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Posted on February 13th, 2013 by Barry Collins

New comment moderation policy on PC Pro

Angry key

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 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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72 Responses to “ New comment moderation policy on PC Pro ”

  1. bogl Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Hear hear!

    Sadly, this seems necessary but sensible.

  2. Paul Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Here here, now if you can just convince PC gamer to do the same my favourite 2 websites will be perfect, oops darn, off-topic already!

    Also as an aside, I personally enjoy hearing about new Apple products as much as I do Windows, Personal Computer Pro after all, keep up the good work guys!

  3. Brian Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Sounds fair and reasonable :-)

  4. james Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Will you remove the double posts caused by refreshing too?

  5. Red Leader 1 Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Good move! Perhaps this will encourage better discussion and point of view rather than polorised fanboy arguments.

  6. Alan Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 9:30 am

    I think the comments attached to your latest review of the Apple iMac aptly illustrates why this step was necessary.

    Frankly it was becoming a chore wading through such bickering detritus to see if there were any comments of substance worthy of note.

  7. Ryan O'C Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 9:35 am

    I completely agree with Alan, and the other comments. This is a sensible decision by PC Pro, in my opinion, and I might actually be encourages to join in some of the debates now!

  8. DJK Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 9:39 am

    I am sure you will have some clever reposte premade and waiting for some of the enevitable responses this column will receive.
    So let me be the first to offer my head on the block.

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

    On the face of it this leaves very little to be said. Can’t say you like it/dislike etc etc. Comments are generally going to fall in to one of two camps you want to exclude.

    As a person who is only to happy to admit that he is not a fan of Apple products, it is more to do with the people that buy them than the actual product. Whilst not conclusive they generally believe that they own the absolute bees knees and that everything else is a poor substitute.

    I am pleased that you have noticed the rantings in the forums etc etc (other mag sites take note!) that is a very positive thing. Less appealing is that you seem to some extent to have possibly missed the point. I am sure/hope I do not qualify for the more severe of the haters category. In view of the sheer weight of comments generally against Apple, even if you remove the clear extremists, they considerably outweigh anything favourable.

    You will do your self a disservice if choose to ignore these rumblings completely. What annoys a great deal of us is not necessarily your supposed fondness for a given product but the banality/logic in some of the supporting comments.

  9. Nelviticus Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah. Many of us are thoroughly fed up of the witless, predictable griping we see every time you post something that mentions Apple in a favourable light, or that fails to berate them. Thank you for this, it should make the site a much less annoying place for the majority of people.

  10. Paul Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 9:57 am

    I agree with this policy too.

    I gave up visiting many online forums simply because they get filled with useless comments of the types listed in the article.

    The new policy will hopefully keen these comment pages more sane!

  11. Steve Millar Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Perhaps some of the anti Apple feeling (for example) is due to Apple products having it’s own dedicated Dennis publication (MacUser) & perhaps some people feel there is just too much creep into the “traditional” PC environment. Maybe they feel threatened in some strange way when so many Apple products seem to get A listed or highly recommended? Just a wild theory…

    (BTW, I use both PCs and Macs, love/hate them in equal measure)

    Generally, though I welcome the new policy, too many forums just degenerate into mindless squabling after a few posts.

  12. Stewart Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 11:04 am


    I think you might have missed the point a little. If you as a user give a fair and logical comment about a product then I can’t see your post being deleted. However, too many people here just decide they hate a product because it has an Apple/Microsoft/A N Other logo on it, then they proceed to accuse PC Pro of being biased.

    Personally, I think the new policy is long overdue. Look forward to see it in action.

  13. Chris Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 11:09 am

    There is a danger that we won’t be able to criticise a vendor’s products, depending on how you are going to enforce this. Your spam system leaves something to be desired in my opinion, and I’m not sure what the remaining incentives there are to share my opinion.

  14. Glenn Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Good news. I’d given up reading the threads because of the sort of comments you have mentioned. Let’s hope some other sites follow suit.

  15. JamesM Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 11:13 am

    I second my namesake’s comment(4). You really need to sort out the technical issue which makes the uninitiated poster post multiple times. Or at least tell posters, IN LARGE LETTERS, how to avoid doing it.

  16. JohnAHind Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 11:23 am

    I have no problem with moderation, but the annoying thing is the posting delays to facilitate it. This often means someone else gets in first and you then seem stupid or repetitive when your post appears in a context you could not see when you wrote it.

    Surely you could improve the process with white listing/black listing. Someone with many published posts and no banned ones gets shown immediately (and if absolutely necessary reactively moderated). Someone with several moderation black marks just gets removed automatically to save your time. Someone with little history bad or good goes into the pre-moderation queue?

  17. Alan Wood Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 11:49 am

    This is good news indeed.

  18. isofa Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    I totally agree, and this is a very good move. The people ranting, almost always about Apple products, is so tedious. The latest review of the 27″ iMac is a cast iron case for this sort of moderation. I’ve been a reader of PC Pro since issue 1, and used to read MacUser from the early 1990s until approx 1 year ago, but found the editorials far too biased, PC Pro in my opinion is better for the professional who uses PCs and Macs, and purchases such products. Please keep up the cross-platform coverage.

  19. wittgenfrog Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    I think this is a reasonable move, though compared to many sites there simply isn’t a problem here…

  20. Simon Tompkins Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    It’s a joy when there’s a genuine debate, when you post a comment to have it improved by thoughtful contribution.

  21. Iain Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    I desperately want to get a job with PCPro, just so that I can ask someone at MS to pay me 50p to do a good review for them, just so I can activate Clause 1 of the above! :)

  22. Tim Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    I have to agree with the James and JamesM. My main problem with comments has been the multiple post bug. I also think there is a grave danger of censorship creeping in here. You clearly upset a lot of people by A-Listing the iMac 27″, and there should be a method for readers to protest.

    You should also have a very clear definition of what the A-List is. In automotive terms should it feature the Veyron or BMW520?

  23. KC Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    You people should all be working at this time of day! now get back to your UNIX terms.
    Oh yeah, good skills PC Pro, about time.

  24. N991234 Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Shame. The comments used to be the most entertaining thing about many of the articles

  25. Mike Laye Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Well, there’s a thing …

    I’m a regular reader of PC Pro in printed form, electronically on both my iPad and my Android tablet and on my Apple, Win 7 & Linux desktops. I have to say that I have never been upset or annoyed – OK, bored, perhaps – by any of the comments. As @N991234 says, of late they have been frequently “the most entertaining thing about the articles”.

    However, it is clear that many readers (myself included) have very strong views about e.g. Apple’s attempts at world hegemony, which we would like to make public whenever we can, in order to try and raise some kind of opposition to it.

    You seem to be demanding an objectivity from us that you have been increasingly lacking yourselves recently. Barry Collins’ article on why his “iPhone and iPad” have made other devices redundant is the most glaring example of this.

    As we all know, it’s not just these particular brand items that have done that – or even *mostly* those brand items. For instance, my son and his friends regard iPhones as an expensive, if desirable, luxury for older people. They all use Android devices, which have “completely replaced their MP3 players” etc, etc.

    So, that wasn’t balanced, objective reporting and yes, you do need sharp commentary to let you know that. Whether it’s just lazy reporting or corrupt practice is for you to know and us to guess. (I go for the former)

    I guess now you’ll never know when we think you’ve over-stepped the mark. Will that be a good thing?

  26. Andy Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Excellent policy.
    Just one feature request: can we have some form of comment tracking? I very often write a comment on an article, then try to return to it the next day but can’t find the article, or it takes ages to track down.
    Also, it would be good to have a notification system (as with forums) whereby you get notified if someone posts a follow-up comment.

  27. Frank Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    This policy says everything that has gone wrong with PCPro over the last year or so. Confirms I did the right thing cancelling my subscription.

  28. GW74 Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Am I alone in finding Barry’s constant shirtiness, over-sensitivity and poorly disguised abrasiveness to be among the worst offenders?

  29. Martin Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    On the whole this is a fair move, I think, but we should reserve judgement until we have seen the results of this “moderation” in action.

    Often the comments provide useful context and perspective that the article fails to mention (comments by BigD are some which spring to mind), and these could occasionally be deemed as being critical of the article – yes, especially in the slightly bonkers world of Apple reviews. Will any such dissenting posts simply be deleted as the mad ravings of just another “android/ms fanboi”? Time will tell!

  30. Paul B Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Another way to solve this would be to bring in comment voting. If, as I expect, the rabid anti/pro Apple (insert company of your choice) comments get downvoted, then the job’s done without having to bring in censorship.

    Just look at Ars Technica to see what an effect this can have. Before I wouldn’t visit their comment pages as they were worse then PC Pro’s iMac one – after and it’s a genuinely nice place to read discussion.

  31. fiona Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Looks like extreme over-reaction to recent Apple articles. I don’t particularly enjoy the my device is better than your comments, but equally I don’t like the brand centric articles as if Apple invented everything. All I ask from a “professional” magazine is for professional articles. This does mean that more thought needs to be given in the articles not what appears to be a rush job – either cobbled from a draught a few months back or a new one with a minimum of editing and no desire to remove unnecessary branding.

  32. Jules75 Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Can’t say fairer than that. . Judging by the comments I read on these pages I would imagine that 99% of the readers will be unaffected by this policy change anyway. Good work PC Pro.

  33. Bren Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Glad to hear. Why not allow people to vote on comments, both positive and negatively. Such a rating system is great feedback and infoms both you and the commenter whether it is appreciated. Many sites have such a system and it works well.

  34. GW74 Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    @Paul B – Exactly. This top down moderation is so 1998. Only to be expected.

  35. Barry Collins Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    Thanks for all the comments.

    To answer a few of the queries:

    1. As I stated above, we won’t be removing comments purely because they’re critical of a product/story or PC Pro. All we ask is that comments are measured and make a legitimate point.

    2. We will be looking at our comments systems on both the main site and blogs. We too are big fans of the voting system used on sites such as Ars Technica, and will push for such a system to be implemented on PC Pro when we redesign the site. It’s not possible with our current site.

    Barry Collins

  36. Chris Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Hopefully you’ll also moderate any comment complaining about moderation of a previous comment, and comparing PC Pro to a murderous repressive regime.

  37. GW74 Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    @Barry, what constitutes “measured and make a legitimate point” is an entirely subjective judgement, and goes far further than the competition. Therefore it is censorship. not to mention a waste of valuable man hours censoring comments. Spend those man hours upgrading the site and putting in voting: problem solved and the website gets a much needed upgrade. Look at the competition (The Verge, Ars Technica). Your journalism is good but your site is years behind design-wise. The internet is not known for moving slowly and waiting for everyone to catch up.

  38. Chris Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    @GW74, I’m not sure voting buttons always solve this kind of issue; when discussing topics like Apple, they might just allow the faction with the greater number to dominate.

    Do you really not think it’s the right of a professional publisher to to decide what appears on their web pages and what doesn’t?

  39. Saqib Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    I this Barry Collins is a despot and tyrant who wants to exert his diabolical way with this site, the rot started when he came took over a Editor and I think this is the thin edge of the wedges leading to more Football Manager related material making it’s way onto this site.

    *This comment might have been written in jest.

  40. Jono Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    About time too. Tho it IS annoying when you talk about features in mobile OSs as if they were all invented by Apple, when in fact many first appeared in Android or elsewhere.

  41. Mark Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    As long as the moderation happens /after/ the post I welcome this. Free speech doesn’t work in small places – the idiots gabber the loudest.

  42. aa111 Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Don’t know… Nobody likes silly fanboyism, but this kind of moderation sounds more like a censorship.
    Would prefer more transparent moderation approach such as voting, etc. Distinction between legitimate criticism and non-legitimate criticism is very subjective, especially when decision is made by a person being criticized.

  43. Craig Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Good grief, PCPro, you’ve completely missed the point here. You’re putting a sticky plaster over a broken leg. As far as I can see the reason you’re getting the petty comments are because your A List and scoring system are now meaningless – by your own admission. That’s because your reviewers seem to score technology by an unmeasurable set of criteria that doesn’t collerate. It’s the confusion and inconsistency that’s the problem. Solve that and the petty comments will largely disappear. As for the personal attacks on your reviewers, they work in media. I wouldn’t personally attack a reviewer in a comments section, but I will call into question their professionalism if it calls for it – it does say Pc PRO at the top of this page after all.

  44. Marekj Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    @GW74, re post 34
    “so 1998″? more like 1984!
    Poor old George Orwell would be saying “I told you so!”
    I fully agree that comments should be constructive, incisive and appropriate, but that is, as has already been mentioned, a purely subjective opinion.
    I visit the site most days, but I do find that there seems to be much bias in many of the articles. I agree that the A-list seems to be rather random, with little explanation why something is deemed A. Furthermore, how can something be on the A list 12 or 18 months down the line. Surely the A list itself should be periodically revisited to confirm its relevance.
    Off topic, so probably now going to be moderated and I will have a black mark!
    Comments are just that, comments. As long as they are neither offensive or abusive then they should be allowed. A rating system may be useful.
    However, perhaps you could ask yourselves why after nearly 20 years (and I started with the introductory issue prior to issue 1!!) certain articles appear to draw so much heat and ire. Perhaps a little less defensiveness and a little more humility may be in order.
    Finally, for the record, aggressive and personal attacks should NEVER be tolerated, but so should the refusal to accept criticism.

  45. RSKG Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    Never could understand why people moaned about your coverage of Apple computers. You’re magazine is called PC pro and the last time I checked PC stood for Personal Computer, not non-Apple device. Apple computers use the same components as other desktop and laptop computing devices, except for maybe the BIOS or EFI so reviews of the iMac, MacBook etc are as valid as any other review. They do run Windows (and linux) x86 based OSes after all.

  46. Synaptic_Fire Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    Fair point RSKG, Apple and other devices should be considered personal computers.

    Then again, everything is personal when you are a person.

  47. Jay Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    Overall, a great move – thanks. I’ve come to the conclusion that it is almost pointless posting to (or spending time reading) most websites as it is just too time-consuming wading through childish and emotional posts which seem to have little or no basis in logic.

    In a perfect democratic world you would tag the ‘offending’ posts and give us a button to switch between ‘moderated’ and ‘unmoderated’, but I can live with that.

    >>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.<<

    Hmmm… well as a PCPro subscriber I can think of at least one hack who I used to be able to rely upon to be informed and objective about a certain major software company (not Microsoft or Apple) but who now seems rather loathe to criticise following a few jollies to the US. But, given the unjustified collapse in the pay and conditions of hacks, I almost sympathise.

    The first page I turn to is Honeyballs, who seems unbuyable – there are many fine journos on PCPro, but if he leaves you lose your USP, for me at least.

  48. GW74 Says:
    February 14th, 2013 at 12:20 am

    @Chris 38. “Do you really not think it’s the right of a professional publisher to to decide what appears on their web pages and what doesn’t?”

    Yes, that is precisely what I am saying. Either have free-speech comments or no comments at all. A censored thread is worse than no thread at all, because once tainted with subjective filtering, it gives the illusion of free speech but it is tainted with bias. And that is Orwellian. Think about it.

    As @Marekj says in comment 42., “as long as they are neither offensive or abusive then they should be allowed”. In fact I think even that goes too far. Only if they display prejudice or harrassment (i.e. persistent abuse) should they be removed. No one has the right not to be offended. Man up.

    I mean for goodness’s sake, it’s 2013. These arguments are so old. Barry, this is a terrible terrible mistake. Please reverse your decision and let crowd-sourced voting police this.

  49. GW74 Says:
    February 14th, 2013 at 12:37 am

    I’ve thought about this. I’m out. I’m sure I won’t be missed but I’m off to The Verge/Ars Technica, unless and until this decision is reversed. Ciao.

  50. Chris Says:
    February 14th, 2013 at 1:21 am

    @GW74, I suppose if this was a government-run portal for discussing democracy, it might be considered Orwellian to censor comments, but this is PC Pro, and the terms say the forum is for on-topic discussions about the article. And the forums will be an improvement for the majority who don’t want to read the same views for and against Apple ad nauseum.

  51. Craig Says:
    February 14th, 2013 at 8:07 am


    At last some common sense from someone. Take heid PCPro of @GW74 views and others held here. They are the most sensible of all. I have previous experience of this kind of enforced moderation and it literally killed one online service. Crowdsourced moderation is the way forward, not one man’s personal opinion of what’s abuse. Sort out the rating system and go crowd source for your moderation and all will be well.

  52. DJK Says:
    February 14th, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Subsequent to a much earlier post by myself and now having read other peoples comments I would just like to repeat the last sentence of my earlier post.

    “What annoys a great deal of us is not necessarily your supposed fondness for a given product but the banality/logic in some of the supporting comments.”

  53. Darryl Godden Says:
    February 14th, 2013 at 10:15 am

    “What annoys a great deal of us is not necessarily your supposed fondness for a given product but the banality/logic in some of the supporting comments.”


  54. Iain Says:
    February 14th, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Couple of thoughts :-

    1. I accept the repeated “you are biased” comments are pointless and annoying – but have to agree with @GW74 and others that heavy moderation surely cannot be the solution in 2013? In my view you need to be removing barriers to comment & discussion not imposing them. The conversation will simply move elsewhere and that cannot be good. The printed magazine is losing relevance fast; I only continue to subscribe because it is a way to “pay” you guys for the content that you create and the value you bring to the industry. It seems to me that you need to cultivate an active community now more than ever before.

    2. “If you’re here merely to pour petrol on the flames, expect your comment to be removed.” … I just don’t understand how you can determine this with any degree of objectivity – effectively you’re going to base moderation decisions on what you think the underlying rational for a comment is, or might be, rather than on the content of the comment itself?

  55. Paul H Says:
    February 14th, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    @GW74 – Byeeee :-) .

    I am SICK of the conspiracy theories and abuse every time PC PRO publish something positive about Apple, and will not miss the tedium of having to skip them when I read the comments on PC Pro.

    Well done Barry – good policy change.

  56. Alan Wood Says:
    February 14th, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Before anyone else posts on here please read the previous comments first.
    You don’t have to worry about heavy-handed moderation, criticism will be tolerated as has been explained.
    Don’t moan about censorship and demand a voting system. It has already been explained that it will come as part of a redesign.

  57. GW74 Says:
    February 14th, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Hi I’m back. Only for this comment though, I promise.

    @Chris just to clear up a couple of points. (1) voting will not allow a pro/anti-Apple troll faction to dominate because both are vastly outnumbered by people who aren’t trolls. (2) re “Orwellian”. Before you pull the trigger on a little lecture like that, look up the word first. Try the “internet”.

    @Alan Wood “Don’t moan about censorship and demand a voting system. It has already been explained that it will come as part of a redesign” – so you’re saying censorship in the short/medium term is OK as long as it’s not permanent? Brilliant.

    Finally, a little thought experiment:

    Clearly this was Barry’s idea. He is the editor and he sets the tone. But Barry used to work at the Daily Mail and the attitudes of that poisonous rag has its fingerprints all over this new policy. Reactionary, small-minded and lowbrow, it is a policy which fails to grasp its own authoritarian implications. Barry thinks this will be a popular move in some quarters (middle England), and it might be, but does that make it right? He has failed to grasp the moral implications and complexities of what he proposes. In my view this policy comes from a position of fear of the unknown, suspicion, hatred and lowest common denominator thinking – just like the Daily Mail does every single day.

    Now that comment is clearly a personal attack on Barry (sorry Barry), and offensive to all Daily Mail readers. Barry might well want to delete it, argubaly rightly so. But should he? Surely it’s free speech debate, a perfectly valid argument, although rather rude. But not everyone will agree it should go. In my view, to remove it would be censorship, and to not remove an equally vehement pro-Barry comment would mean the thread is skewed by an invisible hand to make it seem more pro Barry than it is. What other ones has he deleted? Should he have deleted them? We will never know.

    The problem is the seed of uncertainty has been planted. The truth has been altered, that is Orwellian. Once you go down this path, the content of the debate can no longer be trusted, and that is why this is wrong.

  58. Alan Wood Says:
    February 14th, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    @GW74 I think you’re taking this a bit too seriously. Any comments about a member of staff that extreme SHOULD be taken down as they will obviously be WAY off topic for a computing mag.

    And I am saying that short/medium term censorship is fine. It’s the only way to get rid of mindless rants that pollute the useful comments until the site is redesigned. Are you really so worried that a few deleted comments are going to upset the world order?

    Take a chill pill dude (I’m down with the kids, me).

  59. Tim Says:
    February 14th, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    How did PCPro miss this story.

  60. Tim Says:
    February 14th, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    It is fair to criticise my last comment as a mainly off topic, but this discussion is partly about a perceived pro Apple bias.

    It is also partly about freedom of speech. PCPro has recently campaigned vigorously against internet censorship, so it does seem contradictory for them to act as censors themselves.

  61. Alan F Says:
    February 15th, 2013 at 12:44 pm


    I suspect that PC Pro web staff/writers (unlike the Telegraph) are not 24/7 but they seem to have caught up quite quickly this morning.

  62. Nicole Kobie Says:
    February 15th, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    @Tim We don’t want news stories comments to descend into a list of other things we should have covered, as we can’t cover everything, but we’re more than happy for story suggestions – and we did cover the story you noted today, and have covered over the course of this week the multitude of other problems hitting iOS 6.

    Comments might not be most efficient way to bring stories to my attention; if you’re on Twitter, you can drop us a link that way, or email me at news at too.

    Nicole Kobie
    News Editor

  63. GW74 Says:
    February 15th, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    OK I lied. Last one

    @nicole “We don’t want…”

    You don’t get to decide. You do the articles. We do the comments. Is this really so difficult to grasp?

    If this truly stunning policy (and general attitude it seems) was not a diktat from Barry and really was a team decision, by group of intelligent people, there is only one possible explanation:


    p.s. job titles under comments? you too? really?


  64. GW74 Says:
    February 15th, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    I’m such a liar! sorry more “final” thoughts.

    The best way to improve the quality of comments section debate is not top-down but bottom-up: attract a quality readership by delighting them with the best possible content and site design, give them to tools to self-police with flagging and voting, and let them get on with it, as Ars Technica/The Verge do. Wasting time attempting to monitor and control the debate from above (i.e. treating us like children) will have precisely the opposite effect. To paraphrase Princess Leia, the more you tighten your grip, the more of us will slip through your fingers!

    And seriously, read the wikipedia on groupthink. It is extremely enlightening.


  65. khellan Says:
    February 17th, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    You do final like Pinkie is successful at taking over the world.

    I don’t understand where the diatribe and angst over this policy change is coming from. Surely this is worth a shot and if it doesn’t work, then the topic gets revisited, but even The Verge has its own obsessives.

    I can’t see how clearing up the offensive comments and trying to keep things relatively on-topic will be a bad thing. Yes, there is potential for abuse, but thats human nature, and on-balance, the writers and editors get things right more often than not, or we wouldn’t be reading/visiting/subscribing. I don’t necessarily agree with the some of the results and verdicts of the magazine reviews, but thankfully I have a brain and an opinion on which I can get a better understanding of whatever product, review or article it is i’m looking at.

    And finally, back to @GW: two more comments.
    “@nicole “We don’t want…”
    You don’t get to decide. You do the articles. We do the comments. Is this really so difficult to grasp?”
    As an intelligent, articulate person, do you not think that’s even possibly a little bit rude?
    Last comment: you obviously care and have a passion about this stuff, but as you gave the Leia quote, “my response is: Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering.”
    Please don’t go dark side.

  66. Craig Says:
    February 18th, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Any more news on this? Or has the decision been made?

  67. Mister Opportunity Says:
    February 20th, 2013 at 10:53 am

    What a missed opportunity this is… you could simply have looked at building a community of users and allowing them to self moderate in a (properly designed!) forum requiring proper registration.

    The site looks a bit tired, more than a bit Wordpress-y and, ironically, hasn’t moved with the times enough considering the subject matter. It’s time to copmletely refresh it into something that works differently and is more engaging for users.

    As for article content, I’ve been a reader since the earliest days. My level of satisfaction with the content and tone of the mag have reduced in the past few years due to the pro Apple nature of the publication these days and the focus shift from IT Professionals to consumers and but I’m still interested enough. For now.

    I don’t believe that you’re paid by Apple but I do think your views are badly distorted by the fact that Apple kit fits in quite well with being a journalist…

    Oh, and bring back Dilbert!

  68. Chris Says:
    February 20th, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    @Mister Opportunity, I can understand people thinking there is a bias towards Apple, but the question is should those people be allowed to ruin the discussion thread on every article for everyone else?

    If someone thinks this site is unprofessional, most of us would probably prefer they take their business elsewhere. I mean, what possesses people to keep coming back to read a mag they think is written by corrupt idiots?

  69. khellan Says:
    February 21st, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    This is a little o/t but I think its actually quite funny the thread about comments has driven so many people to comment.

  70. Mister Opportunity Says:
    February 22nd, 2013 at 10:46 am

    @Chris – spent a while writing a response. Comment disappeared (moderated?).

    Not going to do it all again but jist was give users tools (user mods, ignore button, threaded discussion) to make it easier to ignore idiots.

  71. gw74 Says:
    February 22nd, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    same thing happened to me

  72. Vanishing Act Says:
    February 26th, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    All for the new changes, but it would be helpful if the poster of a deleted comment was notified of the deletion and a reason if possible. Obviusoly serial spamming need be given no notification but genuine contributors deserve some heads up?


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