Additional comments on Cif is, crucially, about the articles and the comments

Following the invitation by both Natalie Hanman and Jessica to participate in  Alan Rusbridger’s appeal for contributions,I posted 5 times:

For those who don’t know Brooklynowes was one of many monikers I adopted in my long posting history on CiF.

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1.

Could we have an informed article ATL on censorship in the digital age. AllyF might be a good person to write the piece.

I recently asked one of your editorial assistants about editorial control of The Guardian, to which the answer was:

ABL – the editors, with readers’ having a say.

BTL – everyone. But the mods control the abuse.

Recently Natalie Hanman introduced herself as the new editor of Cif in which she made it quite clear that CiF had become an integral part of the paper, an opinion with which I suggested many Guardian and Observer readers would agree, especially those who have ever felt the need to write to the editor. She wrote:

I want to emphasise that Cif is, crucially, about the articles and the comments. Together they make up the complete picture of what we publish.

Except that some of the complete picture is then removed. We simply don’t know by whom, but they are not editorial staff.

So let me post here a post that appeared on CiF I think on the 13th of last month following an Observer editorial:

The censorship of this thread is extreme.

Email, some attracting up to 500 recommendations, that have criticised the editorial have been removed.

Some of the best argued and well resourced emails have been removed. One was written by a humanist over the weekend that was perhaps the best contribution to this debate but she appears to have made the mistake of being critical of the Observer.

It is about time that the Editor explained, using exact examples why entire emails have been removed.

This does not bode well for the image of the Guardian as an open and frank newspaper but rather suggests that it has its own agenda that can only be maintained by censorship of comments adverse to its editorial stance.

Now I’m not suggesting that to have the same editorial control BTL as ATL would be an easy task, but some decisions BTL are bizarre to say the least. And when this extends to contributors posting in response to their own article, it appears even more bizarre.

I suggest that The Guardian’s reputation is at stake here and that it has really failed to come to terms with the monumental changes that have followed it’s decision in 2006 to embrace the digital format and open the paper to its readership in this way.

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2.

I responded to Alan Rusbridger’s invitation that he’d “be interested in what others think the really crucial issues are”, with a post about the editorial control of the paper in what he refers to as “the new public sphere opened up by digital technologies.”

My post drew on the results of the recent article in which Natalie Hanman introduced herself as the new editor of Cif. For me and I suspect many others, the crucial message was her reaffirmation of the importance of the way that readers interacted with the paper and it’s journalists.

I want to emphasise that Cif is, crucially, about the articles and the comments. Together they make up the complete picture of what we publish.

Interactivity has been at the very heart of the way the general public uses and benefits from computing and telecommunications and once the holy grail of a totally digital platform existed, just 20 or so years ago, there has been no limit to the development of that interactivity. The way The Guardian and Observer have developed since 2006 is but one example.

Of the 1021 comments that readers posted in response to Natalie Hanman’s article, the vast majority concerned the way in which their interactivity was treated, with the vast majority of these being critical.

In a master stroke of irony, the post was deleted after just a few minutes.

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3.

AlanRusbridger posted:

It seems that there is now an insatiable appetite for expression and exchange which the structure of the internet makes difficult to suppress.”

Agree with that in general. Though not in China… but that takes us wildly off topic.

Why not in China – and why off topic?

China is second only to the USA in internet access:

In China there are over a million bulletin board services (BBS) and some 220 million bloggers. According to a sample survey, each day people post over three million messages via BBS, news commentary sites, blogs, etc., and over 66 percent of Chinese netizens frequently place postings to discuss various topics, and to fully express their opinions and represent their interests……By the end of 2009, the number of Chinese netizens had reached 384 million, meaning 28.9 percent of the total population had access to the Internet, higher than the world’s average level. In the same year, there were 3.23 million websites running in China

Surely the challenge for you is how to bring increasing numbers of those millions to The Guardian and Observer and the messages their journalists carry to the world.

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4.

kizbot (defending the moderators)

It wasn’t deleted because of irony… it was off-topic…

No it’s deletion was ironic, but I suggest its content was about as on topic as you can get.

Alan Rushbridger writing about the new public sphere opened up by digital technologies:

I can think of lots of positive examples where all kinds of valuable and exciting “journalistic” things are happening a) on their own in this space, and b) in combination with conventional journalism. More are always welcome, but I am broadly convinced that this is a new and powerful force in society and in the emerging news ecosystem.

Brooklynowes writing about the new public sphere opened up by digital technologies:

Interactivity has been at the very heart of the way the general public uses and benefits from computing and telecommunications and once the holy grail of a totally digital platform existed, just 20 or so years ago, there has been no limit to the development of that interactivity. The way The Guardian and Observer have developed since 2006 is but one example.

If you can’t see the connection between these two than I’m sorry you’re so overwhelmingly fulfilled by jaffa cakes and lentil pie that you’re missing out on a lot in life.

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5.

Alan Rushbridger writing about the new public sphere opened up by digital technologies:

I can think of lots of positive examples where all kinds of valuable and exciting “journalistic” things are happening a) on their own in this space, and b) in combination with conventional journalism. More are always welcome, but I am broadly convinced that this is a new and powerful force in society and in the emerging news ecosystem.

Brooklynowes writing about the new public sphere opened up by digital technologies:

Interactivity has been at the very heart of the way the general public uses and benefits from computing and telecommunications and once the holy grail of a totally digital platform existed, just 20 or so years ago, there has been no limit to the development of that interactivity. The way The Guardian and Observer have developed since 2006 is but one example.

So what is so terrible about this post that it needs to be deleted?

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