It’s Which? Convo’s fifth Christmas! For some reason that makes me think of the joy of belting out ‘five gold rings!’ at the top of my lungs. Anyway, let’s get cracking with my look back at the past year.
First thing’s first – Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you’re all having a lovely day, whether you celebrate the occasion or not. There’s something about Christmas that makes me nostalgic, so I think it’s fitting to spend today gazing back through the past 12 months of Which? Convo.
Perhaps you’re taking a cheeky break from the family festivities, or you’re sipping a sherry (I’m a port man myself) after the Queen’s speech. Whatever the reason you’re reading this today, I want to thank you all for being here.
I think we made two major strides forward this year. Firstly, your voice is louder than ever, with your comments getting noticed beyond Which? – by companies, regulators and the Government. Secondly, there’s a much greater sense of community, with a huge amount of regular personalities. Credit to them for keeping this community as active and welcoming as it is – you all know who you are! Now on to the most popular debates of the year…
1. Turn it down will you? – 786 comments
It was Malcolm R who said he’s sometimes surprised by the debates that attract the most comments. For me, this just adds to the eccentricity of the site. And so it is with music in shops, where the volume of your disdain for songs in public places was turned up to 11. It’s not without notice – we’re flagging your comments with the shops mentioned.
2. We’re not fine with nuisance calls – 465 comments
Sadly nuisance calls are still here, but so are your comments. It’s due to the scale of your support that we’ve made so much progress on nuisance calls in 2014, including this debate about getting more cold calling firms fined.
3. We’re banking your comments – 458 comments
When the CMA announced a full investigation into the current account market you weren’t shy to share your experiences of the banks. We’ve now catalogued your comments by theme and bank/building society, meaning they can now inform our meetings with the banking industry and the CMA as it undergoes its investigation.
4. Your experiences with cracked Xperias – 428 comments
When I first brought the issue of mysteriously cracking Sony Xperia Z phones to the community, I was both pleased and disappointed at the trickle of cases that came in. Pleased because it seemed not many were affected, and disappointed because I was sure there were victims out there. Lo and behold, comments started to roll in. We’ve been on Sony’s case, and we won’t drop it in the new year.
5. Long live your washing machine – 372 comments
This is one of many debates related to faulty goods. It’s such a big bugbear of the community that Malcolm R wrote his very own Convo questioning whether the Sale of Goods Act was working for consumers. On this post, 96% of you said washing machines should be provided with a minimum lifespan.
6. What’s new copycat – 361 comments
Nothing annoys me more than people being fooled into wasting money on something they don’t need. Your comments about copycat websites not only aided our investigations, they helped us put pressure on the Government and search engines. What resulted was action from both – with Google joining us on the site to share the measures they’d taken.
7. Our survey says…
More than 20 polls surpassed 1,000 votes this year. And these polls aren’t just window dressing – we feature the results in our magazine, use them to inspire our policy and campaigning work, and we share them with decision makers. The top three polls enjoyed resounding results – you think the Food Crime Unit will give you greater confidence in the food you buy; Microsoft should give Windows 8 owners a free upgrade to Windows 10; and Brits are ripped off on tech products compared to US consumers.
8. How many guest posts?
2014 was the year Which? Convo became the place to be for guest authors. I’ll start with the abbreviations; FSA, FCA, FFA UK, ICO, TSB, SSE, FSB, FCO, CMA, RBS, OCU, Defra and BBA. Then the unabbreviated; Trading Standards, Google, Network Rail, Ofgem, Cabinet Office, PhonepayPlus, Age UK, Financial Ombudsman, Local Government Ombudsman and Sense About Science. And now some names; Sarah Beeny, Michael O’Leary, Ed Vaizey, Dr David Robert Grimes, Jo Swinson, Ros Altman, Prof. Chris Elliott, Earl Okin, Jane Bradley, Greg Barker, Vince Cable, Bernard Jenkin, Charles Campion and Frances Quinn. Phew.
9. You’re the stars of the show
As if that guest list wasn’t impressive enough, I’m even more happy that some of our guest authors were well-known community members! Malcolm R, John Ward, Socketman, Newt Beaumont, the 7-year-old Josh Gillingham and more. There are many more of those to look forward to in the new year!
10. Our comment of the year goes to…
Sophie Gilbert asked me whether we could award John Ward our comment of the year. With this being the comment in question, there’s no way I could refuse:
‘The Which? team certainly have something to be proud of this season and have undoubtedly disturbed a lot of cosy set-ups. I hope though, that the people whose corns you have trodden on and whose nerves you have set jangling, will not forsake the spirit of goodwill to all men and will remember you with fond greetings of hope for a prosperous and beneficent new year.’
We’ve got some big plans for the community in 2015 – from bringing you closer to the rest of Which?, to helping you show more of your personality. I’m very excited to share it with you, but in the meantime – have a Happy New Year and see you in 2015.