBC to be a Public Access channel. It’s nice to have a place to talk about things but the fact is, the BBC DOESN’T HAVE TO OFFER IT! They are entitled to have their rules and as I have said before, World Have Your Insult is on a different network. If you don’t like it, go somewhere else.

  23. 23 Ingé Eveleigh
    March 3, 2008 at 18:44

    I still don’t know whether this will be seen, I wish i could c\tch up with some answers to my comments , but i’ll still keep trying. ), I hear that the Japanese haVE ‘ BEEN ATTACKED’ BY DASTARDLY rancid butter bombs. aS A middle class, middle aged, MIDDLE eNGLAND woman i CANNOT BUT EXPRESS MY SHOCK HORROR AT THIS MONSTROUS EPISODE. NEVER MIND THE SHOCK HORROR OF BEING ATTACKED BY WHALING BOATS WITH HARPOONS & SCREAMING SHOUTING MEN & SHELLS, & mAybe being separated from the baby that was swimming at my side, this is not cricket!! Ingé form Hastings

  24. 24 John LaGrua/New York
    August 27, 2008 at 20:51

    Objectivity and integrity are the plliars supporting a free media .The US media has fallen victim to censorship by powerful groups such as the Isreali Lobby and the nations trust in it seriuoslydamaged . The democcracy we cherish has been subverted and the result has been a drift toward authoritarian government. BBC HYS is critical element in airing the truth ,the oxygen all people need to remain free.Thank you.

  25. 25 Jim Newman
    March 6, 2009 at 10:58

    hello again
    And hello John in Salem. I’m sure if you believed that your opinions were worthless you wouldn’t express them. In giving an answer to your comment I would also like to comment on my own experiences
    with WHYS. First of all World Have Your Say is per definition a public access channel I would have thought. Secondly WHYS presents itself as a current affairs debating forum which I assume is provided by the BBC.So maybe they don’t have to provide it but they do. Thirdly any discussion of events that happen in the world is bound to be polarizing. I have anti-zionist ( not anti-semetic ) views and other people have pro-zionist views. These views are poles apart but there is no reason why one cannot discuss the differences in a civilised manner. And don’t forget it is WHYS who choose the topics to be dicussed.
    My own experiences with WHYS up to this point have been very bad.
    I have been so systematically censored ( sorry Mark ) that at one point I was thinking of changing my name.
    Having read Mark Sandell’s article above, about dropping the ‘white page or blank page policy’ and reading between the lines I think WHYS has had a problem with moderators from, ‘outside’ abusing their power so maybe things will improve. Debating with a delete button is not very exciting.

  26. 26 Jim Newman
    March 7, 2009 at 12:14

    Hello again
    I like Johna’s tongue in cheek way of dealing with very serious events.
    A bit of humour amongst the tears and the anguish is not a bad thing.

    July 15, 2009 at 14:41

    Hey! I am proud of everyone. I hope I woun’t be accused of being a sissy or a sellout by the critics but I think it is the high time for me to acknoledge that this blog is ran professionally and has actually managed to spoil my taste for other forums. Responding to postings made by people you have not met is not easy. Its funny for me to read the rules after posting some hundreds without a clue what the rules of the game are. For this much credit goes to the whole team of WHYS for they have acted as my dumb trainers because none of them has ever spoken to me orally.

    On the second part of tribute, I want to talk about the community of my fellow contributers. These are all familiar to me and I feel as if they are part of me. They too have contributed a lot towards my growth as a listener and a respondent. I miss them all dearly.

    I have no quarells with the rules because though at times I cheat that I am a liberal, in actual fact I am a conservative when it comes to ethics in any forums. Its not that I have been a Mister Clean always and that is why I am grateful to WHS team for saving my ass. Lastly I commend the BBC for its endeavor to balance news one way being the provision of this blog. I cant help saying that those listeners that are not part of WHS in any way might be missing out on the essence of news coverage because this the final stage of news gathering and digestion systme.


  28. January 11, 2010 at 01:09

    Super-Duper site! I am loving it!! Will come back again – taking your feeds too now, Thanks.

    I’m Out! 🙂

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