How to Make Quality Comments, Earn a Star and Be a HeroS

In the spirit of holiday house-cleaning, it's time for a crash course in comments etiquette. What can you do? What should you definitely never do? What, in effect, do we want from you, Citizen Commenter?

Gawker Media blogs are known for their savvy commentary—and yes, that includes Gizmodo. We strive to let in a smart and plugged-in community, and we want comments that serve as first-rate contributions to the post at hand. We love new insight and inside information that you obtained from companies because you worked there. Or because you're familiar with the designer of some project. Or because you ARE the designer of some project. We value informed response and welcome spirited debate. Above all, comments should always further the discussion. "Lifehacker's Guide To Weblog Comments" is a great jumping-off point for the uninitiated.

We like to see good spelling and grammar, because we're nerdy like that. Capitalization and punctuation are important, too. These basic requirements go a long way towards making us all look better. Staying on-topic in a thread is essential — but now you can also take a topic to your own generated #hashtag page, then direct others there. Editors may sometimes caution that a thread has gone off-topic and should be moved to another forum.

Many readers have already discovered how to make their voices stand out via our #tips pages. Here you can share breaking news, leaked info, links of interest and timely video. Give us some substantive lines on why we should follow up, and
your post may be promoted or featured on the blog. The #tips page is also an excellent space to audition as a first-time commenter with a juicy tidbit or to show off your investigative instincts. Self-promoters and spammers will be summarily banned, but quality contributors have the spotlight.

In addition, there is now an informal commenter forum, #whitenoise, where the conversation is yours to guide. Thanks to commenter Sandeep Murali for coming up with the name. And yes, he is a Facebook user. This is the place to add comments, liveblogs, pictures, video, and links that are relevant to your community. It's also easy to jump over here if you find yourself veering off-topic and want to take others with you.

So: thumbs up to attention to detail, thoughtful typing and prodigious use of the 'Shift' key. Personal attacks, inappropriate behavior and off-topic rants in comments are subject to bans, disemvowelling and deletion.

Starred commenters should be aware that their privileges are not guaranteed, and should be careful in the comments they approve and promote. Commenters can be demoted for unruly or obscene posting. Baiting trolls helps no one, and we want the level of dialogue maintained to be high. We're going to be looser with starring and unstarring, so good commenters—even if you're infrequent—will get starred. Commenting a lot with mediocre comments isn't a guarantee of being starred either, so make sure everything you say is quality.