What is Speaker’s Chair?

Speaker’s Chair is an online community for anyone interested in politics and current affairs in the UK. We enable people to read, write about and debate issues, and build networks with like-minded people of all political views.

What's the point of Speaker's Chair?

Speaker’s Chair seeks to revolutionise the way debate takes place online by creating a platform where anyone and everyone can read and debate the views of others. Unlike most political blogs out there, Speaker’s Chair brings together any and all political views in one place – Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem, Green, UKIP, you name it – they are all represented here in order to generate better and more relevant debate.

The site also seeks to solve the problem of trolling and nastiness in online debate. This is a real problem online, and is utterly pointless, unconstructive and downright nasty. It is not welcome here – and because Speaker’s Chair is a user-driven community trolls are dealt with quickly.

Who would use Speaker's Chair?

Anyone who has an opinion and wants to make their voice heard, on whatever issue, whenever they want.

Why should I register?

Quite simply, Speaker's Chair is the same as any other blog in this respect. You can still read everything without registering, but if you want to take part in the debate - comment, and so on - then you need to register, just as you do when you make a comment on another blog. However, the idea is that you get so much more on this site by registering. You become part of a community, can become friends with other users of all political colours, take part in deeper debate than possible previously, join groups, debate in private, and so on, so on.

What can I write on Speaker’s Chair?

Anything to do with politics or debate in the wider news agenda – the economy, immigration, Europe, defence, elections, health, international relations, the environment, etc. Anything. Just make sure it’s not nasty, aggressive, libellous, an outright advert or, generally, something others in the community wouldn’t want to read.

What is venting?

When you 'vent' you give your instant view - a thought on whatever you want - for all your friends to read, as this will appear on the live feeds of your contacts. It doesn't need to be linked to any article or other content on the site, just say whatever you want, whenever you want. This is your outlet if you don't fancy writing a full article - use it as you please!

And you can post straight to your Twitter feed or Facebook profile from within the vent. Simply tick the box before pressing post, link your account, and away you go. Note that we'll never, ever, post anything to your Facebook or Twitter account - they are yours! This is just there for your ease.

What is the debate rating?

We've created a formula that sorts debates by those that are causing a real stir and those that aren't, not yet anyway. This is determined by a mix of how many comments there are, shared evidence, videos, shares on Facebook/Twitter, etc. So if you want your article to be hot on the site, get sharing and provoking the debate!

What are friends?

Ok so we admit it - they may not actually be your friends, in the true sense of the word. But we wanted to call them something everyone would understand. Your friends on Speaker's Chair are your contacts - people you are interested in, have debated with, learned from, enjoyed reading, laughed at, cried at, and so on. A real mixture of points of views and debating styles. Crucially, by being someone's friend you get updates in your live feed of what they are doing - writing, commenting, etc - so you can keep an eye on both friend and foe!

We have also added a feature that lets you follow people anonymously, where you get their updates by aren't their friend. You won't be able to see their complete profile, but will see when their articles are posted.

What are groups?

Groups on Speaker's Chair are quite simply groupings of members who support the aims of that group. They act as hubs where the activity of all group members is brought together into one place, and you can meet new people more easily through them. One big difference with Speaker's Chair is that you can't set any old group up - they must be approved by an administrator. This is to ensure we have groups that actually mean something, and none of the nasty groups that appear on other social media sites.

If you want to start a group email your suggestion to us at support (at) speakerschair.com

Who came up with the idea and runs the site?

The idea was conceived by Mike Robb (@mikerobb). He leads the Speaker’s Chair team, which is entirely make-up of volunteers. You can see info on who currently runs the site here.

How is Speaker’s Chair funded?

The site is entirely funded by the founder and has no outside interests or shareholders.

Will there ever be advertising on the site?

Yes, it is probable that advertising of some sort will be introduced at a point in the future in order to make the site sustainable, but there are currently no immediate plans to do so.

Is the site only available in the UK?

At present yes, the site is purely for a UK audience. We are keen to launch versions of Speaker’s Chair around the world if there is demand – get in touch if you're interested and think it's a good idea!

I have written an article but it hasn't appeared on the site - why not?

Not every article can appear on the homepage, but you can be sure it will appear under its relevant category or party. Articles appearing on the homepage are those with the most discussion, debate and sharing, so if you want your article there you must promote it, share it and drive the debate!

Can I post the content I write on Speaker’s Chair elsewhere?

Yes, of course. Speaker’s Chair is a platform that enables you to broadcast your views to a community and engage in debate, but whether or not you want to put it elsewhere is up to you. Lots of our users post on their own blogs too, which is fine.

How do I join a group?

You can join any open group you like by clicking ‘join group’ next to the group in question. If, however, the group is party or interest-specific you must first request to join it and be approved by a moderator.

How do I create a group?

Unlike other social networking sites, all groups must be approved by Speaker’s Chair. This is in order to ensure quality, relevance and appropriateness – we want sensible groups and to get away from negativity and nastiness. If you have an idea for a group and would like to moderate it, please let us know your suggestions. Please note that we will be limiting the number of groups, so only great ideas will be considered!

How do I post a video on Speaker's Chair?

You can post a video on the site in the same way as a written blog – simply load your video to YouTube, then click ‘new post’ at the top of the page on Speaker’s Chair, and copy/paste the ‘embed code’ from YouTube and your post will then appear as a video blog.

Are comments moderated?

Your first comment will be moderated to ensure it is genuine, not spam and not aggressive or libellous. Thereafter you can comment on any article freely, but comments are moderated by the community thereafter and can be reported.

Abuse of comments and debate could result in you being banned from the platform, so play nice!

Can anybody see my profile information?

No – only people you are friends with and you have approved as such can see your profile. It will never be made publically available.

If I sign-up, how do I know my information is safe?

Speaker’s Chair stores all data securely and will never release it to anyone, under any circumstances. To see our data protection policy click here.

I want to comment on an article but don't want to say whether I agree/disagree with it, how do I do that?

You can click ‘no opinion’ if you don’t either agree or disagree, but please do one or the other – we want your views and opinion. Don’t sit on the fence!

When I write an article or add a comment it says I am a Lib Dem, when I am actually a Labour supporter - how do I fix this?

This can be edited in your profile. In the top right, next to your avatar picture, simply click the cogs and then ‘edit profile’. Here you can see all the options for your profile, including the party you support.

Why would I ask a question on an article rather than commenting?

We want to make the debate on the site as useful and clear as possible. Comments are to give your view, whereas questions are specifically to ask the author a question about something he is written or on an issue connected to what they have written. Only the author of that post can respond to your question.

What is the point in sharing evidence on an article?

We want to create as much useful information as possible on the site – including links to any and all interesting comment or news pieces you have seen elsewhere that would better inform the debate. Far from being protective, we want links there to add to the debate!

If I login using Facebook or Twitter, will you post to my profile there without telling me?

Never. Ever. Under any circumstance. We can’t believe anyone would do this, but it happens. It should be illegal!

I tried to send friends my profile page so they can read my articles, but they cannot access it - why not?

Because only your friends can see your profile and information – our primary concern is keeping your data private and secure. Whilst your profile intentionally acts as a hub for your content and activity, people must be your friends to see it. So whilst you can’t point friends at your profile directly, you can point them at individual articles you have written, which anyone can see.

Better still – ask your friends to join Speaker’s Chair and then they can be your friends and subscribe to your articles!

Somebody is abusing me on the site, what can I do?

Report any and all abuse to support (at) speakerschair.com and we will investigate as a priority.

To read an article on why Speaker's Chair is different click here.