Dear Commenters, We Need To Talk...Again

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We've talked about how the commenting system and those crazy tagpages work, but it seems that it's time for a different sort of discussion. Apparently time to talk about trolls, jerks, doo-doo heads, lousy commenters, the banhammer, and the AUTOBAN.

Just as a writer, editor, or comment administrator can approve your commenter account, he or she can ban it. This means that your previous comments will remain on the site, but you'll be unable to make any new ones. We rarely re-approve banned commenters, so if you feel that you've learned whatever lesson there was to learn, you'd have to sign up for a new account and go through the audition process again.


Sometimes we'll give warnings before we ban—in the form of a reply to your comment, an unstarring, or a disemvoweling—and other times we won't. It depends on the situation. Often it's not even a single comment that results in a ban, but rather a pattern in the commenter's history. Each ban, disemvoweling, unstarring, or warning is treated on a case-by-case basis, but here are some frequent causes for such actions to be taken:

Personal Attacks

It's quite alright to disagree with a post, content, or opinion—but there's no reason to make it personal and leave someone crying himself to sleep at night. No one's asking you to write responses that begin with "dear sir, I beg your pardon, but my thoughts differ from yours," but there's also no need to write things like "you f-ing idiot, you're wrong."

Professing Your Love and Lust

It's fine if you profess your love and lust for gadgets, but please refrain from hitting on writers and editors. It gets uncomfortable to read about what you want to do to our sexy little bodies or about what you think we do to inanimate objects in our private time. The line between flattering, creepy, and downright scary is often far too thin.

Off-Topic Discussion

We offer tagpages and an open forum called #whitenoise so that there's room for silly off-topic talk, so please try to keep comments on posts relevant to the content of the post.


Annoying the Hell Out of Everyone

Will it blend? Does it run Crysis? It's not a big deal. Sent from my iDevice. I, for one welcome [some sort of] overlords. In Soviet Russia the commenters ban YOU. Step 1: Comment. Step 2: Get Banned. Step 3: ??? Step 4: Profit! Yo dawg, I hear you like the banhammer. First post! LOL! LMAO!

Those trite and tacky expressions, phrases, memes, and similar ones aren't as funny as you might think they are. They also put you at risk of a banning—especially if your comment doesn't consist of anything else.



There are some folks who get a kick out of baiting angry responses by writing some utter nonsense or playing the devil's advocate to an extreme. Sometimes it's unintentional and innocent, but we'll toss you out if we notice that it's a pattern.

Whining About Content

Not everything we post will be of interest to you or maybe sometimes there'll be too much of a good or bad thing. It happens and your first instinct might be to whine or rant about it—please don't! You have other options, like suggesting what you do like and want to read more about in our #tips box.


Obnoxious Corrections

We're human—most of us at least—and we make mistakes. Sometimes they're grammatical, sometimes structural, sometimes we can't spell worth a damn, and sometimes we can't do math. It's OK to call us out on that using the #corrections tag, but it's not OK to be obnoxious and insult our education or our mothers while doing so.


The above no-nos are subject to interpretation, but these next few aren't. These things will get you banned automatically—no warning necessary:

  • Commenting just to say "First!"
  • Comments with little more than LOL, LMAO, THIS, tl;dr, or equivalent
  • Repeated or multiple comments with nothing but an image
  • "Slow news day?" or equivalent
  • Graphic or disgusting images
  • Spam or malicious links
  • Revealing personal information (such as addresses, phone numbers, etc) of others

Questions? Comments? Concerns?

We may've left out some reasons for banhammer use, but those are some of the key issues. If you're left with questions, we may have answers if you ask politely.