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How to Use Our Comments, and Not Get Banned

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 275 comments

Want to know the correct way for using the commenting system on Tom's Hardware and Tom's Guide? Read on.

Up until very recently, we've been very relaxed and pretty much turning a blind eye towards commenters and what they were posting. Users were generally free to post whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, and not risk much. In fact, they wouldn't really risk anything since only the forums were patrolled and not the comments.

That ends today.

We will actively monitor comment threads in an effort to clean up the site. Clean up the site of what, you ask? Here's the short and concise list:

Spammers, trolls, racist comments, insulting comments, off-topic discussion, and general idiocy.

The comments are here so that people can provide feedback to the topics in the articles, and even provide constructive criticism. They are not here to provide an avenue for people to misbehave. We don't mind--but we sometimes care--if you don't like what we reported on, or you don't like even how we reported. But we certainly do care if you start taking an offensive stance and just being an outright *sshole.

We posted an article today here, about Steve Jobs and Jonathan Schwartz. Jokingly, I laughed and thought the article would be a perfect roundup of people who don't know how to control their behavior in a community. Turns out, I was right.

After a commenter posted an insult without perspective, I warned the commenter to be nice. Then, they insulted me saying:

"tuannguyen why don't you go back to the communist country where you belong."

Lest there be any confusion, that kind of comment warrants a ban, no questions asked. I won't name names ("etichi"), but they were swiftly shown the door. That kind of filth has no place here.

Here's how to not get yourself banned or your comments deleted

Stay on topic. Try to stick to the topic of the article. If you want to discuss something else, take it to the appropriate section on the forums. If there's no appropriate section for what you want to talk about, it probably doesn't belong.

Stay civil. Don't be a douchebag. Insulting another person's background, race, religion, political stance, directly or indirectly, and other things that could be deemed offensive is grounds for immediate comment deletion and even banning.

Don't troll. Instigating a flame war by insertion of an offensive comment is grounds for immediate comment deletion and even banning.

We have a full Terms of Service for the site that misbehaving commenters should read. Until then, here are some examples of DO's and DON'T's:

DON'T: "This article is trash.[end of message]"
DO: "This article is terrible. Here's how to make it better..."

DON'T: "You're [some insult]."
DO: [just don't say somethings like that to begin with]

DON'T: "First!" or "But can it play Crysis?"
DO: "I want to play these types of games and was wondering if anyone knows how well these games run on X CPU/GPU?"

In all honesty, there are't really that many "DON'T" things to keep in mind. Just have common sense and general decency.

Again, I reiterate that it's fine to express your opinions, as long as it's not offensive, insulting, or attacking. Despite what some commenters may think, we're not a large field of grass under a bright blue sky in the middle of nowhere, where commenters can wail whatever they want because no one's around. We're a publication that has chosen to provide an avenue for feedback for those readers who wish to provide it.

A free-speech forum doesn't mean an open invitation to be a jerk.

For those who are concerned that we're policing the comments "too much," then we encourage you to help promote an intelligent and even light hearted community, and maybe we'll loosen up a bit. But until then, this is the way it's going to be.

You're not in your own backyard where you can do whatever you want. You're visiting our website and therefore must adhere to the rules. And heaven-forbid, the rules are pretty darn simple. It's amazing that some display conduct worse than some school children. Please follow these simple, simple rules, and everything will be grand.

Update: And no, I did not say that "Can it play Crysis" comments are going to result in a ban. I said that offensive comments is grounds for comment deletion and even banning. I noticed too 2 or 3 commenters are already taking this way out of proportion. I already talked about free-speech above. And, no, we're not going to go crazy banning "funny" comments that have some ground to stand on.

Take from this as you will, but the guide above is pretty clear cut. It's the few sore thumbs that ruin it for the rest of us, as the saying goes.

/ Tuan

Tuan Nguyen
Director, News Operations

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Top Comments
  • 31 Hide
    mlopinto2k1 , March 10, 2010 7:56 PM
    SUGGESTION: Thumbs up and Thumbs down for the actual article. That would be pretty cool.
  • 29 Hide
    dwave , March 10, 2010 7:54 PM
    You all know, can it play Crysis is going out anyways, soon it will be "can it play Crysis 2??"
  • 29 Hide
    volks1470 , March 10, 2010 7:23 PM
    I see no problem with this, although I bet some people would say otherwise. I'm kind of glad there's going to be some serious moderation around here.

    I wonder how many people will get banned by commenting on this article...
Other Comments
    Display all 275 comments.
  • 23 Hide
    jpishgar , March 10, 2010 7:22 PM
    Moderators and I will be watching attentively, and we're looking forward to keeping the conversation lively and civil.

    Your Humble Servant,
    Joe Pishgar
    Community Manager
  • 29 Hide
    volks1470 , March 10, 2010 7:23 PM
    I see no problem with this, although I bet some people would say otherwise. I'm kind of glad there's going to be some serious moderation around here.

    I wonder how many people will get banned by commenting on this article...
  • -6 Hide
    gwolfman , March 10, 2010 7:38 PM
    You're really gonna ban for:
    Quote:
    DON'T: "First!" or "But can it play Crysis?"

    That's pretty lame, really. Does it warrant one? I know it's annoying, but I still see the humor in it. Am I the only one?

    .......................... waiting for thumbs down ......................... ?
  • 17 Hide
    gwolfman , March 10, 2010 7:39 PM
    Sorry (double post), I'm particularly referring to the Crysis bit. I hate "First!" people, but the Crysis stuff is still funny
  • 22 Hide
    peacock , March 10, 2010 7:40 PM
    gwolfmanYou're really gonna ban for:That's pretty lame, really. Does it warrant one? I know it's annoying, but I still see the humor in it. Am I the only one?.......................... waiting for thumbs down ......................... ?


    Yeah, it was funny...about 10,000 posts ago...

    It's just as retarded now as "First!" is.
  • -5 Hide
    gwolfman , March 10, 2010 7:43 PM
    peacockYeah, it was funny...about 10,000 posts ago...It's just as retarded now as "First!" is.

    Take the Joker's advice:
    "Why so serious!?!"
    Ok, ok... I'll let it rest. May the Crysis legacy RIP once and for all!!!
  • 23 Hide
    JMcEntegart , March 10, 2010 7:46 PM
  • 4 Hide
    Elsapo , March 10, 2010 7:48 PM
    I got an ad, saying "Protecting religious freedom without limit free speech" on this page. Did you guys engineer this?
  • 16 Hide
    webbwbb , March 10, 2010 7:50 PM
    But can it...

    Be enforced well? I help out on a forum with over 100k users and that is always one of the first questions we ask ourselves when considering any change in policy, especially large ones such as this. As long as it is enforced well, not too harshly and with some grace but also with consistency then I look forward to this.
  • 25 Hide
    daworstplaya , March 10, 2010 7:50 PM
    About time I say, some of the things being said on the comments section were out of control. But I'm with gwolfman, although "But can it play Crysis?" is over played, it shouldn't warrant a ban. Think of it as something that makes this community quirky but unique.
  • 24 Hide
    jomofro39 , March 10, 2010 7:52 PM
    The Crysis stuff is definitely still funny and should be allowed. And it is still actually a valid question.
  • 13 Hide
    mlopinto2k1 , March 10, 2010 7:53 PM
    Finally! I used to almost cringe posting comments here because of these issues. Granted I have probably left a couple nasty messages in the past due to this very reason, I am definitely glad this has been engaged. Cheers.
  • 12 Hide
    husker , March 10, 2010 7:53 PM
    Thank you!! Hopefully this help cut down on time wasted scanning through useless comments. Especially when the "Alert me if new talkback" option is selected.
  • 29 Hide
    dwave , March 10, 2010 7:54 PM
    You all know, can it play Crysis is going out anyways, soon it will be "can it play Crysis 2??"
  • 17 Hide
    bunz_of_steel , March 10, 2010 7:55 PM
    yeahhh u go Tuan!! I couldn't agree more and I too can use a little more sobriety and common sense when posting.
  • 11 Hide
    tamick88 , March 10, 2010 7:56 PM
    I agree with gwolfman and daworstplaya. The comments were getting out of control but really? A ban for saying can it play crysis?

    btw McEntegart whats up with the link to the creepy pic of MJ??? I think that smile will haunt my dreams lol.
  • 31 Hide
    mlopinto2k1 , March 10, 2010 7:56 PM
    SUGGESTION: Thumbs up and Thumbs down for the actual article. That would be pretty cool.
  • 26 Hide
    cheepstuff , March 10, 2010 7:57 PM
    can you also give us the ability to edit out comments, or at least delete double posts?
  • 17 Hide
    wasteoftime , March 10, 2010 7:57 PM
    DON'T: "First!" or "But can it play Crysis?"

    My heart...... I feel it breaking. I actually always thought the "but can it play Crysis" comment was entertaining. "First" is relatively stupid, but the conversations about whether or not a device can play Crysis actually went places on occasion.
  • 6 Hide
    Shadow703793 , March 10, 2010 7:58 PM
    Imo, I'd let the Forum members root out the spammers,trolls,etc using the comment/report function.
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