British Trams Online – Editor’s Comment

It probably won’t have escaped your notice that there has been a little bit of controversy on our News Pages in recent weeks, a lot of it – although not exclusively – coming from our reports on the Lancastrian Transport Trust. This had led to allegations that we aren’t as “neutral” as we used to be when reporting on stories and that we are seemingly against certain organisations – but nothing could be further from the truth.

British Trams Online seeks to report the facts on both heritage and modern tram operations in the UK and probably 99% of our stories are almost exclusively fact based although it is inevitable that opinions will creep in as we are humans and do actually have opinions on what we are writing about. Taking the Lancastrian Transport Trust stories as a basis for this comment I should point out that we do not enjoy having to report on what has been going on but the fact is these have been thoroughly researched (mostly by Andrew Waddington who has produced some excellent reports over recent weeks) and as far as we are concerned there have been no glaring inaccuracies. We were accused of not reporting the facts in these stories but despite being asked to tell us what was wrong we have not heard back from the LTT. I feel – and would hope that most readers of this website would agree – that we would be doing ourselves and tram enthusiasts a disservice if we did not report the facts as we have been presented. As always if anyone ever sees anything on the website which they feel is either obviously incorrect or misrepresents the facts please let us know and we will make corrections but if we aren’t corrected there isn’t a lot we can do about it as we aren’t mind readers!

This leads us on nicely to the Comments section of the News Pages, which has produced its own fair share of controversy recently. In seems that of late this has exploded with a lot more comments than normal received and each and every one of these has to be approved by a member of the British Trams Online team. Normally this is a very easy task as nothing untoward is posted but there have been occasions when messages have either been heavily edited or not posted in their entirety. We do have guidelines of what can and cannot be posted and these can be found on the right hand side of the News Blog and we ask that you continue to adhere to these. I do not want to remove the ability to post comments but there have been times when I have considered this would be the best thing to do as there have been arguments between different factions. These cannot be tolerated any longer as quite frankly we both have better things to do than check and double check messages before approving them.

From now on comments will be carefully considered before approval (and yes I know I’ve said that before but this time I mean it!) and we ask that you respect your fellow contributors when leaving a comment. Also please do not post continued messages on the same subject as that doesn’t really add anything to the discussions. Finally provocative user names will no longer be accepted – I’m sure you know the sort of thing we mean – and anyone using one we deem unacceptable will not have their message accepted regardless of the content.

Thank you and hopefully this helps to clear up some of the recent controversies on this website. Although I have personally had my doubts over the past few days about the continuation of the website we do remain committed to bringing you the latest news and photos from the UK’s tram systems and museums and will hopefully be in a position to do so for some time to come. And anyway there will be some news released later today which will hopefully make most tram enthusiasts happy and we can move onwards with a more positive outlook.

Please note because of these issues there are a number of items which should have been added to the website which haven’t been but these will follow over the coming weeks. And next weekend will also see the launch of the British Trams Online Tram of the Year 2013 contest.

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6 Responses to British Trams Online – Editor’s Comment

  1. tony stevenson says:

    you are doing a great job and yes you will have
    editorial problems from time to time but keep up the good work. Tony Stevenson

  2. Kevin Bartolf says:

    So sorry you feel that way, but please do not give up the website, it is so informative and full of interest I always enjoy reading what is happening in the tram world, there is not enough info on this subject. I am sure I am not the only one who wishes for you to continue, I am sure it is hard work but hopefully rewarding to you as it is to us the public who you keep informed of what is happening in the UK.

    • Ken Walker says:

      I couldn’t have put it better. We’re 100% behind Gareth and Andrew, this website is invaluable to tram enthusiasts.

  3. Garry Luck says:

    It is, without doubt, one of the most professional, informative and credible news feeds to which I subscribe; and that analysis, generally, also extends to the comments function. I would, however, prefer to see critical comments directed at the organisations concerned rather than the individuals representing those organisations.

  4. Steve Jones says:

    Gareth/Andrew,

    Agree with other comments, you are doing a great job. In trying to achieve up to date factual news reporting combined with informed comment you will never please everybody. This even more so because your site allows for comments from followers, and this is bound to lead to strong and differing views.

    The LTT debate was outside the normal level of response, and for understandable reasons. Passions have run high, many people feel let down and are deeply worried for the reputation of the enthusiast and preservation movement. Despite the impact LTT actions have had on BTOL in addtion to many others, most of us believe you managed balanced and informative reporting and comment.

    Please keep up the good work – we like what you do!!

  5. Howard Piltz says:

    How sad for such depression to set in. I echo those comments that appreciate the independent and factual reporting that I have had the pleasure of reading for some time now. In over 50 years involvement in transport related enthusiast arenas, current waves are nothing new and I trust Gareth and Andrew will persevere to ride out the storm.