All good things….

……. have to come to an end.

Sadly, on the eve of our third birthday, i’ve had to end the external moderator experiment. Thanks to all those who did it, gave up their own time in the interests of the community, and tried to make it work.

The minority let you – and us- down.

The experiment came out of the “blank page” idea, which was to involve the community more while we (the WHYS production team) weren’t around. It meant a greater online democracy and transparency for the community and – to be honest- it meant the blog was active even we weren’t.

We then started granting moderation rights to more of you which meant you could access the blog at anytime, not just in the evenings our time and at weekends.

Again, it worked for a while – your  dedication was impressive ; Ros and i would get international calls from some of you fretting over whether to approve  a comment or not. It was clear you took your responsibilities seriously.

I had to ban one moderator who “lost it” one night, but overall the trend was good. Despite some (understandable) pressure from people higher up the BBC food chain than me, it was worth holding out.

Gradually – and despite several warnings from me and Ros which got a little less friendly each time- things deteriorated.

I spent too much time sorting out petty disputes and boring bickering. Newcomers to the blog (and last Friday was a record for hits) complained of feeling intimidated. The last straw for me was a blindingly idiotic dispute which saw one of our valued newcomers clear off in disgust.

Great message to send to the community, i thought. So that’s it i’m afraid. It was a bold experiment and i’m glad we tried it. In the end, it fell because of people with a myopic , paranoid world view and i’m happy for you to peddle those views on your own blog, not ours.

It doesn’t mean that we’re not interested in your shaping and developing WHYS- it only exists as a forum for you to discuss world events anyway –  but we’ll need to think of other ways of doing it.

Again, thank you to those who went the extra mile (you know who you are !), i’m indebted to you.

104 Responses to “All good things….”

  1. 1 gary
    October 30, 2008 at 13:56

    Many Thanks to you guys, Mark and Ros, for giving tne open forum several chances to succeed. Please do not feel badly! All well-designed experiments provide valuable information. It’s just that sometimes it’s: “No, it won’t work.”

  2. 2 Katharina in Ghent
    October 30, 2008 at 14:02

    Biiig 😦 !

    I will dearly miss moderating, I enjoyed it very much. I can understand the BBC’s decision, but I’m disappointed that some of the moderators couldn’t differenciate between their own view and a public blog for all of us.

    Thank you BBC for letting me be part of this experience.

  3. 3 steve
    October 30, 2008 at 14:05

    I asked the BBC staff to go into detail about what being objective means, especially when it comes to moderation, and they just said “use common sense” basically, which was sorely lacking. Some were so biased that they would delete posts they didn’t agree with. Would personally attack other posters, other moderators, and were “proud” of their personal attacks.

    It’s sad to see it come to this, but the place was becoming very hostile, as people just couldn’t understand objectivity and tolerance for other views, and the inability to refrain from attacking the person, and not their argument.

    When you have moderators personally attacking each other, we all lose.

  4. 4 Brett
    October 30, 2008 at 14:16

    Well, as one of the first moderators, it was fun while it lasted. Thank you for the opportunity. It’s embarassing that some people don’t know how to behave in a group and ruin it for everyone.
    On the bright side, at least now we won’t have non-mods complaining that mods are giving preferential treatment, bickering amongst the two groups, amongst themselves, etc. Now we are all back on the same plane.
    On the bright side I may have about 6-10 more free hours per week now 😉 lol

    Thanks again BBC!

  5. 5 Mark Sandell
    October 30, 2008 at 14:33

    Brett, Katharina, Steve and Gary ; thanks for your understanding and i’m sorry your excellent work didn’t bring greater results. As always, i still want your input/constructive criticism etc etc…
    Brett, what will you do with that free time ? take up golf ?

  6. 6 Julie P
    October 30, 2008 at 14:38

    Definitely a disappointment.

  7. 7 1430a
    October 30, 2008 at 14:39

    Hello Ros,
    Well I have been connected to the BBC for some time now.Well when I first came on I was excited to be a moderator but I wasn’t allowed due to my age.I always had a wish to become a moderator of the BBC but it seems that will be in vain.I am not disappointed because you guys had to take this decision due to the improper use of power by the moderators.Well i guess ‘all good things come to an end’.

    Thank you Ros,Mark and everyone in BBC.
    Abhinav Khanal:)

  8. 8 Brett
    October 30, 2008 at 14:44

    Brett, what will you do with that free time ? take up golf ?

    Tried my hand at golf, not so good at it, but I can put well lol.
    I’ll probably wrench away on my cars/motorcycles, do yard work, and get some home improvement things done around the house that I’ve been putting off haha. Don’t worry, Ill still frequent the blog in the AM while Im at work 😉

  9. 9 Mark Sandell
    October 30, 2008 at 14:45

    Abhinav, we’ll be trying new things- it’s the nature of the show, so i hope we can involve you in some of those.
    Julie, i couldn’t agree more. Like i said, the majority did really well and worked hard, just a shame that for a few people, it went to their head.

  10. 10 DENNIS@OCC
    October 30, 2008 at 14:49

    Thanks to the BBC for allowing me that chance to be a moderator….

    It is sad that this good thing has to end….


  11. 11 DENNIS@OCC
    October 30, 2008 at 14:51

    To the other moderators, names it will take forever….i.e. Will, Katharina, Brett, Bob
    thanks for being there for me when it was my weekend


  12. 12 Mark Sandell
    October 30, 2008 at 14:51

    Thanks Dennis – you did a top job.

  13. 13 Robert
    October 30, 2008 at 14:52

    I’m sorry to see it go. I remember some great topics on the board and some very passionate discussions which I found fun to watch and take part in. But as the header says, all things come to an end. I would rather remember the BP and TP in their prime rather than ending up in a constant slanging match between entrenched groups.

    Thanks to all the mods, the time you devoted to this board was appretiated by us.

  14. 14 DENNIS@OCC
    October 30, 2008 at 14:54

    Thanks Mark!

    Happy Birthday to the World Have Your Say on 31 October 2008….


  15. 15 Pangolin-California
    October 30, 2008 at 15:07

    Well, rats!!! Not having any of my own posts vanish I can’t say precisely what the problem was. I have to agree that maintaining standards of civility and objectivity in moderation of debates is much more difficult that it would seem. Thanks, everybody for the volunteer time.

  16. 16 Ana Milena, Colombia
    October 30, 2008 at 15:13

    Hi, everybody! 🙂
    It’s a pity the Blank Page’s over, but I think remarkable lessons and people remain in our heads. The first moderators were brilliant! And some participants were, as well. I just hope we keep on watching over our posts, in order to make this space a warm place for sharing opinions but in a suitable way.

    Rude people show no inteligence!
    But I’m sure those who gently enrich these conversations are still there! 😉


  17. 17 Bob in Queensland
    October 30, 2008 at 15:15

    A question…

    What would the attitude be of both the BBC and the regular posters here if I were to set up a forum-based discussion area NOT CONNECTED WITH OR SANCTIONED BY THE BBC for out of hours discussions of the same sort of topics we used the blog for?

    If there was interest and if it didn’t stop on BBC toes, I could have have basic free version (with advertising around the edge) up and running in a day or two–with a view to converting to a paid-for site in the future if there was enough demand.


  18. 18 Jennifer
    October 30, 2008 at 15:21

    It seems to me that when people come together in a group there is going to be conflict due to personal differences. The distinction should be that because people come to this blog they should respect other people on it. This includes instead of attacking a person-attack the issue. It also includes right right for other people to have an opinion and disagree with you.

    It is interesting that you used “minority” in your post info for this entry, Mark, because that is what some people feel like on here. I for one, being from the U.S., feel that the blog is not fully representative of the values that we have here. When you have no varying viewpoints and things are homogeneous, it is not representative at all.

    There are those who seem to enjoy looking for anything and everything to “attack” on; especially when someone has a varying viewpoint. I don’t personally enjoy having to be in “attack mode”. It goes directly against my personality. I have also come to the realization that most moderators will not use discretion with posts so I will be attacked because of my views. I have been labeled “religious”, “conservative”, “vile”, “sick”, “twisted”, “liar”….just to name a few for only contributing to this blog and having different views. To an extent, I will not say anything but there is a point where I will not allow myself to be disrespected.

    Some moderators did a great job in stopping things before they got out of hand. There were also those who would not do that. Posts are edited and sometimes even deleted for no reason. What one moderator finds acceptable others do not. I think having one moderator at a time; where they decide to tone of the blog for that time instead of more than one would be beneficial. People should be allowed to moderate if they use sound judgment.

    I have only been called out by one moderator for saying that someone had a “small mind” after said person was allowed to say rather rude things to me over and over and over again all the while I was being nice as is my everyday personality. That was sound judgment and it diffused the situation. However, it should not have gotten that far. It didn’t stop said person from continuing to insult me at every opportunity.

    I only moderated two times but I enjoyed it aside from the initial difficulty that there was. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to participate in this program. I will continue to listen for educational purposes 🙂

  19. 19 Krzysztof
    October 30, 2008 at 15:24

    I’m bitterly disappointed.
    It was my first week here and… it’s over now.
    Anyway. Many thanks! I’m going to keep in touch with you and participate in the WHYS programme!

  20. 20 John in Germany
    October 30, 2008 at 15:47

    Dear Ros.
    Reading your statement was like taking a tonic, thank you for saying what has been on my mind for a long time, even to the not posted letter on my desk reminded me of the coward i was not to post it.

    Some very interesting comments from all over the world were rudely ignored by the clique, whom just carried on with an art of a low grade forum. Passing personal chat which does not belong to the blog. Total oblivion to the fact that not every person on the web has been to high grade universities, one would have though the standard would have been very high.

    I stooped trying to join in a long time ago, but kept on reading. A few trys at shaking were ignored, writing that should have brought rage, or at least some comment were ignored for flat non interesting remarks about nothing.
    No Excuse on my part i was a coward for not posting my letter to you. I even thought the different time zones had something to do with it!. no way.

    Wishing you all at BBC lots of luck, im sure there will be lots of clicks from the faithfull, and interested.

    John in Germany.

  21. October 30, 2008 at 16:09

    Oh how sad, but it was inevitable I have to think! I guess the power that some felt they had and the rush of blood to the head just overcame common sense and also the trust that was given over to people whose background you just don’t know.

    Yes it is sad, but bound to happen. I for one was proud of what I was able to contribute and pleased to be of service to the guys over there at Bush House for the short time it was. Having met some of them I can just imagine the disappointment they must be feeling at developments. As it always, some will just have to ruin it for the rest.

    So from Andrew in Australia.. thanks Mark, Ros, Chloe and all the others and to the mods I have had contact with, cheers guys. It was fun and a privilege.

  22. 22 Jessica in NYC
    October 30, 2008 at 16:17

    @ Mark

    All good things must come to an end and it was definitely fun while it lasted. On a positive note, I now have more time to campaign for Obama in PA.

    Thank you for the opportunity, Mark, Ros, Chloe and Kate. It was a blast.

    Best wishes to all,

  23. 23 jamily5
    October 30, 2008 at 16:21

    I’m so disappointed! I am usually busy when Whys is broadcasting, so will respond more on the BP and TP than in the WHYS blogging time. I thought about trying the moderating myself, when I had a significant amount of time to sort things out.
    I don’t know how well it would work with screenreaders and would need a bit of time to acclimate myself, but thought about trying it when things slowed down in Mid November. I expect differences of opinions and conflicts. even conflicts. That is what happens in a group.
    But, I was always sad to see people leave and now am even more disappointed to know that the evening and weekend discussions are now gone.
    So: What has WHYS learned from this experiment?
    What will be the next experiment?

    I don’t know if WHYS could say something to the effect:
    “If you want to continue the discussion, hop on over to Bob’s place… …”
    And, Bob: how would it differ from the BBC”s blogs, etc?

  24. 24 Ros Atkins
    October 30, 2008 at 16:24

    One idea I had was that when we take our blog back onto the BBC’s system, (it has to happen and is likely to happen pretty soon) you could all have this blog to do what you want with. Alternatively, you could just start a fresh blog which takes its lead from our topics but over which has total control. what would you think of that?

  25. 25 Brett
    October 30, 2008 at 16:28

    I’m still down for helping in any way I can, but understand how this decision was made to scrap night mods, TP’s and BP’s.

  26. 26 Jessica in NYC
    October 30, 2008 at 16:29

    Hi Ros,

    Considering the alternative, I’m on board for both of your ideas.

  27. 27 Nelson Isibor
    October 30, 2008 at 16:42

    My grateful appreciation goes to the WHYS Team for giving me the privilege to moderate the blog on several occassions. It was definitely fun and a rewarding experience while it lasted. The moderating team showed a great sense of committment to the work. Thanks once again.

  28. 28 Jennifer
    October 30, 2008 at 16:44

    Who would moderate Bob’s new blog or this blog then?

  29. 29 Bob in Queensland
    October 30, 2008 at 16:48

    @ Ros

    Well, see my suggestion above! We’re on the same wavelength.

    Seriously, with your office hours being 10-12 hours out of sync with my time zone, unless there is some form of “open forum” when you’re at home or in the pub there isn’t much of WHYS left for me.

    Personally, I’d suggest that (if we start with a blank sheet) a forum format might be better than a blog since we could give running topics like US Politics, Islam/Western conflict, Zimbabwe and so on rooms of their own in addition to a Talking Points area linked to the programme.

    However, that’s a detail and whatever way it goes I’d likely be on board.

  30. October 30, 2008 at 16:51

    Sounds good Ros. A WHYS listeners forum by the listeners is what it would be then. Hope the same difficulties wouldn’t arise which is what the new owners would then have to contend with!

  31. 31 Julie P
    October 30, 2008 at 16:57


    Let’s go for it. We want to talk about all kinds of things that could be related to what WHYS discusses, or not. I happen to agree with Bob about those who are so far off London’s time that they would largely be excluded from participating.

  32. 32 Brett
    October 30, 2008 at 16:58

    I’m with Bob.


  33. 33 Bob in Queensland
    October 30, 2008 at 16:59

    @ Jennifer

    Well, I don’t know what Ros is thinking but without the official involvement of the BBC I suspect we could do without pre-modding and have a light touch, only deleting things for seriously bad language or where there are complaints about attacks, racism or whatever.

  34. 34 Venessa
    October 30, 2008 at 17:00

    Ros, Mark, Chloe, Kate & all,

    I am completely bummed! This absolutely stinks but I absolutely understand why it must come to an end. It’s very unfortunate and thank you for the opportunity to participate.

  35. 35 Robert
    October 30, 2008 at 17:06

    It would be good to see how a listeners board would work. Try out a range of different options for how to arrange the sites to promote debate and how to organise the mods to cover it. I’d be up for helping any way I could.

  36. 37 Anthony
    October 30, 2008 at 17:14

    So is someone gonna start a new WordPress Blog or what??? 😉 If somneone were to start it up, I’d be on board to post on that!!!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  37. 38 Ros Atkins
    October 30, 2008 at 17:22

    Ok, so it sounds like a few of you are up for this idea of creating your own space outside of our blog. how could we go about kicking this off? and please don’t forget we’d still like to hang around here as well!

  38. 39 Nelson Isibor
    October 30, 2008 at 17:24

    @ Will, your disappointment is understandable. This was your idea in the first place. Kind of hurts to see your excellent idea turn out this way.

  39. 40 Kelsie in Houston
    October 30, 2008 at 17:26

    I’m not sure exactly how much or little this is an outgrowth of the fracas on the TP, but for my own part in that, I accept responsibility for the unpleasantness and am sincerely very sorry—if I had known my own actions were contributing to the nuclear option, so to speak, I would’ve held my tongue (or keyboard) entirely.

  40. 41 Nelson Isibor
    October 30, 2008 at 17:27

    One purpose of WHYS is for the listeners to set the agenda for the show. So with a forum outside the blog how do we reconcile these these ideas?

  41. October 30, 2008 at 17:32

    Bob, et al

    I have a blog that is there, it is already quite popular and it is unmoderated.

    I could easily re-design the lay out to incorporate discussion from here – it would take a lot of time. The problem is that the BBC couldn’t advertise it. It is a simple process to add people as contributors and even editors – any of those who are moderators here are very welcome to join in as they were here.

    And the content would be directed by you, just as it was here.

    It’s an open offer, so it is up to you.

  42. 43 Anthony
    October 30, 2008 at 17:40

    OK, so I started a page named WHYSers:


    Lets do it, lets start it off. For any of the old Mods that I’m used too, my e-mail adress is on the first page. If you e-mail me, I’ll change your privilege to Editor. We can have open disscussions with the same rules as here, after WHYS of course 😉 What do you think Ros???

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  43. 44 Julie P
    October 30, 2008 at 17:42


    I suggest that there be an “after show”, like what Oprah does for her show.

    It could go something like: “For more informal discussions on today’s topic join us WHYS After Show Blog”. Possibly direct people to this blog?

  44. October 30, 2008 at 17:46

    Perhaps we should let the blogs that participate make blank spaces that are focussed around certain types of subjects. E.g. Lubna would presumably prefer to discuss Iraq on her blog if she were to participate. My blog discusses certain metaphysical ideas that are not so interesting to the average WHYS listener. But I would be willing to let my blog be used to discuss topics related to science, religion, ethics, etc.

  45. 46 Jessica in NYC
    October 30, 2008 at 17:52

    Ros- I’m on board for the WHYS blog on or off the BBC website.

    Bob- I’m on board, too. I can multi-task.

    Will- I’m a little disillusioned and more discouraged. I have always been more partial to the BBC and it’s programing than the US’s (even the ones that support my point of view).

  46. 47 Katharina in Ghent
    October 30, 2008 at 17:55

    The idea of having a Listener’s Blog sounds interesting. The question for me is: would the WHYS team still look at it for suggestions for the show? If the blog is set up, count me in!

  47. 48 Jennifer
    October 30, 2008 at 17:59


    Thank you for explaining your thoughts on the moderating of a separate blog. It cleared up my questions. 🙂

  48. 49 Luz Ma from Mexico
    October 30, 2008 at 18:20

    How sad! I’ll miss it 😦
    Thanks Ros, Mark, Kate, Chloe for the opportunity to be part of this project. Thanks to my fellow moderators. It was an honor. I met great people here.

    Bob, count with me for any pararell project. Thanks for thinking in an alternative.

  49. 50 Sandra Patricia, Colombia
    October 30, 2008 at 18:27

    Hey! 🙂

    Gosh! Sorry to hear the blank page is over 😦 … There’s long time ago I didn’t participate here in the blog, so I was not able to see how serious things were… That’s really disappointing… Thanks to the WHYS team for giving the chance to the listeners to make great contributions and intervene directly in the making of the blog dynamic; also, to the first and good moderators and participants, thanks a bunch for your great job and patience. At least for now you will have some free time…

    I suppose new ideas are coming, so my very best wishes for all of you… Please don’t forget your faithful listeners who live in the other side of the planet! I just have one question: People talk about moving to another site, don’t they? How can a different blog change the situation we went through? I mean, how can we help conflictive bloggers? Anthony has got a smart move 🙂 !

    Best regards,

    Sandra Patricia (Colombia)

    *Still suffering with the time table – what time’s the show here in Colombia??? 😦 *

  50. 51 Mark Sandell
    October 30, 2008 at 18:27

    Just to echo what Ros said : when we return to the BBC “fold” (i.e leave WordPress) we could hand over this blog to you, call it unofficial (i.e not BBC ), and the rest- the rules, the members, the debates etc ; are entirely up to you. If you want us to contribute we have to be invited.
    We would of course be looking at it for suggestions,and as Ros says we’d like you to hang around our BBC site too.
    And we would link to any of the suggestions from the BBC blog…
    I do like the fact that this is a community that doesn’t let the grass grow under it’s feet…

    and Will ; i’m disappointed too, you did a top job.

  51. October 30, 2008 at 18:31

    Just when I am about to get a shot at the moderation slot, the show is squashed.
    This is just how unlucky I am….
    Whenever something novel is about to come my way, it is always interrupted only when my turn is around the corner.
    I don’t know whether to lay the finger of blame on Mark , Chloe, Kate and Ros for sidelining the for putting this stuff to a stop or the bloggers who broke the rules.
    I am really despondent and inconsolable about it all…

  52. 53 Ros Atkins
    October 30, 2008 at 18:32

    of course we’d look at the whysers blog for ideas. that goes without saying!

  53. 54 Brett
    October 30, 2008 at 18:38

    Id be willing to help run this blog when you go back to BBC format, of course I’d be going between here and there to post too lol

  54. October 30, 2008 at 18:41

    Mark –

    The problem you have is that the URL will still say “worldhaveyoursay.wordpress” etc.

    There could be legal ramifications for anyone taking over that URL – what you would have to do is strip this URL of all BBC related content. Then you could start again.

    If someone wanted to change the URL of this blog it will cost them money. Now I can see that the experiment is over – that is why I agree with the contributors here who have spent so much of their own time saying that an off BBC site would be good, I agree with them. I said my blog because it is already there – brushed and it is quite popular. In the world of the internet you cannot let the grass grow a millimetre let alone an inch. I messaged Kate a bit earlier but I know she is now busy with the show – if she wants to message me back I will show her how to take all our names off the moderation queue – you have demoted us all to contributor, that doesn’t stop us looking in on the dashboard.

    One point you and Ros make – which is valid, you have said for a while that this blog is going back into the BBC fold, that’s fine – but while that is happening, and no specific time-frame – it leaves us all up in the air.

    The being able to look in on the Dashboard may have been one of the problems you may have had. I would talk to you directly – if ever you want to, Kate has my MSN address, just add me to yours and we can talk then.



    PS, you can edit any of this message out if you so wish.

  55. 56 katemcgough
    October 30, 2008 at 19:03

    Thanks Will for pointing that out – I’ve removed the moderators totally now.
    I’d just also like to say thank you to everyone who took part in this experiment too and thank you for all the time and enthusiasm you gave to moderating.

  56. 57 Scott (M)
    October 30, 2008 at 19:17

    It was an interesting experiment. Its bigger implications are representative of our planet.

    This was really a small-scale experiment in democracy—that ended-up showing the inherent flaws of democracy-at-large. It’s great to give people power, but unfortunately its success relies on the quality of the people. Not to sound nihilistic, but this result represents the undeniable flaws of humanity. It is such a fine line we all teeter on. No wonder its been crossed over so often.

  57. 58 Ros Atkins
    October 30, 2008 at 19:32

    I suggest you just go for it – forget this one as you may be waiting for weeks. why not start from scratch. design it how you like, call it what you like, organise it how you like. i’d be very interested to see how it turns out.

  58. 59 Luz Ma from Mexico
    October 30, 2008 at 20:11

    Hi all!

    I couldn’t read your comments before. I was in a meeting when I received Ros’s e-mail regarding this issue. I am so going to miss this project… it was great. Thanks for welcoming me and helping me when I started as a moderator.

    Thanks to Bob, Will, Anthony and others for looking into a solution. I hope we can make it work. I have met really great people here… I don’t want to lose the good conversation with you -my friends over the world.

    I’ll look into your alternatives. Count me in for help. I am -6GMT.

    Thanks WHYS team (Ros, Mark, Kate, Chloe, et al). I hope to catch the show once in a while. It is difficult for me because it airs in the middle of my daywork 😦 The upside for me was the TP and the BP. Snif!

    Best regards from your friend form Mexico.

  59. 60 Katharina in Ghent
    October 30, 2008 at 20:38

    Actually, the two things I regret the most are two things: the Blank Pages and I was really looking forward to the election coverage next Tuesday. Any chances that either off the two would be made possible?

  60. 61 Jennifer
    October 30, 2008 at 20:45

    @ Nelson

    “One purpose of WHYS is for the listeners to set the agenda for the show. So with a forum outside the blog how do we reconcile these these ideas?”

    In reading earlier I overlooked your very good question. I am not sure where ideas would come from unless they were emailed in or went along the agenda of current news issues.

    It seems to me that without some form of buffer/protection/higher authority it would in essence just be moving the problem to a different, unrelated place so the BBC was not involved.

  61. 62 Dan
    October 30, 2008 at 21:15

    I am sorry if people left feeling intimidated. I love this blog as we challenge each others idea and preconceptions and either boil out some type of consensus or just agree to disagree.
    From personal experience I know that on certain issues I challenge and have been challenged but never did I feel it became personal.
    We have a good little community here and I am saddened that the external moderators are ending.
    Is it really dead or is there an appeal to a higher court?

  62. 63 gary
    October 30, 2008 at 21:48

    What a poor observer am I! A very happy Birthday to WHYS! May your group prosper and may your efforts to promote greater communication around the globe be met with the ultimate success – maybe not affection; but sufficient mutual understanding, to allow tolerance to grow.

  63. 64 selena in Canada
    October 30, 2008 at 21:55

    Mark, Ros, Chloe, Kate and others at the BBC, thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this experiment.

    Thank you to fellow moderators and posters.

    I will treasure my time here and remember all of you fondly.

    Many of us will remain friends, I am sure.

    Shocked and sad that it has come to this!

    Perhaps I will have more to say after I sleep on it.

    Thanks again 🙂 Selena

  64. October 30, 2008 at 21:56

    While I do understand, I don’t. Before things simply happened behind closed doors with only a few, and then it was out in the open for all to see and get their hands on. I highly doubt what people did in the open is so uniquely different from what happens behind closed doors.

    People are people. To support freedom of thought and speech, you have to embrace ones ability and inability to act, as one might deem, foolish or ignorant … and the fact is …. their choice to do what they will with it. Just because things happen, like they do, doesn’t mean we condone them, but we do acknowledge they exist and cannot simply wish them away. Just like we try not to curse in the workplace and have rules against it but, it still happens and it’s not always the result of foolish action of ignorant “men,” but sometimes is rooted in a deep passion which is not always understood.

    I get the feeling this is being done in a manner that concedes defeat, maybe you should redefine what success is. I do hope that the BBC blogs don’t lose too much of what they have gained in the process.

  65. 67 Paul Coletti
    October 30, 2008 at 23:24

    Will, leaving “worldhaveyoursay.wordpress.com” behind wouldn’t be much of a problem. It has more of a wordpress than a BBC connection in the name if you ask me. The new blog, when it comes, will probably have an equally convoluted name but WHYS will probably cover it with worldhaveyoursay.com as we do now . . .
    . . . having said that, whysers.wordpress.com is looking good . . .I will be participating.

  66. October 30, 2008 at 23:28

    Wow, this really stinks. I am still including it on my resume. As a person not very easily shaken by insults or rhetoric, I didn’t see this escalating. Thanks Ros, Mark, Kate, and the rest for a great opportunity to get issues on the minds of a global community out in the open. Sometimes the most trivial, other topics reached into the very depth of what it means to be human. You can’t possibly enter those unexplored depths without encountering a few monsters.

    Here is the problem. WHYS can shut down the blog, but the ugliness and rhetoric that embarrassed the rest of us as fellow humans still exists. Only now instead of venting and getting berated for the ignorance of their thought stream, they will keep it in or find “like minded” people to confirm their validity. This is what happens on the world stage when people don’t talk. If we don’t use it we loose it. Eventually the situation brews to a point where talking seems pointless. If nothing else we see the difficulty the real world faces to keep the peace.

    Will has brought up the first point of contention that came to mind. While it is the WWW, there are trademarks and possible infringements. It would defiantly be grey areas of the low. But how would your bosses like people who are hearing your show to end up on this “out of control” website and relating what they see to the BBC?

    The second point is that if this regulated version became too aggressive and unapproachable, the unregulated version would soon draw only a few people who were thick of skin and narrow on opinion. Nothing made me more giddy reading these blogs then to see a new name asserting an opinion. In short time people with out an ominous source of regulation would devolve into something too aggressive to draw new patrons. I have seen how irrational and trivial the infighting was in the background with the email conversations. I just can’t see it working any better in the open air. I work and am available odd hours and rarely sleep. I would like to be involved in anything that spins off from here. But I would enter with a pessimistic perspective.

    Thanks again guys. I will listen to the shows as often as I can. You guys are doing great things by letting common people talk. It is a way to highlight and address our differences while showing us just how alike we all are.

    LOL, I hope this isn’t too long.

  67. October 30, 2008 at 23:31

    Oh Yah, I am really going to miss being able to edit and moderate myself. Nothing ticked me off more then when I denied my own post. I also am going to miss the ability to search for my name only to see if I had missed somebody responding to me. that would be a great feature if you could add it to the new/ old site.

  68. 70 Robert Evans
    October 30, 2008 at 23:53

    To all

    Many thanks it was fun whilest it lasted and so now it has come to an end which I had hoped that wouldnt but hey WHYS can try something else from now on. It was a pleasure staying up into the hours of the morning to help moderate the WHYS blog.

    Now after this sad development I will be needing to get drunk again

    All the best

    Robert Evans

  69. October 31, 2008 at 00:38

    I’m very disappointed that we moderators didn’t have the group skills to solve these problems before we had a total meltdown.

    There were many marvelous posts and posters that participated, that the BBC folks never noticed. I’m missing them already.

  70. 72 ZK
    October 31, 2008 at 00:53

    Surprised? No, probably not. Disappointed? Very much so, especially as one of the first three or four moderators. It’s unfortunate that this has happened but alas…

  71. October 31, 2008 at 01:58

    Bob in Queensland October 30, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    A question…

    What would the attitude be of both the BBC and the regular posters here if I were to set up a forum-based discussion area NOT CONNECTED WITH OR SANCTIONED BY THE BBC for out of hours discussions of the same sort of topics we used the blog for?

    An answer… Brilliant! Lets do it!


    (I have endless efficient server space 🙂

  72. 74 Venessa
    October 31, 2008 at 02:01

    Dwight ~

    I do share your pessimism regarding the unregulated version. Sadly, I have seen it happen too.

  73. October 31, 2008 at 02:02

    The end of the moderation rights granted to BBC WHYSers must come as a shock to many as it means the end of a moderation atmosphere in which moderators and contributors exchange views or “attack” each other’s views.

    It was an opportunity for the moderators to get inside the blog and to make of it a meeting point. Among the moderators, I will miss Bob’s informal greeting at the start of the day in Australia by his friendlily saying G’day.

    Moderation was a good experience as people from all over the world were involved, Africa, Asia, Europe and America. They became familiar with one another through their style and views.

    Moderation was a phase in the history of WHYS. It was a means to get everybody involved. But it will be memorised thanks to the this link to blank page .

    Contributors are now on equal footing. They all have to wait for their posts to be approved!

    Ongoing moderation is now dead. Long live the WHYS blog!

  74. 76 roebert
    October 31, 2008 at 06:14

    It’s a sad comment on democracy, one way and another. The essence of the message is: your manners aren’t good enough to be hosted by the BBC. It gets me looking inwards and wondering where I might have contributed to the overheating of the system.

    I hope an alternative can be set up, although a completely unmoderated conversation would be just too daunting (blood pressure etc.)

    Thanks for the insights and info while it lasted. Although some pretty tasteless stuff crept in now and again, with a dash of inanity (from me too), one could still read between the lines and form a picture of the wider mental world of all the contributors.

    Gee, disappointing.

  75. 77 roebert
    October 31, 2008 at 07:11

    Wanted to add that I do agree with Paul Harbin’s points as well. There is an element of crusty English ‘can’t have this sort of thing’ from the BBC’s side, and a bit of a sniffy dismissal of the totality of what has been achieved by this experiment. ( I mean, a dismissal from ‘the top’).

    There was on balance a lot more that was good, informative, interesting and entertaining, than was bad, stupid, boring and yet (somehow) still entertaining.

    But, the clique-iness, I always felt, had to go.

  76. 78 Mark Sandell
    October 31, 2008 at 15:03

    You make some fair points Roebert but in the end, yes the manners were an issue ( i don’t like thuggish behaviour in real life, i certainly don’t want to read it) but it was also the time. I seemed to spend every morning resolving one childish dispute after another and despite the warnings and admonishment, it didn’t change.
    I don’t think either that it was a “sniffy” attitude from the top either. They knew what i was doing and followed it with interest but like me also, they got bored with the paranoia and squabbling.
    And Roebert you’re bang on about the “clique-iness”

  77. 79 selena in Canada
    October 31, 2008 at 15:47


    Your post made me smile! 🙂 The attitude at the top didn’t seem at all sniffy to me. I always thought that you gave us an opportunity to become autonomous and look after ourselves. Every time I thought of the BBC, I got a warm glow just knowing that there were forward thinking people, in a huge corporation, who were prepared to take a chance on freedom.

    I marvel at the wisdom of those of you who decided to give it a try. It was an idea before its time. And it is an idea long overdue, if we want to save the planet. Forget about the Green Shift. What we need is a global Attitude Shift!

    We truly need to see how people work with each other and that can only happen if we are prepared to expose the personalities of those of us whose only aim is to push their own agenda. We need to see what is really going on between people trying to interact with each other. Sad to say that cannot be accomplished through civility and manners.

    We need a middle ground…

    I am truly sorry that your time was taken up with petty squabbles, which, to my mind, should have played out somewhere on the blog in public.

    What I found out from my time here is that people cannot live without rules. We always seem to want someone we can run to, to take our side against those pesky others.

    We are so ingrained in hierarchy that it will be a long time before we will be able to embrace freedom. Freedom is a word and we love the word. We just don’t know how to apply it to our daily living.

    Thank you all again. You have started a ball rolling and once it is rolling it is difficult to stop. We are rolling toward Freedom!

  78. 80 Bryan
    October 31, 2008 at 15:54

    It was almost a year ago that Ros directed us from the blog that was part of the BBC blog system…


    …to this blog.

    I had been trying for some time to comment, mostly on The Editors blog but also occasionally on WHYS, with little success, comments usually hanging for ages and then coming up against an error message. Also, The Editors appeared to go into hibernation early on a Friday and only emerge again sometime on Tuesday. This obviously had the effect of stifling communication. Now it appears that the software problems have been resolved and comments no longer hang. Back then, I stopped submitting comments and only a few months ago had a look at this blog. It took me a day or two to realise that the moderators were also frequent contributors to the comments section.

    While I encountered bias from many of the moderators – perhaps inevitable since I generally represented a minority political stance here – I think the experiment was worthwhile and often fascinating, so thanks for that.

    Re the squabbles, part of the problem was the empowering of too many moderators. Too many cooks spoil the broth. Democracy in a forum like this is great, but someone has to direct and channel it. A system whereby only three or four people had moderating rights at any one time with one appointed as a final decision maker in resolving conflicts would probably have worked better though I can see it would have been an administrative hassle. Moderators also seemed unable to apply basic rules, such as not posting personal insults or very long comments. It is a pretty simple matter to weed out the insults and comments of essay length. It often seemed to me that such comments were allowed because they echoed the moderators’ own bias.

    There is no doubt that these problems also exist throughout BBC blogs. It’s pretty chaotic at the moment. The BBC should take a thorough look at how its blogs are moderated and try to introduce uniformity and observance of the house rules, which too often are lacking. But that of course would depend on how serious the BBC is about letting people have their say.

  79. 81 roebert
    October 31, 2008 at 17:03

    Fair enough, I retract the ‘sniffy’ comment. Hope I can hang on to the ‘crusty’ bit though. What I was getting at was that it looks, from this side, like a rather peremptory and final dismissal of an idea which, on the whole, enabled a very instructive global conversation, with some bickering and nastiness on the side. Was there really no room for one last try with some very hard and fast guidelines?

    I would have liked to give moderating a shot but our telephone service is often unreliable, and I have a dial up connection which means that I’m sometimes connected at a paltry 17kbps. I regret having missed that experience, and now it’s gone for good.

    All round, it was great while it lasted, and much appreciated.

  80. 82 Jennifer
    October 31, 2008 at 17:09

    @ Bryan

    I think that if there were less moderators at any given time; there would be less attacking or insulting posts being posted. Each comment should be read to decide if it could be offensive to said person not just let through because said moderator agrees with attackers’ perspective and therefore doesn’t find it insulting or lets their buddy say what they will.

    I think that having a system where moderating rights were a privilege for a select few would benefit everyone. Said moderators should not have cookie cutter opinions but reflect varying perspectives, be from different locations, and also be willing to separate their own beliefs when moderating for objectivity.

    Those things require a stricter hand but I believe they would greatly increase the quality of a blog and cohesiveness of the people who participate. People who check out the blog will also see people who get along and will not be afraid to participate.

    Many topics discussed on a blog like this are ones that people have strong opinions about. We are here to discuss ideas not to change other people’s opinions or to prove that we are Mr. or Ms. know it all. That needs to be remembered and not get bogged down by slinging mud because someone has a different view.

    It is one thing to participate in a blog but when someone is constantly having to deal with insults, attacks, and etc. it takes away from their experience and it contributes nothing to the program. Like many other people who post here I am sure, I consider my time a precious commodity and I don’t care to spend it arguing.

    I am still not sure what I think about simply moving the talking points and blank pages to another location. It seems to me like it would be moving the problems right along with them if there is no moderation. Light moderation will not cut it. There needs to be more concrete guidelines. Those guidelines would not be used to impose restrictions on posters just to maintain a quality of fairness and a set of standards applicable to everyone.

  81. 83 Ros Atkins
    October 31, 2008 at 17:20

    SPEAKING OF RULES – Jennifer and Bryan your posts are enormous. something you can do on your new blog if you like, but these essays aren’t going to work on this one. please keep them short for reasons we’ve explained a fair few times. thanks.

  82. 84 Bryan
    October 31, 2008 at 21:11

    Jennifer October 31, 2008 at 5:09 pm


    Ros Atkins October 31, 2008 at 5:20 pm,

    I’ll keep this short. So who is going to be doing the moderating on this blog until it rejoins the main BBC blog network and after it joins? I understand that much moderating of BBC blogs is contracted out. Is there a way to moderate the moderators, and who will watch the watchmen?

  83. November 1, 2008 at 04:07

    Hi WHYS!

    I despair about this new development, having moderated once and, yes, agonised over whether I was to approve some comments, as well as that, I started late. I was out on that Friday and missed the start time.

    That being said, I am also aware that I raised concerns about the lengths of comments and even had what might be considered an oblique rebuttal by Ros, to one of my suggestions that the ‘short response’ rule did not always apply.

    Still, I enjoyed the range of opinions expressed on the blog and the diversity of moderators who were behind the scenes helping to keep it all in check. I have never felt intimidated here, though. And, I count that as a good thing. I just don’t blog when it is not convenient.

    Sorry to see this feature go, especially as I was reconsidering my availability to moderate, recently – a recommendation/ reminder from Brett. This is unfortunate, indeed!

  84. 86 roebert
    November 1, 2008 at 06:59

    Lament for the Blank Page ( to be sung in three-part canon):

    There’s an ‘ole in me ‘ead
    Where the Bayb used ta bay:
    All them fings I shoulda said
    Weigh upon me now like lead
    For I’ve lost me hopportunitay.

    O why did I ever choose
    Ta batter, maul and bruise
    Me mates on the Bayb’s noice blog
    When I mighta bayn kind
    showin’ balance of mind
    Instead of behavin’ like an ‘og.

    There’s an ‘ole in me ‘eart
    Which the Bayb used ta fill
    When I played me global part
    Wiv hintelligence and art
    But I chose ta be prattlesome and shrill.

    O why did I bicker
    All them knots into me knickers
    When I mighta said fings straight and true?
    Now I stare into this tome
    In the silence of me ‘ome
    Learning courtesay from Ciceroo.

  85. 87 Kaidala Danappiah
    November 1, 2008 at 07:43

    This is Danapppiah007 (a former moderator!) aka Kaidala Danappiah (a participant forever!)

    I think I have been with the WHYS programme ever since it was launched more than two years ago. I used to carefully tune to catch it on my shortwave radio at 11 in the night (INDIA time).

    Recently, I could get continuous access to internet and that made me a more active partipant in WHYS discussions and weblog. I even became a blog moderator about fifteen days ago! I am happy that I could do it, atleast for a shortwhile though.

    I was intitially surprised to see BBC letting its participants moderate WHYS weblog. I did not know that for time. For some time, I had thought that BBC had employed professionals to do that job. It was a brave move to involve us, for sure. I had a gut feeling that community moderation of the blog would not last long and it has come true. Infact, it has exceeded my expectations. We should be satisfied that
    there are so many of us, who have consistently made valid points, raised reasonable objections and moderated the blog with a sense of ownership and responsiblity and…

    let us congratulate everyone who were involved in making this experiment a enjoyable one.

    to Mr Atkins, to Ms McGough and to Mr Sandell

  86. November 1, 2008 at 16:20

    @ roebert,

    You absolutely must send us the music/ score for your song. Perhaps we might suggest to Mark, Kate, Chloe and Ros that it should be made into the theme song! LOL! Still, interesting lyrics! LOL!

  87. 89 roebert
    November 1, 2008 at 18:39

    Raw, profound meditation on the known universe generally and its known inhabitants in particular has convinced me that absurdity is everything; the rest is sheer drudge. Glad you had a chuckle.

    The one thing I regret is that I couldn’t make time to be Bloggenfuehrer for a day. I probably would not have let more than 10 out of 200 posts through, and all of those would no doubt have been my own. That might have eased the burden somewhat. Except when I bickered with myself, that is.

  88. 90 Bryan
    November 1, 2008 at 18:51

    I agree. It’s really funny with the pathos and well done. One small quibble:

    O why did I bicker
    All them knots into me knickers

    doesn’t scan too well. How about:

    O why did I bicker
    With knots in me knickers

    Irritating as I know it must be to the artist, I couldn’t resist that small tweak.

  89. November 1, 2008 at 19:57

    And as final thought on my part about the end of ongoing moderation I can quote Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem:

    I hold it true, whate’er befall;
    I feel it, when I sorrow most;
    ‘Tis better to have loved and lost
    Than never to have loved at all.

    which if applied to ongoing moderation can be translated as:

    ‘Tis better to have moderated the blog
    and get abruptly sacked
    Than never to have moderated it at all!

    As Mark Sandell all good things must come to an end. But unfortunately it was the bad things that have made ongoing moderation come to an end. Lessons must be learnt.

    At least, capable moderators have made their exit with pride as they were true to the spirit of moderation, acting with integrity and getting involved for the love of sharing opinions and being good participants.

    Let them all continue appearing on the WHYS blog and not to use the end of ongoing moderation as an excuse to leave it once for all.

  90. 92 roebert
    November 1, 2008 at 20:49

    Bryan, I refuse to bicker over that small tweak. Who knows what that might lead to in the end? The shutting down of the entire BBC World Service?

  91. November 2, 2008 at 02:19

    I have a good idea. Lets vote to pay WHYS $10M a year and invite J. Ross et al for a chat!

    Sounds good to me.


  92. 94 roebert
    November 2, 2008 at 10:46

    Have ta tell ya, man, it’s looking pretty boring around here these days. I know it’s stating the obvious and may be just the immediate silence after the bomb has dropped. But this is looking lifeless right now.

  93. 95 ZK
    November 2, 2008 at 13:16

    Yep, definitely an obvious drop. Unfortunate, really.

  94. 96 roebert
    November 2, 2008 at 15:25

    Well, a last word on it all: I’m sure things will take their course, and a new stimulus for posters will be found. I’ve checked out the other blog, and it’s not for me, although I congratulate Bob on his alacrity in setting it up. My participation has always been based on the notion that I was ‘having my say’ within earshot of the BBC, and was therefore contributing something to the Beeb noosphere.

    the Beeb worldservice broadcasts in my household from around 9 am until after WHYS. Most of our workday passes with Beeb programs rolling by as we get on with it. We gave up on telly after the disgusting ’embedded journalist’ war coverage, and we find that the combination of radio and work is easy on the mind. It doesn’t come for free, as we pay the satellite fees,but we consider it well worth the expense.

    The ‘open’ blog was a nice extension on what we picked up via the broadcasts, as well as a place to cook up some new ideas. That sums it up. I do hope some new experiment will be thought up. It is really a great experience to be internationally linked up in concert with the ongoing drama in the world, and backed by Beeb coverage. Nuff said.

  95. 97 Jennifer
    November 2, 2008 at 19:08

    Re: “It is really a great experience to be internationally linked up in concert with the ongoing drama in the world, and backed by Beeb coverage. Nuff said.”

    The blog is a good companion to the program. I won’t miss some things but will miss having the ability to discuss issues with some people. I am not upset because the blog is still here. 🙂 I just think of it as cutting out the fluff. 🙂

  96. 98 Bryan
    November 3, 2008 at 08:08

    Might be an idea to provide an Open Thread for general discussion. Comments are limited by the lack of a Blank Page or Talking Points. The way it is now, people are obliged to stick to topics which have been largely exhausted. Since it seems that a moderator will be active over weekends, an open thread would facilitate communication when no new topics have been posted, as well as during the week, and it could be kept at or near the top of the page and renewed as necessary.

    Been lurking a bit at Bob’s blog but also wont be joining for the reason expressed by roebert. Communication with the BBC will be more direct here. And as Jennifer indicated, it is more in line with the purpose of this blog, as I understand it, to discourage chat and the formation of a mutual admiration society. This frees the blog up for more effective communication and newcomers are not puzzled and alienated by the perception of intruding on a clique heavily involved in personal issues, ironically on a blog titled World Have Your Say. And while the external moderation was a success in some respects, moderators often failed to identify and weed out personal insult and abuse, in many instances since those abused were not part of the clique. I’m sure that will now no longer be the case.

  97. November 3, 2008 at 17:12

    @ Jennifer & Bryan,


    I have heard people complain about personal stuff on the pages, however, I have only seen it once where I felt that I was being patronised by some dude from the States. For what reasons, I am not altogether sure. However, I think my hackles went up and I was a little less than nice to him in a subsequent post, partly because the behaviour continued and, partly, because I was tired on that day and just wanted to make my points without explanation (unnecessarilly, that is!).

    That being said, I will miss seeing the pages moderated by us folks out here in ‘radio land’ around the world, even if I never did much participating as I prefer the focussed discussion.

    Still, to all of the WHYS team, I have thoroughly enjoyed the experiment, even in the instances where I felt that there were some commentators who were not broadening out the discussion enough!


  98. 100 VictorK
    November 5, 2008 at 08:24

    What sad news to return to.

    The Blank Page was a great idea and was certainly vigorous and upbeat when I was last on the blog a few months ago. From sprightly forum in the best of health to the subject of an obituary (death by poisoning from what I gather) is disconcerting.

    Deepest thanks to Mark and Ros for doing so much to give us the opportunity to participate in what was an enjoyable, stimulating and often informative experiment. My experience as a moderator gave me a valuable insight into the patience that WHYS staff must routinely show in managing comments that can sometimes be tricky for a multitude of reasons, and the greatest respect for the skill with which they carried off that task.

    It was great moderating alongside other members of the WHYS community and a pleasure to be part of a free-wheeling, weekend global debate.

  99. 101 Tom D Ford
    December 6, 2008 at 00:35

    Thanks to all, WHYS folks and moderators also, and I apologize for some of my harsher comments.

    I wonder if it had been better if the moderating was more transparent. That is , let the public posters know that there were many and varied volunteer moderators who had access to the behind the scenes stuff and that they emailed each other and argued about what the public posted.

    And a process of background tagging each post with the name of the mod who OKed or denied it so that any mis-gruntled poster (like myself at times) could challenge the decision to the WHYS team and then be informed of whether the gripe about bias was legitimate.

    I think I inappropriately let my paranoia loose sometimes, but like the saying goes, “just because you’re not paranoid doesn’t mean that they’re not after you”. Or in other words, sometimes a reality check is needed to see whether you should have been paranoid when you weren’t, or the opposite, whether you should not have been paranoid when you were.

    Any way, plaudits and apologies to all where due!

  100. 102 Jim Newman
    March 4, 2009 at 23:16

    hello again
    Your honesty is impressive. I must say that I’m glad that ViktorK is no longer a moderator because I think I would have been burnt at the stake. Anyway I would still like to engage him in debate just to test my own views on certain subjects.

  101. 103 Jim Newman
    June 28, 2009 at 15:32

    Hello again
    I think this is probably the appropriate place to make this comment. I address this especially to Mark Sandell. We must not ignore the crimes being committed against the Palestinians by the zionist squatters. I know that there is a very strong zionist bias in WHYS but you should resist it. I would like to paraphrase a saying by Albert Einstein : The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil but by those who ignore it.
    All I ask is to counter those who support the zionists with arguments based on facts.

  102. 104 perry2u
    January 20, 2010 at 20:07

    Re: the subject of this blog – it’s amazing, but, despite the age of the content of this blog, the BBC Global Minds forum (https://www.bbcglobalminds.com) has made the same error regarding moderation – and has lost a least one valued member! Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it… (and – they don’t “ban” people they don’t like, they just make it impossible for them to log on – and ignore all emails asking for assistance – very clever!)

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