Guidance to bloggers from the site provider

I asked about replies. The answer is:

“Sorry to hear that some are having issues with the new comments system. The problem with the old one was that it simply broke and became both insecure and inoperable, so unfortunately a return is just not physically possible at this point. The new system does provide greater security for both you and your regulars as well as greater backend stability in terms of backing up the data.

It is a shame that the system is struggling to support long comments and I know the vendors are working on this to find a way around restrictions. I hope they will find a solution in the near future and I am monitoring developments as well as examining alternatives. For now, though, commenters are inadvertantly restricted to around 6,000 characters, which I understand works out to nearly 2 sides of A4 paper if it were written out – still a generous amount and far beyond the limits of commercial operators such as the Guardian, Sky and Telegraph for example. Systems will always struggle with this level of data whilst also balancing security and stability, however I hope we can find a solution soon as I know your audience does demand longer comments.”

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10 Comments

  1. christina sarginson
    Posted July 2, 2010 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    I always try to keep my comments short John but I do know a lot of people have a lot to say when replying to your blog. This must please you though because it shows you are not only providing useful information but stirring up emotions and interest which is what all the politicians should do

    • @mrpower
      Posted July 2, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Why should long replies indicate that this blog is providing useful information or stirring up emotions and interest any more than short ones would?

      Very long comments are bad form.

  2. Alan Jutson
    Posted July 2, 2010 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    John thanks for the feedback, but replies of far, far shorter length than you suggest are being refused.

    It would seem that it is not just the number of Characters, which is a limiting factor but also the possible layout, ie number of paragraphs and their length.

    A number of bloggers comments have been reasonably long, but many of my shorter ones have been refused, and whilst I understand your reply to a blogger of a couple few days ago that he was silly to avoid posting due to his blog of only 240 words being refused, this does happen, and it is frustrating not knowing how to get around the system, other than making a reply to your own blog as a continuation. The fact that our comment is not now shown after you have submitted it (in the past shown in full awaiting moderation) the new system shows nothing other than, comment submitted, this means sometimes us older ones lose the thread, if we are interrupted by other things like work, as we cannot refer back until it is actually posted on the site.

    Thanks for recognising the problem and trying to do something about it, but I would suggest your site technicians are not giving you the full facts..

    • Acorn
      Posted July 2, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      I hope someone called lillian doesn't join this site. My old eyes are having problems reading this variable width font. B)

  3. Derek Duncan
    Posted July 2, 2010 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Who bothers to read long answers, anyway?

  4. BigJohn
    Posted July 2, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    It's because you are using the Intense Debate WordPress Plugin
    (http://intensedebate.com/wordpress)

    You can read the replys from Intense Debate about this problem here :-
    http://www.the-source.com/2010/04/site-news-inten

    They are saying :-

    The character length issue can occur with versions of IE and is a limitation of the web browser. The max character length for Mozilla Firefox is around 7,000 and IE around 3,000. Because of the way browsers work, the only way comments can be posted in IntenseDebate is by including it in the URL of a script tag (we use JavaScript for this). IntenseDebate dynamically adds a script tag with all of the comment data in the URL, so all of the comment data has to fit in the script of the URL. All browsers limit the length of the script..

  5. Goodnight Vienna
    Posted July 2, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    How ridiculous – I'm afraid someone is taking you for a ride. I have never yet seen comments on your blog take up "two sides of A4 paper" but I note that your tech team can't spell 'inadvertently' so I'd ditch them on that ground alone.

  6. Mike Stallard
    Posted July 2, 2010 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    This is the most thoughtful and fair blog that I can find on the internet. But short answers are still the best.

  7. @JohnnyNorfolk
    Posted July 3, 2010 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    could the have a part 1 and part 2 on two seperate entries.

  8. Rollo
    Posted July 3, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the explanation
    As you know I have had long experience of politicians and the net. Thank God you do lead by example there are still too many people out there who want votes without the net – lazy
    However the fact that we are having the conversation shows how far technology still has to go to get true interaction seamless

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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