Thursday, November 1, 2007

This news blog is getting too crowded!

Let's cut out the dross

Guys, we have a glut of bearish news at the moment, so it's natural that the news blog is getting much busier. But there are so many articles being posted, many of them of limited value, that it is difficult to get any serious discussion going before it disappears off the front page.Drewster suggested we stick to posting high quality news stories (Reuters, BBC) and analysis (FT, Bloomberg, Fool) and make an effort to stop posting regional news stories, VI news sites, rehashed Firstrung stories, links to propertysnake examples, and articles with limited relevance to house prices e.g. about oil prices, war in Iran etc. Those stories can be left for the forums.This will probably get deleted soon, but I hope enough of you read it to make a difference. Cheers!

Posted by little professor @ 03:20 PM (1306 views)
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26 thoughts on “This news blog is getting too crowded!

  • regional news is important, because it shows the local level of houseprices and street level feeling… rather than a lumped up one..

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  • Dross? Who determines what is dross?

    Hmm.. Oh well. Pretty much all the things you mention are the things i rate as having high value and a direct impact on house prices.

    Infact i was about to comment that there weren’t enough off-the-wall posts and it was getting too tedious. I can filter out what i dont want to know fairly quickly.

    I include myself as i tend to post a lot of FT articles. I should be getting a fee as a referrer infact.

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  • Actually I am thinking of setting up an alternative news markup schema.

    It will be either a visual or colorized markup.

    For example when a “conventional” journalist claims that they write a factual piece versus inaccurate speculation on a blog – the reader will be reminded by some markup where for example it was actually “a fact that the journalist was told this.” not a “fact.”

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  • We don’t want to start pointing at stuff and saying “this or that is dross” – that’s not very productive perhaps.

    What you’re calling for in essence professor, is site moderation – either self moderated or moderator-moderated.

    I think this is probably Jonathan’s call, or site admin’s and if they don’t think it’s an issue, then I don’t think I do either.

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  • Thanks Little Professor. My main concerns are:
    1. Regional stories “look at how well / how badly my area is doing” from local papers.
    2. Regional stories from the US. Yes things are bad in Cleveland, Ohio, but let’s not post every sob-story from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
    3. The same story being repeated in different places e.g. Land Registry figures reported by BBC, Reuters, Times, Guardian, FirstRung, etc. each with their own spin. Let’s just post once from a neutral source like Reuters or Bloomberg.
    3. VI dross like press releases from Assetz, Landlord Association, Knight Frank, Savills, etc. Especially if they’re just commenting on new Land Registry figures (see point #2), or begging the MPC for a rate cut. These guys don’t deserve the oxygen of publicity.
    4. Minor news from financial firms, e.g. profits or losses reported by Merrill Lynch or Bear Stearns. Stories about massive losses in hedge funds and redundancies in the City are still of interest though.

    It’s hard to draw a firm line though. Some of the credit crunch stories over the summer have had no direct housing link but have been relevant because the credit crunch will affect mortages. The oil and gold stories can be interesting because rising oil = inflation = higher interest rates = lower house prices, but people with an interest in oil might prefer to read http://www.theoildrum.com. People sitting on a large nest-egg of cash (either sold-to-rent or a large deposit saved up) might prefer to use the forums on http://www.fool.co.uk or subscribe to MoneyWeek, the Financial Times, or the Telegraph (where business correspondent Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has been very prescient lately). Having said that, I personally find the oil/gold/finance stories quite interesting and often relevant. It’s really up to people to do their best to post stories they think will appeal to us all.

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  • My concern would be:

    1. Regional stories taken as an aggregate are quite interesting.
    2. Regional stories from the US are interesting. They show human psychology and behaviour of people ahead of us on the curve. Understand all these stories and you will see them repeated here soon enough. Saves hvaing to work things out from first principles
    3. “neutral source”. be careful. Sometimes seeing the same set of “facts” from two points of view tells more than the “factual” news itself.
    3.(ii) Again. VI stance can be interesting. VI stance itself changes around
    4. Unfortunately it is the minor financial news stories that lead to the hints of bigger things to come. Hopefully some of the commentary and comments links why.

    A “by user choice” filter on sources would be easy enough to add.

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  • converted lurker says:

    erm…rehashed Firstrung stories pffttt! I reckon most on this blog take care to look at articles already published and then make a call as to whether or not anything can be added to make a genuine addition. FYI all Firstrung articles are taken from press releases which, whether you realise it or not, is how 95% of news content in relation to subjects such as; money/finance/property are created. ;¬) If you are suggesting the blog is busy then that’s a good thing is it not? Personally speaking I often find stuff here that’s missed on the main site and vice versa. Different type of debate too.

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  • I don’t consider stories from local papers to be dross. It is useful to know how things are going in different parts of the country – very badly in central Manchester, seemingly not so bad in Lancashire etc.

    Some of the press releases from VIs are interesting, as it lets us know how they are trying to justify things.

    Stories about the credit crunch are definitely on topic. Easy credit caused both the house price bubble and the crunch, and the crunch will bring about the crash.

    Things about inflation, including oil prices are useful, because they determine the likelihood of interest rate cuts, which will determine how quickly the crash takes places.

    Where we can cut down on postings is on multiple reports on the same press release or new set of statistics. They should only be repeated if another article provides useful comment or analysis on it.

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  • Can we just make the news blog bigger because sometimes if there is a lot of stories they just keep moved off the ones that appear directly when you enter the site and have to go to the archives.

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  • Sorry if I’ve posted some stuff that is off-beat.
    But it is all interrelated, the crystal ball is working quite well at the moment.
    Alas, it doesn’t predict random events like the lottery results …

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  • Actually, Noam Chomsky would disagree. He would say that the best news commences in the provinces and is then moulded by conforming with say the Washington Post’s view…

    Check out his site and particularly his essays on the media…

    Now this is serious academic work… What do people think?

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  • Personally I don’t care where the story comes from so long as there is some relevence. One mans meat another mans….

    What really is bad form is completely misrepresenting reports and pretending they are something that they are not.
    This blog used to be highly informative and incredibly well balanced considering its subject matter but of late some of summarised and titles of blogs are rediculous. When I passed comment on the fantasy of the article I was told to smell the coffee and go and read some articles from the wiki. Great, I suppose it was always inevitable that when slowing house prices became mainstream that “football forum” crew would engage fingers if not brains.

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  • planning4acrash says:

    I think this thread should be deleted for being dross and for crowding the blog.

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  • planning4acrash says:

    But seriously, all you need is a facility to report stories, which the webmaster can review and delete if they do not accord with blog policies, as is the case with responses to blog posts.

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  • I think you are bang on the mark. I posted a thread about the dross that the blog was becoming a couple of weeks ago but it got sent to the nether regions by the moderators at the blink of an eye to be commented on by no one.

    The blog has lost it’s way:

    1. Frequent repeat stories
    2. Stories from months back
    3. Stories from blog’s written by god knows who
    4. Fed up of the “in your own words” diatribes, can we stick to the facts please, not wanting to read peoples opinions or take on a story, I want to read the story
    5. Fed up of the chronic lag on the blog sometimes

    Am seriously tempted to start up a decent blog as this one has deteriorated badly recently to the point of driving me away. Please fix it!

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  • I read economics at university (sorry – I’m just too old to call it ‘uni’..), some 30+ years ago, but I can honestly say that I have learned more about economics from reading this blog (and that’s mainly the comments), than I ever did at university. If all we had here was what a small group of reports had to say on the subject, without all the other thought provoking topics that arise, then I think this would detract from the value of the blog. I vote for increasing the number of topics on the ‘front page’ and perhaps restricting the amount of comment that appears for each topic on that page.

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  • Err, did somebody here say that the price/availability of oil had no relevance to house prices? Were you in the UK during the refinery blockades? If you were, don’t you recall that the country was deemed to be within 8 days of closing down completely? Wouldn’t you think a supply breakdown in oil (the UK peaked in 1999; the global peak was reached last year) and the rocketing prices beforehand, might just have some small effect on how much someone might be able to spend on a home – that’s if they could find a financial institution still solvent enough to lend them the money?

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  • You want to get yourselves an editor, then.
    This is a bit like the bellyaching on the ‘About housepricecrash.co.uk’ forum a few days ago over “the deteriorating tone” of posts in the newsblog.
    Say whut? Electronic Frontier?

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  • Err, did somebody here say that the price/availability of oil had no relevance to house prices? Were you in the UK during the refinery blockades? If you were, don’t you recall that the country was deemed to be within 8 days of closing down completely? Wouldn’t you think a supply breakdown in oil (the UK peaked in 1999; the global peak was reached last year) and the rocketing prices beforehand, might just have some small effect on how much someone might be able to spend on a home – that’s if they could find a financial institution still solvent enough to lend them the money?

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  • What might help is if the comment which appears in grey under the two headings (i.e. above – “Guys, we have a glut of bearish news at the moment….”) was kept as brief as possible.

    I don’t know about others but I tend to try and read all the News Blog items each day so I would check out the item irrespective of how long the comment was. If News Blog adders want to comment in detail on the news item they have added they can used the ‘Add Comment’ bit.

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  • Whats wrong with just putting the blog on the week setting & saving to your favorites ?????? There’s nothing wrong with the way it is & I for one like the range of stories.

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  • little professor says:

    Ok guys, fair enough 🙂

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  • who cares if they are stories written by god knows who if they have something good to say.

    If you want to read stories go to the site and read the story.

    If you want to know whats happening and what is going to happen .. read what people are saying.

    what are facts? a fact today is a an obvious lie tomorrow.

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  • I’m very happy with the variety of articles listed in this news blog. In fact – it gives me more choice. I can choose what to read and what to discard as noise. Any moderation would infringe on that/my freedom. Reducing the number of articles so as to increase the prominence of a select number of posts is not in my interest. I would be a less frequent visitor to this site. No change, please!

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  • Ok ok I relent! It’s mostly working well anyway. Let’s just all agree to be more careful about not posting out-of-date stories and re-posts of the same figures with different slants. I’ll back down on the regional issue too; when prices were rising they started in London and worked their way out, so the falls might start regionally too.

    I’ll ask for a longer default blog (maybe top 15 or 20 stories rather than top 10) and shorter summaries for each one. If there’s any more dross I’ll just use the old brain to filter it myself!

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  • Can they bring back the ‘week’ news summary – the choice is between ‘yesterday’ and ‘month’ which takes too long to upload. The week summary was really good – please bring it back (or do i need to ‘set it’ myself?). Cheers.

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