Newsnet Scotland: it’s your site, so get involved

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by Paul Kavanagh

We’re always saying that Newsnet Scotland is different and that we strive to provide a voice and a platform for ordinary Scottish people to air their views and discuss the important issues of the day.  We are not a commercial organisation, no one is making any money out of Newsnet, and we rely upon the goodwill of volunteers and free collaboration.

I’ve been involved with Newsnet Scotland since the early days.  I’ve never sought payment, or even recognition, for anything I’ve done.  Just because you don’t see my name on an article doesn’t mean I’m not involved.  There’s a whole lot of things that need to be done behind the scenes.  Someone has to sub-edit and proofread. 

Scotland needs an independent media voice, one which speaks from the Scottish people, not to them.  But as yer mammy always told you – if you don’t ask, you don’t get, and if you don’t get, ye dae it yersel.  The people of Scotland won’t get a truly representative media by asking for one nicely.  We’ve asked for one nicely for a long time now.  We have to build it ourselves.  That’s why I am committed to Newsnet, because here we’re building a voice for ourselves.

Over the past few weeks Newsnet has been undergoing some changes.  A small team of volunteers have been entirely responsible for the site and its contents.  But we can’t do this alone.  In order to ensure that Newsnet is an established and continuing presence on the Scottish scene, we need your help.

This is not another appeal for you to put your hands in your pockets and give us yer dosh.  Money’s always helpful, but we want more.  We want your time, your talents and your intelligence.  We want you to get involved.

Scotland is a country blessed with rich natural resources.  We hear a lot of talk about oil, about renewable energy potential and the like.  But the truth is the greatest single natural resource the Scottish nation possesses is the talent, ability and imagination of the Scottish people.  You are a Scottish natural resource.  Put those resources to good use and join us.  

One of the most important features of this site is the ability to comment on all – or almost all – of our articles.  The only way we can achieve this is by having a team of moderators who read through all the comments and remove any which breach our moderation policy.  That way we can ensure that discussion remains clean, decent, and legal.  If it were not for our moderators, you wouldn’t be able to comment here at all.

We need more moderators.  All volunteering teams suffer from a natural rate of attrition, and no new appeals for volunteers have been made on this site for quite some time.  The result is that our small team is now depleted and over-worked.  If you’re interested in helping this site to remain an open place for debate and discussion, it’s up to you to make sure it can continue.  We can only provide you with what we have the resources to provide, and those resources depend on you.  

We’re all aware of the reputation that online Scottish political commenting has gained.  In truth it is no more or less cruel and irresponsible than any other variety of online commenting.  (Some of the most personal and vicious attacks I’ve ever witnessed were in an online discussion group for archaeologists and historical linguists.)  But the reputation of the Scottish online political community for supposedly extra-malicious behaviour is used as a weapon by Unionism in order to discredit the entire Scottish campaign for self-determination.   That means it is vital that we have excellent moderation cover.

Our valiant moderation team is severely over-stretched.  Recently we’ve had to suspend commenting on some more controversial topics because we’ve lacked adequate moderation cover.  If you want to ensure that comments will remain open for all, then volunteer your services and join our moderation team.  

Increasing the range and depth of our coverage is another of our priorities.  Next year the local elections promise to be exciting and closely fought.  We’d like to make Newsnet the essential place to read all the news and views during the election campaign.  In order to do that we’re looking to recruit teams of local reporters and news gatherers.  If you want the rest of Scotland to know about the goings-on in your local authority, it’s up to you to share the story.  You don’t have to be a great writer, all you need to do is to collect the relevant information and pass it on to one of our writing team who’ll do the job for you.

We are always looking for new writers too.  If you’ve got something to say, share your opinions, articles, and views with us.  We want to broaden the range of opinions we carry, and we’d like to have better coverage of science, social affairs, sports and culture.

Contact us by clicking HERE and let us know what interests you and how you’d like to contribute or get involved.