This was spurred by a longstanding BBC News aversion to linking to external news sources, something out of keeping with the character of the Web.
News Online doesn't engage with its users, it doesn't provide tools that allow me, the licence payer, to slice and dice their stories, and by refusing to link from its body text, it fails to understand how hypertext works.Link
Also, with its conservative link policy (I can't show you an example of the news stories where the tech described above is working, because the links get removed after 2 days, because they might break), that only connects the BBC to established brands, it snubs the wider web, the great teeming mass of creativity. Patrician is not authoritative. Aloof is not respected. Conservative and fearful is not engaging. The gap between the BBC's utterly laudable self image and ambitions and delivery could not be any clearer than at News Online.
Finally, by not really allowing user interaction or commenting, News Online forces that debate and activity away from its site, and out onto the wild wild web...
* retrieves a page from News Online, and regexes out "Capitalised Phrases" and acronyms. It then tests these against a database of wikipedia topic titles. If the phrase is a topic in wikipedia, then it's turned into a hyperlink
* uses the technorati API to add a sidebar of links to blogs referencing the story. Now you can see who's talking about the story from the story itself
* as a bonus, my code breaks that bloody awful ticker. I'm not fixing it.
* because that's how links should be, my links are underlined.
* reduces page bloat by about 10% by stripping acres of whitespace.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.