BBC News discussion board gets record views

BBC News’ Have Your Say reader discussion section has clocked up a record number of page views, according to latest data.

Interactivity editor Vicky Taylor said the site attracted 12 million views in January and now has around 200,000 registered users.

Ms Taylor also announced new feature additions that make Have Your Say more transparent. Despite a radical makeover in October 2005 that dropped comment moderation on some debates, some users had complained they were left in the dark as to when their comments would appear or, in some cases, why they had not been approved.

So BBC News has added to each debate the number of published, rejected and queued comments, while individual registered users now get to see more information about the comments they have submitted to the site.

“The statistics from our Have Your Say debates continues to rise – and we hope these changes will encourage more people to take part,” Ms Taylor writes.

“We now publish 49 per cent of messages received – up from around 25 per cent from a couple of years ago. Of course, as soon as something momentous happens that people want to tell us about, that can rise to more than 30,000 emails for any one topic and the percentage published will not be as high.”

Readers have continued to suggest changes to the site, including more stringent filtering mechanisms, but one rival, MySun communities editor Ilana Fox, said the new features may put readers off commenting.

“I wouldn’t post a comment on this story if I saw there were 2,022 outstanding comments in the moderation queue – you’d think there was no point unless the turnaround time was relatively speedy,” she wrote.

“Thus, it may be worth signposting the estimated turnaround time to prevent putting users off, as we all expect the internet – and communication on it – to be fast as stink. You could even have a little graph that slowly goes down as the moderator works through the queue.”

Although the 2005 re-jig liberalised some aspects of Have Your Say, comment moderation is still allied to BBC journalists’ shift patterns.