So it has been a long time since we last posted comments guidelines and standards. To put it in perspective, the last time we talked comments with y'all, the iPhone 5 hadn't been released, Android fans were using Jelly Bean and Facebook had just gone public. A lot can change in the course of nearly five years, but one thing that's remained constant is our dedication to our readers. To that end, we wanted to take a minute to answer some questions, explain some features and, frankly, lay down the law when it comes to the comments section and our social channels. Pull up a chair and read on to find out what you need to know about Engadget's comments and community.
Why do we have a comments section?
Comments sections get a bad rap: Everyone is familiar with the adage "Don't read the comments," and that didn't become a common refrain because comments sections are full of hugs and puppies. Even so, there are some genuinely interesting conversations happening in our comments section, from personal experiences with gadgets to incredibly technical explanations of hardware, and we're often impressed by what you have to say.
We have a comments section because we sincerely enjoy having a place for our readers to discuss the articles we write -- and our readers often provide us with insights that add to the story, shed light on new angles or help us update the facts in the post. Many of you rely on the comments for additional information and alternative opinions, all while many other publications have opted to shutter their comments sections (or just use Facebook). We've kept ours open because it's valuable to you as readers, which makes it important for us too.
While the rules of internet interactions naturally vary from one website to another (and in some cases are unclear), we took the time to rethink our guidelines and have laid out a detailed policy on what does and doesn't fly here.
Commenting basics: features and functions
First, a few technical details. While the basics of logging in and posting a comment are largely the same as they've always been, there are a few handy features in our current system that are worth highlighting.
Editing and deleting. The options to edit or delete your comment can be found in a drop-down menu; the arrow for the drop-down menu appears when you mouse over the upper-right area of your comment. (Mousing over the upper-right of someone else's comment will allow you to report that comment; more on that below.)
All links require approval. This means that any comment containing a URL will be held in "pending" until it has been approved by a moderator. Moderators will refuse comments with links that are broken or that direct to spammy or inappropriate content. We know the delay in approving comments with links isn't ideal, but it helps keep a large amount of spam from getting through. Also, please don't resubmit a link over and over again; each one will still wind up in pending.
Banned words. We have a list of banned words that will automatically remove a comment. No, you cannot see this list -- but we will tell you that it largely consists of insults, swears and name-calling-type stuff. Any comment with an f-bomb is going to get pulled (no matter how you spell it), but we're pretty lax about the other "blue" words as long as you're not swearing at somebody.
Notifications. If you do not want to get an email notification when other commenters like your comment, reply to your comments or mention (@) you, you can disable all of that in your profile settings. (You can access settings by clicking your username next to the alert bell.)
Commenting basics: behavior
There is pretty much one golden rule here, and it's "don't be a jerk." Please, don't be rude or mean or nasty. We appreciate that you care about these topics and our stories (hey, we care too). But no matter how fired up the discussion, please be civil.