On editing Lib Dem Voice

I have enjoyed being back in the editor’s chair today. My role on LDV these days is to provide cover when members of the team are away, unwell, or, as today, busy fighting by-elections.

I have been dealing with around eight submissions, some of which were more fully formed than others. Plus a few of those bizarre emails offering us guest posts on subjects ranging from setting up powers of attorney to tyre maintenance for car fleets.

But one thing struck me quite forcibly: ignoring the SEO chancers – not one of those eight submissions was put forward by a woman. In fact, of the 20 posts published so far this week only three had female authors, and two of those were written by our editor in chief, Caron Lindsay. A similar pattern emerges for the whole of the last month – and I have rather lost the will to trawl back further in time.

So what is going on?

Of course, I can’t pretend that there ever was a golden age when half our posts were penned by women, but I can certainly remember a higher proportion than we have now.

The LDV team (half of which are women) have worked hard over many years – to the irritation of a small but vocal number of our readers – to make this a place for courteous debate on political issues. Hence our requirement for comments: “be polite, be on topic and be who you say you are.

One advantage of this policy is that it makes the comments section below the line a safe place for all our contributors. We are outraged at the trolling, threats and abuse that occur in many comments sections on media sites, and especially when it is targeted at BAME or LGBT+ people or against women. We want to do things differently, and to make sure that no-one here is subject to personal abuse.

We have a system that holds back comments for moderation if they include certain key words, and we try to check these as soon as possible, and approve them if they are not offensive. The team are all volunteers and we do sometimes miss unsuitable comments that are not trapped in moderation, so if you do spot something unacceptable drop us an email on [email protected]

So our plea to women with the party is: Share your ideas, start up a debate and send us your posts. If you are not sure whether your thoughts will work as a post then ask us for advice. Our guidelines for contributors are here.

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames and is a member of Federal Conference Committee.

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One Comment

  • Katharine Pindar 31st Jul '19 - 9:13pm

    Hi, Mary, great that you are encouraging some more pieces from women members. There were several of them hard at work today in and out of the Llandrindod Wells northern HQ of the by-election, including our Kirsten Johnson, PPC for North Devon, but as usual there were more males, of all ages and shapes and sizes, bless them all! I got back from there just an hour ago but they will all be in the thick of it of course tomorrow, Election Day.

    I brought back an Eve of Poll big shiny card, long and thin, which a woman in a village where I was delivering with Mick Taylor this morning rudely rejected, saying it would go straight in the recycling. Well, Mrs F., maybe you’ve got reason to be disgruntled, if you are wanting any candidate other than Jane Dodds to win! You were certainly in a minority among the voters I personally met.

    TOMORROW, says the flier in bold letters, white out of orange, Vote for the BEST CHOICE for our area… Jane DODDS X. On the back it’s all in Welsh, so now I know the Welsh for ‘tomorrow’ – YFORY – and ‘best choice’ – DEWIS ORAU. Jane’s smiling face on both sides, of course, and the messages ‘A better deal for our health services’, ‘A better deal for our farmers’ and ‘A better deal for local services’. Onward and upward, Jane! It was good to meet you in the office this morning – very best wishes for a stunning result.

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