Author Topic: Thanks for the feedback from the site survey - issues raised...  (Read 1321 times)

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Offline Editor

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Thanks for the feedback from the site survey - issues raised...
« on: January 05, 2018, 12:00:34 pm »
Thanks again to all the 100 people who took part in our site survey. Not all respondents answered all questions, and all responses were anonymous so there is no knowing if people completed the survey more than once, but the findings are interesting.
  • 31 people claim to visit the site once a day. Of those, eight visit several times. 35 people visit once a week. 17 rarely visit the site.
  • 77 people thought the site serves the whole community, while 19 people thought it's too restricted and needs to open up to wider debates.
  • 87 people thought the site would be missed if it closed, seven weren't bothered either way, and two thought the site doesn't serve a valuable purpose anymore.
The comments were informative. Thanks to all those who added their feedback. I have gone through the comments and grouped them in topics in order to try to address the issues raised.

Moderation, local issues, and the site's editorial guidelines
  • Over zealous moderation.
  • Afraid to reply as over-moderated and not worth the effort to find the message is edited or withdrawn.
  • Editorial overkill. The world has moved on. You are not held responsible for others comments. Please allow free speech.
  • The editorial guidelines could be a little more relaxed to encourage more frequent participation and discussion on issues of importance to residents and visitors.
  • Some commenters are very rude and disrespectful to others points of view to the extent it puts people off commenting.
  • IMO The forum went downhill when it was restricted to just local issues. I know it is harder to moderate but it makes for much livelier debate!
  • As long as all points of view are welcomed which on here they are not. A few voices (the same ones) constantly have the only 'right' point of view.
  • It is not as valuable as it could be because of the heavy handed moderation that occurs when the controllers diktat is crossed.
  • Moderators are often too restrictive which puts people off commenting.
  • People are too intimidated to have frank discussions.
  • Would like to have more robust conversation on relevant topics of interest.
The issue of moderation has been raised many times over the years. We have a small team of volunteer moderators who try to keep an eye on what is posted. Together we try to uphold the site's editorial guidelines and check whether forum members are keeping to the site's registration agreement, and we discuss any issues raised in an admin section of the forum.

We have tried to widen the scope of debate many times, and we do have an 'Off Topic' section of the site. That section is currently archived because a small number of contributors abused the situation and posted racist and offensive rants which were not only legally dangerous, but also put others off commenting.

In all cases we write to the contributor explaining why their post had been edited or removed. In cases, where the moderators fail to agree on an issue, I take the final decision.

The survey respondent who claimed: "you are not held responsible for others comments" is correct to a point, but it's a complex issue, and, rather than have to go through the hoops set out in the Defamation Act, it's easier to try to avoid defamatory comments in the first place.

Forum scope and participation
  • Sometimes encourages moaning.
  • Can be very parochial and closed minded. Often just the same voices with the same bugbears.
  • Generally only a few people with set interests.
  • Sometimes feel the forum is dominated by the same contributors.
I suppose the answer to all these comments is to log on and post about what concerns you and widen that debate. If the forum is dominated by the same contributors it's because those who use it regularly - but don't post - allow that to happen. 54 forum users (57% of respondents) answered: "I prefer to watch discussions and not take part". It seems this issue can be solved easily. Any registered forum member can post about any local issue that they are concerned about.

  • I get the feeling the the captured demographic is at the older end of the scale and maybe male dominated. I don't really know of course. A more youthful audience probably uses more contemporary social media channels.
  • The forum seems to focus on 'older people' concerns rather than younger.
It would be be great to widen the debate to issues concerning local younger residents. And this has happened in the past. We have a Youth section of the forum, and it was active for a time. However young people move on to other things and it needs revisiting.

Perhaps we could have some volunteers to take on to revive the section? I have written to the local youth club suggesting they keep an eye on the section and, perhaps, publish a weekly youth-focused roundup of local news and events.

Events and local businesses
  • Would be good to see it used more for local events, discussions, etc. Maybe an area for local classes, groups, etc. It's not always easy to track down what classes are happening in the local halls etc. and would be good to have a "go to" place for those.
  • It could promote local business more, have a feature on local people (purely based in the village) and the services they can offer.
Regarding local events, we do have a site calendar where local residents can post about non-commercial events such as jumble sales, village day etc. Perhaps we should widen the scope to allow people to list local classes taking place in local halls. I will discuss this with the moderators and report back. Thanks for the suggestion.

We do have a business directory where local businesses can list their services. That is free to use. However we don't allow reviews of local businesses or the promotion of local businesses in the community discussion forum because we can't vouch for the validity of what is posted. It would be too easy for a local business to be praised or rubbished for commercial gain. We just don't have the resources to keep across this and there are other channels better placed to provide this service.

  • Users used to the immediacy of social media platform may find the registeration process onerous.
The registration process is actually fairly quick, and I don't think it's more onerous than the initial sign up process for any social media. Perhaps there is a slight delay while we check the new member isn't a known spammer. You simply:
  • agree to the terms and conditions
  • choose a username
  • choose a password
  • confirm that password
  • complete verification process
  • wait for confirmation email
  • log in
  • post
I suppose the difference might be that new members have to wait for the registration confirmation email because we do check for spammers before completing the process - and that has to be done by a human being. But we are fairly fast.
Once again, thanks for the feedback. All issues raised will be discussed with the moderators.
The Brookmans Park Newsletter has been supporting the village and our local community since 1998 by providing free, interactive tools for all to use.
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Offline Nobby

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Re: Thanks for the feedback from the site survey - issues raised...
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2018, 07:55:07 pm »
A recurring theme appears to be heavy-handed moderation. I would say in the Editor's defence that in a world where "hate crimes" and the promulgation of extreme views via Facebook, YouTube and similar media are coming under increasing scrutiny and criticism (and may lead to litigation), one has to tread very carefully these days. We don't want David banged up, do we.

Offline larrylamb

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Re: Thanks for the feedback from the site survey - issues raised...
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2018, 08:23:30 pm »
Perhaps we should have a survey on that Nobby :icon_jokercolor: