December’s monthly mailbag

Posted by Dom 

So it’s a new month and a new year here on the MSN homepage, and as we niftily side-step the awkwardness of pointless resolutions that will be broken before the week is out, it’s time to take a look at the feedback we received during the last gasps of 2006. 
 
Inaccuracies, Errors and Omissions
A shame to start on a negative note, but if we slip up on any factual details in our daily content, it’s nice to be picked up on them by alert readers. Whilst we kick ourselves when a blooper slips through the net, it’s even worse when we repeat an error – as happened this month with our repetition of the assertion that the great white shark is the world’s heaviest fish. You’d have thought we’d have learned our lesson after last month, but as one reader wrote in to point out, ‘Again (14 Dec 2006) you featured an item about the ‘heaviest fish’. Your answer was ‘Great White Shark’. WRONG WRONG WRONG! The heaviest fish is the WHALE SHARK’. Consider us told – and let’s hope that this avoidable error doesn’t crop up for a third month in a row in January’s mailbag!
 
Our feature on Christmas markets around the world was generally well received, although two readers wrote in to take issue with what they saw as the lack of research in the piece – one correspondent was disappointed we didn’t feature any of the original German markets based in Nuremberg, Regensburg and Munich, whilst a Vienna-based resident complained: ‘I was a bit disappointed in the poor research on Viennese Christmas markets… the capital city offers not 3 but in fact more than 25 different Christmas markets (count ’em!)’.
 
Meanwhile, our backing of Sir Cliff Richard was appreciated by many of you in the run-up to Christmas, although one correspondent took issue with our ‘negative comment about the Christian content in his music’. Please feel free to take us up on any issues of tone and balance, and any areas where we may come up lacking. 

 
Advert feedback

Another re-appearance for this hot topic, with the majority of you who wrote in on the subject complaining that they distracted attention away from the important editorial content on the homepage. Rest assured, we are monitoring this situation closely on an individual ad basis, and take your comments on the topic seriously – remember that there’s an ‘Ad feedback’ link under each advert that you can use to send in your thoughts to us.

Homepage blog

We were delighted by the enthusiastic feedback to some of the topics we raised during the month of December. Our lament about England’s catastrophic demise in seemingly every sport under the sun certainly hit a nerve – with a few people pointing out that we did have reasons to be cheerful in squash, boxing and women’s cycling at least. The generally positive response that the new Nintendo Wii has had in the national press was mirrored in your replies to my own experiences of managing to snaffle one of these must-have gadgets on release day – your tales of marathon shop queues and slight injuries caused by over-enthusiastic remote control waving were accompanied by a really keen response to the dawn of a new games era. All the machine needs now is a few more ‘killer app’ games to continue the good work of the launch. 

Finally, Ian’s assertion that Fairytale of New York by The Pogues was the worst festive song of all time drew a predictably angry response, though there was little agreement on what actually constituted a memorable or miserable Yuletide ditty. The genre could be in danger of dying out, too, if the X Factor continues its vice-like grip on the annual Christmas top spot.   

Please keep your comments coming during the duration of 2007 – we do read them all, good or bad, and what you write could very well have a direct effect on the future direction of the site during the coming months. Happy New Year!

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