Have you had problems with disappearing comments on this blog?

What gets published here is decided according the house rules , but Tom In Oregon thinks some versions of Word may be causing comments to disappear as well. So if some of yours have gone missing, please read this.

From: Tom Ford
Sent: 03 September 2009 23:06
Subject: WHYS: Mark Sandell

Mark, and all the WHYS team:

WHYS, I just learned today from the OPB program “Think Out Loud” that the version of Microsoft Word that I use can cause problems with some blogs like theirs and yours when it is used to cut and paste into your “new message” windows. I often write and edit in Word and then cut and paste into your site.

Now the reason I am writing this is that it is quite possible that the problems and complaints I had when you had volunteer over night moderators among the WHYS community were caused by my Word program because the results look like a moderator at work.

So it is likely that some of the accusations I made about some of your volunteer moderators were unjustified and I apologize for them.

And I wonder if some of the current complaints by newer WHYS participants about lost or wrongly rejected posts are caused by the same or similar problems with their word processing programs.

Maybe you guys can notify folks in the daily email or on the blog that this problem exists and might be the source of their complaints about moderators.

Thanks and apologies;

Tom D Ford

40 Responses to “Have you had problems with disappearing comments on this blog?”

  1. 1 Dennis Junior
    September 4, 2009 at 12:49

    Thanks, Tom D. Ford for the apologies about the treatment regarding the Moderators, when its was external…..

    Also, I think that *WORD* Programme situation may have some validity but, I will wait until the evidence is in hand….

    =Dennis Junior=

  2. 2 Steve in Boston
    September 4, 2009 at 12:59

    I suggest that Tom D Ford try an experiment. He should submit two posts using the suspect software–one containing left wing lies, and the other containing conservative truths. If the harsh-but-accurate conservative post never makes it to the WHYS blog, then we’ll know that the software contains a hidden liberal bias.

  3. September 4, 2009 at 13:01

    One question aside: Is there any way to post links to youtube without having wordpress directly embed the video into the post? A few hours ago, i posted a non-offensive and house rule abiding answer to anu_d. It should have contained a link to youtube. It got scrubbed. Was that because of the video? There was another post by a member of the community a few weeks ago, showing a youtube video where Morgan Freeman was interviewed about a topic about racism. That post didn’t get scrubbed. Was there a certain kind of permission to link the video?

  4. 4 Sophia
    September 4, 2009 at 13:37

    Yes, the comment that I posted in the blog discussion regarding ‘depression’ after the show aired disappeared. I’m not sure if the content was removed by a moderator on purpose or whether it represents some other technical problem with the site.

    I don’t use word to post my comments on this site though.

  5. 5 patti in cape coral
    September 4, 2009 at 14:04

    I generally have not had a problem with comments disappearing, but there sometimes is a long lag between the time I post and the time it shows up on the blog. I don’t use Word, though, I just type directly onto the site.

  6. 6 Jennifer
    September 4, 2009 at 14:16

    I have had comments disappear. I do not edit my comments in word and I never have.

  7. 7 Bob in Queensland
    September 4, 2009 at 14:30

    As I’ve messaged you before, I also have problems with some comments vanishing into the ether. At worst, I was losing around 50% of them but, lately, it’s been better and I’d guess it’s about 10 or 20% that go missing.

    I fear the “Word” theory is a red herring though. I just type directly into the WHYS edit box then hit post.

    My own pet theory is that it is something to do with WordPress itself…I seem to lose far more if I’m logged in to WordPress elsewhere–and WP seems to “remember” me even if I’m deliberately not logged in.

    Let’s see if this one gets through!

  8. 8 Tom D Ford
    September 4, 2009 at 15:35

    The folks at OPB talked to their software guys and they said that Microsoft Word embeds invisible code along with whatever I write and their site is designed such that Word is incompatible with their blog software because of that invisible code problem.

    So. In a nutshell, if I write something in Microsoft Word and then cut and paste it into a blog “New Message” window, Word pastes a bunch of hidden stuff along with whatever I intended to write. And that triggers a site response that looks like a moderator at work, a rejection or error message or even a disappeared post.

    I don’t know if the BBC WHYS software is similarly designed, but I wrote to WHYS after I found out about this Microsoft problem because every once in a while I have noticed complaints from people about their post being rejected and this Microsoft problem might be the reason for some of those complaints.

    My guess is that any kind of hidden code might be considered a potential security problem.

  9. 10 Tom D Ford
    September 4, 2009 at 15:59

    I have had comments disappear here but usually when I think back over them I realize that they had some problem with the site rules, like off topic, essay, personal attack, etc, so I don’t gripe about it when they don’t show up, I just admit to myself that I was wrong.

    Normally I just type directly into the “Leave a Reply” window here but sometimes when I want to quote someone I copy from here, paste it into Word, edit it down to the part I want to respond to, add ellipses, add my response, and then copy and paste it back into the “Leave a Reply” window here.

    The “Leave a Reply” box on WHYS is big enough to do that sort of editing and I have probably used it the most. Other blogs like OPB TOL have tiny “new “message” boxes which make it hard to re-read and edit.

    I know that Americans have different laws about Free Speech from the British and they ought to re-read the site rules here if they have complaints because it is likely that they just made American Law assumptions about their post and so missed the British rules.

  10. 11 anu_d
    September 4, 2009 at 16:04

    LOL!….all 3 of my comments have disappeared on this thread.

    and BBC has already set-up the readers to believe it’s a blanket technology word-processor glitch….and not the curb-down policy of mods

    It’s like the dissenting citizens in ex USSR, Iranian and some iron-curtained communist regimes…….they just disappear under the blanket traitors/ foreign spies charges.

  11. 12 Nasimolo
    September 4, 2009 at 16:05

    Am a new member,l dont use word,but unfortunately my success rate is 0%,lets see if it improves.

  12. 13 Tom D Ford
    September 4, 2009 at 16:10

    Oh, and I usually copy my posts from here and paste them into Word and save them so that if they disappear after being moderated I can re-read them to figure out what went wrong and re-write and re-post if I think it is worthwhile, or just let it go if I was just wrong.

    I’d recommend that process to anyone who feels that they have too many posts rejected so that they can show themselves what they really did write and compare it to the site rules.

  13. 14 Jessica in NYC
    September 4, 2009 at 16:39

    Hi Tom and all,

    Links also cause problems. I emailed the WHYS and told the other people moderating about this. The ones I notices most frequently are: 1) when we post websites on our wordpress profile to a non-wordpress page it spams out the comment. For example, providing a link to the WHYS after hours forum. 2) When our comments contain long links to other web pages to support a position, especially other blog links.

  14. 15 Tom D Ford
    September 4, 2009 at 16:47

    Well, that was rare, moderating out part of a post and allowing the rest. Probably appropriate though.

  15. 16 Ros Atkins
    September 4, 2009 at 16:57

    Tom I did it because I didn’t have time to check out what you were saying about Microsoft and Nasa but I didn’t want to stop the rest of your comment getting up.

  16. 17 Ros Atkins
    September 4, 2009 at 17:02

    Anu D – the reason your other comments didn’t appear is that they were rude and / or very long.

  17. 18 Jennifer
    September 4, 2009 at 17:15

    Steve in Boston has a very interesting idea!

  18. 19 Tom D Ford
    September 4, 2009 at 17:25

    @ anu_d
    September 4, 2009 at 16:04

    “…and BBC has already set-up the readers to believe it’s a blanket technology word-processor glitch….and not the curb-down policy of mods…”

    I don’t work for the BBC, I live in Oregon, USA, and I listen to OPB and had problems with their Think Out Loud blog.

    And back when WHYS had volunteer moderators I purposely did not apply to be a moderator because I am well aware of my own political biases and did not want the responsibility.

    And as to conspiracy theories, there was a great old sarcastic saying back in the anti-war 1960s, “just because you’re not paranoid doesn’t mean that they aren’t out to get you”.

    I am not part of any conspiracy to curb down whatever you write, and I am not out to get you.

    • 20 anu_d
      September 4, 2009 at 17:30


      You are honest…but WHYS has taken an honest post of yours to attempted to give themselves a blanket excuse for disapperance of most posts

  19. 21 anu_d
    September 4, 2009 at 17:28


    (1) rude is as subjective as Iranians declaring the potestors as foreign spies and prosecuting them.

    (2)Long…again I have seen 3 times longer comments get throuhgh.

    Though if you really want to be fair on item-2 impose a word limit on the comments space.

    On item-1)…my only advise is to act less touchy…and be more open to criticism of WHYS

  20. 22 Half-Not
    September 4, 2009 at 17:32

    I posted a comment twice yesterday and it did not appear? I did not use MS Word? I can’t image there was something offensive about it. I think this lack of transparency is absurd. That I spent time to write something to participate in your show and that I have no idea why or even whether it was a technical reason that it did not appear. I have stated my complaints about this before—and nothing was done.

    If a comment is not approved the writer should know why, with a simple form email with a check list or a form in the comments place. I think your show is wonderful but I can’t believe that you find this lack of transparency acceptable. It is not only frustrating for someone spending the time to take part but it is terribly unprofessional. It is like being at a party and believe told to shut up, we don’t want to hear what you have to say. This is not the way the BBC should do business. It is a great organization, that I highly respect, but I certainly take issue with this repeated lack of transparency, especially over something so silly that could be easily remedied.

  21. 23 Tom D Ford
    September 4, 2009 at 17:35

    @Ros Atkins
    September 4, 2009 at 16:57

    Thanks for that explainer, Ros.

    I didn’t need to add that comment about Microsoft, it’s just that I have no love for them and the problems so many people have experienced because of their software, and I just took the opportunity to whine once again.

  22. 24 Tom D Ford
    September 4, 2009 at 17:58

    @Steve in Boston
    September 4, 2009 at 12:59

    “I suggest that Tom D Ford try an experiment. He should submit two posts using the suspect software–one containing left wing lies, and the other containing conservative truths. If the harsh-but-accurate conservative post never makes it to the WHYS blog, then we’ll know that the software contains a hidden liberal bias.”

    The only American leftist I know of is the self acknowledged socialist, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and I have never seen him post anything at all here, let alone tell an alleged lie. So I suggest that you owe him an apology.

    Now. Democrats and moderate Republicans have always been centrists and still are. And since Conservatives have taken over the Republican party they have taken it to the extreme far right, so you and apparently a lot of other people are so far to the right that looking back, the center looks like the left to you.

    And like Stephen Colbert said, “Reality has a Liberal bias”.

    As to “…and the other containing conservative truths…harsh-but-accurate conservative post “, I would welcome such a beast. Since you contend that WHYS never allows one and since it has never been seen in reality, perhaps it is only a mythical creature like a unicorn and only told in stories to children of Conservatives to frighten them into being obedient and subservient.

    But I encourage you to continue to try and sneak one in here, I’m sure we would all have fun with it.

  23. 25 Tom D Ford
    September 4, 2009 at 18:16

    September 4, 2009 at 17:30

    Paranoia is fun for a while and sometimes useful but doesn’t it get tiresome?

    If you want something to really be paranoid about I can suggest the Total Information Awareness Program that Bush started up. Apparently the idea is to gather up everything a person does on the internet, every post, every email, every site you visit, every Facebook entry, every photo that you put up, every telephone call, every credit card transaction, every business and any other transaction that you do in life, and take all of that information and store it and analyze it to see if you or anyone you know opposes the politics of Bush/Cheney and their ilk.

    I forget if it was Poindexter or Negroponte who came up with that program, but Congress didn’t approve it so Bush started it up with an Executive order.

    And if WHYS was in on that they would post everything that you write so that the TIAP could record it and track you down.

    Some paranoia can be useful but you just can’t let it run your life.

    • 26 anu_d
      September 4, 2009 at 21:08

      A paranoid is someone who knows a little bit of what’s going on.
      William S. Burroughs

      Paranoia is the merely extreme level of difference in undertsanding of two individuals on the same issue.

  24. 27 Jim Newman
    September 4, 2009 at 18:44

    Hello again
    My comments disappear because they’re censored.

  25. 28 Nelson Isibor
    September 4, 2009 at 18:46

    From experience, if your comment doesn’t make the blog it either got caught up in the spam filter or it got knocked off because it contravened the very simple rules about posting on the blog. (The interpretation of these rules vary from continent to continent)

    • 29 Jim Newman
      September 5, 2009 at 12:20

      Hello again
      And hello Nelson Isibor. You are completely wrong. My comments are censored because they do not comply with the BBC’s attitude towards the zionists and the USA. I have challenged Mark Sandell, on one occasion, to find anything contravening the famous rules concerning one comment that was censored and he came back with a lot of waffle about the houses of commons that had nothing to do with the comment in question. So Isibor do not believe everthing you hear or read. The BBC and WHYS have a very strict pro-zionist and pro-USA agenda.

  26. 30 Jennifer
    September 4, 2009 at 20:10

    Steve in Boston,

    No need to do your experiment! 😀 Can’t you see? 😀


    It’s liberal lies and dis-information; take it to the house….I mean czar.

  27. 31 patti in cape coral
    September 4, 2009 at 20:53

    I noticed in the blog that a certain blogger’s comments did not appear, and WHYS sent in a comment that said something like ” Your comment did not appear because the last paragraph was in all caps, please edit and we will post it” or ” Your comment did not appear because you used a swear word, please edit your work and we will post it.” I thought that was a good idea. In general, when a post of mine hasn’t appeared, I usually know why, it was either too personal, or too rude, and after I think about it, I’m usually glad you guys didn’t post it, but some comments are borderline, so it would be good to know why it wasn’t posted. Out of curiosity, how many comments are not posted because they did not follow the WHYS rules? Do you have any stats?

  28. September 4, 2009 at 23:22

    Problems with the Microsoft Word Version… Lack of transparency… censorship… whatever! I tried to submit two comments yesterday; I reduced it the second time because perhaps the first one was perhaps a bit too long (? How am I supposed to know?…) but neither did this one make it. I’m getting tired of all this. After all, I do my best to express my ideas as clearly as I can in a language that is not my own, and it is all in vain. Messages just never get through; what do you have to do to get through?! So, this will have been the last time. Goodbye!

  29. 33 Steve in Boston
    September 5, 2009 at 02:37

    @ Jennifer–Thank you. 🙂

    @Tom D. Ford–What???

  30. 34 James Ian
    September 5, 2009 at 06:38

    Yeah, mine go missing sometimes but when they do most of the time I know why, they are kind of harsh, shocking and/or mean spirited. I know when I post them they probably will not make it on. I always try though and hope one time I will get luck and someone will let one slip. LOL

  31. 35 Vijay Pillai
    September 5, 2009 at 11:07

    It happened to my comment as well. I thought there is no fairness in moderating. it is not the end of the world. Have a nice day,sunny today and hope it stays that way for the weekend. From weather forcasting pointof view chances are it would remain same next day but you never know if there are freak weather around like that put famous weather forcaster in 1987 abut of joke and ofcause a worldfamous as well. weather like women’s mind dont predict too far ahead.

  32. September 5, 2009 at 13:56

    No just a few with the ones that are appearing.

  33. 37 Kindi Jallow
    September 5, 2009 at 19:46

    Comments dissappear at a time when especially you have an interesting issue to follow up assessing various views of people concerned and finally balancing the pros and cones. When the comments dissappear at such times its like living in the darkness, not knowing what to do.

  34. 38 Tom K in Mpls
    September 6, 2009 at 03:04

    I only use Firefox. The only comments I post that don’t show are the ones that speak out against the Israeli government. For some reason only one of those has ever appeared.

  35. 39 Ros Atkins
    September 7, 2009 at 12:51

    Hi there. to those of you who asked for astats on how many comments we don’t post, we don’t have exact figures but i’d say around 20 per cent. most of the time it’s because they are far too long, and then other times some are rude and some are off topic. nothing to with a zionist conspiracy though.

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