Commenting on Engadget: a refresher, and how you can help

It's been far, far too long since we've had an excuse to run that rad picture of dinosaurs with laser guns. It's also been some time since we offered up a gentle reminder about the delicate dance that is the Engadget comments system -- and since things seem to have gone off the rails a bit lately, we've found a good way to accomplish both tasks. After the break, you'll discover everything you need to know in order to become a valued member of the world of Engadget commenting. As ever, we reserve the right to delete those comments that we deem to be trollin' or hatin' -- and to ban repeat offenders. We don't like banning people, and we realize that haters do have to hate, but we do want to encourage active and open debate. This is the best way for us to do that.

Of course, to keep things on track we need some assistance, and while a few, proud comment moderators have been helping out for months now, it's time to invite a few more into the fold. More information on how to become a member of the elite moderating forces after the break.

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 or moderators 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. Seriously, Apple, Android, Microsoft, Nokia, RIM, Dell, etc. fanboys -- please just go away unless you have something intelligent and reasonable to bring to the table.

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, homophobic, 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).

Banning: If you create a history of trolling or other offensive behavior, or you're simply a total jerk, 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, allows 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?

We realize that we're ultimately responsible for the tone of comments here, and we're doing our best 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. But, sometimes we could use a hand.

Twitter: a place for complaints

Got a question, a commenter or a complaint about how things are going down in the comments? We've got a Twitter handle for that. Shoot a note to @EngadgetMods, for a direct line to the moderators themselves.

Think you can help?

We're looking for some folks to join our moderating team, to help keep our commenting section fresh, clean, and smelling of lilac -- or maybe cinnamon. Anyway, if you think you have what it takes please send us the following:

  • Your name, location, and a few words about yourself.

  • Your contact info, including your Disqus handle and any IM accounts you still use.

  • What times of the day you're likely to be available for moderation.

  • An answer to the following: Why would you be the best comment moderator ever?

  • Any other questions you might have.

Please note that moderation positions are unpaid and if you don't submit the above you're pretty well taking yourself out of the running.

To apply to be an Engadget Moderator, please send us an email at jobsATengadgetDOTcom with the phrase "Comment Moderator" (no quotes) in the subject.