New comment moderation policy on PC Pro

13 Feb 2013

Until now, we’ve taken a liberal approach to comment moderation on PC Pro. Provided comments didn’t use foul language, direct abuse at another contributor, or indulge in a spot of spamming, we largely left them alone.

Today, and after many months of consideration, we’ve decided to change our comments moderation policy. We, but more importantly, a large number of our readers, have grown weary of a small band of users who hijack comment threads with banal complaints, wild conspiracy theories or tiresome arguments on the same topics. We’re bored of reading them and many of you had told us you are too. They pollute the debate and drown out the intelligent contributions that we value.

This isn’t a fingers-in-the-ears attempt to quell dissent. If you think we’ve got something wrong, disagree with a review, or want to express a contrary opinion to a blog, then we still welcome your comment – as long as it’s made in a calm, rational, non-abusive manner. If you’re here merely to pour petrol on the flames, expect your comment to be removed.

Here are a few examples of the type of comments that we’ll be removing in future:

1. You love/hate Apple/Microsoft/AN Other Vendor (Delete as applicable)

No, we don’t. We’re not paid by Apple or Microsoft, we don’t have a vendetta against either, we don’t sleep in pyjamas with a picture of Steve Jobs’ face on them. If we like/dislike a product, it’s because we like/dislike the product, not because we’ve been paid, bribed or coerced by a PR department to do so.

If any reader can provide firm evidence that I, or one of my staff, have been corrupted by Apple or any other vendor, email me and I’ll resign on the spot, come and work free for you for one year, and change my name to Barry McJobs. This is a cast-iron promise.

2. Off-topic rants

These are the comments that turn a story about a new feature in Ubuntu into a nine-paragraph rant about the failings of Windows 8 – or vice versa. Please stick to the topic. We don’t want to block the natural flow of a conversation, but equally we don’t want all comment threads returning to the same two or three battlegrounds.

3. Personal attacks

Any personal attacks on other commenters or PC Pro contributors will be removed. Again, I stress rational, reasonable criticism of an article will be allowed, even encouraged – we occasionally get things wrong, and we welcome being told about it when we do, so that we can correct the article as soon as possible. However, when your comments are personally abusive about another contributor or member of staff, they will be removed and your account may be suspended.

These are not the only grounds on which we may decide to remove a comment; as ever, we reserve the right to moderate any comment as per our terms and conditions. Please don’t expect an explanation if your comment has been removed – we don’t have time to issue explanations for every act of moderation, although we will continue to err on the side of caution.

If you feel one of your comments has been unfairly removed, feel free to contact me at editor@pcpro.co.uk although please be aware that our automatic spam filters sometimes remove legitimate comments by mistake. We normally manage to fish these out of the moderation pool within a few hours.

Feel free to discuss this policy on the blog comments below – we won’t moderate any comments on this particular thread, unless they’re particularly offensive.

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