it’s probably in everyone’s best interest if i write this post as an ongoing story
because i don’t want to jump into ‘wrong conclusions’ straight away and everyone is capable of making bad mistakes_ including errors of judgement _
that’s all fine and completely understandable _ on the condition that due apologies are made and the matter rectified as well as it may be _
11 March 2012
i began a correspondence with BBC via the general comments page which offered an opportunity to respond to research i am carrying out in preparation for an investigative article about BBC use of the terms ‘Islamist’ and ‘Muslim’ _ i thought my two questions were fairly simple and though the format of the message was formal it was also polite_ in other words written to encourage an intelligent and possibly ‘illuminating’ response _
the relatively short message that i sent can be seen on the blog vs BBC page _ however for anyone disinclined to switch back and forth here’s the highlights_
“i want to offer BBC the opportunity to respond to two questions
(A) does BBC recognise a formulated difference between the terms ‘Muslim’ and ‘Islamist’
(B) who is responsible for deciding which of these terms to use in any article/project
if this is not the correct location or medium to find the answers i’m looking for_ please would you be kind enough to let me know where i should more suitably direct my enquiry _ ”
the message ended with my written confirmation that the BBC had permission to publish my message_ my hope that i would receive a timely response and a word of thanks for their time _
within an hour i received an automated reply by email…
” 5 live Investigates _ firstname.lastname@example.org March 11
Thank you writing to 5 live Investigates. Due to the high volume of mail we receive we cannot respond to every email, but if you have submitted a suggestion for a story, it will be treated in confidence.
To find out more about our forthcoming programmes, visit the 5 live Investigates website:
To ensure you don’t miss an episode, you can subscribe to the 5 live Investigates podcast:
Or you can listen again using the BBC iPlayer: <web address>
You can also follow us on Facebook — search for 5 live Investigates.
We’re also on Twitter — @5LInvestigates.
If you want to make a complaint about 5 live or 5 live sports extra then comments need to be sent to us via the BBC Complaints Unit: <web address>
To make a complaint, phone 03700 100 222 <blurb about costs>
Or you can write to the following address: ” <etc etc>
it’s the kind of answer one would expect from an auto-response_ except it appears to have been sent from a particular programme_ rather than a general enquiries desk _ and from past experience of corresponding with programme producers, cameramen and other personnel i already know how they format individuals’ names for bbc.co.uk _ it most certainly is NOT with just a surname and no accompanying initials_ so i have no idea who or what ‘email@example.com’ might be _
BUT I’D BE FASCINATED TO FIND OUT!
a High Volume of auto-responders
having received nothing else by the afternoon of 14th March_ presumably because of the ‘high volume of mail ‘ mentioned by the auto-response email _ i decided to make a call to the number provided_ in truth it still seemed strange that i would receive anything from ‘Five Live’ _ a programme which i’ve never listened to or watched or indeed know anything about _
predictably i found myself pushing phone keys when asked to by an automated answering machine whose female voice i would only describe as ‘bright and chirpy’ _ i was finally informed that ‘due to the abnormally high volume of calls_ the BBC are unable to answer yours ‘ _ then i was referred to the online general comments page before the automated female wished me a cheerful ‘goodbye! ‘
so i will resubmit my enquiry_ because in view of the high volumes that the BBC is apparently experiencing everywhere at the moment (as opposed to hard-pressed minimal staffing levels relying on too much automation)_ my own ‘best practice’ would be to remain patient and wait my turn _
well and good_
however this time when i press ‘send’ i’ll hinclude the top paragraph of this post_ and a link _
meanwhile_ and as i wrote at the start_ instead of jumping to conclusions about BBC ‘best practice’
it’s probably in everyone’s best interest if i write this post as an ongoing story………