What’s a blank page?

I’ve been thinking about two things a lot recently. One, how we can offer you more at the weekends on the blog. The show is off air but it always seems a shame our conversations quieten down online. And two, how we can get you more involved in framing our debates. Here’s an idea.

So, loosely taking my lead from a feature that another BBC show called PM does on its blog, I’m going to try posting what is effectively a blank page after the show on Friday – and I call it that as well.

Then I’m hoping you’ll start suggesting links and ideas to each other. You might discuss an issue that’s raised, or whether it should make the show.

Of course you may not write anything at all. It’s up to you really. But what I’m hoping is that come Monday morning you may have alerted us all to subject or a story that we were missing and will have made the case for it making the show during the week to come.

Bear in mind the criteria for subjects that make WHYS. I explain that here.

Now, none of us work at the weekend, but I promise to check the blog every few hours and moderate your comments, so hopefully you’ll be able to get a conversation going.

Calling it ‘Blank Page’ may be asking for trouble and may become self-fulfilling. I hope not. Let’s see. I’ll post after today’s show.

38 Responses to “What’s a blank page?”

  1. 1 George USA
    April 4, 2008 at 14:27

    All you have to do on week ends

    to have discourse continue Sat and Sunday is-

    have someone ok the posts so people can continue to exchange ideas by posting.

    If your post is not posted, allowed on the site, until Monday

    no one can reply and visa versa.

  2. April 4, 2008 at 15:14


    I don’t think that WHYS could be completly un-moderated. Other wise the blogs might get spammed by various viruses or get Rick rolled


  3. 3 Ros Atkins
    April 4, 2008 at 15:25

    Hi Hannah, I’d be moderating so much as I love him Rick Astley wouldn’t get a look in.

  4. 4 Will Rhodes
    April 4, 2008 at 16:47

    I don’t know the in’s and out’s of it, George – but I don’t think that the BBC could allow someone not employed by the BBC to moderate, so one of the team has to give up their time to carry on the blog.

    Personally I think it is a good idea that the blog continues at the weekend, many times I have come over here to see if there is anything new. I will certainly participate as I blog every day.

  5. 5 Brett
    April 4, 2008 at 17:19

    I’ve always wondered this. Why not create a weekend blog where only registered users can post? Thus if a registered user violates the guidelines, he/she will be reprimanded accordingly. Such punishment could be the inability to post on the blog for X amount of time. Registrations can be created with a valid email and approved by a mod.

    Currently, there is no restraint to keep someone from comming on during the weekends to blurt out rude or innappropriate comments. Registering users would do two key things. Create a forum on the weekends which allow people to discuss things with the understanding that they are responsible for what they say and will be held accountable if it is out of line. And also to keep unregistered or unkown users out who may take advantage of this ‘free time’.

    Remember, a moderated or restricted weekend discussion is better than none at all (which is the current way of things).

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  6. 6 Ros Atkins
    April 4, 2008 at 17:28

    I like that idea a lot Brett. I’ll have a look into how we could set that up.

  7. April 5, 2008 at 08:48

    Hi Precious Ros. I do have a number of points related to Friday’s eddition of WHYS that I’d love to discuss with all of you guys. Let’s start it by a question : Are you guys feeling satisfied about the way women are portrayed by advertising and media in your country ?! In my opinion, it’s such a sad thing that advertising and media in many parts of the world (including the Arab World) have promoted a culture that concentrates more on the woman’s body rather than on the woman’s mind. This culture presents (and promotes) women as beautiful THINGS rather than beautiful HUMAN BINGGS. One of the harmful consequences of this culture is that many women all around the world have just become obsessed with their bodies. They worry so much about the size of their bodies and how they look like, but they don’t worry that much about the size of their brains or about what their cultural and moral content would be like. Their ‘internal’ emptiness doesn’t worry them that much. They so much seek to satisfy others with the way they look like, but what about their own self-satisfaction ?! When I say ‘many’ women, I don’t mean ‘all’ women, b/c generalisation is always wrong. So guys, how do you feel about all this ?! Do you guys think that we do need revolutionary changes, or a 2nd wave of feminism, in order to change the way women are portrayed by advertising and media ?! With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  8. April 5, 2008 at 11:17

    Hi lubna !

    we do seem to follow each other around on WHYS 😀

    with regards to your comment about advertising.

    I really hate the amount of photo shopping that occures on men and womens bodies in advertising. I have no problem with the industry using ‘sexy’ images to sell their products, as long as they are not specifically targeting them at young children. (i was really happy the day that the manufactuers of barbie were forced to reduce the size of her dispraportionate breasts 😀 )

    But i dont like it that the media feels the need to make human bodies thinner, longer and generally more orange in order to sell products.

    This video shows how dramatically photo shop can be used to distort body image. It turns a larger woman into a young looking girl

    This one is even wierder as a man is transformed into a woman

    how is that good for body image.

    Another topic for discussion to extend from body image is how can you regulate the internet.
    – government ministers are calling on internet providers to moniter the internet better in the uk.
    – bulnimic websites which promote eating disorders, currently are not subject to detailed regulation.

  9. 9 George USA
    April 5, 2008 at 12:34


    Check this out and tell us what you think.


  10. 10 George USA
    April 5, 2008 at 13:33

    Hanna and Will- I was suggesting someone with WHYS check posts, open board and non-WHYS people ok’ing posts never crossed my mind.

    It seems to me a temp agency person on minimum wage would be a good checker so as not to tie up someone at WHYS on week ends. That in itself could generate limitless debate. 🙂

  11. April 5, 2008 at 15:50

    If you need someone to check the boards over the weekend, then i am more than happy to work for free! 😀

    Although I imagine it would have further negative effects on my likelyhood to complete my 10 thousand word dissertation.

  12. 12 Angelina
    April 5, 2008 at 16:45

    Hi Ros! It’s great to listen to your highly mind-stimulating program.I’m almost addicted to it.Well, I do hope we can have this weekend blog going on.
    Well, could you discuss something on the lines of harassment against women (of all kinds) sometime? This is because I’m facing a lot of it in developing countries especially in Asia where it’s quite out of control.Could you discuss the measures needed to combat this very rarely discussed but rather serious issue.Thanks a million,Ros.Have a great weekend!Angelina

  13. 13 john in Germany
    April 6, 2008 at 15:43

    Hi Ros.
    Seams that Brett has the right idea. and it would work very well. As a newbee, i tend to read more than write, and find everything interesting. The urge to write comes when reading with me, and only a little from listening.

    Hi Angelina.
    An interesting point, gut feeling says that most Asian families are to blame for Female harrasment, in the way they bring up their children. The males are lead to believe that they are the chosen few, and girls are inspired by their mothers to respect the males, if earnt or not. Articles have been published where mothers have stood by and watched their daughters being punished by their own brothers. Of course this does not happen in all Asian Families, but it is very prevalent, and has become a problem in Europe. It takes a lot to repress male chauvinism in this our world.

    Wishing you all a productive, and healthy week

    John in Germany.

  14. 14 Thérèse in Germany
    April 6, 2008 at 15:43

    Dear Roz,

    I just heard via the BBC World Service that protesters had tried to extinquish the Olympic flame in London. That’s just answering violence (the horrible repression which is everyday life in Tibet as well as the current, pre-Olympic campaign to get rid of any “inconveniences”) with violence.

    A better idea is non-violence:

    every country should go to the Olympic games, with the flag of Tibet sewn on their uniforms, on their hats, on their national flags, on their sleeves, on their shoes; with pictures of the Dalai Lama painted on their luggage, painted on their arms or legs. Spectators who wish to protest should do the same.

    What will the Chinese officials do when thousands of silent but determined protesters attend the games? Cameras will broadcast thousands of attendees to billions around the world.

    Please do not make athletes who did the hard work necessary to reach the level of Olympic competition suffer for the racist and imperialistic sins of the PRC. Allow all who wish to attend and to truly demonstrate (from Latin meaning to “show”) do so.

    Thérèse in Germany

  15. 15 Mudge in Jamaica
    April 7, 2008 at 16:50

    Ros & All,

    First, I enjoy WHYS. I am usually in my car at that time (midday Jamaica) doing errands and wish I were near a phone. Keep up the good work. My son is a 16 y-o video game / TV addict and he recentley commented that BBC radio was entertaining and informative. All is not lost.

    Second, BBC World TV has a review panel, Does BBC World Radio?

    Third, I agree with Therese regarding the Olympics. Maybe if athletes standing on the podium were to raise their open right hands to signify a free Tibet, the message would get across.

    That’s all for now

    Mudge in Jamaica

  16. April 8, 2008 at 12:04

    WHYS on weekends?
    I’m afraid I won’t be one of those contributing because I will be spending my weekends in the village where there is no internet connection. Rather unfortunate Ros.

  17. April 11, 2008 at 14:48

    It is a good idea to have WHYS on weekends,because we need to keep the discussion a live.This weekend edition will make Ros and his team at bbc on monday where to start from, you never know one can suggest a “hot topic” that people like Ambe Ayongwa will find it kicking on Monday.

  18. 18 Zita
    April 11, 2008 at 15:35

    Hi Ros!
    What a brilliant idea!
    WHYS at weekends. Sounds to me like it might give a run to facebook and myspace. there will be this Giant weekend blog where people from all over the world can write to one another. on matters that concern us all. I think you are going to be inundated with support and you will be working harder at weekends. Well you’ll deal with that when you come to it. For my part I shall definitely read and contirbute. ( I too am a read and write person than listen and speak)
    How about this subject? ‘the Evils of HONOUR crimes among emigrants living in countries and expecting children to continue in the cultures they left behind reardless of the new cultures the children have grown up in’. I hear on BBC radio enough complaints from young Asians whose lives have been blighted by this HONOUR credo of their families who forced them into marriages of the parents choice.
    Good Luck to Blank Page! And to Lubna and Brett who are the first to kick off.

  19. April 13, 2008 at 21:02


    Hi Lubna, Hannah:

    It is interesting that since the last week there has been alot of blogs about women and gender issues. I am intrigued as to why this is so? I even suggested to Chloe that she could discuss a topic which came up in a meeting a church. One of the religious sisters (Roman Catholic nuns) said that women were becoming more aggressive and I wondered whether that was actually true. Mind you, I have noticed that where I live the girls are increasinly more vocal about their interests and desires, including their sexuality. I wonder, however, whether the issue of focussing on women in this way, especially in light of your questions above, do not in some way suggest that there is some backlash against the gains of feminism?

    Mind you, I neither a woman nor a feminist, necessarilly, but I believe in equality and equal opportunity in terms of self expression. I just wondered whether this increasing focus on women and what we are told are their issues, especially with the proposed law in Nigeria and the comment made by the Italian politician (I can’t spell his name and I am not sure of his title, sadly!) do not suggest a sort of backlash against the gains of the Women’s Movement, at the dawn of the twenty-first century? How is any of this even related to the fact that a woman is vying for the leadership of the most powerful democracy on earth? I would be interested in hearing your views!

  20. May 2, 2008 at 19:32

    Back before I discovered the BBC and all this interactive blogging, I was writing “the Road Rash Report” on my own website. Well I don’t have that site at the moment but I do have a MySpace site you can find me on.

    At about the same time NPR (our US, BBC look-alike) scrounged up the $ to hire a weekend staff and now they are on 24/7. So here’s my suggestion to those of you at the Beeb (what I call the BBC). You can help the global economic slow down in a small way by hiring some weekenders to monitor/moderate the weekend WHYS. Then it won’t be such a “blank page”. Whatta concept dontcha think?

    And let me be the first to throw in my hat! I’d love to put my FCC broadcasters license to work at a radio job that provided a pay-check instead of being just more volunteerism…

    btw I love the idea of a silent protest of adding the Tibetan flag to clothes and body parts at the Olympics. I had friends who trained for the ’80 games who were prevented from going when Carter pulled the US out because the USSR invaded Afghanistan.

  21. 21 selena
    May 2, 2008 at 19:43


    Your idea is a good one, but not for the blank page, as I see it.

    The blank page is what makes it the blank page. It is unique!

    That may sound kooky but it makes sense to me 😉

  22. 22 Virginia Davis
    May 4, 2008 at 02:29

    I like the idea of “just folks” attending the Games indicating in some way solidarity with Tibet. This would need to be well-coordinated so that the Chinese could not “pick off” the first individuals/groups.

    As for “blank page” – this is my first entry.

    Regarding women and their appearances, there is an interesting exchange last week in the Christian Science Monitor. csmonitor.com An article midweek and a letter to the editor on Friday.

    Personally, I have been 200 lbs + at 5’2″ since my time incarcerated at Agnews State Hospital in the late 60’s. Allowed off the ward I lunched on a hamburger and french fries. It kept me going. From then till now. Now I have health reasons, plus not wanting to be in the 2/3s majority of Americans who are obese. Mary Baker Eddy has a phrase: “feed the famished affections.” I took that to heart – my so-called “relationships” never quite worked out. Food the comforter!

    Plus my body had nothing to do with my mind – which I always exercised and used to express myself.

    Obesity has many causes. I know mine. Americans who by income live on fast food and mac and cheese are a giant public health problem. Note the way big cities are responding – LA and its efforts to limit more fast food outlets in “poor” neighborhood and encourage real grocery stores such as there for “yuppies.”
    NYC doing something similar.

    Looking forward to some comments later on today (Saturday) and tomorrow.

    Virginia in Portland, OR

  23. 23 Tom
    May 5, 2008 at 10:37

    To Therese in Germany and other like-minded people,

    With due respect to your noble view for the oppressed Tibetan people. Do you think that asking all international participants to blatantly display the Tibetan flags and images of the Dalai Lama will deliver a message of goodwill toward the 1.3 billion Chinese, where just about all of them passionately believe that Tibet is part of the Chinese nation?

    Doing what you propose in an event that all Chinese have poured their heart and sweat into will prove more destructive than positive. When the country is deeply divided, do you then think the evil Communist Party will become kind hearted with the poor Tibetans, or will they simply play along with the anger of the 1.3 billion people and deliver a fatal blow to the hope of the Tibetans?

    I’m just curious if you really consider this the most appropriate way to show “solidarity” with the Tibetans without erasing any sense of sympathy that may still exist within the common Chinese people? Do you agree that, unless you’re favoring a bloody civil war that will split the country apart to the good of no one, that to help the Tibetans the common Chinese must plays an indispensible part? Would this mean that Tibetan freedom must not involve the alienation of the common Chinese people and we in the west must take their sensitivities into careful consideration, especially given the deep historical injustices that the West has inflicted upon them (read Opium Wars)?

    Perhaps the Free Tibet should then become Free China so that 1.3 billion people will benefit rather than the 1 million? Remember, the common Chinese people recognise Dr Sun Yat-Sen as their national father. Among his vision was a fair, democratic nation upheld by all ethnic groups. Burning the bridge linking the Hans and the Tibetans goes against this noble vision.

    Truly helping someone is not as simple as come screaming in. This is especially true in the East.

  24. May 23, 2008 at 15:42

    Hi Ros,

    Blank Page is a fantastic Idea,
    we also need to have video Clips of the BBC Studio of WHYS
    Because it’s a dream for any loyal WHYS Listner to get aclipse of how the chair Ros sit’s on to communicate to people around the world look’s like.

  25. 25 portlandmike
    July 4, 2008 at 20:44


    I think that having governments moderate or control, what the people can see on the internet is just asking for trouble. It has been soo successful the way that it is, and thinking that any government agency could “protect” anyone from something that they read or see on a computer screen, seems like dangerous and losing proposition to me.

  26. 26 Noor
    September 14, 2008 at 09:56

    HI There I’m Noor From Iraq`
    I’d like 2 intriduce myself as one of ur friends in Iraq`

    best regaard foooor all

  27. 27 selena in Canada
    September 14, 2008 at 13:49

    Hi Noor,

    Welcome to the WHYS blog.

    Can you post to Blank Page # 24?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: