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Editor: Alix Lee

My Opinion Site is all about letting people have their say, without having to worry that some word-count software may cut them off in mid-sentence.

In recent years, websites allowing viewers to post their own opinions have proliferated, to the point where most of the bigger news media organisations allow their website viewers to post views on news stories. Have you ever tried to use one of these 'post your comments' functions?

Perhaps, seeing an article you really 'took exception to', you decided to set the record straight. But just as you got into the gist of your second sentence, up popped the submissions software to prevent you finishing your sentence and remind you that you only have 150 characters to get your message across. Still determined to have your say, you rephrase and rephrase until your comments finally fit within the 150 character limit. You send your comments, pleased, and look them over again after they're published. That's when you realise that you simply haven't said what you wanted to say. It's incredibly frustrating.

The problem is, you don't have a 'level playing field'. The journalist has 2,000 words with which to have their say; you have 200 characters with which to say that they're wrong and point out why!

This has become the norm, and its true that many people only want to say a few words on any topic. You can still do this on My Opinion Site, by submitting a 'Comment'. But if you reckon you can argue your points persuasively, you can submit a full-length 'Article'. Furthermore, you don't have to worry that your opinions may not be in keeping with the website's social or political affiliations or orientation. This website doesn't have any, beyond a conviction that free speech is a right that has to be exercised to be maintained.

Who Can Publish an Article?

Anyone, anywhere, can publish an Article, provided that it is presented in a readable, intelligible way, and is primarily in English. There are no restrictions in terms of race or ethnic group, age, sex, nationality, place of residence, religious or spiritual beliefs, educational background, political views or anything else. See the guidelines for submission before making one.

What Does the Editor Do?

If all submissions keep to the guidelines, hopefully not much. In that case, my work will be mostly proofreading, and if a submission doesn't need any corrections in terms of punctuation and so forth, then it should be published as it was submitted.

However, while no excuses are made for unintended offence caused through the free expression of opinion, if submissions seem intended only to cause offence, they won't be published. If the points presented in an Article seem valid but unnecessarily offensive, those offensive parts may be edited out, or replaced with less offensive language. If an Article makes too much use of specialist or technical jargon, such terminology may be replaced with more generally understood terms. If an Article seems to ramble aimlessly or repeat the same points in the same way for no reason, those repetitions may be omitted. Finally, this is an English-language website, so the content should be primarily in English. Articles that make too much use of non-English terms for no apparent reason may have those terms replaced with their English equivalents. And that's all.

The topics I present each month will be general-interest topics likely to elicit debate. You know, the kind of thing that livens up the break-time conversation in the staff canteen, or has you ordering an unintended second round at the pub, because the argument just won't be settled sooner, or perhaps even captivates the audience of a 'Talk About' TV show as several participants enter into verbal fistfights and the host tries to keep things orderly!

A new topic is presented at the beginning of each month, and it remains valid for four months; that is for the one month it spends as the latest topic, featured on the Home Page, and for three months thereafter during which time you can still submit Articles and Comments and get them published, but they won't appear on the Home Page.

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