Please keep it brief

Just a gentle reminder that we’re looking for short comments on the blog, not stand-alone essays. Some of you have been posting epics and we can’t publish really long comments. Our guidelines are here. Thanks.

22 Responses to “Please keep it brief”

  1. November 18, 2008 at 03:54

    LOL! Due to a slipping finger, my first attempt to click on this topic took me to the capital punishment thread. I thought you guys were getting SERIOUS about post length!

  2. 2 Tom (of Melbourne)
    November 18, 2008 at 08:41

    Why not impose a character limit like they do at BBC HYS?

  3. November 18, 2008 at 09:23

    “I thought you guys were getting SERIOUS about post length!”

    Only for you, Bob! 😉

  4. November 18, 2008 at 13:16

    Comments should include just the jest of the idea and not whole details. A comment that can be read in 30 seconds is far better than another one needing at least three minutes.

    Perhaps at every entry there should be a constant reminder of the need to write short comments that flashes when one sets the cursor on the comment box. I don’t know how this can technically be done.

  5. November 18, 2008 at 14:31

    Guys I hope I don’t write long comments.
    By the way,I have a question for all those involved in ‘After the show’blog.May I know why my name is not there in the list of officers(or whatever you call it)?I have been contributing here and I did want to contribute there too.But i guess I have’t understood the rules there.If any one involved there can help me please answer me.

  6. November 18, 2008 at 15:01

    Hi WHYSers!

    I am just curious to know, is it also okay to point out that some of these questions are implicitly flawed? And that, because of that there are no easy, ready-made responses to some of these questions?

  7. November 18, 2008 at 15:26

    Hi Abhinav,

    You’re absolutely invited to join us “After the Show”…your comments are missed over there!

    The members list is set up automatically by the forum software…are you have to do to get on it (and, indeed, to be able to post) is register. When you go to the site at http://z13.invisionfree.com/WHYSERSaftertheShow you should see a line (a bit under the picture) that says “Welcome Guest” and offers you the choice to “Log in” or “Register”. The first time, you’ll have to register…just click on that link and follow the instructions. After that, you can set it to “remember you” and log you in automatically when you visit the site.

    Hope to see you there soon!

    (And thanks BBC for letting me post this since I have no other way to contact Abhinav).

  8. November 18, 2008 at 15:57

    Rawpolitics – you can point it out, but it doesn’t mean we’re going to agree with you! No subject is beyond conversation and that’s what we want.

  9. November 18, 2008 at 18:41

    @ WHYS:

    Please forgive me if that is the meaning you read from what I said earlier. My experience with some of these questions is that they are so patently provocative, there is almost always a challenge in terms of how one is able to respond them. Ignoring the glaring subtext is equivalent to not answering the question at all. Whereas, I could choose to do that, it is often very alarming to me to read some of what then passes from that as ‘general information’. Disagreements are natural. I just wonder about misinformation.

    For what it is worth, I did agonise (all night) over my responses to the Toure blog, specifically; that is, whether I should have posted it on my own blog with a link to his page. I chose not to, in part, not because it did not enter my consciousness but because there was a direct question about what we thought about what Toure said. For that, if an apology is warranted, please forgive me.

  10. 10 roebert
    November 19, 2008 at 11:34

    I hope that it will continue to be: longish and meandering OUT; longish but informative and provocative IN; short but meaningless OUT; short, meaningless but totally daft IN; short and to the point IN.

    My own take on it is that comments should be suitable for reading out on air, both in length and content. Still, it’s nice to have the odd interesting essay because WHYS is not only about being on air, is it?

  11. 11 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    November 19, 2008 at 20:42

    Re: 4 Abdelilah Boukili, November 18, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    “Comments should include just the jest of the idea and not whole details.”

    You are joking or jesting! Right?

    Hey! As an English teacher in Morocco you had better correct your entry with an errata notice! No hard feelings.

    I don’t know if you’ve heard of this:

    “A slip of the tongue
    Is the false of the mind and
    Those who correct it are very unkind.”

    (I first heard this from my English Literature teacher: Mr. D’Souza)


  12. November 19, 2008 at 23:01

    To Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus

    I didn’t make my point in jest. It was a typing mistake. I mean comments should include just the gist of the idea and not whole details.

    Thanks for pointing this out. In all seriousness; that is to say, not in jest., I’ll do my best to keep to the gist of what I want to say without hopefully going beyond the limits.

  13. 13 Bryan
    November 19, 2008 at 23:09

    Maximus I, you are too cruel. You should have told Abdelilah Boukili, whose English is consistently of a high standard, where he went wrong.

    Why jest, when you could just have told him the gist of it?

    I’m not convinced that it’s a good idea to limit the length of comments. Obviously people should avoid writing theses, but sometimes one cannot get to the depth of the matter without some length.

    There’s another consideration here: long and short comments mixed together make the comments section more interesting. If its all just snappy and short, it becomes uniform and perhaps tends towards trivia.

  14. 14 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    November 19, 2008 at 23:15

    Re: 12 Abdelilah Boukili, November 19, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    You are great!

    May you have a long and more important than that, a pleasant and very happy life!!!!!!!!!!!

    I KNOW you meant gist BUT I wanted to tickle you to have some fun and re-establish ‘contact’ with you.

    Hope you don’t mind!

    Please feel free to do the same if you find a spelling error, or unintended pun, or a slip of the tongue or a slip of the typing fingers IF you find one of them in my entries.

    Life IS short!

    Laughing at yourself (/myself) is as important as laughing at others! :8)

  15. 15 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    November 20, 2008 at 01:45

    Re: 13 Bryan, November 19, 2008 at 11:09 pm


    You aren’t fair to me! I’ve been having some fun conversations with Mr. Boukili for a couple of years or so. Nice guy! I like his comments and MOST important I like the stuff on his blog about ‘not being able to change/influence events but at least to be able to understand them!

    That is great! That is philosophical!

    On the length of comments:

    The moderators are a bit short; I suppose! Correct me if I am wrong. Perhaps that is the reason why they prefer short!

    As for me: I read short and long comments and I find wisdom & humour in many. Since birds of a feather flock together I am, and prefer long but I ain’t the boss! The moderators with their preference for short are!

  16. November 20, 2008 at 02:30

    Writing an epic is such a waste of time anyway!

    I recently did a survey on a popular blog asking anyone who actually read my own response just to write a little keyword “signal” at the bottom of their own entry. The very next poster did, but that was the end of it. very revealing!

    Ah, yes, today’s keyword, um…: “Gist”

  17. 17 roebert
    November 20, 2008 at 07:08

    I always read as many of the comments as I can, in order to get a sense of the diversity of stances. The crazy ones are good for comic relief. Of course I have my favourite commentators, but I ain’t telling. Then there are the betes noires, but I ain’t telling that neither. I’d like to see more diversity, not for the hell of it, but because it really exists in the world. Sometimes, just to help it along, I embrace viewpoints on behalf of those who have no voice here…the Serbs, Russians, Palestinians etc. That’s my GIST…

  18. 18 Bryan
    November 20, 2008 at 09:50

    Maximus I

    The gist of it is that I was just jesting while jousting.

    I am certain that this comment is not too long.

  19. 19 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    November 21, 2008 at 01:09

    To summarise:

    The GIST is to jest in a joust even when you could have told him the gist of the whole details while realising that sometimes to get to the depth of the whole one would need some length!

    Bryan, please correct me if I am wrong.

  20. November 21, 2008 at 01:48


    Sometimes, just to help it along, I embrace viewpoints on behalf of those who have no voice here…the Serbs, Russians, Palestinians etc.
    That’s my GIST…
    Firstly, I am interested as to why you pick on these 3 nations as examples?
    Also, you can’t be certain that there are not individuals that represent those voices and others here on the blog.
    Surely, it’s quite possible that people if they so wish will resort to aliases of some kind in order to mask their true identity. Reasons being for fear of recognition and representation of a nationality that they feel will automatically open themselves up to misplaced prejudice, ignorance and criticism because of too many people’s immediate misperceptions of the country and person/persons concerned. Primarily because of gross misrepresentation through the media.

    I’m willing to speak on behalf of at least one of these nations because I have a long time and first hand knowledge of the country.
    If you’re interested then let me know sometime, because I’m not going to speak up just for the sake of speaking up. It needs to be a specific request of some kind.
    Woooooer there! Grab the reins, pull up my trusty steed and bring this prose to a swift and rapid conclusion, lest I be subject to the moderators casting out of the unworthy essayists and consigning my words to the ether once again!

  21. November 21, 2008 at 02:09

    Ros et al,

    If I’m not much mistaken, the time on the entire WHYS site is an hour ahead of what it actually should be.
    Am I right or wrong?
    I’ve noticed this for some time now ever since the clocks went back an hour some weeks ago now. I’m just surprised nobody else has.
    If I’m right, as a reward do I get special dispensation as regards the length of my posts in future?
    I would’ve brought the BBC World Service back from the very brink, having been standing at the precipice, so as for its name and reputation to remain fully intact. The very thought of the World Service’s name to have been sullied, ridiculed and dragged through the streets in public surely warrants respite for all my future prose.
    Go on you know it makes sense! Alas, wishful thinking.

    Let me know either way regarding the time.

    All the best,


  22. 22 roebert
    November 21, 2008 at 07:18

    Matthew: well, I quote those countries as being those whose views are generally absent from this blog. I don’t do it all the time, but now and again, when the topic merits it, I throw in a viewpoint that goes against the complacent western ‘we’re the good guys’ grain. Hopefully this has the effect of making the conversation more representative. Usually, though, one just picks up flak.

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