/ Money, Technology, Which? Membership

Welcome to the new Which? Conversation

Fireworks

Welcome to the new Which? Conversation website. Read on to hear about some of the site’s new features.

Following feedback from our community, we’ve been hard at work redeveloping Which? Convo. I’m very pleased to unveil it today, and I’d love to hear any feedback you have. Here’s a brief round up of some of the new features, but I’m happy to answer any questions you have in the comments.

Finding conversations you’re interested in

There are now nine Which? Convo topics – find them at the top of the site or on our homepage. So if you want to chat about slow broadband speeds, head on over to Technology. Peeved about supermarket special offers? Shopping’s where you need to be.

Within each topic you’ll find communities of people interested in the same stuff, so watch out for car enthusiasts in Motoring or financial experts in Money.

Your own profile

Everyone now has their own profile, not just authors!

Sign in with your existing Which? Convo credentials, then have a look at your profile to find a list of all the comments you’ve made. If there have been any replies to your comments, you’ll be notified of them here too. You can even @mention people in your comments – try @patrick and I’ll be alerted!

You can add some information about yourself, including any hobbies and interests. This will help others with similar interests find you in our new Community Members search page. And if you find someone you like, you can add them as a friend – this means you can more easily see what they’ve been talking about by filtering by ‘My friends’ on our Recent Activity page.

Recent activity

What’s the Recent Activity page? Well we heard you loud and clear that you were fed up with only being able to see just nine of the latest comments on our homepage. So rather than just increasing the number of comments you could see by a small amount, we thought we’d let you access all the comments that have ever been made in the past five years. That’s what the Recent Activity page is for – you can filter by comments, Convos, what your friends are saying, and more. If you want to come back to one of those comments so you can reply later, add it as a ‘favourite’ then you can filter by just your favourites too.

Got an idea for a convo?

You can now share your ideas for new conversations in our Ideas lounge. And if you’re not feeling inspired, why not vote for the ideas others have shared?

We’ll regularly check out your ideas and will be interested to see how popular they are with the community. We’ll let you know whether we’ve picked one of your ideas and may be in touch to ask if you’d like to write it!

Much, much more

You now have the chance to edit your comments for 15 minutes after you posted them, meaning you can now say goodbye to those peskey pesky typos. If you feel so inclined, you can sign in with your Twitter, Facebook or Google+ account – that makes registration all the quicker and will use your name and photo from your chosen account.

There are all sorts of other new things that I’ll leave you to discover, but in short welcome to the new Which? Convo! I know it’ll take some time to get used to, but I hope you like it. Of course, as with any new site launch there will be things we need to fix, so if you spot anything, please just add a comment here and I’ll look into it. Finally, a big thanks to all those who were involved in testing the website – we couldn’t have done it without you.

If you need any help finding your way around the new Which? Conversation, we have a Help Getting Started guide as well as a Frequently Asked Questions guide.

If you would like to discuss the closure of Which.net, you can do so in this dedicated discussion area.

Comments

I have tried changing my avatar back to the purple flying Alfa Romeo twice today and each time it has reverted to the spider.

Maybe if you start by getting the praying mantis to dispose of the spider….

It’s been a long time since you first mentioned this.

🙂 The bugs are brought over from the test system when we get updates.

I had given up hope that my QR code avatar would ever work again when we moved to the new Which? Convo, but someone kindly fixed it.

Hey @alfa, did you try to make this change recently (in the past week or so)? My reason for asking is that we’ve not actually deployed anything from the test site in a couple of weeks now, so if you’ve tried within the past week or so it may be that something else is amiss.

Would you be able to send me the image you’re trying to change it to as well (over to conversation.comments@which.co.uk)? That’ll help me look into what’s going on here and attempt a fix if possible.

The Battle Of My Avatars

Jon, back in July 2015, I was involved in system testing the new style convos which we have now.

One of the tests I did was to change my avatar to the spider, then change it to the praying mantis (it might have been the other way around but was definitely these 2). That test system was the only place I have used these 2 avatars.

Somewhere along the line, the test and live systems have become out of sync as sometimes when changes are made the old avatars reappear which they did in October. It will also be the reason other faults rear their heads here.

I don’t usually have to do anything as the flying alfa usually reappears when I mention it.

I think that should work – I’ve purged out the old user images on this site, and have replaced it with a crop of your Battle of the Avatars. Hope that works for you?

I’d be curious to see if this does happen again, not least as I can’t find either avatar of yours on test. My guess is that you’ll default to the gravatar auto-generated image, but we’ll see!

Getting there . . . one bug gone. 🙂

Spider still here in public. Praying mantis gone from profile and now showing car.

one bug gone.

I see what you did there!

In the back end you’re not yet in the car, so will see if it’s a case of something needing to sync, or if there’s more I can do at this stage.

Jon – Is there any chance we can have the return of single-line spacing for editing comments in the near future?

Glad to see the page numbers are back properly – I’d still like to see numbers 2-5 also appearing.

Thanks

I was going to ask the same when the Alfa Romeo Spider problem had been resolved. 🙂

That’s worrying – I’d thought we’d fixed the double spacing by now!

@johnward, have you tried clearing your browser cache and do a hard refresh on of the site? (In Chrome, press F12 to open the developer tools pane, then right click on the page refresh button in your window tool bar and choose Empty cache and hard reload. You can then close the developers tools pane).

That tends to be a good first step when issues are emerging (or re-emerging, as sometimes is the case).

If that doesn’t work, let me know what browser you’re using and I’ll get on the case.

It’s a web of problems, these days!

In seriousness, I don’t expect @alfa‘s profile image issue and the double spacing issue to stem from the same issue as they’re coming from different components on the site. Could be having a knock on effect on each other though, or speak to a different issue. Either way, I’m on both of these now.

While you are looking at these bugs Jon, the comment box expander in the bottom right-hand corner doesn’t always work properly.

It suddenly seems to work when first typing the comment but not when you go back into it to edit.

I see the page numbers are back in the centre of the page and the nearly invisible numbers have gone. Thanks for that.

Thank you Jon.

The current browser on the laptop I am using today is IE 11.

The “number of comments” has now just become a small (font size, not value) number almost to be overlooked. It is not the most important feature of a Convo, but interesting to see how many comments have been made.

Is this deliberate or by accident?

I didn’t notice that change, Malcolm, but it seems to be back to normal now.

Not on my PC. I’ve just cleared cookies and will see if that has any effect (not sure why).

Cookies are worth clearing, but it’d probably be more your browser cache that will have more of an impact here. The cache works to load web pages faster by storing commonly used elements, so a relatively small change like comment bubble rendering may not get reloaded each time.

At the moment there’s a few issues with the comment bubbles dancing, generally. I’ve got my eye on it to see if I can figure out the rhythm and then will see if I can cut in.

I’ve had a bit of a play with IE 11 on this one and haven’t been able to replicate the double-spacing in the comment box. This is likely that it’s a browser I don’t use regularly though, and so there’s no site history or cache built up.

Did you try the clearing your cache? (In IE 11, click on the Settings gear and choose Internet Options. Next, in the General tab, click on Delete… in the Browsing History section, make sure Temporary Internet Files and website files, and Cookies and website data are both ticked. If you have Conversation favourited, untick “Preserve Favourites website data” as well. Then, click Delete).

Also, would you have another browser to check this on that particular laptop? Chrome or Firefox would help here, as this’ll help me determine if it’s a general issue with the site, or specifically limited to IE.

Thanks for your help on this as well @johnward.

Hi Jon – The double-spacing appears when going back to edit comments rather than when writing a post. I’m using Safari on a Mac and don’t believe this is browser-specific.

I am using Firefox and also get the double-spacing.
1
2
3
4
5
When editing, the comment box expander in the bottom right hand corner won’t expand beyond number 4 above.

I have just logged in again with IE11.

The double spacing is still there and the comment box expander is missing.

Edited …
The box expander is still missing when editing the post.

Jon, I don’t get the double-spacing when I create a post. It is only when I go back in and edit it.

I frequently delete my Temporary Internet Files folder so there is nothing stored there.

I see that too.
For example, using Brave on a clean install of Windows 10, and with cookies and cache cleared just now, I’m still seeing double spaced lines in this edit.

Picking up on @malcolm-r‘s comment, we can certainly reflect more of the comment roundups if you find it useful to do so?
We’ve done this irregularly in the past (see https://conversation.which.co.uk/tag/best-comments/ and https://conversation.which.co.uk/tag/roundup/). I think these have fallen a bit by the wayside in that they tend to get less engagement than one would expect, and didn’t often lead to more action. Cash week is also a bit more interesting in that developments are happening over on the Campaign liveblog (see: https://campaigns.which.co.uk/freedom-to-pay/), and a lot of the activity will also be happening on social channels throughout the week. We’re planning on on updating this page alongside those, so more to come there.

It’s certainly not a case of steamrolling, as you’ve put it though – that which has come before has been key for developing this idea, more a case of doing more to reflect this outwards in a way that doesn’t put too much of a pause on the discussion. We can do more though to reflect this outwards, so happy to start working this into the output.

@Jon Stricklin-Coutinho

I’m getting an error message when visiting Which Conversation

It’s saying

Connection is not secure
Your connection is not private and information you share with the site could be viewed by others
This website contains content that is not secure

Any idea why it’s saying that?

Hi Wev – thanks for spotting. This was a mixed content error caused by a couple of users’ profile images loading in over HTTP instead of HTTPS. I’ve manually corrected the URLs to use HTTPS this time, and this should be reflected in a few hours max. We had something in place to automatically fix this issue, but clearly we need to look at it again to ensure it’s working as intended.

Rest assured, there is no risk to users posed by this, and we hope to have a permanent fix very soon.

Thanks Adam

Any idea when I’ll receive a reply to my campaign suggestion?

It’s at the bottom of page 30 of this convo

I don’t know if it’s been mentioned before, but I see there’s a mismatch between the way topic pages are numbers and the index pages are numbers. In topics, for example, the earliest page is page 1, so it’s simple to see how many pages precede the one currently shown.

But in the main index the current page is 1, while the earliest page is in the thousands.

Just to flag up we’re currently working on fixing an issue with the password reset functionality. When resetting your password, the first link sent out doesn’t function and redirects to a WordPress login, whereon you can request a new (and functioning) reset link.

This may affect how the site’s commenting is working, so please do flag up any issues you’re experiencing here.

Hi Jon,
I have just taken a couple of screen snips:

Don’t seem to be able to load the rest of the comments.
The comment box has gone to the top of the page.

You are having problems.

Just posted and got pop-up message:

o.message is undefined

In addition, there’s something very wrong with the page numbering in The Lobby. I see now that it only take two comments to become a ‘page’.

Just selected previous page in The Lobby and got:

Comment id undefined

The new lobby has likely become too big – after a certain number of comments/pages it struggles to function normally. We’re aware and looking into setting a new one up soon.

I have certainly encountered a few glitches this morning with chronological misplacement, comments not posting for some time, and strange error messages. It seems to have rectified itself now though. George’s explanation seems plausible but there hasn’t been much traffic to the Lobby lately compared with some of the coronavirus-inspired Conversations.

Update [fifteen minutes afterwards]: I wrote too soon. The site has certainly not rectified itself and seems to have gone haywire. New comments are not appearing in the “Latest comments” list, comments are going in out of order, and the new comment box has done a funny. I am leaving it alone for a few hours now. Best of luck with sorting it out

There are problems all over the shop – we know the cause now and Jon is working on it. Bear with us.

I think I will keep my distance until Convo is showing signs of recovery. Get well soon.

Thanks all – we’re currently working through the comment ID undefined errors, reinstating the comment pages (instead of “Load more comments”) and reverting a few of the changes on the server end.

Bear with us, normal service to be restored soon.

It is definitely a topsy-turvy site this morning as comments are upside down and posting at the top.

Updating on where we are currently with the topsy-turvy world of Convo at the moment (14:35) – we’re attempting to revert some code back to a previous state to fix the changed commenting functionality and page numbers, however this appears to be stalling in its deployment. This may take a bit longer than expected, but we’re still on the case.

The commenting function is still usable, albeit in a different order than one is used to: new comments appear at the top, and pages are currently replaced by a “load more comments” option. While we’re here I’d be interested to know what you guys think of this layout – I can see some benefit of it being easier to see newer comments first as you scroll down, equally though larger conversations are a lot less manageable.

I’ll comment separately with one key bit of functionality that isn’t currently working as planned so as to make it a site feature.

I would prefer the new sequence of comments, with the latest first, but that will depend on how replies are ordered – presumably they will still have to be sequential chronologically with the latest last so that it still reads as a conversation from the top downwards. It could work, layout-wise and I expect people would soon get used to it.

I would then like to see the page numbers at the top of the comments instead of at the bottom as now. That would help new readers to see that there are previous pages that they might like to read before commenting.

Something funny has also happened with the avatar alongside the comment box – it is now almost obliterated by a large quotation mark which overlays the graphic.

I like John’s suggestion of page numbers at the top though.

I don’t like going down then back up, makes you dizzy and lose your place especially if there are a lot of comments.

Ideally I would likethe page numbers to be at the top and at the bottom of the page.

On the question of the comments running south to north and the replies going north to south [as now], that was my reservation, Alfa. Thinking back to some of the Conversations we have had on here it could get quite complicated. Because this acts like a conversation rather than a list of standalone comments I think it needs to remain as it is . . . but I am not averse to trying a different way if it works and a border or box can be used to indicate each thread. However, I don’t think a reordering would make things better when someone posts a Reply in the main Comment box – and we all do that from time to time because we can’t see what degree of indent we are at.

The inset issue is interesting. I’ve never liked it but I can see, in the absence of a quote function, the need for some way of keeping related comments in roughly the same area.

I believe we will be getting an entirely new software package in the not too far distant future. I imagine the current lockdown has put the brakes on that for a while, but it has been in the pipeline and it’s something to which it’s worth looking forward.

I would hope some of the regulars will be asked to trial it.

I prefer the present system because it groups comments. It’s easy enough to quote a recent comment when necessary, and we can put a link if to a distant comment or one in another Convo.

We’re currently experiencing issues with the Sign in/Register link in the main toolbar. For the moment, please use https://conversation.which.co.uk/wp-login.php to log in or reset your password.

The issue is due to some corrupt code in the custom login page that pops up when clicking on the main link. A fix is in the work, and we’ll update here when done.

Commenting without logging in is unaffected.

Jon, don’t you have a test system to try updates before putting them live?

I can’t log in at the moment.

I can now !!!

We do and were happy that our initial fix worked there, though in the case of a password reset fix we also needed to test this on live. On the one hand the disruption certainly was not helpful, on the other though it helped us discover and sort another error on the server side, so there’s at least one silver lining.

Update at 16:00 – back to normal. Comment layout, page numbers, and orders are back to normal, and you should also now be able to log in as normal from the Sign In/Register link in the Conversation toolbar. Apologies for any disruption this has caused you today.

Unfortunately we’re still experiencing the issue with password reset links: at present, if you request a password reset link to be sent to you, the link will return an error and direct you to the WordPress login screen. You can request a new link from this screen, and this will work.

This is due to the earlier mentioned issue in the Sign in/Register code, which we’ll aim to fix later this week once happier with how it will affect the rest of the Conversation.

In the mean time, if you need to reset your password, you can request a link here: https://conversation.which.co.uk/wp-login.php?action=lostpassword. (The Forgotten your Password link in the Sign In/Register box will also work, though requires the additional step noted above.)

All is well here. I did have to log in but that happens occasionally. Thanks for your efforts, Jon.

Please could our Jon and colleagues have a look at this and subsequent posts: https://conversation.which.co.uk/motoring/driving-coronavirus-lockdown-rules-uk/#comment-1597401

No worries @wavechange!

At the moment the text is a dark-ish gray (#757575, if you’re using the hex codes) on a slightly off-white background (#eaedf2), so close to black, and close to white. This comes from the site’s current theme which dates back to 2015 – a bit before my time here, so while I would assume contrast between text and background entered into the design process, I can’t say so from direct experience.

I’d be interested to know: if you were to change the appearance of the commenting boxes, what would you suggest the colours to be? What other changes would you suggest (e.g. variable text sizing? different fonts?)

If eye strain or contrast is an issue for you generally (e.g. not just here), it might be worth considering a browser extension to change up how the site appears to you.

I’ve been using this High Contract plugin to change up how pages look. It gives you a bit more control over what you’d find useful on the page (e.g. more colour, more grayscale, specific appearances for specific sites).

I don’t know if you read my comment Jon, but I tried a shade of grey between the current one and pure black. On my screen it looked better.

I did! Which shade did you try, and was it on the same off-white background or a different colour?

All I did was use the snipping tool and paste into paint, so keeping the same background.

I then enlarged the print to pick a shade mid-way and used a similar font. It was roughly halfway between the current and pure black.

I have a new monitor and am still playing around with the settings. I think how a page is perceived depends a lot on how the screen is set up.

Edited . . . Page is out of sync with wavechange.

Thanks Jon. I stand corrected in thinking that the text is black. I am happy with what we have but would not object to you experimenting with the colours and fonts.

It’s not relevant to the website but John made a useful point about pdf documents containing dark text not being ideal for printing.

Caught that one as well, and on the case with it. More to come!

For sheer legibility and ease of use nothing beats Black text on White background, IME.

When I was a lecturer we were made aware of the differing needs of people. Some prefer high contrast but for others this can be a real problem.

It’s often said that it is much easier to read what is on paper, yet the popularity of e-readers and tablets demonstrates that many can cope well with reading screens.

For a given font style the ability to read text comfortably depends upon age, contrast and size (disabilities aside). I prefer high contrast – black on white – but we must also consider the appeal of presentation. This can go badly wrong in paper publications, particularly with glossy paper, when taken too far such as dark text on a darkish background or a poor choice of colours. It is clear this is done in any cases in the absence of any input from someone knowledgable about such matters.

I have no problems with the readability of Convos. Those who do find any difficulty and cannot change the contrast can easily change the size of text to restore adequate readability.

Em says:
26 May 2020

Good morning all,

My experience is mainly to do with printed and PDF accessibility, but I use WCAG 2.1 AA or AAA standards to call out “blunders” by our design agencies, where marketing aesthetics trumps accessibility.

I see there’s a lot of well known contributors here, so I suggest at least some of you might like to explore this world in more detail and feed back your findings to Which? in a way that their web developers should understand.

“The A11Y project” has a lot of useful resources. A11Y is a not very good numeronym (like K9 for dogs) for Accessibility. You can also search “WCAG” for lots of web standards and other information. I won’t give the website links here because they get held up in moderation.

Running the A11Y contract tool yesterday, I got slightly different results to Jon. The text is dark grey (x555555) on pure white (xFFFFFF). This gives a contrast ratio of just over 7:1, which is roughly AAA standard.

“AAA” means that most sighted people should be able to read the content without resort to aids and enhancements, typically required by partially-sighted or blind users. Of course, contrast ratio is just one aspect – font style (serif/sans-serif, point size, emphasis (bold/italic/stroke weight) all affect readabiliity.

Thanks Em. Perhaps it’s time you were allowed to post links without prior moderation.

It can be difficult to understand the needs of others. I well remember when a colleague pointed out that some of the slides I used in safety briefing and introduction to practical classes were hard for him to read, simply because he was colour blind. That’s not something that I could relate to, but it’s a very common problem. It was my introduction to the differing needs of individuals.

Em says:
26 May 2020

@wavechange – I’ve been aware of Daltonism (after John Dalton – chemist – atomic theory) since I was a kid, although I do not suffer from it.

Even to this day, I have to remind corporate clients and design agencies that they cannot present and differentiate financial and other key information by colour alone, e.g. in the form of a red/green pie chart with colour key.

Fortunately, the law is now on my side as recent legislation requires “reasonable adjustments” to be made for any form of disability. The requirement is anticipatory, so it is not sufficient to wait until someone complains for more common disabilities. Since an estimated 8% of men have Daltonism, it is not acceptable.

Interestingly, Trump’s favourite(?) prophylactic Hydroxychloroquine, can lead to acquired colour-blindness, potentially further reducing his ability to see red warning signals.

I suppose I became aware of Daltonism because of the concern about the old wiring colours used for flexible cables. It’s not a good idea to mix up Live (or Line if you must) with Earth when wiring a plug, in the days before products came with a fitted mains plug. Someone could have spotted this before we standardised on red/green/black in the early days. Having studied chemistry as a student I’m very comfortable with the term Daltonism, but tend to use ‘colour blindness’ because it’s likely to be known by more people. 🙁

I know employers have to make reasonable adjustments and was involved in making this happen in university teaching, but don’t know what requirements there are for websites used by the general public.

Mr Trump often makes me see red, but maybe my judgement is coloured.

The angle of the screen relative to the angle of vision can make a significant difference to the readability of text. It’s worth trying to adjust that for optimum resolution.

My concern was the legibility of text during composition rather than after posting when the text becomes sharper.

That’s very true and one of the advantages of using laptop computers and tablets is that it is so easy to adjust the angle, which can also avoid problems with reflections.

Over the years, flat screens have improved but some are still have a wider viewing angle than others.

On my computer, the text in the dialogue box looks larger and bolder than in the the post above – if anything more legible.

It’s worth zooming in if that improves readability. I do this automatically on many websites, not because I cannot read the small text but I prefer larger text for proof reading.

These thumbs, these thumbs, these damned thumbs

George asked us to move a recent debate about thumbs over here and pointed out that Jon was on holiday last week. Perhaps we could now have a discussion about thumbs and maybe Jon could explain why they are seen as valuable.

I would prefer that the thumbs were scrapped or if those who had voted could be identified, for example by placing the cursor over a thumb, which is a common system.

Over the years there have been allegations of people manipulating the system, but wonder if are they innocent themselves?

One way of manipulating thumbs is to add some comment that might not be very relevant in the context but is likely to gain support. Popular examples are words to the effect that Which? should take action or that we should buy goods made in Britain rather than China.

I agree.

Many comments contain a mixture of ideas or suggestions, not necessarily contradictory but leaving the reader unclear what they are voting for. Sometimes I can agree with most of the views expressed in a comment but find the proposal in the final paragraph or sentence unacceptable so neither ‘I agree’ nor ‘I disagree’ are appropriate. Thus the thumbs are meaningless and superfluous. The ‘nett’ thumb count after discounting negatives or positives is a pointless feature. Add in the hostile element and I struggle to see any justification for them at all so I look forward to seeing Jon’s reasoning.

Thanks John. It looks as if you have marked up my post and I now feel somewhat obliged to mark up yours.

Sometimes we have long and amicable discussions without a single thumb and then someone comes along and starts adding thumbs.

I’d be interested to know if, and how, thumbs can be manipulated. One commenter some while ago said it was simple to add multiple thumbs (+ and -). If I try to mark up my own comment (I don’t suppose anyone else has tried that 🙂 ) I get a message telling me it was nice try etc, and if I try to vote someone up more than once – well, I’m sure you’ve had the message.

The sooner they are dealt with and we rely on comments that identify the commenter the better, in my view – with moderator intervention where appropriate.

The problem is they add nothing. In one forum I administer we have them, but it shows who’s posted the thumbs. And we only have positive ones.

Alfa argued cogently for keeping the thumbs; her reasoning was to an extent they prevent bullies and keep some posters in order, and secondly, they obviate the need for multiple small posts.

Both those points are valid but I believe the problem is that those who indulge in bullying and aggressive posting, such as we saw during any debate that mentioned Brexit, know how to manipulate the system and do so, to judge from the staggering number of up thumbs that would appear after only a couple of such postings. And we have active moderation that should deal with those who bully or make aggressive posts.

My other gut feeling is that they actively inhibit debate. Technically, they mean agree of disagree, but the thumbs that appear on jokes indicate approval, so the currency is inherently devalued at that point.

This software inhibits open debate, anyway, and believe new software is being developed at the moment to replace it. If we had a firm date for that and it’s not too far off, perhaps we could simply wait for the new system. However, turning them off can only have a positive effect, I suspect.

Attack of the Stuck Record

Wavechange – I am not sure whether or not I did mark up your post. I should have done so but I can’t remember. If I did then someone else has neutralised it.

Em says:
27 May 2020

@malcolm r – I won’t tell you how it’s done here, but that’s 6 Eurovision votes from me for your comment. I don’t even need to sign in.

You certainly did, John, but I’m not going to lose sleep over it.

Em says:
27 May 2020

And I rather like my own post too but only half as much as your’s.

So kind, Em. I now know realise that the embarrassment of the Eurovision Song Contest may have been a factor in the decision to leave the EU.

Thanks Em. Such an accolade was not deserved. 👍👍👍👍👍👍

👍 Maybe that’s the solution, Malcolm. Include the thumbs in the following post. No-one can take them away unless reporting a comment as rude or offensive.

I don’t see the point of thumbs at all, wavechange. The comment should say it all.

I must admit I agree; which in itself should say something 🙂 The thumbs cause nothing but problems. I suggest we have them turned off for a trial period – say, six months, and then their effectiveness or loss can be reviewed.

That’s my preference, Malcolm, and has been since it became popular to take Convos off-topic by discussing thumbs.

We are guests here and can only suggest our views. Even though we may never be party to how Which? prioritises its work it seems not unreasonable to ask for an explanation of why thumbs are retained when they cause so much grief.

So, thumbs!

The main reasons we’ve kept the thumbs voting in play is in the opportunity for quick sentiment analysis, and in giving an opportunity for a different level of participation.

Where there have been clear indications of strong agreement on a comment and it’s relevant to do so, we’ll often aim to highlight this on the site, or in an insight roundup, or flag these specifically to a content author/team.

Similar to how you can comment without registering a full user account, we’ve also kept it open to guests both in our aim to be as accessible as possible at every level. In that we know not everyone likes to comment, for whatever reason – they don’t feel welcome, or they don’t have much to say, or someone said it better already.

Maybe 10% of total site users engage by commenting, whereas a much higher number (40-50%) engage in lighter ways such as polls or comment votes. Other people may not want to create an account on Which? Conversation for whatever reason, but may still have something to say or agree with what’s been said, and this gives avenue for them to do so.

As a whole though, it’s an underused feature. Most people simply do not use the comment votes, or use them irregularly at best. Most people who vote on comments do so as a guest, and of these ~55% are treated as new visitors to the site, so albeit irregularly, it is proving helpful as a very light way to participate.

Moreover, apart from the discussions we’ve had with you guys there hasn’t been that much feedback on them either – good or bad or even neutral. With this in mind, it’s been difficult to justify the development cost of improving or changing the system over other areas of the site.

So after all the past discussion are you proposing a change or not? Remember, Which? did change from what some regard(ed) as a more acceptable situation, separate thumbs up and down.

The feeling so far, among a few, is to abolish them. If they are to be retained in any form the issue of misuse should be addressed. That doesn’t help your analysis, I imagine.

I would hope the purpose of a Conversation is exactly that – to converse, exchange views. So written contributions have far, far more value than a thumbs down.

We should be encouraging more to join in regularly; apart from “outsiders”. Which? has – what is it without looking up – 680 000 members? How come so few contribute to Convo. Why is Convo no longer mentioned regularly in the mag? Maybe we should be making Convos more appealing to contributors; by, for example, more interaction and interest from Which?, and signs that when constructive and informative contributions are made they are seen to be used in Which?’s work.

The main criticisms of these – that votes are being manipulated, that it’s widespread and untrustworthy – are somewhat founded.

Abuse of the voting feature is not widespread (again, the feature isn’t that well used), but it is there, and it is fairly easy to do.

I’d previously addressed the front end functionality that prevents users from voting more than once on page. This is the pop up message you see – should that function fail to launch, it appears to the user as though they can vote multiple times. This is pure page function though – only one vote gets actually recorded in the voting log, and refreshing the page / clearing the cache tends to reset the votes to the proper value.

The deeper issues is more that some users are effectively posing as multiple guest users to game the system. We capture enough data in the voting logs and elsewhere that, once you arrange it in the right way, you can see the patterns of which comments are getting specifically upvoted or downvoted, and indeed, which user or users might be responsible. What’s particularly stood out to me are how particular commenters are being targeted in both directions – false inflation of comments, others with targeted downvotes. It’s really disappointing to see this feature being weaponized as it undermines any trust in the discourse that happens here.

I’m not going to call out people here apart to say that this is clearly against the site terms and conditions, so unless you’d like an enforced holiday from the site I suggest going legit with your comment votes.

There is a need, though, to find a balance. How do we give people the chance to participate when they don’t want to comment, as indeed more people are finding it useful to agree or disagree in this way than not. Equally though, I’m not happy to leave open a loophole in which people are able to abuse other users on the site in an attempt to manipulate the conversation and undermine trust in the discourse. That just simply should not be happening.

As a compromise, I’m going to trial setting comment voting for logged-in users only. This is achievable without great development cost, and maintains a way to participate without commenting – albeit with a door slightly less open than before. I’d propose this as a trial due to the risk of it complicating the dual-login issue further, but I’ll monitor that. I’m conscious Em, Wev (if you’re out there), and others don’t have accounts set up, so apologies that this may potentially exclude you. You’re most welcome to set up an account – it’s free to do, doesn’t lead to any additional emails (unless you opt in), and you’ll also be able to build comment karma, which means stuff like posting links doesn’t automatically send you to moderation.

Going further forward, in principle I like the idea of showing who’s agreed/disagreed, having a wider field of reactions generally, and/or setting a nudge for users who agree or disagree to comment further, though these would require development. I think the idea of having net 👍 and 👎 scores rather than amalgamated scores has proven the most consistently popular option alongside that, so I’ll get that in the works as an actual feature unless there’s a strong objection otherwise.

Thanks Jon. I’m all in favour of trying alternatives, though what annoys me is the way the topic of thumbs keeps resurfacing during useful discussions.

Abuse is uncommon, just unpleasant when it happens. I would rather see people’s reason for disagreement.

If you want a proper judge of sentiment then it might be useful to run more relevant polls, maybe at appropriate points in a Convo?

Kevin says:
27 May 2020

This is a storm in a teacup, if you get downvoted, get over it; it’s the Internet. I use it if I agree or a post has useful information, or sometimes if it’s just funny. I’m not going to write chapter and verse on the comical nature of a joke or why 2FA is a good idea for online accounts.

I haven’t registered because:
1) I already have enough accounts to keep track of and have a fundamental dislike of registering on what is essentially just another social media site. See Easyjet or any of the thousands of hacked user identity databases for why pointless online accounts are a bad idea.
2) I pay my Which? subscription and have a Which? account, and don’t see why it’s necessary to create a separate convo account. Google ‘PAM’ – pluggable authentication module, it should not require excessive development cost.

”if you get downvoted, get over it”. That is not the issue as far as I am concerned. I consider they add little or no value to a Convo in most cases. If someone has a disagreement with a comment then why not explain why?

I had expected that conversations on serious topics, hosted by Which?, would have genuine purpose and contribute to Which?’s work; one way to get Member engagement. I had not thought it as just an internet chat room.

Thanks, Jon. I am happy with the way you propose to go forward.

I respect Kevin’s and other’s wish not to register. They can still express their support or disagreement for something if they want to.

Kevin says:
27 May 2020

Hi Malcolm, perhaps because it may spawn a partisan tat (sic) for tat meandering and endless stream of self-justification, straw man arguments, selective quoting and misrepresentation of the opposing view, adding nothing of substance?

This isn’t meant as a general criticism, but it seems to me a common enough event, and more pernicious than a down/up vote.

I’m concerned about the lack of empathy for the views of others on Convo, Kevin. If I ran the show the dialogue box would state: “My view is” to emphasise that this is a personal opinion and not one that anyone else should be expected to accept. Often a new face posts a useful question and the regulars pounce on it and are soon on another topic.

Single sign-on is coming to Which? but I don’t know when. It annoys me to have to sign-in to listen to a programme on BBC iPlayer and then having to confirm that I have a TV licence.

Kevin says:
27 May 2020

hi Malcolm,
apologies for the terminology “just another social media site”, I meant in functionality, not content.

I have found a wealth of useful and interesting content from the members, often superior to the magazine content; the editors should make better use of it, as pointed out by numerous convo members.

Thanks Jon, I am pleased the thumbs are staying. They give a voice to thousands of other visitors who for whatever reason don’t want to put words on paper. It would be very unfair to them if a tiny minority of users had them removed.

I like the idea of showing the net scores but not sure about showing who made them as it could encourage tit for tat in both good and bad ways. Being logged in to use them could encourage more people to register and post. Thousands of replies are given to non-registered posters who don’t respond possibly because they can’t find their posts again. Kevin, if it makes life easier, I use the same login for both the convos and my Which? account.

Malcolm did appear to be unfairly targetted, and it is sad that this happens here. Whoever is doing this wants a reaction, so don’t give them one, just ignore it. If you want to say something, hit the report button and say it there. Hopefully, if the perpetrator reads Jon’s post, they will stop.

Hello, Alfa 🙂 I can live with disagreement.

My concerns are twofold, if Conversations are to have any purpose and to be productive.

First, I don’t see the value in marking down without giving a reason; that seems to add nothing and I don’t see the point in attracting visitors unless they add something to or gain something from a Convo topic. Just adding numbers of visitors for its own sake does not seem to me to be a useful aim; we should surely want to encourage people to contribute.

Second, the thumbs system seems flawed and when misused detracts from the Convo and the efforts of constructive contributors.

However, I’m just repeating a personal view. I’ll, of course, leave it to Which?

Far more important, again in my view, is to get Which? as an organisation (apart from the managers) far more involved in appropriate Convos, responding to questions and comments routinely, making use of material provided and constructing some Convos to achieve results that can advance Which?’s work.

I’d also like to see Convos and topics publicised to all Members to encourage far more to contribute – regular contributors seem to represent around 0.001% of the membership – and regular reports and reviews of serious Convo topics in the magazine. We’ve heard a lot about more Member engagement but, far from being developed it seems to have gone backwards.

As a compromise, I’m going to trial setting comment voting for logged-in users only
https://conversation.which.co.uk/which-membership/welcome-to-the-new-which-conversation/#comment-1597647

So far, in my view, this has had a very positive effect.

Interesting.

The deeper issues is more that some users are effectively posing as multiple guest users to game the system.

I’m not going to call out people here apart to say that this is clearly against the site terms and conditions, so unless you’d like an enforced holiday from the site I suggest going legit with your comment votes.

I suppose direct threats like that demonstrate to the ‘community’ members exactly how they are perceived.

Which is interesting. Which? was started to promote the concept of a cooperative enterprise to support consumers against the might of retailers and producers.

The important word there is “cooperative”. Patrick Steen (and many before him, interestingly) was anxious to create a real sense of community in here. A community that would work with Which? and be seen as active participants in developing W? Cs into something special. For a variety of reasons many of the developments he promised were in the pipeline didn’t materialise, but he worked hard to create the impression that our participation mattered.

I can never, ever remember hearing him issue a threat to anyone. So this is a first for Which? and Which? Conversations. But it’s not actually a first in this topic.

In a comparatively recent exchange posts were removed without warning and some regulars were treated rather patronisingly, like badly behaved children.

What’s interesting here is that both instances reveal a perception on the part of some in the management of the ‘Regulars’ and their contributions. And this goes a great deal further than thumbs and registration. I believe it goes to the heart of how we, as a core group of regular contributors, with—in at least two cases— more than twenty four years of online participation with Which?, are seen.

So I think we should know: are we, as a group of regular contributors, valued and seen as adding to the overall ethos of the site, or are we seen as irritants, with no really positive contributions, or perhaps worst of all do we even register?

There was, at one time, a sense that what we said mattered. Because essentially most of us support Which? and its ideals and feel it’s far too important to fail. But that doesn’t seem to be the case at the moment.

But now we have, almost to a person, argued that the thumbs should go, because they serve no useful function and can serve to skew the direction of a debate.

But it seems that’s not going to happen, because the thumbs are staying and even the suggestion that we trial removing them for a six month period has not even been addressed.

I see the current slogan is “Look deeper, choose smarter”. At one time it was ‘The ISP you can Trust”. Funny how times change.

I’ve gone along with the argument for removing thumbs as I tend to agree that they can be a lazy comment with no substance. If Which? think they are useful as a public opinion poll, then perhaps, they should improve the system to ensure that positive thumbs stay positive and negative thumbs stay negative. Anyone then looking can see what the opinion has been.
I don’t see why anyone would want to write under a second pseudonym unless they are afraid of being censured. (Perhaps stupidly, I didn’t even have a first pseudonym, though I can tell you that most folk don’t call me Vynor. This is a family name I inherited in a parental aberration of some sort and was a mis-spelling of Vinor. I know that from the grave of my progenitor. Most things arriving here with that on the cover want money from me and come in brown envelopes.) Enough autobiography. The use of a second name, pretending to be someone else seems to be detectable. Those caught should be exposed.

Using thumbs instead of posting is not always laziness.

Sometimes I have time for quick read but not enough time to write a comment. I often use a thumb sometimes with the intention of coming back later to write something.

Very often, I either don’t have the time, or the moment has passed.

Same here. The thumbs have their uses when everyone behaves themselves. It saves duplicating identical comments.

I can count my ‘disagree’ thumbs on the remaining fingers of one hand [and usually associated with a ‘rude or offensive’ report] so that could go, just leaving thumbs up.

I found Jon’s somewhat ambiguous rambling responses rather confusing. He is obviously not prepared to compromise and keep ‘thumbs up’ only which, in itself, does not require a response to the same degree as ‘thumbs down’ for reasons already very clearly explained.

He acknowledges, as far as I could make out, there is (has been) manipulative votings which are founded – or does he? He continues in a confusing mode of equivocal rhetoric that contradicts his original findings that seems to justify keeping the status quo, despite being outvoted by the majority of participants in opposition to keeping both ‘thumbs up’ and ‘thumbs down’ and who would prefer to keep just ‘thumbs up’ or do away with them completely.

There is, in my humble opinion, someone who is very well versed in hi-tech who has the expertise and acquired knowledge required to manipulate the ‘thumbs’ system for reasons only understood by themselves, but due to the continuing resurgence of this long-standing matter, it is evidently not going to go away while the perpetrators are still free to disrupt and discourage the genuine efforts made by regular participants whose sole purpose is to assist in solving the everyday problems that Which? ostensibly claims as its main objective.

When that effort is repeatedly undermined and met with silent opposition by a fleeting single digital act without any explanation, it is perhaps, time for someone in authority to re-examine the possible negative consequences of this and heed to the pleas of the unpaid volunteers whose contributions over many years have helped Which?Conversation maintain the popularity it benefits from today, or is it content to lose its specialist integrity by resorting to the likes of Facebook and Twitter?

I endorse your comments, Beryl. I must admit I found it hard to understand some of the reasoning in Jon’s comment. There seems to be an excess of worrying over perceived shortcomings around access and participation which are really just a chimera. There was none of this head-scratching and agonising over numbers and other illusory tendencies when I first enlisted a few years ago and it seemed to be an altogether fresher and more liberated place. I also felt that the contributors to Conversation were much closer to the heart of Which? than we are now and shared its values. Now I feel we are just numbers in a contrived community that has no real substance but presumably has some statistical relevance.

I feel that it is unfortunate that a number of loyal participants who have more or less kept Which? Conversation running over many years, probably since it first started, are not given much credit for their concerns.

I appreciate that the regulars have possibly become a thorn in the side of the editorial team because we tend to challenge, criticise and complain. We also try to hold Which? to account over things it sets up but does not deliver on and that clearly rankles because the response is total silence for no apparent reason which feels quite insulting sometimes. As has been made perfectly clear, it is not our site and the editor’s decision is final so we must respect it and cooperate accordingly. I am sure we can conduct ourselves appropriately, thumbs or no thumbs.

Malcolm made a telling point about the exceedingly low level of participation in Which? Conversation by the 680,000 Which? subscribers with only a miniscule fraction of them making any contribution. This should be the worrying statistic, not the influx of hundreds of angry answers whenever a closed question is posted on social media.

I am happier about what has happened since the early days of Convo. For years, For the first five years, only the three most recent posts were visible, after which they would only be seen by finding a Conversation and looking for new posts or by electing to receive email notifications. Plenty has been done to improve the user experience. Regular contributors who are logged in can post links without their post going into moderation. We have The Lobby that allows anyone to discuss anything within reason. In principle that should help keep specific Convos on topic and hopefully make it easier for Which? staff to abstract useful information. For example, Which? often asks for examples of specific types of fraud and a researcher may find it harder to locate them in pages of comments that may not be even vaguely relevant.

We all have our own views of what features we would like to see implemented. This will always be dependent on the capabilities of the software and what might appear easy may not be possible or involve a great deal of work. Whether we have thumbs or not isn’t just about the views of a dozen people who have expressed an opinion. Although some of us would prefer not to have the thumbs, Alfa has argued strongly in favour of retaining them, and then there is the matter of the opinions of other visitors and the Convo team and maybe other Which? staff.

I would prefer if we pushed Which? over various issues rather than making life unpleasant for those who support us in different ways. Those who have tracked the way that Which? has been run over many years, for example Ian and Patrick Taylor, have expressed concern and I’m very glad there have been changes at the top.

I would like to know why Convo does not routinely get a mention in the magazine these days, a point that I have been making monthly. George and Jon have both tried to make this happen: https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/the-lobby-2/#comment-1577833 At least we now have several recent Convos advertised prominently on the website, and that seems to be a permanent feature.

One of my greatest concerns about Which? is the way that problems are identified and the information is passed on to those responsible for policing the problem but nothing seems to happen. For example, Which? identified the problem of various marketplaces selling dangerous and counterfeit goods. Eventually we learned via Convo that marketplaces are not legally responsible for ensuring that the traders they host comply with the law. I cannot see any solution other than legislation but I have not seen any evidence that Which? and other consumers’ associations are campaigning for this. It really disappoints me to see Amazon Marketplace suggested as a place to buy electrical goods.

Convo has certainly improved functionality but lacks regular (not necessarily frequent) contributors. I find that very concerning and would have thought something Which? would want to address. I have my views on why this is.

I am also concerned about the lack of visible interaction between Which? and its Members. I still see it as a Member’s organisation – we fund its work – and should expect a reasonable degree of the fabled “engagement” promised now for several years, but not materialising. The Members’ Forum could have been one vehicle to help this but was not publicised, not supported functionally (it could have used the Convo model, perhaps) – and was axed. The Convo set up to discuss Members views on Which? seems to have vanished.

As wavechange says, it is a concern that so many issues are “discussed” but we are left uninformed and no action appears to result. Have we been told the actions Which? have been taking over market place legislation, what are the barriers, what can Trading Standards do (or not), what is the EU doing? For example. It would be useful to be kept up to date with their efforts.

I completely agree, Beryl, both with what you posted and how you posted it. Beautifully put.

I also agree wholeheartedly with you, John. I will, however, pick upon a couple of points you have both made in different ways:

As has been made perfectly clear, it is not our site

I suppose that depends on how we see Which?. If we look at it from a purely mercenary perspective, I believe we are paying their wages. Some members, such as I, have been here as paying subscribers for a rather long time. In my own case, taken on current subscription prices, I have paid almost £8000…

There’s another factor which is interesting, too: the founder of Which?, the child of a concert violinist and a painter and actress, was a fervent reformer. By Profession a Barrister and a trained Sociologist, his PhD thesis focussed on “the supportive kinship networks of the urban working class, and an idealized conception of the relationships between women, to suggest that family had been overlooked by the left and should be reclaimed as a progressive force. The goal was to strengthen the working-class family as set it up as a model for cooperative socialism.”

In the 1950s and 1960s Young helped to found the Consumers’ Association and the National Consumer Council claiming that “politics will become less and less the politics of production, and more and more the politics of consumption”, presenting the ideas in a book The Chipped White Cups Of Dover.

In essence, he saw Which? as a cooperative endeavour, between those who subscribed and those who produced. Which? was never intended to simply be a monthly publication listing Best Buys; it was intended as a cooperative endeavour between those who felt committed to the Which? ethos and ideals and those who were actually paid to do the publications. It was also intended to empower the consumer. And that’s very much something for which it needs the members.

Which raises the key question: is there any point in attempting to help Which? by supporting this particular site?

Let’s look at the timeline:

1996 Which? starts its own ISP and Online Forum Incredibly far-sighted for the time (modems were only just starting to be used) and one of the Directors emailed me to ask if I’d care to become involved. Now that was a personal approach.

At that time Facebook, Instagram, Twitter et al. were simply unheard of. It was successful, but it was open only to paid-up members

Jon’s somewhat ambiguous rambling responses

Rarely has a sentence so perfectly encapsulated how I felt when I read it. And, as the comment to which I linked shows clearly, it’s not the first time.

Back to the timeline and the original forum. It had its issues, but was strong with a lot of enthusiastic supporters. However, and this is important, the members were listened to.

I suspect this is probably because at that time Sheila McKechnie was in charge and despite her faults, she cared passionately for people.

But after her untimely death, Which? moved to the dark side, with the appointment of PV-S, focussing on increasing income with little time for what was perceived as a side line. We’re now in a new era, but the challenges faced by Anabel are no less than they ever were. There’s been a steady decline in paying subscribers and an increasing dissatisfaction with the lack of responses from the W?Cs team.

And Which?’s own track record in increasing income is variable, to say the least. They had to sell Car-busters at a knockdown price, the W? credit card, they gave away the entire testing laboratory, lost millions on the Mortgage providers and the India venture, had to ditch several magazines they had started up, closed the original ground breaking forum, dumped the W? email service (The ISP you can Trust) and through all this ran one single thread: The very supporters who might have helped were studiously ignored.

I ask this question time and time again. Why does Which? refuse to use the resources of the supporters?

It’s not as if they don’t need them. The regulars, here, are supportive, intelligent, resourceful, willing to help and I believe positive bonus to the organisation. Free help-just ask.

I now believe it’s a culture of self-aggrandisement. And in my view there’s no room for that in a charity purporting to represent the ordinary consumer.

I am also concerned about the lack of visible interaction between Which? and its Members. I still see it as a Member’s organisation – we fund its work – and should expect a reasonable degree of the fabled “engagement” promised now for several years, but not materialising.

I agree in every way with that. This place should be a fertile area for the recruitment of those who could help, in so many ways. But not a single offer of help we’ve ever made has been accepted. Why is that, I wonder?

Quite a number of members would like the opportunity to make an input. I expect that many would simply like to be invited to suggest products to review or subjects to cover. It’s a way of making the membership more involved.

A few of us would love to have a discussion about improving product safety and the inability of Trading Standards to be effective in dealing with individual consumers’ problems. Others would like to be involved in other ways.

I think a small panel to road test Conversation articles and Connect surveys could be helpful as well.

Perhaps a functioning forum for members only might be a great start.

I haven’t heard from which about the products I highlighted on Amazon and eBay at extortionate prices, and they are still up there. Has which looked into this? Do we get feedback?

The practice of price gouging has been covered in the magazine and a couple of Conversations. This I s the most recent one: https://conversation.which.co.uk/shopping/coronavirus-price-gouging-reporting-tool/

I am not sure what has actually been achieved to stop this practice.

In my experience, eBay and Amazon have always had products offered at seemingly exortionate prices, just as on a lesser scale online offers of domestic appliances often vary significantly in price. In my view, providing there is a good explanation for high prices generally – scarcity for example – or that products from “normal” sources are available at sensible prices then I can overlook the exceptions. I suppose a current example of (un)scarcity is in petrol and diesel prices, some 25% below their peak, and we accept that as the way the market functions – supply and demand.

Products found on eBay and Amazon can very often be found cheaper elsewhere very often on the actual websites of the Amazon sellers themselves.

There is also the practice of a seller having multiple websites and trading names or marketplace IDs. They will sell at various prices hoping to catch the unwary with an over-inflated price but also the more savvy with one of the cheapest prices around. Their names can change with the seasons hiding their true identities as they go and they give virtual addresses making them untraceable.

It is always worth shopping around and checking out sellers if they are not well-known.

I believe we should know exactly who we are trading with online and all internet sellers should prominently display their names, trading addresses and contact details on their front pages. If they trade under various umbrellas that should also be apparent.

Price gouging is just the tip of a very lucrative ice-berg.

Hi @jon-stricklin-coutinho

The edit button seems to have disappeared. It’s a very useful feature hopefully only a temporary fault.

Perhaps it wasn’t comfortable in its new location.

That’s odd (and obviously unintentional) – I’ll see where it’s disappeared to. In the mean time feel free to report something you might want edited and we’ll action it on our side.

Now there’s an offer, Jon. 🙂

Is there any chance of getting rid of the double line spacing that appears when editing a post?

Hear! Hear!

The double line spacing suddenly turned up one day and despite several complaints about it, and promises to fix it, it has persisted. It is made more annoying because there is – on my browser at least – a restriction on expanding the editing box.

Try zooming-in John. You should be able to expand the box to the full width of the screen.

This one’s still on my back burner (along with @alfa‘s constantly reverting user icon). The main challenge is we’re having difficulty replicating them on our end, so hard to pinpoint where the error is.

If I recall correctly this was in IE11 you were seeing the double spacing?

The double spacing is appears when editing an existing post, not when writing it. It dates from the time when the same problem affected creating a post.

I don’t believe it is a browser issue, having checked that before.

Happens every time one edits.

Wavechange – Thanks for the tip. The edit box is wide enough but it doesn’t go deep enough to see more than a few lines of text, which makes editing more difficult. I didn’t think increasing the size of the text and the box would put more lines on the screen; I cannot test it at the moment but I shall do so when the edit function returns.

Jon – I use Ms Edge and the double spacing occurs here as well as in other browsers including Google Chrome.

The edit button changed places – swapped sides, in fact – before it disappeared completely. Now, because this site uses grey fonts on a grey background which, despite appeals to change, continues to present a problem for many with poor eyesight, I have to edit on an app that uses black fonts on a white background.

This is actually a major issue: Section 6(1) of the Equality Act says that a person has a disability for the purposes of the Act if he or she has a physical or mental impairment and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

“If an organisation’s web product is not accessible to a disabled person, that person may have grounds for making a claim against the organisation under the Equality Act 2010 or the Disability Discrimination Act 1995” BSI Group.

It’s hardly a major change to make the site user friendly for the visually disabled by ensuring it has black fonts on a white background. And Which? should be at the forefront in making these sort sf changes, one might have thought. Especially as the main site does have pure black on white.

I have seen variation in the font colour and other changes recently, so presumably there are experiments underway.

I understand Ian’s point and he is not alone, but equally I have met people who struggle with high contrast. It’s not uncommon for people to use coloured overlays to overcome this problem with printed text. There is more information here: https://www.w3.org/WAI/test-evaluate/preliminary/#contrast There is no single solution that is best for everyone.

I don’t know what the best way forward is but because of the enormous variation between websites, perhaps we need a browser with easy to use tools to optimise the appearance to suit the user.

I agree with the proposition that material should be readable by most, including those with certain degrees of visual disability. At least on websites the user often has some control over how the image is displayed, size for example. This is not so with printed matter such as the Which? magazine, where past issues have used poor contrast – coloured background for text, for example – for visual “effect” rather than considering readability. That seems much improved more recently but we still see pastel coloured backgrounds which do not help contrast.

I do hope no one pursues the legal discrimination route. I’d much rather our legal efforts were devoted to much better causes, such as prosecuting Amazon for selling illegal items and pursuing an amendment to the law, if necessary, to control their dangerous marketplace activities.

No one will need to pursue the legal route if this site, here, makes a simple change.

Edit still not appearing, I see.

Quick update on this: we’re not yet at the bottom of the issue with the disappearing edit button.

It’s site wide and affecting all users (including admins), so please bear with us on troubleshooting this.
If you need something edited, please either report it with your edit, or send us an email at conversation.comments@which.co.uk and we’ll action it (though bear in mind this may not be immediately).

Thanks for your patience on this, we’ll get it back up as soon as we can.

@jon-stricklin-coutinho
Images are no longer working and I just got logged out when coming here to report it.

https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/the-lobby-2/#comment-1599816