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Free Speech…? Sure, But There ARE Commenting Rules.

Posted by RealDaffyDuck on April 23, 2010

SBDOTKU in an earlier comment referred to ThaiVisa’s (I think) forum rules – in a similar vein, Gizmodo regularly releases their ‘rules for commenting’, which I wanted to toss out for perusal — they seem reasonable, respectful of free speech, yet providing penalties for stupidity and disruptive behavior. Reasonably so, though.

Dear Commenters, We Need to Talk…
We’ve talked about how the commenting system and those crazy tagpages work, but it seems that it’s time for a different sort of discussion. Yeah, it’s apparently time to talk about trolls, jerks, doo-doo heads, lousy commenters, and the banhammer.

Just as a writer, editor, or comment administrator can approve your commenter account, he or she can ban it. This means that your previous comments will remain on the site, but you’ll be unable to make any new ones. We rarely re-approve banned commenters, so if you feel that you’ve learned whatever lesson there was to learn, you’d have to sign up for a new account and go through the audition process again.

Sometimes we’ll give warnings before we ban—in the form of a reply to your comment, an unstarring, or a disemvoweling—and other times we won’t. It depends on the situation. Often it’s not even a single comment that results in a ban, but rather a pattern in the commenter’s history. Each ban, disemvoweling, unstarring, or warning is treated on a case-by-case basis, but here are some frequent causes for such actions to be taken:

Personal Attacks
It’s quite alright to disagree with a post, content, or opinion—but there’s no reason to make it personal and leave someone crying himself to sleep at night. No one’s asking you to write responses that begin with “dear sir, I beg your pardon, but my thoughts differ from yours,” but there’s also no need to write things like “you f-ing idiot, you’re wrong.”

Off-Topic Discussion
We offer tagpages and an open forum called #whitenoise so that there’s room for silly off-topic talk, so please try to keep comments on posts relevant to the content of the post.

Annoying the Hell Out of Everyone
Will it blend? Does it run Crysis? It’s not a big deal. Sent from my iDevice. I, for one welcome [some sort of] overlords. In Soviet Russia the commenters ban YOU. Step 1: Comment. Step 2: Get Banned. Step 3: ??? Step 4: Profit! Yo dawg, I hear you like the banhammer. First post! LOL! LMAO!

Those trite and tacky expressions, phrases, memes, and similar ones aren’t as funny as you might think they are. They also put you at risk of a banning—especially if your comment doesn’t consist of anything else.

There are some folks who get a kick out of baiting angry responses by writing some utter nonsense or playing the devil’s advocate to an extreme. Sometimes it’s unintentional and innocent, but we’ll toss you out if we notice that it’s a pattern.

Whining About Content
Not everything we post will be of interest to you or maybe sometimes there’ll be too much of a good or bad thing. It happens and your first instinct might be to whine or rant about it—please don’t! You have other options.

Instead of shouting about what you don’t like, you can suggest what you do like and want to read more about in our #tips box. You can also filter out content that you don’t like using our tag system and creating a custom page along the lines of (with ‘annoying content” and “moreannoyingcontent” being replaced by whichever tags you don’t like—you should be able to stack as many tags as you want.)

Professing Your Love and Lust
It’s fine if you profess your love and lust for gadgets, but please refrain from hitting on writers and editors. It gets uncomfortable to read about what you want to do to our sexy little bodies or about what you think we do to inanimate objects in our private time. The line between flattering, creepy, and downright scary is often far too thin.

Obnoxious Corrections
We’re human—most of us at least—and we make mistakes. Sometimes they’re grammatical, sometimes structural, sometimes we can’t spell worth a damn, and sometimes we can’t do math. It’s OK to call us out on that using the #corrections tag, but it’s not OK to be obnoxious and insult our education or our mothers while doing so.

Questions? Comments? Concerns?
I’m certain I’ve left out some reasons for banhammer use, but those are some of the key issues. If you’re left with questions, I may have answers. But if you try my patience by making comments or asking cheeky questions simply for the sake of seeing how far you can bend the rules, I might get annoyed with you and it won’t be pretty.


3 Responses to “Free Speech…? Sure, But There ARE Commenting Rules.”

  1. iduck said

    Quack quack.

  2. SBDOTKU said

    Well iduck, at least your comment wasn’t offensive. The fact that you’re calling yourself “iduck” speaks to your motive. See “Troll” above.

    • He makes it easy to identify him, though – and he illustrates my points beautifully. Telling, though, that CalSpy needs to hide behind ever changing alias’, instead of just having the balls to post under his own handle — must be something all of Kenny’s associates have in common.

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