Between July and August 2007 I wrote a series of five articles for The Guardian about the then ongoing and largely misinformed campaign against doctors and social workers working in the difficult field of child protection. In the end, I was asked to stop writing the articles because the Guardian's online moderators could not cope with the deluge of potentially libellous online responses from readers. The stories and the "debates" they generated are history now, more or less; but together they serve as an interesting illustration of the difficulties of online moderation for newspapers in an age when digital content and reader participation is seen as vital to survival. That debate remains current, as an exchange in the Observer after an article by the paper's Readers' Editor on October 21, 2012, made clear.
July 23, 2007
Suffer the children
Doctors must be free to raise their abuse concerns if the weakest members of society are to be protected
July 27, 2007
Undermining the experts
Thanks to the government's inept handling, paediatricians and health workers are reluctant to testify in child protection cases.
August 8, 2007
The Lib Dem MP John Hemming seems to be waging war against social workers and government adoption policy. Is his campaign misleading?
August 16, 2007
A death that could not be foretold
The death of four-year-old Leticia Wright has been blamed on incompetent social workers again. But what could they have done?
September 17, 200
A tragedy of errors
The pathologist in the Sally Clark trial has been reinstated to the register, but what impact would the evidence he neglected to disclose have had on the case?