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.
Director, News Operations