It's a story that (feels) as old as time itself ..

.. what are the rules for when you can/cannot comment on Aweb Articles (e.g. Practice/People/)?

Didn't find your answer?

It's been mentioned before (and not just once or twice) on here - and this is NOT meant to be an attack on the Editorial team or an invitation to jump on them - but I'm finding it impossible to discern what the rules are, or indeed if they exist (as opposed to some relatively random decisions by one of a number of people).

Why does it concern/annoy me?  Partly because I'm a methodical type that likes to understand the parameters within which I'm operating .. but mostly because I hate wasting time (including my own).

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The specific instance that has got me riled today is actually very minor - but a good illustration of the issue:

1. Just before noon today I noticed an article ... https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/practice/people/triumph-over-adversity-a... ... new to me but that had apparently been published 3 days previously.

2. I thought it an interesting article - and posted a comment at 12:15 that was intended to be helpful and supportive.

3. Despite this being a positive encouragement both to the author and to the person being profiled (see full extract below) - and despite there only being one other comment (which was one word, ambiguous but certainly not attacking) - both of those comments have now been deleted AND the ability to post comments on the article has been withdrawn (with no notice of the changes or explanations to the deleted authors).

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I understand the need to protect authors and subjects from personal attacks (although it can introduce a little too much subjectivity for my liking when it is a corporation rather than individual that is being criticised) - but NONE of that applies here.

If the article was always meant to have a 'no-comment' embargo, then it would've been nice for Aweb to admit their mistake.  If not, then I cycle back to the subject title of the thread - as it's not much of an encouragement to participate when your 'efforts' can be (apparently arbitarily) thrown in the virtual bin, despite transgressing no obvious or merely clear rules.

Oh, my comment that has become one of the 'disappeared' (in full)?

"Well done, Steph, and good luck.

But no-one should feel the need to "carry on working for somebody like (that) old boss" ... people like that are a blight both on business and on society in general.
Conversely the 'independent' life may not be for everyone (my turning point was realising that I'd prefer to live with & correct my mistakes rather than waste time 'justifying' them to bosses)."

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Can we PLEASE have some transparency, with regard to the acceptability of what we post, in terms that address the above scenario?

Or is there an (unwritten) rule that we should restrict posting our comments to the Any Answers area?

Replies (24)

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
29th Nov 2022 14:58

My guess is someone else posted after you and they just pulled the thread, or it was intended for "no comment" and reverted to one.

Edited, as posted off on a bit of rant, not relevant to the post.

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By paul.benny
29th Nov 2022 15:17

Hugo - you're a prolific and valuable contributor to this forum.

But (you know there's going to be a but), perhaps you're over-thinking this. At least we have human moderators rather than bots following inflexible rules.

FWIW, I hadn't noticed the article until you drew attention to it and I very much agree with the sentiments about bad bosses in your deleted comment.

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Replying to paul.benny:
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By Hugo Fair
29th Nov 2022 17:02

Why, thank you kind sir!

Certainly few have ever accused me of under-thinking things - given time I may be able to recall my last spontaneous decision but I've always been fond of analysis before action).

You make an interesting point though ... in that I prefer rules (where required in the first place) to be consistently applied, which leans towards to the algorithmic.
But I prefer a human to intervene when something appears to have gone wrong (or merely where the machine's and my interpretation diverge considerably).

And this I think is precisely the dichotomy that HMRC (and to be fair many large commercial organisations) have failed to recognise let alone address.

Software (whether mis-labelled as automation or AI or dare I say RTI or MTD) is great for its specific purposes WHEN NOTHING UNEXPECTED HAPPENS ... but you can be sure (if only due to the volumes) that from time to time it will.
And when it does you need to have slick processes for routing the problem (and managing resolution) that are based on humans with relevant experience - or at worst humans with direct access to those with the expertise.

That's what I always tried to build in any Service organisation - and was infamous for asking prospects, in front of the sales person, why they hadn't enquired about what happened when things go wrong.
"Because you can be sure they will - not often but usually at a most inconvenient time - so it's important you feel comfortable that we focus on rapid resolution not on allocating blame".

It really shouldn't be beyond HMRC to take such concepts on board ... but, as has been known before, I think I've now wandered into a different thread!

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Replying to paul.benny:
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By Catherine Newman
29th Nov 2022 18:05

Me too.

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Replying to paul.benny:
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By Truthsayer
29th Nov 2022 22:24

'we have human moderators rather than bots following inflexible rules'

I have found that if you use the word [***] to describe a donkey, it gets censored. I doubt that is human intervention.

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Replying to Truthsayer:
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By Truthsayer
29th Nov 2022 22:27

You can see that has been censored, so it is no [***] and bull story.

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Replying to Truthsayer:
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By Truthsayer
29th Nov 2022 22:49

It is therefore fair to make Sift's simplistic bot moderation the [***] of my jocular posts.

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By D V Fields
29th Nov 2022 15:21

I think simply removing the postings without explanation is unprofessional.

I noticed a recent question I had replied to had been completely removed (the question and its replies). At the time of my reply there was nothing untoward.

We may not be paying customers but we are their (indirect) source of income. Hopefully you’ll be given the courtesy of an explanation which may be as simple as the article was not intended for comments.

The danger is good contributors like yourself will be put off.

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Replying to D V Fields:
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By Paul Crowley
29th Nov 2022 15:49

' I noticed a recent question I had replied to had been completely removed (the question and its replies). At the time of my reply there was nothing untoward.'

Annoying as the question can just be made anon

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By Paul Crowley
29th Nov 2022 15:57

The no comments option really needs to be there day 1, not a late amendment.
The advertorial type article gets clicks and reads because of comments, good or bad.
An article with no comments is clearly not worth reading, it is invisible.
I agree that the article arrived late. At least once a day I look for new articles, and the best already have at least 10 comments.
Rebecca Cave articles are an exemplar of this phenomenom

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By D V Fields
29th Nov 2022 16:17

I think lots of us are quietly relieved that those "adverts" cannot be replied to. There wouldn't be many non-barred contributors left.

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Replying to D V Fields:
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By Hugo Fair
29th Nov 2022 16:36

As Paul C says the advertorial type article gets clicks and reads *because* of comments, good or bad, as it takes some searching out otherwise. But the 'no comments option' really should be there from day 1 (not as some sort of reaction).

Personally I quite enjoyed picking some of them apart (even if it can feel like shooting fish in a barrel) ... and I felt that some of my comments on those articles may have been illuminating, because I didn't (usually) nit-pick odd words but tried to question their strategic 'beliefs' (which sometimes seem akin to idolatry).

But I can live without that opportunity! ... I'd just like to know in advance if it's worth composing a few lines.

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
By SteveHa
30th Nov 2022 08:42

Hugo Fair wrote:

Personally I quite enjoyed picking some of them apart (even if it can feel like shooting fish in a barrel) ...

Mythbusters managed to show that shooting fish in a barrel is no easy task.

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Replying to SteveHa:
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By Hugo Fair
30th Nov 2022 11:20

I can well believe it - and wouldn't want to be an observer anywhere near the barrel!

In reality I've only ever fired a gun (actually a .303 rifle) once in my life. Some half-witted adult gave me, a 10 year old, a loaded rifle ("in case we encounter bears") out in the wilds of Canada. It was heavy and I was bored (as well as naïve) so, when I spotted a duck on the surface of the lake, I aimed & fired. The duck evaporated and I was sick (and have never since been tempted to 'bear arms').

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By JazzySasha
30th Nov 2022 08:42

Sometimes the articles arrive not late but early......the "Fake letter accountant" article in General Practice appeared yesterday (Tuesday 29.11.22) but the date shown at the bottom was 30 November!

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By Catherine Newman
29th Nov 2022 18:11

I thought about going to Expo but what is the point?

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Tom Herbert
By Tom Herbert
29th Nov 2022 21:05

Thanks Hugo. It's a fair point, and something we need to be clearer about in future. The last thing we want to do is discourage people from posting. Fortunately it's not my responsibility to decide these things anymore, but I'm sure we'll have a chat as a team and work out some rules around when the comments should be on/off - and stick to them. See you all at the Expo tomorrow :-)

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Replying to TomHerbert:
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By Matrix
29th Nov 2022 22:00

It looks as if Hugo has sent you to Coventry ;)

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Replying to Matrix:
Tom Herbert
By Tom Herbert
30th Nov 2022 15:50

Literally!

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Replying to TomHerbert:
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By D V Fields
30th Nov 2022 12:44

Hi Tom
Perhaps the person who is responsible would like to come forward and explain.
Dave

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By tom123
30th Nov 2022 09:23

I must admit I'm a creature of habit and tend to come straight to AA.

I ought to get virtually 'out' more.

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Replying to tom123:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
30th Nov 2022 13:22

Good point. I also do that, so the rest of Aweb is lost on me ...... aside from the odd article I look at because it has some comments! Perhaps the cake and eat it solution is to reply to the articles that have comments enabled, but confine one's replies to "No comment"!

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
30th Nov 2022 12:53

This thread not closed yet?

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By Hugo Fair
30th Nov 2022 14:08

Not as long as you prolong its life by posting! :=)

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