Help us to improve Lords of the Blog

Andy Williamson

We would really like to know what you think about Lords of the Blog and to understand how you think it could be improved.

To do this, we’ve asked an independent research agency, TNS-BMRB, to conduct some online research at the beginning of March. TNS-BMRB have set up an online space  where you can post comments about Lords of the Blog , we’d really like as many of you as possible to tell us what you like about the site and where you think changes can be made to make it easy to use, better to navigate or anything else that you can think of.

You will be asked to contribute to the ‘bulletin board’ each day for four days and to describe your experience of using the blog.

If you would like to contribute to this research, or would like more information about it, please e-mail Elizabeth or Andrew at TNS-BMRB and they will contact you directly.

Thanks in advance to all of you who can help us with this, we know a lot of you value Lords of the Blog and we’re keen to listen to you so we can make it even better!

Andy Williamson, Hansard Society

39 comments for “Help us to improve Lords of the Blog

  1. Carl.H
    26/02/2010 at 1:17 pm

    Email sent, am happy to provide what I can. I do think there are improvements that can be made.

  2. 26/02/2010 at 3:02 pm

    Well, I can see the advantages of engaging with the Lords, particularly, as we seem to get some common sense (some of the time).

    Whether we are actually changing anything or having an influence on anything, is another matter.

    I would love to see Lord’s paired to geographic constituencies alongside MP’s – they could than perhaps rein in some of the more exotic ideas that MP’s seem to have, as well as combat the Party Political aspect, which so distort discussion and agreements on some pretty important legislation.

    Even, a Lord holding a Surgery in the constituency, now that would keep the MP on their toes.

    • 14/06/2010 at 11:39 pm

      Good to have possibly more than one serious democratic (or human-needs, questions, or constructive-submissions)two-way communication channel between the citizen and Parliaments (and eventually other ‘powers-that-be’ ?).

      Currently, perhaps historically too, this LOTB site appears to be the only seriously response-able and ‘citizenship-friendly’ channel for the citizen to make responsible contact with our governors and advocates.

      • 15/06/2010 at 10:55 am

        Currently, perhaps historically too, this LOTB site appears to be the only seriously response-able and ‘citizenship-friendly’ channel for the citizen to make responsible contact with our governors and advocates.

        Think again John.

        The site is specifically for the Lords to tell the plebs what they are doing.

        The Plebs are not allowed to raise issues back or start conversations.

        Not me saying this, but the moderators.

        ” it is for the Members of the House to start a topic. *It is their blog*. ”

        ie. It’s a one way conversation

        Lord Blagger

        • 17/06/2010 at 9:00 am

          Lord B. (incidentally is Lord Blagger your real title and name, or a pseudonym, please ?)

          I think I understand.

          “”The site is specificly for the Lords to tell the plebs what they the lords are doing…The plebs are not allowed to raise issues back or start conversations…(the Moderators say this)…’it is for the Members of the House to start a topic (small t). *It is their blog*.” i.e. It’s a one way conversation…””

          So I have printed-out the Terms; and it now seems to me that apart from any possible improvements to the numbered items, the introduction might provide The Lords with an improvement opportunity:
          As it is written under Comments Policy (already ‘political’ therefore ultimately Competitive *not* necessarily cooperative nor ‘participative’, I do agree) [and kindly refer to the definitions comparison/contrast table near the front of the primary-health-care field-manual mentioned in my current comment to Baroness Murphy’s post about Drugs, “Health Care Together” by Mary Johnston & Susan Rifkin]) “These are standard rules about comments posted to this blog by the public (small p).
          “They are designed to ensure (that) all users feel safe and keen to visit (this LOTB) regularly, and (to ensure) the blog (again small b) keeps its focus”.

          I cut to the chase, ‘focus’in that opening introduction becoming our ‘fox’, if you will.

          Depending upon the range and relative priority-levels of foci around the blog’s focus, as permitted/allowed/welcomed by the Lords & Ladies Moderators, one should most certainly be enabled (and thereafter be commensurately-empowered) to ‘place’ the focus into a seriously-considered environment of relevant (neighbouring, or overlapping) foci, fact, figure, formal-argumentation, moral-reasoning and/or life-experience.

          There is a time (and place) for gathering stones together, and a different time and place for casting stones apart; and the time and place for narrow foci is the inside formal proceedings of the Parliaments; whereas the time and place for widest-possible preparations must surely include this Lords of the Blog website ?

          My Lord, Rule 1 already clearly asks us to be “constructive and respectful”.

          I have a longstanding problem with the almost graffiti-like word ‘Debate’, however, which seems to be used more often to indicate a focused-conversation and friendly-discussion than it does to delimit a real debate which is by definition a win-lose ‘bare-fisted’ fight, my lord: “the winner takes it all, the loser’s standing small (going home from a week of genuinely productive work in bare feet without even Karl Marx’s ‘to the individual according to their need’ pay-packet)” .

          As a starting thought for writing an amendment for submission in matters where the ‘Debate’ word is at all foggy, I wish to suggest the following re-wording for the LOTB Rule 1:
          “Comment, reply and discussion (should be lively, respectful, and constructive); ([ whereto it is further suggested that explicit use of the cooperative-meeting-place’s six modes of thinking is to be encouraged ( see “Six Thinking Hats” by Dr Edward de Bono, a born Englishman) )].

          We rest awhile, please.

          • 17/06/2010 at 12:36 pm

            Lords of the Blog began as a test project, encouraging dialogue between web users and Members of the House of Lords.

            This is the aim.

            A diagogue means that both parties to the discussion can raise issues.

            However, this blog doesn’t adhere to that.

            After all, its for the Lords to raise issues and not the plebs.

            Point proved.

            Lord Blagger

            PS, Still waiting for the outcome of that urgent action on Lords expenses. Not an iota of reply yet.

  3. Concerned Home Edder
    26/02/2010 at 3:03 pm

    Are you saying that if we want to contribute we must email you first? That isn’t clear.

  4. Carl.H
    26/02/2010 at 3:54 pm

    Concerned Home Edder, the names Elizabeth and Andrew are email links, however if you use Hotmail or such these may not work.

    The email addresses are :

    elizabeth.jordan at
    andrew.hunter at

    Change the “at” for @ without the spacing.

  5. Chris K
    26/02/2010 at 4:35 pm

    I like it as it is. But then I am naturally conservative (with a small “c”)!

  6. Gareth Howell
    26/02/2010 at 6:17 pm

    The old theory is that the Lords are the “elect” and not the “elect-ed”, so you won’t get much change out of Lords’ representing constituencies.

    If you want to join, just pop in an’ say something sensible, like any London club really, although the other clubs you do not need to be sensible in your comments. It is generally thought to be the best club.

  7. Dave H
    26/02/2010 at 7:45 pm

    I suspect there’s a parallel psychology test in progress here to see who emails Elizabeth, who emails Andrew and who takes no chances and emails both 🙂

    The instruction did say ‘or’.

    • Carl.H
      27/02/2010 at 12:44 am

      New Labour ~ New paranoia`s eh Dave ! lol

    • Croft
      01/03/2010 at 11:10 am

      With the results sent to Harriet H’s equality thought crime division!

  8. tory boy
    27/02/2010 at 12:04 am

    How about getting Lords who do not use the internet, the elder group such as Baroness Trumpington etc; getting them to do video profiles on the website. Video profiles would bring a wider audience to the blog.

  9. C Nile
    27/02/2010 at 10:05 am

    Put the name of the person blogging at the top of the post (don’t rely on us recognising a photo), and get Norton his own blog (one can have too much of one person, even L.N.)

  10. Senex
    27/02/2010 at 2:46 pm

    Andy Williamson: On a different subject.

    I would like to see more detailed Parliamentary History translated and made available electronically in online searchable pdf’s.

    House libraries should also be opened up to online reading preferably free of charge.

    Parliament should be accountable to its heritage and all the brave souls that have endured so much on our behalf. Such knowledge is coveted by academics at the moment and needs to be opened up to a wider audience.

  11. JohnRS
    28/02/2010 at 11:25 am

    Why is it that you feel you neeed to spend more of our money to find out what we think?

    Just ask us.

    Do you not understand? We cant afford you!!

    • Len
      01/03/2010 at 1:01 pm

      This research, and indeed this blog, was organised by the Hansard Society, a charity funded by donations: not government, and not parliament. So none of your money (unless, of course, you donated to the Hansard Society) has been spent on this.

    • 15/06/2010 at 1:33 am

      Good to have possibly more than one serious democratic (or human-needs, questions, or constructive-submissions) two-way communication channel between the citizen and Parliament (and eventually with other ‘Powers-That-Be’ ?).

      Currently, perhaps historically too, this LOTB site appears to be the only seriously response-able and ‘citizenship-friendly’ channel, for the citizen to make responsible contact with our governors and advocates.

      ‘Saw-doctors’ have got away with that particular hijacking of a merit-title ; MPs have been likewise getting away with posing as medical-GPs opening up “Surgeries for Constituents”; but such is an immoral trickery, a Trojan-horse-like adolescent fantasy, and it is to be doubted that Lords would ever copy-cat such.

      Rather, let the Commons launch a Blogsite for the citizen, similar to the LOTB, and let them be in parallel not in competition.

      That way even the least-educated of the People will stand a chance of learning, and of participating democratically in the recognising of the Needs of the British People and the best-planning of how-to-meet them.

      Such a democratic-chance at present (10 June 2010) incidentally, does not even exist for Lords of the Upper House itself to make input to the newly created House of Lords Reform committee, whose inter-party fantasy-task, again incidentally, is strictly to write a Bill but in no way to argue over it the while !

  12. Chris F J Cyrnik
    28/02/2010 at 11:34 am

    Yes you can improve it…talk about repealing the smoking ban NOW!

  13. Reason
    28/02/2010 at 8:01 pm

    The “Lords of the Blog” is moderated with a heavy hand. It can be difficult to get comments posted past the censor.

    • Matthew
      04/03/2010 at 1:17 pm

      Really? I’ve never had a comment rejected.

      OTOH, it would be nice if the competition entries were more rapidly moderated (or unmoderated, or post-facto moderated) – it’s frustrating to research a set of answers to an apparantly still-open competition, only to discover one is the 3rd or 4th person to do so, but none of the earlier people have had their comments approved yet.

      • Dave H
        04/03/2010 at 3:05 pm

        I always assumed that competition entries were held off from publication until the required number of winners had been achieved. Obviously it can go longer than that depending on when they turn up, if the moderator is elsewhere.

  14. some bloke
    01/03/2010 at 2:42 am

    ditto. “Yes you can improve it…talk about repealing the smoking ban NOW!”
    Oh, and give us our EU referendum too.

  15. Chris K
    01/03/2010 at 4:57 pm

    In some ways I’m not really surprised at the number of people who think this is a government (ie taxpayer) funded initiative as one cannot turn on the tv or radio without being exposed to some propaganda of one sort or another. However, I rather doubt that even this spendaholic government would ever spend money on advertising the good work of the Lords!

    Also, I don’t know what some others are trying to post(!) but I think I’ve only ever fallen foul of the moderator once, and that was probably justified.

  16. beccy83
    01/03/2010 at 6:54 pm

    There have been a few comments about moderation on this post. Just to be clear about the process – the bloggers moderate their own comments mostly (occassionally picked up by Hansard Society admin if it’s busy) which is why it is not always instant. If the comments meet our moderation policy (see terms and conditions – they go up, if they don’t then they are not published (very few are ever actually rejected). If you are having problems with comments not appearing please email we do have quite an active spam filter which is regularly checked!

  17. Twm O'r Nant
    01/03/2010 at 7:25 pm

    There must be considerable value in endeavoring to develop a specialized Lords web log.

    Am I not correct in thinking that the only responsibility to the public, that peers have, is to patronize them, rather than to be patronized by them?

    So to have a polling survey mechanism for example, for the bloggers from without, would might be very tedious for Members from within.

    For bloggers from without to set their own
    subject matter might require too much close moderation, but it would have to be on the subject of bills and evidence gathering.

    For those who are as erudite as LN, and a dedicated teacher too, there is bound to be a two way exchange of ideas which might be useful in the development of thought on any given subject.

    It is difficult to know whether to engage in
    dialogue with other bloggers from without since the topic is set by the Peer him/her self, and replies seem to need to be directed back to them.

    I am all for the development of market research survey (referend-ums),ie politically motivated ones, which might be a niche to work on, and which we have seen no more of since the work of Benn and recently ennobled L Kinnock in the late 80s/early 90s.

    LN, contrary to comments above, is very good value indeed, though I say so myself!

    Politics gets different people in different ways!

    • lordnorton
      02/03/2010 at 7:01 pm

      Twm O’r Nant: Now I know why I have always regarded you as one of our most perceptive readers!

  18. Wolfgang
    01/03/2010 at 8:16 pm

    The problem is that they regularly censor posts that they don’t like.

    There is no notification that posts have been rejected or a reason why.

    I’ve pretty strong evidence too that emails are being banned. ie. If I post the same with a different email address or name the post goes through.

    I suspect this is down to the strong line backed up with evidence that the Lords have been very lax on supervising the cash that we are forced to pay.

    ie. Turn up, sign in, and check out with the cheque. It’s rampant.

    As for why we should now be forced to fund a sham, aren’t we brilliant website, which won’t accept that there are major issues with the Lords

    • edemprog
      02/03/2010 at 1:14 pm

      Neither the Hansard Society or the House or Lords Administration ever ‘censor’ a comment on the blog because we don’t like it. Open debate is one of the key values of the blog.

      What we do and will continue to do is reject comments that are offensive, malicious, personal, way off-topic (and we’re pretty relaxed on that) or potentially defamatory. In the two years of the blog, this amounts to less than a handful of the 9,000 comments posted.

      We publish a clear description of what is acceptable in the site’s terms and conditions.

      There have been some problems with over-zealous spam filtering (and beyond our control), but we monitor this regularly. No comment that arrives in the site gets deleted or ignored and if it were blocked, you would receive a messaage from us telling you that and why.


    • lordnorton
      02/03/2010 at 7:03 pm

      Wolfgang: Very few comments are deleted. Yours generally get through, despite the fact that they are repetitive and add nothing to the debate. Some of your comments, and those of other regulars, sometimes get caught in the Spam filter.

  19. Carl.H
    02/03/2010 at 3:11 pm

    As an administrator on a few forums I find the moderation here light and only apparently used when anything is written that could be construed as libellous, personal or defamatory. Quite often if you re-read your own post`s you may find remarks that are either personal or malicious without that intent, re writing the post with that context taken out results in it being approved.

    Beccy83 and edemprog do take time to explain which is more than you get on most forum, certainly mine.

    I have no problem with moderation here and I have been moderated.

  20. 02/03/2010 at 3:39 pm

    Can we have a Happy Day, once a week or even month if your life is that bad, when whingeing comments are held back?

  21. lordnorton
    02/03/2010 at 7:06 pm

    ladytizzy: A very good idea! I would vote for that.

    • edemprog
      02/03/2010 at 8:13 pm

      Me too 😉

  22. Dave H
    03/03/2010 at 2:19 pm

    One minor improvement – it would be good to get copies of my own stuff as it hits public view. I get emailed copies of what everyone else sends but not mine. I know I wrote it, but remembering it and searching for stuff is a lot easier if I have everything.

  23. Andrew Hunter
    03/03/2010 at 5:09 pm

    Hello Everyone,

    Lots of you have posted comments on this thread. Do please get in touch and take part in the reserach itself.

    This will be run using an online message board over 5 consecutive days. We ask people taking part to log in for around twenty minutes or so a day to give us your thoughts and suggestions on various topics.

    It’s an opportunity to have your say and improve the site for all users. If you are interested in taking part just send an email to either myself or Lizzie.

    Many thanks,

    Andrew Hunter – TNS-BMRB

Comments are closed.