I have noticed for a while now that the BBC is doing some rather odd things. News items tend to hang around longer than I would have expected from an organisation of this size, but that in itself is not a problem – I can always look elsewhere.
However, when they start to rehash old posts with no indication that the post is in fact from some years back, that is another matter entirely.
An instance from not too long ago was the title “Plane Crashes at Heathrow”. The natural instinct is to go to the page, as a plane crash is a big news item, and the expectation is that it must be “hot” news.
My reaction when I found that the page was from 2008 was a mixture of relief that no new disaster had occurred, and annoyance at the initial lack of information about the item’s date.
Another trick they use in the same area is to give the title “No Name”.
Without a title to tell you what the subject matter is about, you have no idea whether you should click on the link or not. On principle, I refuse to be drawn into such stupidity, and ignore them altogether. If it should happen to be of interest to me, I will in all probability find it on another news site anyway – one that doesn’t play such silly games.
Now, however, there is a new twist. If you look at the article here, you will find the question “Are pesticides linked to health problems in Argentina?”, written by Linda Pressly, and dated 14 May 2014.
The point is that we don’t need to ask the question at all.
I could have ignored it as an isolated event, I suppose, but I would prefer not to have it at all. I therefore sent a message to the BBC saying that rather than ask questions that we already know the answer to, they would be better employed doing the proper research before publishing, (politely, of course), and included a list of links for reference.
As for the current site layout, I am definitely not impressed!
I only need one language, but they have devoted a large chunk of real estate to the “BBC in your language” area, and the title is itself a link to a complete new page. A drop-down list would do the job just as well, and save a large amount of space.