Engadget tech website has hissy fit, tells its readers to STFU

Engadget tech website tells its readers to STFUIt’s long been one of the biggest tech websites on the planet, and we’ve always enjoyed the lively banter that goes on in their user comments, but it seems that the bosses of Engadget have had enough of the insolent yackin’ and have told their users to ‘shut the flip up.’

As from today, user comments have been turned off, with a foot-stamping message warning users that, “Some of you out there in the world of anonymous grandstanding have gotten the impression that you run the place, but that’s simply not the case.”

Although we sympathise with Engadget’s staff – we run a very busy and very lively forum of our own and know how maddening it can be – we would have thought that a site as big (and as well funded) as Engadget would have the resources to moderate wayward users and slapdown troublemakers as they appear.

So we’re rather surprised to see their user comments being turned off completely as it seems a bit of a draconian response to a handful of persistent troublemakers – and a bit of a slap in the face to all its regular readers who enjoy adding their tuppence ha’penny worth, too.

Here’s their full announcement:

Hey guys, we know you like to have your fun, voice your opinions, and argue over your favorite gear, but over the past few days the tone in comments has really gotten out of hand. What is normally a charged — but fun — environment for our users and editors has become mean, ugly, pointless, and frankly threatening in some situations… and that’s just not acceptable. Some of you out there in the world of anonymous grandstanding have gotten the impression that you run the place, but that’s simply not the case.

Luckily, our commenting community makes up only a small percentage of our readership (and the bad eggs an even smaller part of that number), so while they may be loud, they don’t speak for most people who come to Engadget looking for tech news. Regardless, we’re going to crank things down for a little bit to let everyone just cool off, and we’ll switch them back on when we feel like we’ve shaken some of the trolls and spammers loose from the branches (AKA swung the banhammer in our downtime). See you on the other side!


2 Comments on “Engadget tech website has hissy fit, tells its readers to STFU”

  1. Looks like Engadget can dish it out but can’t take it!

    I’m really amazed that they’ve gone to such extreme measures – it sounds like they didn’t like what their users were saying about them, so they’ve just hidden all the comments, which seems a bit of a cop out.

  2. Engadget has now reintroduced their comments feature, adding a hefty FAQ in the process (see snippet below). We didn’t know they were owned by AOL, of all people.

    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, 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 partner Weblogs, Inc. and 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.
    …. “

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