Interesting news from the Beeb, where they’re planning to open up their user comments system and allow people to post stuff which hasn’t been pre-moderated:
BBC site braces itself for more open user comments system: Due to launch on 10 October after nine months in development, the new system is effectively a heavily customised message board system that features different discussion topics each day. More contentious subjects subjects will be fully moderated but for the first time, comments on selected threads will be posted live on the site. The new system will rely mostly on ‘reactive moderation’, asking readers to report inappropriate content and material that breaches house rules.
It will of course be interesting to see what the BBC’s definition of “contentious subjects” is going to be, but even now I can’t help but admire their courage. The status of the Beeb as an independent, critical voice of the Establishment while remaining effectively state-owned is one of the marvels of the modern British constitutional arrangement, Hutton notwithstanding. I’m just afraid that a small avalanche of vitriol from a tiny cadre of obsessives on an out-of-the-way message board could bring the whole house of cards tumbling down. When questions in the House start being asked of posts on BBC-hosted message boards, it’ll be an interesting moment. But good luck to them.