Talk to the WHYS team online

UPDATE: Ok, we’re done. It wasn’t quite like throwing a party and no-one came, but not far off. Maybe we need to do it later, so that those of you in the States can take part. Maybe off the back of a show could be a good move. Is it worth doing it again? I think so as I like the idea of working on us having more real time conversations. Thanks to those of you who took part.

Here’s how it went…

Hi. This is Mark, Krupa and Shaimaa from the WHYS team. We’re open to any questions or points you’d like to talk about with us.

Please keep refreshing the page to see new comments from us and from you. We’re moderating all comments within seconds of them being posted, so the conversation should flow.

58 Responses to “Talk to the WHYS team online”

  1. 1 Mark Sandell
    October 13, 2009 at 14:31

    Hello, am here and ready and waiting.

  2. 2 Ros Atkins
    October 13, 2009 at 14:33

    This just in from Viktor K

    *Your choice of subjects. Too much of a sense that it’s more interesting if it involves the US/West, or can be related to them. Several important issues seem neglected as a result (unless enough corpses start being reported).
    *Putting issues to the world from a purely Western perspective or that only a certain kind of Westerner could really care about (e.g. women’s bodies).
    *Use of ‘we’ and ‘the world’ in a way that confuses the issue. More precision can only help with addressing the issue in question meaningfully.
    *Less variable moderating. Insults aren’t conversation.
    *Long intervals between posts doesn’t reflect how any conversation I know of actually happens in the real world.
    *Too many favourite topics that are repeatedly addressed, to the exclusion of others (immigration; Zim.- till Tsvangirai defected).
    *Ignoring real topics: Israel-Palest. war crimes claims.

  3. 3 Mark Sandell
    October 13, 2009 at 14:33

    Shaimaa is back from an interview and Krupa was told she couldn’t sit elsewhere in this office “in case she made too many phonecalls” . That’s this place – not a newsroom, the British Library.
    Oh, and still ready

  4. 4 Mark Sandell
    October 13, 2009 at 14:36

    Fair point on the U.S/west point- we’ve addressed it and are changing that. Last night’s show on China for example.
    variable moderating (to use your words ) – this is so thorny for many but straightforward for me ; read the rules and stick by them.
    and you’re the first one to say we “ignore ” Israel-palestinian issues – most criticism is that we do too much

  5. 5 Krupa Thakrar
    October 13, 2009 at 14:36

    Hi Victor,
    You’re right we do mess on the moderation occasionally and Mark has warned us time and time again (and again this morning) – we’ll keep working at it.
    We’ve started the 2-10 shift to try and keep moderation going for a few hours longer. We’ve discussed someone moderating over the weekend then taking time off during the week. what do you think?

  6. 6 Ros Atkins
    October 13, 2009 at 14:36

    Could pick up on this from Anthony…

    With a lot of the world being able to access the internet with their phones and not even owning a computer, I feel that a WEB 2.0 WHYS site would make this easier for those who aren’t as technologically advanced. I think this would diversify the blog much more. Not sure how easy that would be, but it would be great.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  7. 7 Mark Sandell
    October 13, 2009 at 14:37

    I’m not sure what we can do about long intervals between posts – do you mean our posts, or yours ?

  8. 8 Ros Atkins
    October 13, 2009 at 14:38

    I’m not toos ure about it, but there’s seem to be a lot of interest in this idea off the other post…

    “As for management, how about having, say, four form letters to say why a post has been deleted, when it is deleted. Informative and quick.”

  9. 9 Chintan in Houston
    October 13, 2009 at 14:39

    Most of the topics are plotical/cultural issues, WHYS could expand with environmental, art, sports as well.

  10. 10 Mark Sandell
    October 13, 2009 at 14:40

    I think the last point was from Patti – and my feeling is that the blog rules are clear….and that another e-mail is superfluous (and involves still more work- sorry!)

  11. 11 Mark Sandell
    October 13, 2009 at 14:41

    Hi Chintan – sports issues tend not to be very popular- they are with me..it may be to do with the U.S audience – it has to be big. We know it plays well in Africa (see success of Sports World Have Your Say)…as for environment, we do..and as for art…..please suggest one !

  12. October 13, 2009 at 14:42

    Hi it’s Shaimaa waiting for your comments

  13. 13 Krupa Thakrar
    October 13, 2009 at 14:42

    Chintan we’ve definately been doing a bit of sport..i fixed for them and no very little about sport! the political cultural issues are largley a reflection of what’s in the news. When it’s appropriate to do an artsy, sports or environmental issue we try to. I remember we did a good show asking should lost national treasures be returned….

  14. 14 Mark Sandell
    October 13, 2009 at 14:42

    Hi Shaimaa, anything you’d like to ask ?

  15. 16 Ros Atkins
    October 13, 2009 at 14:44

    This just in other post… not quite sure what to say apart from thanks.

    I love all on BBC.co. uk. it is unique radio station where it is possible to find the truth, to find out relations, and to tell that think. The best and loved.

  16. 17 Mark Sandell
    October 13, 2009 at 14:45

    Anthony- help me with the 2.0 site ? not sure what you’re getting at there, though that’s probably my fault…

  17. 18 Ros Atkins
    October 13, 2009 at 14:47

    Another from earlier post – and some people say this when they call from africa as well…

    ‘What I hate about World Have Your Say is when you do not allow the World to have its say telling us that you are using an earlier recording and ‘please don’t call in’!’

    • October 13, 2009 at 14:56

      Hi sorry that post Ros just put didn’t have a name. First of all you can always have your say on the blog 24 hours a day. The reason we do this is that sometimes we don’t get many calls for the second hour of WHYS from Africa or we do and the lines are really bad. Another reason is that the guests we have on could only stay for the first hour and we end up with important elements of the dicussion not there. So instead of opening the lines for calls when guests are not there and there’s no one to carry the debate forward , or when th eonly calls we have are on bad lines,we play you and earlier edition which you can still contribute to on the blog.

      Mark and Krupa , please add anything I’ve missed on this.

  18. 20 steve
    October 13, 2009 at 14:49

    Wow, this must be a really slow news day. Wow. Possible discussion, there was some gay rights/equality protests in DC this weekend.

    Should Jim Zorn be fired as the Redskin’s head coach? The redskins have lost to two previously winless teams in a row now. And they play another winless team next week.

  19. 21 Krupa Thakrar
    October 13, 2009 at 14:50

    that’s because the World Service broadcasts on a different stream to Africa. bit of pain because it’s very hard to get same guests to repeat their arguments. it’s hard to get a good show for the second hour live because the arguments are no longer spontaneous. we hate repeating the show in the second hour too but we have some days when we don’t get too many callers from Africa or we have callers on awful lines. we’d rather have you listen to a good quality hour. the good news is that as of the end of this month, we back on GMT timing and back to one hour for everyone including Africa – thats 1800 – 1900!

  20. 22 Chintan in Houston
    October 13, 2009 at 14:51

    All listeners are encouraged to blog on WHYS website yet very few comments are read and seldom are those comments read to be discussed by the guests.
    I would like WHYS to read a comment from the listeners who have blogged or emailed and ask the experts to give replies. This shouldn’t be the only means of discussion but would definitely like to see more of it.
    Instead of Ros or Madeliene asking questions, if the questions are formulated from blogs it would really make more sense to the term ‘world have your say’.
    I have read so many great comments from bloggers which never get discussed.

    Over all, this is still my favourite show on radio, if i miss it i download the podcast on itunes…great job, and it is commercial free, love it!!

  21. 23 Mark Sandell
    October 13, 2009 at 14:51

    Ok, i’ve answered this before but happy to do it again.
    If you’ve ever been to one of our OBs you’ll know that we do two hours for 8 months of the year.
    The first hour goes out to the world minus Africa (via partner stations, not on SW) , the second Africa mainly.
    Sometimes we have to make a call on what to offer in the second hour – we may have had a storming first hour and i want our African audience to hear it.
    Another hour later in the day means some guests can’t stay on for both hours.
    Sometimes – reluctantly we have to re-run all or part of the second hour – but we always make it clear we are doing that and therefore ask people not to call in.
    it;s not ideal and i hate doing it.

  22. 24 patti in cape coral
    October 13, 2009 at 14:52

    Hi Mark! That point was actually from another blogger (I think Tom K) and I was echoing it. I thought it was a good idea because at times there are comments that make it on the blog that are much more a) off topic, b) longer, c) more offensive than mine, so it would help to know why, since the criteria doesn’t seem to be applied evenly at times. Of course I know moderators are human and this would create a lot of work for you guys, so I’m not expecting it to be implemented, but I still think it would be a good idea.

  23. 25 Mark Sandell
    October 13, 2009 at 14:53

    Chintan – hard to disagree with what you say about bloggers and getting their questions answered.

    and Steve- thanks for the constructive comments. Not.

    Seriously, this is an issue we face a lot as moderators ; a sneery, patronising tone from some posters – not actually insulting but giving the distinct impression that we- and therefore the community- is a bit beneath them.

    I’d rather not post them..

  24. 26 patti in cape coral
    October 13, 2009 at 14:55

    You guys really are awesome though, and if you didn’t change a thing, I would still think your the best show ever!

  25. 27 Krupa Thakrar
    October 13, 2009 at 14:55

    Glad you’re a fan Chintan and valid point. There are some shows when we are overwhelmed with excellent comment from our listeners. this often means that (unfortunately) we dont get to read out every good comment. Will definately take what you said on board next time I am doing comments. It might help if those commenting write if their comment is intended for a specific guest….

    • 28 Chintan in Houston
      October 13, 2009 at 15:00

      Krupa, the only bad part of that is by the time we post a comment while the show is going on y’all might have already moved on to the next guest or are further into a different topic that the discussion might have led to. So it would be difficult I think to get back to it.
      But i will definitely keep that in mind next time i blog while I am listening to the show. My problem is i tend to forget the names and places people are calling from. 😦

  26. 29 Mark Sandell
    October 13, 2009 at 14:56

    Apologies Patti for my inaccuracy- tho thank goodness you agreed !
    We all- on the team- have taken time to write to people immediately after their comment is posted to say why we can’t post- particularly if it’s too long, and most people appreciate our doing that. I think we’re at6 a level now where we have to say – here are the rukles, by and large this is why we can’t post your comment.
    It is a good idea though…but there are only 5 of us !

  27. 30 Roy, Washington DC
    October 13, 2009 at 14:57

    On the Web 2.0 idea…aside from making the site flashier (which IMHO is unnecessary), I don’t see what advantage it would bring. The current site is simple enough that it can be accessed just fine from a phone/PDA.

  28. 31 Mark Sandell
    October 13, 2009 at 14:58

    And sorry – didn’t mean to be ungrateful to Patti and Chintan for kind words too…

  29. 32 Mark Sandell
    October 13, 2009 at 14:59

    Thanks Roy- i’m with you. We are trying to upgrade (we blog outside the BBC which as you can imagine has caused one or two issues !)- make it more accessible and better for people to get a snapshot of all the debates and issues we’ve got out there.

  30. 33 Mark Sandell
    October 13, 2009 at 15:00

    Ok, this was worth a try. My fault that it had to be at this time as i had meetings later.
    We will do this at a better time- maybe straight after the show ?
    thanks to all who took part.

  31. 34 nora
    October 13, 2009 at 15:09

    Topics: The changes in Latin America from US dominated client states to very independent experimental economies. The new coalitions between them, etc.

    US and British media have turned a bit of a blind eye to a great many of the developments and it is time to catch up.

  32. 35 nora
    October 13, 2009 at 15:13

    Chintan, who will define the Olympic Golf Tartan? Big bucks, Scottish tradition, jungle colors.

  33. 36 steve
    October 13, 2009 at 15:22

    @ Mark

    My point was that there’s no topic of the day. I doubt the show today is going to be on suggestions, but if it were, which I might be, given there’s no on air topic yet, and it’s almost show time, that it must be a pretty slow news day.

  34. 37 T
    October 13, 2009 at 15:35

    Is it a problem in your studio if someone calls you on a Skype connection?

  35. October 13, 2009 at 16:05

    Hi, i love this programme and nothing can change that. Please lets keep the programme true to its name.WHYS(World Have Your Say), not some have your say. This happens when an earlier edition is played all through and listeners are deprived of the opportunity to call in. It could be very frustrating when you have a point which no one mentioned in the course of the programme

  36. 39 Anthony
    October 13, 2009 at 16:05

    @ Mark Sandell & Ros

    What I mean is, try getting on WHYS with a really old computer or an average cell phone (not like an iPhone, which has the full on browser). I have a Verizon enV2, and it STILL kicks me off the WHYS site.

    Basically, if there were a WHYS alternate site that was “cell phone friendly”, I feel more people from around the world would be able to research and look into the topics before hand, and more people would be likely to tune in and join and add to the discussion.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  37. 40 Anthony
    October 13, 2009 at 16:08

    Sorry, I used the wrong term on that one :/

  38. October 13, 2009 at 16:11

    You guys are doing a great job in the WHYS studio. This is my second year of being hooked to WHYS and i cant think of a good reason to stop being a part of the programme. I also thank the WHYS listeners for adhering to the house rules. You guys are the bomb, one luv from Naija.

  39. 42 Dave in Florida
    October 13, 2009 at 16:48

    Here in the US the radio airwaves are so full of garbage it’s difficult to even listen to most of it. However, WHYS is an excellent show that actually makes you think and allows you to participate. A few of the topics are a little off for my taste, but that’s just me. Topics tend to very US oriented, and we get enough of that from our own media.

    Yes, Zorn should be fired!

  40. 43 Dolapo Aina
    October 13, 2009 at 17:26

    Like other programmes on the BBC I have become an addict to this one. What is my cure? More WHYS. The programme makes you understand view points, persperpective from other angles. You become so informed you can play the devil’s advocate in issues though you might have your own stance.

    Muchas gracias a Ros y el equipo- much thanks to Ros and the team.

    Dolapo Aina,
    Lagos, Nigeria

  41. 44 Jessica in NYC
    October 13, 2009 at 17:39

    Darn, I missed it. Since this is an opportunity for us to ask you questions here are my comments and questions even though I missed the live chat, in no particular order of importance: About the WHYS Show,

    1) Why do you neglect entire continents, countries and regions in the world? WHYS rarely covers many parts of the world such as South or Central America. I agree with past comments that you focus a lot on Western/Middle East conflicts too much at times. If your argument is that you discuss what “we/ people/ listeners” are talking about, how about you broaden the net and listen to what more, new or other people are discussing.

    2) The blog discussions vs on-air shows seem inconsistent. Why do you frequently table blog discussions for what are seemingly issues your WHYS community want to discuss?

    3) Could you announce changes or new events more than a day in advance? I think notice is just as important as timing.

    4) Please provide links. I liked it and Ros always does it, but others seem to not do it as frequently. If I am unfamiliar with a topic, I relay on your links to try and understand the issue. Also, what happen to the “listen to the show” button you had on the blog. Put it back… Please 🙂

  42. 45 Jessica in NYC
    October 13, 2009 at 17:41

    Part 2: To the WHYS Team,

    It should go without saying, given my years of loyalty as a listener, that I think you have a great team (people in front AND behind the scenes) and miss the people that have moved on. Now my tough questions…

    4) Why does your blog moderating take so long? The rules are pretty straight forward and not difficult to follow. Overall, I don’t have an issue with what you moderate, but with how it’s done. I read some comments and notice hours later comments with earlier time stamps by others get approved. Why the lag time for some comments, it appears selective? The inability to have a two-way discussing with other bloggers and WHYS is my biggest deterrent for commenting daily.

    5) Why do some opinions get under your skin and others that are just as aggressive fly right by you? You should always be impartial. We are all human, both the WHYS community and the WHYS team can be aggressive with their points of view at times. Unfortunately, but rightly so, WHYS team should be held to a higher standard. Because what you say influences countless people around the world. This is minor, because most of the time you handle it very very well, but you do let your impartial guard slip occasionally.

  43. 46 VictorK
    October 13, 2009 at 18:13

    @Mark: it was just the Israel-Palestinian war crimes issue that seems to have been ignored (unless I missed it). I’m not commenting about your general treatment of the region (too much of a minefield). I’m thinking of intervals between our posts (‘the world’), not yours.
    @Krupa: hello. Anything that keeps the conversation flowing, like weekend moderating, is good. I don’t think posting an opinion and leaving it at that is a very useful conversation & prefer it when people are exchanging views. Statement-blogging is more likely if the blog isn’t updated quickly enough to make a real conversation possible.
    *I liked the idea (from Tom?) about a wildcard.
    *Could you revive your practice of having a thread inviting suggestions for topics at the start of the day? That was always interesting.

  44. 47 Nigel
    October 13, 2009 at 22:14

    Sorry I missed the show but keep it up. Good idea and it will improve with time. Just one perspective on WHYS generally.
    Topics – Generally good
    Facilitator’s Independence – Poor with some of the men who seem to have strong Euro/US bias and tend to guide the discussion as opposed the the ladies who encourage discussion.
    Facilitators skills – Generally good
    Selection of panel – 50/50
    Quality of call-in comments – usually good
    Amount of time devoted to call-ins – not enough.

    One view only!

  45. 48 Tom K in Mpls
    October 14, 2009 at 17:49

    Okay, this is way late, but it is the best place to put what I have realized once again. I have noticed one form of censoring you use, that nobody has commented on. Some posts seem to be not quite what you want, but valid and within the guidelines. These posts do get released, but only hours after the main discussion is over. This reduces the impact, very intentionally.

  46. 49 Mark Sandell
    October 14, 2009 at 18:17

    Sorry Tom but to be blunt – that’s simply not true. We don’t have some kind of bizarre “late release ” scheme – a post either breaks the rules or it doesn’t.

    and as for “censoring” – if people break the rules they don’t get published, simple as that. Censoring is when you disagree with a point being raised and therefore don’t publish. We don’t do that.

    I invite anyone to turn up at Bush House unannounced and you can come and spend a day with us. You would soon be convinced.

    • 50 Jessica in NYC
      October 14, 2009 at 18:47

      @ Mark, okay fair enough that it may not be intentionality, but I see Tom’s point. When we post comments and they are awaiting moderation we see the red warning from wordpress indicating it. When we see other post are approved submitted after ours on the blog it makes us suspicious that some comments are held back intentionally.

      @ Tom K in Mpls, I make the same point as you, but you were more eloquent. I’ll take Mark up on this invitation to spy on them at the Bush House and report back. I’ll hide a cam in my glasses. 😉

  47. 51 Mark Sandell
    October 14, 2009 at 18:18

    Thanks for your comments Nigel – good and bad. When you say “facilitator” do you mean Ros ?
    happy to answer, just want to know we are talking about the same thing.

  48. 52 Mark Sandell
    October 14, 2009 at 18:21

    Victork – i misread your original post, you were referring to a specific issue, not the conflict in a wider sense. fair point.

  49. 53 Mark Sandell
    October 14, 2009 at 18:29

    Jessica, thankyou :
    1) we don’t – but in the end, some areas of the world are bound to dominate. Other posters have highlighted places that punch above their weight , so to speak (e.g Zimbabwe) and we’ve taken that on board. We are also bound to be in part skewed to the places where people can access WHYS – and the biggest audience is in Africa, and after that it’s the U.S, the Middle East and Europe.
    2) We use the blog to raise issues that people are taling about- some make it on air, and others don’t. I want there always to be a few discussions live – but if it turns out most of you aren’t bothered, that will affect what we do .
    3)We do announce things ahead – mainly the OBs and Tv specials etc but i’m reluctant to move away from the “on the day” feel.
    4) We do provide links – are you having a pop at my blog posts ? grrr

    • 54 Jessica in NYC
      October 14, 2009 at 18:54

      Fascinating. I would have thought your audience would be largest in Europe and since the US is the second largest, your constituents demand you do more shows on the US. Also, don’t you think you might get larger audience is other countries if you covered their region more? Honestly, regardless of where we are located. I started listening because I wanted to learn more about the issues in Africa and the Middle East. Occasionally hearing what other parts of the world are affected by would be good.

  50. 55 Mark Sandell
    October 14, 2009 at 18:30

    T – no, Skype away, it’s not a problem.

  51. 56 Mark Sandell
    October 14, 2009 at 18:37

    Jessica again….
    4) moderation ; it takes a long time because, sadly, we aren’t here for 9 hours of every day- and not at weekends. We’re a pretty devoted bunch but my team would be depleted if they had to work through the night..if there are inconistencies with times i’d blame that on the vagaries of the system.
    5) not sure what you mean about aggressive comments getting by us. What gets under my skin are the sneery “this is way beneath me but i’ll still tell you what i think” comments which demean the community, and the the “bedroom heros” who think firing off insulting and patronising e-mails makes them look big and clever. I also don’t understand basic rudeness.
    6)I’d love to know when we let the impartial guard down – we have – deliberately- shared a lot of information about us, and how we do things , so you can know more about how we reach decisions. You know what we like to read, what teams we support, where we’ve worked before and you can see pictures of us. I’d probably go further than that but i think it helps the community to know a lot about us. Some journalists are uncomfortable about that, but i encourage it. This may be a comment i regret, but i challenge you to tellus where we stand on big issues.

    7) and thanks for your encouragement oo.

    • 57 Jim Newman
      October 16, 2009 at 14:48

      Hello again
      And hello Mark. If you, at times, feel insulted by some of the comments aimed at you it’s probably because you insult others by your censorship policy. I never insult anybody and I don’t believe in exchanging insults but I can perfectly understand people being infuriated by having their perfectly valid comments censored because they contravene the agenda that you say you haven’t got.

  52. 58 Mark Sandell
    October 14, 2009 at 18:37

    Left this comment last for Tom as it doesn’t quite fit in. Damn, i’ve been rumbled…

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