And I thought it smelt bad, on the outside*

WhatsWrongWithTheBbcWebsite – Yoz’s Wiki

Strange how you see things like this around the net. With only a slight nod at the start to the fact that the site has ‘tons of useful content’ (actually over 2 million pages) the page then rapidly drops into stylistic opinionisms. . . This looks like that, that should be this, drop that, replace this. . . Then there this bloody stupid debate. Which has been going on for what seems like a year now, and has become a slaggin’ match about who can reconfig apache servers the best.

Now, I’m not very happy with Auntie at the moment, but I do believe that it gets a lot of things right, ok so http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1 goes there but http://bbc.co.uk/radio1 doesn’t (and it’s soon to be fixed I think). But even so, it’s not like that’s a huge barrier stopping you getting to Jo Whiley is it.

Sometimes techie opinions look great but just arn’t possible, sometimes they’re just play out of touch. Reminds me of a recent slashdot post about the new mini ipod, Techie bod: but it’s to expensive – no OGG Vorbis support – can’t run Linux – HD too small etc etc. Joe Public: we don’t care! …and they can’t make ’em fast enough.

Anyway, beebers who read this, and can answer any of the points on his wiki, do so.

*with appols to H Solo esq.

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6 Responses to “And I thought it smelt bad, on the outside*”


  1. 1 Steve April 6, 2004 at 11:59 am

    Honestly, I find the page really interesting and insulting on equal levels.

    The ability for people to find it incomprehensible that maybe certain things are the way they are due to testing and research – therefore based on some sort of empirical evidence/fact/basis – is amazing.

    But I guess it’s hard for people to ever see past their own front doors sometimes so it would equally be wrong of us to dismiss them all out of hand.

    Still, at least people care enough to argue about it.

    (I wonder how many of those on the page are actually NON-bbc folk ?)

  2. 2 neuro April 7, 2004 at 3:53 pm

    You feel my debate is “bloody stupid”? If I or someone else doesn’t bring things to the attention of the BBC – and failing that, then to the public – then who will? Some people may just write off their experience of poor bbc.co.uk redirects as either just the way the Internet works (which, in the Web’s case, it shouldn’t be and doesn’t have to be), or that they themselves have done *something wrong*! Just because they don’t report it to the BBC doesn’t mean that they’re not pissed off about it.

    The police routinely state that only a percentage of rape victims actually report the crime. Now I’m in no way trying to draw a comparison between a horrible crime and someone having problems with a website, but who’s to say that there’s a silent majority of people out there who have experienced the redirect problem and haven’t expressed their feelings about it back to the BBC? The fact that a mere handful of people can make the ASA, ITC, Ofcom, etc spit out judgements and even fines towards companies makes me wonder just how many pissed off people there are who just can’t or won’t express why the BBC pisses them off in the first place.

  3. 3 eyedropper April 8, 2004 at 2:52 pm

    Right, the ‘bloody stupid’ comment on my blog refers to the fact that the discussion has gone on for nearly a year.

    In that time you’ve not actually collected how many times a day web address are read out on air. so you’ve still NO data, only a theory.

    So despite finding out for you that Radio 4 (amongst others) DO read out WWW which counters your theory I’ve rang our Internet Ops team for some ball park figures. A rough guesstimate of requests across the BBC network is 5000+ a second. so that’s 300,000+ a minute, minimum. The redirect server (http://bogons.bbc.co.uk/) that catches ‘bogus log ons’ (hence the name) gets 2 hits per minute. This also includes users typos etc.

    Lets review those numbers shall we 300,000 vs 2 a minute.

    At worst, the user arrives at the homepage (not a 404), where there’s a huge and helpful search box and a categories list. AND it’s being fully address from the start of May.

    I also think your analogy of ‘reported sexual attacks’ is out of line on something as trivial as a discussion on server redirects.

    I tried to be helpful, with out so much as a thanks, lets just move on eh? It’s spring, bit of sunshine, walk in the park. . .

  4. 4 neuro April 8, 2004 at 3:15 pm

    reposting here from http://neuro.me.uk/blog/archives/000391.html#comment000234 as courtesy.

    I did state that my analogy was merely to illustrate that things happen in the world that go unreported, it was the only thing I could think of from the top of my head that was “real world” and documented.

    I know that some presenters read out the www part of the address, I didn’t need someone to find that out for me, but I’ve heard it omitted often enough to get annoyed about it. Others agree with me. What does it matter that I have no hard evidence from the servers or the feedback logs? I *hear* enough evidence every time a presenter omits www and I find that the address *as read* doesn’t bloody work. Imagine a presenter on Swap Shop decided that there was no point adding “01” to the 01 811 8055 phone number because the viewers could figure it out for themselves?

    Incidentally, 2 hits a minute equates to 2,880 a day – that’s just over a million a year. If each of those hits is a person following a redirect, that’s a million people finding out the hard way that the BBC don’t actually care about usability. Even if it’s a fraction of that, that’s still a sizable number of people having to work harder to visit the site. Do you thing someone with a screen reader has half an hour to spare to listen to the BBCi main page read out to them, not to mention the layers they have to click through to find out where they were actually trying to get to in the first place?

    Still unconvinced of your argument. The homepage might as well be a 404, as it’s *not the page they wanted to see when typing in the address*. I’ll say thanks when I actually see some courtesy.


  1. 1 neuroblog Trackback on April 7, 2004 at 3:58 pm
  2. 2 neuroblog Trackback on April 19, 2004 at 12:31 pm

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