So what's new with Engadget comments? Pretty much everything. For starters, the inner and outer workings of our system have changed substantially -- for the better. We've added multiple, threaded reply levels (hello 1998!), real-time updating of new comments, image and video attachments inline, and yes... comment editing. That means next time you write "dandroid" instead of "fandroid," you can actually make the fix (unless you were nicknaming your friend Dan -- then carry on). Using Disqus also allows us to make commenting on Engadget easier than ever before (for new and old users alike) by providing login connectivity with Facebook, Twitter, and OpenID. That also means that you can tweet or post to your wall when commenting, and we've got future plans for all kinds of funky integration with the services you know and love. If you don't want to use those pesky social networking services, you can create a Disqus account as well (you'll be able to comment on other Disqus sites using that account too). We're also scrapping the down- and up-ranking scheme we've had for voting on comments. If you like something, give it the +1 you've been talking about for years. And of course, if something is offensive or out of line, report it to us so we can deal with it properly. Which brings us to... moderation.
Switching over to Disqus in comments also means that our ability to moderate is dramatically and drastically upgraded, which is bad, bad news for the trolls and spammers who have made commenting life on Engadget a royal pain in the backside at times. Thanks to a set of pretty powerful tools we'll be deploying, we'll be better equipped than ever before to deal with rogue commenters -- from minor pains to major trollbursts. From here on out, the editors' and moderators' ability to track, control, delete, and ban inside and outside of comments will be markedly improved, meaning that we'll act quicker and more precisely to scrap the bad eggs and keep the conversation civil. Fanboys, you're officially on notice. For those of you who love Engadget and are responsible commenters, keep up the good work, because we're toying with moderator promotions for those of you who have what it takes to keep the troublemakers in check.
Active commenters -- you should know that the one thing we leave behind along with our commenting system is your Engadget account. Starting with this post, you'll need to either create a Disqus account, or use one of the aforementioned services to login and comment. Older comments and accounts won't go away, but the ability to comment on older posts will cease after a short while. We think this is a minor tradeoff considering the benefits, and we know that a lot of readers who have had some trepidation about getting into the Engadget commenting pool will finally have a chance to get their feet wet. We know everyone is going to take a little time adjusting, but we'll be on-hand to try and answer questions, and we'll also be keeping a close watch on comments for rising stars and early abusers.
So, with that said, we think it's a good time to remind everyone of what we think commenting should be like on the site, so we're including our Human's Guide to Commenting on Engadget below. Enjoy... and get writing!
Update: Just a note, if you see weirdness, don't panic! We're still working out a few kinks and tweaking stuff like the comment count and mobile app implementation.
Commenting on Engadget: a human's guide
In general: The Engadget comments section is a place for our readers to engage in discussion about the posts -- it's really that simple. We encourage that discussion, and we'll be the first to admit that lots of times our readers offer insights that lead us to update our posts, or direct us to entirely new angles and stories. We love that, and we love our readers. We seriously do.
Some basic ideas on commenting here. We think that comments should always be on topic. We encourage and welcome debate, even if it's fervent, because we know how much you care about this stuff -- we care about it, too! However, your comments should be reasonably polite and wherever possible, lighthearted. Making personal attacks against other commenters, publications, or our own editors seriously degrades the community and quality of the discussion, and it won't be tolerated.
While we're fine with disagreements, we're not that crazy about being the battleground for epic fanboy wars. We want you to debate, but when that debate devolves into name calling and / or cyclical fanaticism (especially when you've moved way off topic), it's not a good use of anyone's brainpower. Also, if you've come to Engadget for the express purpose of whipping people into a frenzy (or whipping yourself into a frenzy), don't expect to stick around very long. It's easy to spot the folks who want to have a healthy debate and the folks who just want to troll. On that note, we encourage our readers and commenters to reach out to us personally and report other commenters who seem to be acting inhuman... or inhumane. Together, we believe we can improve the quality of comments on the site. We are aware of the fact that any system like ours can be gamed -- and we're aware of the fact that people actually do things like make multiple profiles and argue with themselves simply to cause problems. Just be aware we'll delete and ban you for that, too!
Comment deletion: There are many reasons your comment might be deleted, but here are some of the most common ones. Spamming of any type, be it human or robot-generated, is always deleted. If you're trying to sell something in comments, you're a spammer. Trolling is also unacceptable -- we recognize that a lot of you trolls don't even realize that you're trolls, but believe us -- you are. We'll delete your comments if we feel they're disruptive or annoying. We also delete comments that are racist, sexist, overly obscene, or offensive in any way. We delete comments which are personal attacks -- whether directed at an editor or another commenter. Finally, we reserve the right to delete any comment at our discretion (please see below).
If you create a history of trolling or other offensive behavior, we'll just ban your account. That means that your username, email, Twitter name, Facebook account, OpenID login, and potentially IP address will be barred from our system, and you'll no longer be able to comment.
You deleted my comment. Isn't that censorship? No. Engadget, along with its parent company AOL allow comments in order to further the discussion, engage our readers, and to let interested parties have a good time (and maybe learn something)! Engadget's commenting sections are not open forums where you can say whatever you please, and commenting on Engadget is not a right of law passed down to you in the Constitution. Engadget is a news site and a business. The editorial staff does not delete comments without good reason, but deletions are always at the discretion of the editors. There are thousands of active commenters on Engadget, and we try to keep the comment sections a fun, engaging experience for all of its readers.
There's a comment that's offensive to me. What can I do about it? There's a "report" button on all comments which will alert our staff that the comment has been flagged. We do look at reported comments, and delete where we deem appropriate. Keep in mind, however, that we know who is reporting what comments, so think before you report -- you don't want to be on our watchlist for reporting a comment for no reason at all, because that doesn't help anybody, does it?
Finally, we realize that we're ultimately responsible for the tone of comments here, and moving forward, we're going to be more vigilant about watching out for problems. We love Engadget, and we take full responsibility for its quality. We also love our readers, and want to make it a safe, enjoyable place for all who wish to participate. Now say something hilarious!