Comment Policy

Comment Guidelines

Thank you for being part of the Boing Boing community! Our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation, with "good" meaning fun, constructive, informative, entertaining, or all of the above. So, speech is free, but Boing Boing is moderated. Here are the kinds of comments that energize happy mutants:

• More information about the subject of the post! If we post something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. If you know more about it than we do, please share!

• New developments about the subject of a post. As the old comic strip goes, "It isn't that (we) don't like current events. There have just been so many of them lately."

• Opinions that move the debate forward. Disagree with what we or another commenter has to say? Let's hear it! But please be respectful.

• Comments that connect the dots. We appreciate you linking the subject of one post to other posts, even (especially!) when the connection isn't obvious!

• Factual corrections! We make mistakes, we fix 'em.

And now, some less pleasant things that should be self-evident but we'll note for the record:

• Offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or disemvoweled.

• Spam earns an instant ban.  If you have a history of junk comments, plus promotional copy in your profile, you may be considered a spammer.

• Astroturfers will be banned.  Cut-and-paste or nearly verbatim talking points are considered astroturf.

• Sock puppets (alias accounts created by previously banned commenters for the purpose of avoiding a ban) will be banned.

• If the bulk of your comments are whining, hostile, insulting or otherwise annoying, you may be banned.

• Please do not tell the Boing Boing editors what to blog. Writing "But that's not a wonderful thing" is lame. So is "topic [X] bores me," or "subject [Y] sucks."

• Please do not make racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.

• Please don't personally insult, bully, threaten, or harass the writers or your fellow commenters.  Comments referring to other commenters as "idiots," "retards," or the like will be disemvowelled or not published.

• Please avoid using offensive words like avttre, snttbg and phag, which have been ROT13ed for your reading pleasure.  If saying it to a stranger in meatspace might earn you a black eye, please don't say it in your comment.  Replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.

• Please don't make off-topic comments about political candidates or parties for the purpose of arguing. If a political party or candidate is the subject of the post or is closely related, it's okay to discuss political parties or candidates. But don't do so simply to troll.

• Please don't suggest that the victim "had it coming" in a civil liberties/human rights thread unless you have some evidence to support your claim.

• We are primarily ad supported, but advertisers have no editorial control. Please don't make passive-aggressive insinuations or other tiresome, generalized accusations to the contrary. We are transparent about our relationships with advertisers. For more on that, please see our advertising policy.

• Please ROT13 spoilers.

• Please don't include e-mail addresses, physical addresses, or phone numbers in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion, or for the purpose of harassing or publicly exposing the private data of others. Such comments will be redacted or removed.

• Please don't drag topics from one post to another. The content of a post is the responsibility of that author, nobody else.

• Please don't "hijack" comment threads to controversial topics.

• Please don't make the same comment in more than one thread or repeat yourself (or anyone else) in the same thread. If you accidentally double-post, don't worry, our moderators routinely try to tidy up those sorts of errors.

• Please bring meta-commentary, technical problems, etc. to this thread.

2012 Election Year Guidelines

In the interest of not having every thread on every subject turn into a hissfest about whether Obama or Romney/Santorum/etc. is a bigger doody-head, Boing Boing's election year rules are back on. These rules will remain in force for the rest of 2012.

• Please do not refer to candidates or parties unless they are mentioned in the post or clearly relevant to the subject. Example: In a post about radioactive scorpions who eat puppies, "They must be Republicans" is not a valid comment.

• In political discussions, please limit citations to credible news sources, credible statistic sites, etc. Links to candidate propaganda should only be used to demonstrate that candidate's stated position. Links to partisan websites will be treated as astroturf.

• Copy-pasted opinions and talking points will be treated as astroturf.

• Please do not stump for your candidate by shouting slogans. Content or GTFO.

• Please observe all the other niceties such as not repeating yourself and remaining civil.

General notes

• Offensive or spam/commercial (website) user names may be banned.

• If you give us a non-working e-mail address when you register, please don't complain that we didn't contact you if your account is suspended.

• If you need to make changes to your profile:

     ○ Boing Boing native accounts sign in at the BB login page and select Edit Profile from the drop-down menu under your name at the upper right. The default page when you sign in is your WordPress dashboard. It looks like you've accidentally gotten into BB admin, but you haven't. Keep calm and carry on.

     ○ Disqus accounts sign in at Disqus and select Edit Profile from the drop-down menu under your name at the upper right.

• For information about Disqus accounts, such as resetting passwords, changing names, etc., please refer to the Disqus Knowledge Base.

A list of html tags that will work in Disqus comments

• Please forward personal service requests to Antinous at this domain.

Link Policy

• Links are allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. It's generally OK to link to large information sites (such as Wikipedia, IMDb), news sites (NY Times, Yomiuri Shimbun, local TV stations), general technology and interesting-stuff sites (Mental Floss, Gizmodo, Neatorama), maker sites (Etsy, Make) if they're relevant to the topic at hand.

• Links to opinion pages on news sites are okay, but we'd much rather that you coherently voice your own opinion here.

• Links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay (you can add this information in your user profile, instead). This helps us prevent the abuse of the comment threads for spam.  You may link to a specific post on your site if it adds to (rather than repeats) the post/thread.

• Links to commercial sites are okay if they are on-topic for the post/thread or likely to be interesting to fellow readers.

• Links to NSFW (including gore/violence) sites are okay if there's a good reason for them to be part of the discussion. As a courtesy to your fellow commenters, please label them with "NSFW," or similar.

• Mislabeled links are not okay and will be treated as spam.

• Unidentified links (urls pasted without description) are not okay.

• Links to offensive material such as racist, anti-Semitic, etc. websites, images or videos are not okay, unless the topic at hand involves a discussion of this material (example: comments around a BB post on newly-discovered early 20th century photos of Klan rallies might include links to similar collections). If the intent is simply to shock or offend, it's not okay. If the intent is to broaden discussion on a given topic with your peers, it may be okay.

• Unwelcome links will be redacted.

• Full URLs (http://...) are automatically hyperlinked, but you may also mask URLs.  Long URLs (over 75 characters) should be masked, please. <a href="full URL goes here with no spaces">Whatever you want to call the link goes here</a>. The URL must include the http part and don't forget the "s before and after the URL.

• If you post a non-obvious link (masked or Submitterator) to a pdf file, please label it (PDF) in an obvious fashion.

Errata and attributions

• We welcome alerts about typos, incorrect names, factual errors, and the like.

• We generally do not correct quoted text.

• Factual errors will be corrected if verifiable documentation is available. The correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

• Requests for credit or attribution may be honored if verifiable documentation is submitted. This modification is at the discretion of the author/editor of the post and may not happen immediately.


  1. Mod Policy: neat, tidy, concise. Even better than the old one.

    “Please bring meta-commentary, technical problems, etc. to this thread.”

    It may be kind of early to make comments, since it may be that you’re still wrestling with technical details of the style changeover, but I’d like to make the following comments:

    Where is the permalink for a post now? They appear to be gone on the restyled pages I’ve looked at.

    Please bring back the “older post” / “newer post” links. I (usually) read Boing Boing by going from one post to the next, in order, without ever going to the front page. This is especially useful when I’m catching up with old posts.

    The Lookatthis icons appear to be gone, too.

    Otherwise, I like the new look.

    1. Those things are on the to-do list. The old eyeball system didn’t support captcha, so I was getting hundreds of spams per day. We’ll have a new system in place soon. In the interim, you can e-mail me. My e-mail is my name at this domain.

      1. Thanks!

        And look! We can reply to a specific comment. Cool!

        …although it will only lead us to ask for a threaded view with nested indentations for comment replies…

        1. 1) It’s really, really great that you have a reply button next to posts. It solves an issue that I know many people raised time and again, so thanks for making a wonderful improvement.

          2) BUT, when you read this post, did you even notice that I was replying to the post above?

          I’ve been reading lots of comment threads recently, and when people reply to others, you simply have no idea. The little “SamSam replied to” is really not noticeable in the post, unless you’re looking for it. I might just be me, but I don’t think so.

          The “standard” on BB, at least in the past few years (as long as I’ve been reading) has always be to start out a reply with


          I know I should ask for an improvement to something that’s already been improved, but many forums and commenting systems do something exactly like this. When you click “Reply” it adds some verbiage, like @ So-and-so, with a link, to the top of your comment box. Most even support automatically quoting the text.

          Any thoughts about doing something like this?

          Thanks! Love all the rest of the changes!

  2. I would prefer a less bubbl-icious font, but I’m sure I can find a work around if you insist on keeping it. It looks cool, but i find it hard to read.

  3. Loving the new site, especially after I trashed my Comic Sans font once and for all!

    Stupid question: why are some commenters’ screen names grey as opposed to the standard hyper-linked red?

  4. They’re commenting anonymously. We’ve now set it so that they also just appear as “anonymous,” too, to minimize confusion.

    Adding @user to the start of reply posts is a good idea. I believe we’re also thinking of having IDs back in.

  5. Is the “favorite this” link gone? Is it coming back? I often don’t have time to read all the posts in one sitting and sometimes “favorite” to read it later. I guess that’s not really what it’s made for.

  6. I’m not sure whether this is a technical problem, perhaps it’s just a design one, but I don’t quite see the point of the Recent Comments box on a particular thread bearing just the recent comments for that thread. I mean, I can read the recent comments just by scrolling down to the bottom, and in the right order, too.

  7. I agree with Nelson C above. The recent comments box shouldn’t only show the comments for the article you’re looking at, but instead for all articles, like it does when you’re on the home page.

    BB used to work like that. BB Gadgets worked/s the way this new version does. I always just thought it was a bug in BBG’s design.

  8. That was intended to make it easy to scan the latest comments on long comment threads, but it does kinda suck. It’s probably going to go away (or go back to the old way)

    Our favoriting plugin doesn’t work on the latest version of MT. Eventually we’ll figure out what’s wrong with it.

  9. BB is losing great people today.

    To quote the disclaimer text just above the comment box…”Please don’t cuss or harass other commenters!”

    Its now clear who that applies to, and who it doesn’t.

    To celebrate my last comment evar on BB (due to Xeni’s calous comments, insulting long time clickers just expressing an opinion, we just can’t take the BBBullshit treatment of free speech anymore) I must warn you all, you just can’t speak your mind. Don’t you all get it? Its glowing compliments only, people!

    I (and a great number of my compatriots)(and, btw, we were all long time readers, some from the zine era) had quite a brew ha ha last night to discuss something that has been bothering us for some time. The environment/atmosphere here has just become something…well…unwonderful(you all noticed that BB no longer claims to be “a directory of wonderful things’, because it insults its most loyal viewers.

    Its just far far too easy to take our clicks elsewhere.

  10. Could we maybe have the numbers back? It’s not perfect, but it helps sort out which Anon is being replied to. There’s an added advantage of being able to easily return to a comment if you want to reply come back to the same spot in a long thread.

  11. Having problems logging on today- can’t seem to post anything under my user name and I end up being “anonymous”. Re-created my account to no avail. Any suggestions?

      1. I’ve sent another message but I will reply with the correct button now- When I try to sign in I don’t get any kid of error message, just the annonymous comment page. Since I created a new user account and the same thing is happening, I’m not sure what else to do. Maybe just get a job and stop commenting so much!

  12. It doesn’t give me any error message, just the comment page like this:

    Email address

    Remember personal info ”

    This has happened for several days now and it won’t work with either the old or new user account. Nothing new on the computer here beyond usual scanning and security updates.


  13. I am quite concerned that Boing Boing has fallen into the trap of espousing the politics of the editors and moderators. And while this has been happening in the MSM for quite sometime, this is also the reason that the MSM is losing credibility, and in the case of the newspapers, massive circulation drops. Your new policy seems to be telling me not only what to think, but also how to think, and I find that highly offensive. If you are bothered by a few words, you have given too much power to that person. It’s your fault, not theirs. We are all responsible for our own actions, shortcomings included. Political correctness sucks, and is a counter productive influence to real opinion derived from actual thought, not some rote recitation of the current trendy line of what passes for thought these days, spewed forth from the television and other forms of media.
    It is sad that Boing Boing has fallen to this level. I can only hope that common sense will eventually prevail.

    1. Boing Boing is the personal blog of the editors. Why wouldn’t they espouse their own opinions on their own blog?

      1. It is supposed to be a directory of wonderful things. For ALL of us. Including you and I. Try to include everyone instead of alienating them, like you have tried to do with me?

        1. You should feel absolutely free to create your own blog representing your interests and opinions. Boing Boing isn’t a public utility.

  14. Sea Daddy, I think you may have fallen into a trap of your own there. Good luck killing all those windmills.

  15. Antinous-

    Please forgive the contact in this way, but the link to contact you personally isn’t working. I need to revise my account details (specifically, it’s linked to a no-longer working email address) and I wish to fix it. I’m not quite sure how. Instructions can be relayed to the new email, namely [redacted}

    Thank you for the attention.

    1. As far as I can figure, your e-mail address has no function in the system, so it shouldn’t make any difference. But I’ll switch it. If I have to reset your password, I’ll let you know.

  16. Blogging, photosharing, videosharing… when it does contain someone else’s content, if used appropriately it falls under Fair Use. You can’t recreate a large portion or entire work, but you can still use screenshots, excerpts, clips, low-res photos etc. – which is already how just about everybody uses copyrighted material. It’s also for the copyright owner to dispute fair use.

    This would and could only target copyrighted materials used in full without the express permission of the owner. Which anyone in their right mind knows is a crime, and is usually easy to identify.

    I don’t so much agree with forcing ISPs to “proactively” monitor, but there should be clear guidelines that they shouldn’t ignore or condone – which I’m sure they already have in their own agreements. If not, seems fair that ISPs should be required to have “notice and takedown” rules.

    The only real problem here is ISPs grossly misinterpreting copyright as it is here.

  17. How will government health care workers pick which people to treat? My guess it’ll be about as fair and effective.

  18. What’s up with short posts not having any fold / link / way to comment under the new format? I don’t have any scripts blocked and I do see the necessary objects in every post longer than a few sentences…

  19. Under general notes, it says

    The eye icon in the top right-hand corner of messages tells the moderator to look at that particular message. Please don’t try to use the eyeball to post comments.

    (Emphasis mine.) It’s no longer an eyeball icon, but the word ‘Report’. While long-time commenters know what is meant (because it’s just where the eyeball used to be), this might confuse the newbies.

    1. Visually it’s too close to ‘respond’ and in a location that further lends itself to that mixup. I reported a comment the other day that probably made no sense to whoever sees those reports. I looked around but could find no clue as to who I might send a ‘disregard’ message to.

      1. I reported a comment the other day that probably made no sense to whoever sees those reports.

        That’s normal. The larger problem is that you send the report and the system shows you the exact same form with a fresh captcha, so I frequently get three or four reports on the same comment all at once.

  20. Antinous.

    Your comment has been noted. Will limit any future comments to “wotwaste”.
    Spotted your camel post and couldn’t help commenting. The Australian meat industry is a pet interest having had a colourful personal relationship with it…
    Just a suggestion..perhaps erase all mention of “There’s more trivia….bulls testicles and photographs” in my post. Think the bit you erased causes some confusion for for ConnieH and others wondering about the halal process.
    Cheers, the wotwaste duck

  21. Antinous.

    I am posting this here because the direct link to you does not work.

    I posted a comment to the “Lasik: is it worth $6000?” thread as user “Hopkins Douglas” and it was there for a few minutes and then disappeared, and I could not log back in. I have tried changing the password twice and it takes the change, allows me to log in, but not to post a comment.

    Re-reading the moderation guidelines I suspect it was deleted because of the email address I put at the end.

    I acknowlege that I may have violated the rule.

    My concern here is what do I have to do to get reinstated?
    Or if not blocked, back able to post?

    I do not teach Bates Method myself, but I do feel strongly that people deserve to know about this viable alternative to lasiks surgery and it’s risks, and want to get something posted on there while the conversation is still active.

    And as a reader/poster for over 8 years I want the privilege of posting in the future.

    Or if I was banned for some other reason, please let me know.

    Maybe it is just a system glitch.

    It appears my email will not be posted, but you can contact me there or post here to reply to me.

    Hopkins Douglas

  22. If you must use a comment system that requires Javascript (already a fail), at least display some notice of this, instead of presenting a comment form that looks like it’s working just fine but only returns “invalid request” (completely meaningless error message) on all attempts to use it.

  23. The problem there is evidently not javascript, but a non-responsive server. Happens. “requires javascript” is basically the modern web. Love it or leave it.

  24. Yesterday (Jan 4 2010) I saw a couple of new comments on this thread:

    They were from jpratt, excoriating Cory and Mary Robinette Kowal and threatening legal action. He also suggested going to the site to get his side of the story. This redirects to the site for his new startup, which inexplicably follows the come-on for investors with a loooong screed containing personal attacks and wild accusations.

    Now those comments are gone from the thread above – not disemvowelled, just disappeared. I tried to post this there, but apparently comments have been disabled on that thread.

    What gives, BB!?

    1. E-mail me at my name at this domain. Let me know the changes that you want to make and your current log-on and password if you know them.

  25. I like BB’s new look – still not able to upload a profile pic I guess? Also, seems that some of the old regulars here are missing. I may finally be over my politics OD – looking forward to tip toeing around ticking folks off here at BB again

  26. OMG -Takuan was banned!? I saw where he irked Xeni – but I’d have figured that as much as he’d contributed to BB, almost anything he might say would be forgivable.

  27. Sorry for multiple posts here – one last question- Is there a new open thread on BB? – I just visited Untitled 1 and there hasn’t been a post there in months.

    1. Yup. I just sent it through. I didn’t realize that you would get a ‘held’ message. If, for example, you put in two links to the same domain, the system holds the comment. Even if the domain is!

  28. hi Antinous. A recent comment of mine seems to have disappeared from the “Race Card” comment area. Any idea why? Let me know at your convenience & thanks.

    1. It seemed personally insulting to the subject of the post. If you had made an argument to support your position, it would have been one thing, but reducing it to a snarky meme just made it seem like an insult.

  29. Well, since the thread in question appears to be locked, I guess it’s a dead issue now, but I disagree about my post being insulting: I was simply pointing out the seeming incongruity of the blogger referring to herself as a “negress”, and to having a chained African American showing up prominently on her blog: I’m Caucasian, and I found it to be offensive: my skin color does not diminish the validity of my feelings. And since she (the blogger) brought up the issue of racism with her “race card” idea, I found this to be somewhat problematic, if not self-contradictory, on her part. And on the subject of my post perhaps being “snarky”, I would point you to post #15 (your post, actually), of which the same criticism could certainly be made. Actually, BoingBoing’s “moderation policy” (iself ironic, since it is often not moderate in the least, though I honestly believe it tries to be) caused me to quit reading BoingBoing for a period of about 2 years, a while back. And from the tone of recent events, I suppose I will make the same decision again shortly. Clearly, you and I disagree, so I won’t belabor the point, aside from pointing out the (again) seeming irony of censoring the site (within) while often damning societal censorship (without). I particularly have a problem with the “disemvoweling” of some censored posts, while leaving the comments to the censored post untouched: this was not the case with my post: mine was removed before anyone had a chance to agree or disagree with it. But I have no choice but abide by your decision. You, as a moderator, have an extremely difficult (and oft-thankless) job, and I don’t expect you to be a perfect judge of what’s right and wrong; appropriate or not appropriate, 100% of the time. I feel you were wrong, but ultimately the buck stops with you, so there’s nothing left for me to say on the matter. I would enjoy reading back from you on this matter, but I understand you don’t have the time to argue every tiny issue with every wrankled poster, so no worries if you don’t reply. thanks and take care.

  30. my skin color does not diminish the validity of my feelings.

    oh, but it does, and it’s a bummer for you that you can’t see it.

  31. I can’t believe I just sat here and read the commenting policy. That said, this is probably the most useful and complete set of guidelines I have come across. With a few modifications, we could make it the Internet Commenting Charter and make the Internet more civil.

  32. I feel the same #65.
    Is it possible to allow editing of our own comments?
    I just used the wrong word / phrase in a comment and would love to revisit it.

    1. If it’s a big deal, like you accidentally wrote Hitler instead of Merkel, you could e-mail me to fix it. If it had just gone up, I would do it, but if it had gotten replies, you’d just have to make a correction comment.

      1. How does one email you to fix a comment? I resorted to flagging my comment for moderation since I couldn’t seem to find any way of contacting a moderator.

  33. In regard to using the “Reply” link in a message header: the resulting reply contains in its own header the phrase,
    “[UserName] replied to comment from [otherUserName]”.

    It would be a little easier when reading through a lot of comments, and trying to backtrack to the comment that was replied to, if the reply header included the number of the comment it cites, such as:

    “[UserName] replied to comment #[original comment number] from [otherUserName]”.

    1. Yeah. I don’t know if that’s possible. The numbers change when I approve anonymous comments. I’ll ask if the system could do that, because it is confusing if you’re just scanning. You can open the ‘replied to’ comment in another tab, but it’s still kind of a pain.

  34. Arkizzle asked some questions over in Xeni’s elements (thre)ad. My 2c:

    “But how often should I mollycoddle some new presumption of shilling?”

    I guess the first thing to ask is why there are comments enabled on the blog.

    far as I can tell, it’s for positive, non-self-promotional reasons: for readers to give feedback. That feedback is a way for the readers to interact with the author and (more importantly) the other readers.

    (On other sites, the answer may be “to increase user stickiness and retention, and because comments are free content that is Google magic”: but not BB, which already has mighty Google-fu, and doesn’t need extra free content or reasons for people to come back.)

    So. Someone blogs something that seems really like shilling. Really, REALLY like shilling. The readers know that the product genuinely is a complete crock, but there’s a post saying “Whee! Isn’t it pretty?” posted by a blogger that they *know* is smarter than to be taken in by surface glitz. It’s an article about a large-company product that the blogger got their paws on before the official release, so they definitely have an interest in being nice to the company that gave it to them, but they don’t declare this in the article. They blog multiple times about this product, filled with pure enthusiasm and not one negative word. The company the product came from is the most heavily featured company in the blog, and has been for years, which the bloggers have defended by saying “the company are trend-setters! It would be irresponsible not to!”

    Paid or not, this is shilling. (If she got an iPad out of it, this is “paid shilling”). And there’s nothing WRONG with shilling, when it’s open. It’s what the whole “products” section of the blog is about – drawing attention to cool stuff! Shilling cool products by small producers won’t even get called shilling: it’s called “being nice to the little guy” – the BoingBoing bazaar, the bullet-rings, the Amy Crehore posts, and huge numbers of other astonishingly cool things that BB posts about and publishes delicious pictures of for us to drool over…

    But Apple isn’t the little guy.

    BoingBoing has massive Google-fu, and marketing clout. A positive article from BoingBoing can bring a site to its knees. It can also cause a significant boost in sales and a significant shift in market perception. There’s a reasonable expectation that the bloggers who use this power, use it responsibly, to only hype products that are genuinely Not Evil. Where this is blatantly not the case, as with Apple products, then it’s reasonable to expect to be called out on it.

    What can a moderator do, when someone calls the blog out on such a bias? My vote is to allow those comments.

    Defending herself against reasonable doubts is Xeni’s place, if she wants to.

    “How many times today? Should I write a new paragraph to each new accuser or just cut & paste a stock answer? Should I try to inject an element of humour every time, or resign to being curt but possibly mistaken for being rude?”

    Just don’t bother responding, if you don’t want to. It’s not your problem, so long as the posts are addressing the topic, not the person, and are at least somewhat constructive. I think it’s useful and important that a reader be able to scroll through the comments and see that a large amount of commenters think the post’s astroturf.

    Comments are about US, the readers, and are a way for us to communicate between ourselves, and build on the post. We want to know what the others think. Censoring all the people who think “X” would be bad, because it would skew the apparent viewpoint of the commenters away from X, so people reading the comments would get the wrong “message” from the gestalt of commenters.

    If the people get personally attacking, sure, take ’em up on that. THAT is unquestionably a mod issue.

    Also *content-free* negative posts, maybe, if part of your remit is to edit for tone. So posts saying “obvious shill is obvious” should be treated just like “yawn, boring!”, and “not a Wonderful Thing, shouldn’t be posted!”, and general emoness, racism, sexism, hatred, and gloom. Splat ’em gentle, and encourage more constructive criticism.

    I think the main thing, though, was that Xeni’s enthusiasm threw the balance way out. Cory’s anti-iPad post was *desperately* needed to restore it. Now that it’s there, the contrast is as refreshing and delightful to the senses as lemon sorbet on a hot day.

  35. This article reminds me of Dvorak’s take on Windows when it was introduced. He insulted it as ‘effete’ among other insults. Perhaps he was right, but would we all want to return to DOS?

  36. Antonius: Am I correct in assuming that you are the overall moderator for all BB threads? If not, I would sincerely like to know whom to contact. My name is David Jensen. Until sometime a few hours ago I had had an account for several years. Without any warning whatsoever it appears to have been terminated. It is not my intention to try to game your system. Hence my new password. I am sincerely seeking an explanation and this appears to be the only avenue to seek one.

    I am fully cognizant of the posting terms. I fail to see how my comments are off topic, any more repetitive than numerous other posters’ comments or any more personally offensive. I would appreciate an explanation. Absent one I can only assume that this site only pays lip service to the ideals of free speech, open standards and open debate.

    I am not asking for an apology nor do I feel that I owe anyone here an apology. I am sincerely questioning what I take to be an arbitrary exercise of authority.

    Perhaps I should ask Cory on Monday night. As it is, I’ve seen better examples of transparency on major corporation websites.

    1. You were banned for writing five rude, obnoxious, personally insulting comments in a row. Commenting is a privilege. You lost yours. You can e-mail me at my name at this domain if you’d like to try again.

  37. Antonius: I’m sorry. I did not intend to sign in again using this account. I am sincere about not trying to game the system. I realize that in my previous post I forgot to indicate my previous user name: kidgeezer.

    I do hope for an answer.

  38. Am I the only one knowing the post “Woman on anesthetic hallucinates about unicorns” exists?
    Just asking, because there are no comments and apparently its not on the front page anymore.
    Hell, I can’t even comment on it, it tells me it doesn’t exist.
    Is it me going crazy or Boing Boing?

  39. Speaking of weird. Every time I click on the comment field or the comment submit button on the $6 raygun thread, it takes me to the raygun page. I had to do a command+click each time to avoid having it just take me to the page.

  40. I apologize in advance for my recent comment on the Ev Psych thread, which contained a somewhat rude, though heartfelt bit. That said, I urge you to exercise more restraint in your moderation on articles with contentious discussions. It reflects poorly on BoingBoing in general when you selectively disemvowel only one side of a debate, or make belittling comments about people you don’t agree with, for example by accusing them of having Asperger’s syndrome.

    1. Get a screenshot and send it to David or me to forward. We occasionally get offensive ads mixed in.

  41. STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



    No, really. Stop.

    This is the Moderation Policy thread. You might have clicked the link to get here when you were on another thread. But this isn’t where you want to leave that comment about the hand-crocheted steampunk Katamari Damacy iPad cozy. Go back to the previous thread to leave your comment. This thread is for Mod Policy and general housekeeping issues.

      1. My impression is that you wrote a mildly trollish comment and then followed it up with a mildly trollish laundry list of opinions that you found disagreeable.

        1. The thread was nasty even before I arrived. Specifically, comments 15, 16, 17, and 19 attempt to insult and 26 tries to justify violent reprisals.

  42. Hi, the Yoko Ono post has no “add a comment” link for me. The link shows up on other posts I’ve tried.

  43. how can someone tell if they have in fact,psychologically, physiologically,if there is a spirit, spiritually forgiven another human being?? I believe I have, but would like something more definitive to go on….

  44. Check out bacteriophage and Phage therapy on Wikipedia. I heard an NPR show a month or so ago where they spoke abotu Phage therapy being used in Russia on MRSA with no problem.

  45. Having just read the moderation policy fully, I am confused and a little concerned by the seemingly-increasing number of censored comments on here.

    I just commented on the John Cusak/twitter post:

    The most valuable part of the post -point out how boing boing is criticizing twitter-nerds for the exact same reason boing boing uses to ridicule teabaggers as being hypocritical- has been removed, as was the next person’s comment praising my comment for being well-argued and insightful. I was bringing an intelligent, worthwhile observation to the table, one that was relevant and worth discussing and thinking about, but because it happens to show a side of a boing boing writer you’d rather not discuss, it goes away? I don’t see any of the policies being broken with that comment. It was intelligent, civil, and true. You guys need to stay true to the principles of open discourse, or eventually, people will leave the site and go have intelligent discussions elsewhere, and for me, at least, intelligent discussions are what brings me to this site. I have no interest in reading any other blogs on the internet, not on a regular basis, except for this one, supposedly because it’s intelligent and thoughtful. Please don’t let that become untrue.

  46. I posted a comment on the article at and was blocked. Can you explain why I was blocked?

    1. Because your first-ever comment on BB was insulting. Would you like to try again?

    1. Editing your profile seems to have fallen victim to the redesign. You can see your profile by clicking on your name.

  47. Er, was it just the God thing, or was it the I give up thing, or was it the complaining about being quoted out of context thing? Just for future reference, of course.

    1. Glitch. Although patting yourself on the back for being sensible while accusing other commenters of looking for someone else to hate is not exactly an invitation to rational discourse.

      1. Yeah, I noticed it’s back, thanks Antinous. And yeah I know it was a bit stupid. But honestly I wasn’t patting myself on the back, I really don’t understand all of this and I am just trying to get my head around it. I was lamenting that the threads on issues like this (and others) seem to devolve into name calling, point scoring and finding things to take out of context in the worst possible way. So many of the commenters on BB have interesting and useful things to say, and then you get stuff like “Learn to spell” and “you’re a douchebag.”

        Anyway, I know you’re right, not a great move, it was a bit emotional and I wasn’t complaining about the comment going, just wanted to know what was up so I wouldn’t do it again. But now it’s back, so I actually jumped over here to apologise, but ended up writing this here essay because I have serious self esteem issues and don’t want you to think I am an asshole….Ha, I have issues and should probably stop commenting.

        Thanks Antinous

  48. I’m curious as to why my comment hasn’t been posted. I don’t believe I’ve run afoul of your moderation policy, but if I have I’d like to know how.



    1. You don’t seem to have any comments that haven’t been published. Must be a glitch.

  49. So, I’m I to understand that telling one of this site’s owners that you find their use of the term “racist” unsupportable and therefore irresponsible somehow so outre that it will be deleted?

  50. it would be nice to get a notification when a comment is deleted, as well as if the account is banned.

    i’d appreciate feedback, if any.

    just having a comment disappear is sad :(

    1. You can always e-mail me at my name at this domain and ask. Sometimes it really is a mistake or a glitch. Movable Type is unbelievably buggy.

  51. These are very sensible commenting guidelines, it gives me the idea that we should standardize them in some form so that it can be utilized on other interactive sites where user input is permitted.

    Some additional logo’s and icons could also help differentiate some different policies, i.e. NSFW allowed/prohibited etc.

  52. Test failed. I didn’t see *any* jiggling boobs :( Try again?

    Unrelatedly: in an entirely hypothetical situation where someone discovered they accidentally created two accounts, called, just for example, Dewi Morgan and DewiMorgan, what would be the right thing to do?

    To save you admin time, you can just reply with a number!

    ) No answer.
    1) Just don’t use one of the accounts. How hard is that concept?
    2) Mwahaha caught you! *banhammer’s DewiMorgan*
    3) Mwahaha caught you both! *banhammer’s both*
    4) There’s actually this cool thing you can do as a user that will merge the histories of two accounts.
    5) Merging is impossible without SQL-frobbing or other admin work: so we just deleted DewiMorgan, as you’ve used that the least, and not at all recently.
    6) [option not thought of]

    1. Replying to above hypothetical, in the hypothetical other account, so you don’t need to trawl logs and compare IPs and other timewasting stuff.

  53. we live in a fast lane world, some people will drive a hundred miles an hour just to beat a train across the tracks, and stop on the other side just to watch it go by.

  54. A recent wave of inappropriate posts on an unnamed thread by an unnamed moderator has left me somewhat concerned about people here using moderator privileges for bullying. i want to kindly and respectfully request that these guidelines be applied and practiced by the moderators as well so that they set a good example. if anything, moderators should hold themselves to an even higher standard of conduct.

    As the Boz says….”Anything less would be uncivilized!” :-)

    Thanks for taking the time to think about these words even if they get deleted. Double thanks if there is some reflection and changes in actions or the way these policies are applied. Please know this comment is sincere and not intended in any way to be disrespectful. Thank you.

  55. What does the remember button do? And how do you use it? (yes I have clicked it on a couple of articulates but nothing seems to happen)

  56. Remember button only works if you have a neural interface. If you don’t use it, you may forget who you are.

  57. I am unable to post via submitterator, although I have had an account for some time now. I can post comments, and use the old submit form, but
    the submitterator says I’m not allowed to post. Not sure if this is the right place to ask this, but I’ve been digging around looking for an answer for a while and haven’t found anything.

    1. Try logging out and in at the main site and see if that fixes it. If not, let me know and we’ll try something else.

    1. If you e-mail me at my name at this domain with some identifying information, I’ll check.

  58. For at least a couple of weeks now there’s been a “magickally rewriting page” bug I’ve repeatedly encountered when trying to make a comment using IE version 7 on windows XP with patchlevels current as of 2010-10-12. Maybe even a couple of months, I’ve been pretty busy and kept putting off reporting it (hoping somebody else would).

    If I sign in and start to type a comment, after a variable length of time anywhere from a couple of seconds to a minute, the page suddenly entirely re-writes and whatever I’ve typed is gone. It sometimes happens repeatedly, at which point I give up trying to comment.

    This bug does not occur when I use safari on my ancient Mac mini, or when I use Firefox on either Ubuntu 10.04 or Dapper.

    All these connections are going through NAT and various intermediary content massagers and compliance monitors and such, although the filters are supposed to explicitly ignore me. It’s possible that the problems are caused here, but it’s unlikely since I don’t see it with any browser but IE.

    On the up side, you’re getting less comments from me! Every cloud has a silver lining.

    Anyway, just figured I’d put it on record.

      1. I suppose that’s possible – I’m not really a big fan of GUIs, so I make some boneheaded mistakes – but it only happens when I’m signed in to Boing Boing. If you happen to know the location of any such buttons, by all means spill!

        I recommend you ignore me, though, unless someone else complains. :)

        1. There are autorefresh add-ons for most browsers. Could one have been accidentally installed? There may also be something in settings. I don’t use IE.

  59. HELP!!! I have tried and tried to register but no confirmation email comes. Suggestions?

    Kevin Dann

    1. I think that you’ll just have to re-register. I don’t know of any way to intervene if the process fails. If you have trouble re-registering, e-mail me at my name at this domain and I’ll try to sort something out.

    1. Done. I wish that we could turn that off. It never seems to catch any spammers, although on occasion, it holds comments containing more than one link to Boing Boing.

  60. Hi, I got held for moderation again because of too many links in the EFF sues Justice over push for new encryption “back doors” comments. Could someone review my comment?

  61. I was wondering if my being barred for life could ever be revoked. I have important things to say here. I guess I said something years ago that was deemed inappropriate–I think it must have had something to do with religion. It was in the days of Teresa. I’m not racist or anything like that. My original email was either ********* or *********. I’ve been reading boingboing since the very beginning.

    1. You’re not banned. If you’re having trouble getting in, you can e-mail me with the details and I’ll check into it.

  62. I’m kind of confused: why do all of my comments get “held for moderation” where clearly very few other people’s do? By the time they appear, the discussion has long moved on.

    Not big deal, I guess – just wondering, because I’m on the verge of giving up on the comments thing entirely.

    1. I was just wondering the same thing. I just re-granted your permissions. Maybe that will help.

  63. You asked for feedback.

    Generally everything about commenting on Boingboing is pretty easy . . . as long as one knows about the picadillos of the software? for this site. My reaction to learning said picadillos has included pulling my hair, pounding the desk with a fist,and yelping in angry indignation for the sudden loss of brilliant (at the time) text.

    One: If I’m replying to another commenter and doing so by hitting the ‘reply’ button, I’ve learned not to type anything for about a minute, because suddenly the the page shifts upward (pages up) and the text I may have written disappears. So, now I just wait, then begin typing.

    Two: Best to be brief. But if I’m not brief due to hyper-critical self-editing, I’ve learned to make a copy, then hit the ‘submit’ button. Sometimes the text simply disappears. Like there is some function that times out, a ‘you-too-chatty-or-too- slow’. This is not so. When this happens, I paste in the copy and hit ‘submit’.

  64. I wish you could try to reduce the reliance on javascript. I just saw that you were considering switching to disqus for the comments – please don’t!!! I much prefer having the page be a ‘normal’ html page that can be easily saved, viewed various ways, loaded without enabling javascript for more sites, etc..

    1. We disabled it until we’re sure that we’ve got the bulk spammers under control. I was getting 300 e-mails a day about the spam. I was just deleting them unread. Either a moderator’s here dealing with it in real time or it’ll get cleaned up when one of us shows up. Rob’s tweaking a new fix which has already reduced it from ~ 100 a day to less than 10 most days.

  65. Was the thread where the anti-gun fanatics were freaking out (in response to a post about a device designed to make gun storage safer) locked from further comments?

    Just wondering.

    1. There were, and I’m not making this up, dozens of comments from gun owners with elderly, female, British relatives who had been raped and murdered in the last several months in home invasions. It was some of the lowest quality astroturf that I’ve ever seen.

      Personally, I don’t think that there’s the slightest chance that the US public will ever be disarmed. It’s a shame that the gunstroturf demographic doesn’t make an effort to participate in a real dialog instead of bombarding comment threads with bogus statistics and obvious confabulations.

  66. Or lordy – I wish I coulda read those gunstroturfs, they sound like gold. But, good modding decision anyway.

  67. not sure if this is the proper place for this, but here goes:

    i’m incredibly annoyed at today’s ads, both in format and content. i can’t stand those ads that pop down and make the top of the page hard to read and prevent you from scrolling down, and i especially hate the ones that start playing sound when i didn’t ask for it. and, yes, i realize that one has to roll one’s cursor/mouse/whatever over the ad to activate it, but this makes it even more annoying. i feel like one false move and i’m done for.

    also i don’t feel that mcdonald’s ads have any place on BB. it is, simply, gross. their products are gross, their ubiquity is gross, the cognitive dissonance of their happy-smiley ad content is gross. do you all really need their ad money? as a professional chef i find their continued existence aesthetically and morally repugnant.

    hate to sound like a prig here, and i’m sure i’m probably micturating into a typhoon, but i felt moved to share my disappointment.

    1. We get bad ads from FM occasionally. The Policies page tells you how to report them. I condole you on your negative experience here and congratulate you on working in an industry in which nothing ever goes wrong.

  68. I appreciate the straight forward policy that is concise and without room to wiggle…lol. Good for you guys!

  69. For a newcomer the road through the policy aspect is confusing. I only want to click accept and post my comment, yet I am unable to do that!

    1. You don’t have to click accept. You just make an account and put your comment in the appropriate thread. Or don’t make an account and wait for the moderator to get up from his nap and check the bin.

  70. Where did Cory’s post “China bans unauthorized Tibetan reincarnation” go and why, and why was my comment in the following post regarding it deleted?

      1. Well, off-topic comments are not listed in the above policies (except in the case of political parties/candidates), and they are not consistently removed otherwise. Did you also edit BBNinja’s comment? Why would you remove on off-topic comment, and edit another person’s comment to remove the part of it that you judged off-topic?

  71. Here to confirm that duped posts occur regularly and policy is to delete them, which also unfortunately kills comments. One day, we will figure out a better solution.

  72. Antinous / Moderator in reply to Ipo

    Yes, your comment was commented out because of the URL shortener. Your second comment was commented out because you used the name of the URL shortener when you asked if that was the reason.

    Mahalo for fixing that for me!
    What problem do y’all have with URL shorteners and or the mention of a particular one? Are there technical issues, or is it abusable, or considered spam?
    I wouldn’t have guessed. I may be wrong but I could have sworn that I first read about tiny- on this blog, many years ago, and about shady- many months ago.

    Yes, masking is much more elegant, but you allow clunky full URLs
    Not whinging, curious.

    1. See the post that’s on the front page now. The main reason for deprecating them is that they’re temporary, but I also have a host of moderatorial issues with them.

  73. Aww man, I often wish there was a way to redact or delete my own posts. I guess “think before you submit” applies but I only have this spongiform brain to work with.

  74. LOL, I agree with Ipo, why do I alays spot spelling errors AFTER i have submitted my post?

    1. On that point, I take this opportunity to apologize to all for all of my horrific typos and inelegant and clumsy phrasing.

      i can only hope that they do not too often render my comments cryptic, or incoherent; or result in my comment having a literal meaning quite the opposite to the sense which i had intended to convey.

      I therefore beg the readers’ forgiveness for any such literary horrors which i have committed here in the past; as well as your forgiveness, in advance, for those errors which I am yet to make.

  75. I was going to make a comment on the “Christian protesters…” story, but there’s no space to make comments. Also no note that comments are closed, so…

    1. I was wondering the same thing? Why were comments closed on that article, and without any reason given?

      I’m not trying to cause any trouble and I love being here (I hope you know that Antinous). I’m just curious. :)

  76. I closed it because a post about Christian vandals was alchemically transmuted into a bunch of negative comments about Muslims. When the dickery reaches critical mass, it isn’t worth my time to babysit a thread to see what bigotry will keep popping up.

  77. Hi guys — GimpWii here.

    Past few days I’ve been getting a certificate error from *

    I presume this is ad-related? Happens every 2nd time I load a new page.


    1. It’s Federated Media, so it’s definitely ad-related. Don’t know why it’s doing that. I’ll ask someone to check.

  78. I guess you guys are sensitive about the cool tools thing. Would it be OK if boingboing copied something like the language from the cool tools site into its policies, or into a post?

    We also have a self-interest in using Amazon. The work of Cool Tools is supported by the affiliate program at Amazon. When you buy something using an Amazon link on this site, we get a small percentage of that purchase, and other purchases on that visit.

    Is it OK to even have this discussion, even in the meta thread?

    1. This thread mostly exists to discuss things like this. I forward comments to the appropriate party, and Rob checks it periodically to see what issues come up.

    2. Of course, you might be taken more seriously if you didn’t go back and post smarmy anonymous comments into the thread in question.

  79. Does it really matter? Just a little civil disobedience.

    Cool tools link to amazon with the suffix ‘kkorg-20′. From here, they link with ‘cooltoolsbb-20′. It doesn’t really bother me…falls into the ‘someone is WRONG on the internet’ file…but it’s fair for people to assume that bb also has a self-interest in the posts, and should probably let us know.

  80. Regarding the cool-tools pepper mill thread: speaking only for me, if I know it’s an ad, I won’t go pissing on (in) it.

    Hope you saved those comments, I thought they were funny.

  81. Seriously, what was the problem with criticizing Cool Tools? I wasn’t being offensive or abusive, just critical. If Cool Tools isn’t an advertiser, maybe it’s a problem that their posts seem so much like advertisements that they fool a bunch of us into making us think they’re advertisements.

    Honestly, I really thought they were advertisements. They sure seemed like ads. You could have just directed us toward the ad policy and explained that they weren’t, but telling us who were confused not to be offensive and then telling us to shove it is, well, a bit rude.

    1. telling us who were confused not to be offensive and then telling us to shove it is, well, a bit rude.

      Yours may not have been rude, but some of them were. I was quite clear that meta-commentary can come to this thread. Plenty of comments criticizing the pepper grinder were published; comments calling the reviewer a tool weren’t.

      And on the issue of Amazon affiliate links, even commenters sometimes tack their affiliate IDs onto links in comments. If it’s your recommendation, why shouldn’t you get the tiny payment? If I thought that it was inserted purely to generate revenue for the commenter, I wouldn’t allow it.

  82. I wonder what the offensive comments were. I don’t think “marketing” is an offensive word.

  83. Most of the comments had nothing to do with the subject of the post, the pepper grinder. For the record, Cool Tools posts aren’t advertising. They’re editorial content from the Cool Tools blog, a site that we at Boing Boing really dig. For background on our relationship, please check out this post.

    Boing Boing does participate in select affiliate programs, including Amazon Associates. Nothing to hide there at all.

    1. Advertorial: Advertisements that are presented in an editorial format will be prominently marked as ads.

      I agree that it is common and that there is nothing to hide, hell I even agree that you should make money from publicity generated by your hard work.

      However, posting products which you make money from referring us to is advertising. If you referred to it in the ad policy even assholes like me wouldn’t care about it.

    2. It was all a very interesting situation.

      I’m willing to accept that there is no grand marketing apparatus behind cool tools, because you’ve said so, but it’s a little disappointing.

      It was a surreal moment. I never look at that section because it’s not the space I’m in. I’m a full time student, not so much of a consumer at the moment. But also because it “appeared” like an ad. I remember the Cheetos campaign and the general increase of advertisements over the years (they used to slow down my computer considerably). I assumed it was more expansion in that area.

      However the hyperbole in that review had intrigued me. When I went to the comment section the first comment also sounded like a sock-puppet (a term I learned from you, thank you), and there was a Federated Marketing “conversational marketing summit” ad campaign running in multiple margins.

      I was really hoping that I had stumbled into a conversational marketing experiment, and I wanted to talk to “it”.

      Then that guy signed up after years of lurking, disclaimed himself as not a sock-puppet, and proceeded to laugh at us for using a Thesaurus (I think using the same words over and over isn’t pretty enough, so sue me).

      It was a matrix moment.

      But you imply that it was all just a perfect storm, so that’s the end of that experience.

  84. Really, Mr. or Mz. Cool Tools: *everywhere*? Could you, would you, with a goat?
    I thought I’d posted more offensive things on BB before, but apparently my calling this an ad was the most offensive yet. It looks like an ad, swims like an ad, and quacks like an ad. Worse, it’s insulting my intelligence by wearing a blog post makeup.
    As I said, I’d rather leap a (low) paywall than be pestered by this gimmick.

  85. Sorry, advertisement is a word we can’t agree on. The cool tool posts are in bbs ‘self-interest’. You’d publish them anyway, but the fact…well the presumption…remains that bb gets proceeds when a tool is sold.

    Cool tools notifies as such…is it reasonable for bb to do the same?

  86. Also I see that policy bullet now, “We are primarily ad supported, but advertisers have no editorial control. Please don’t make passive-aggressive insinuations or other tiresome, generalized accusations to the contrary. We are transparent about our relationships with advertisers. For more on that, please see our advertising policy.”

    I didn’t mean to get in it’s crossfire, I swear.

  87. If we were doing stealth marketing, I would hope that we’d be better at it.

  88. OK, two issues here for me — if someone was getting abusive in comments that I didn’t see, that’s not my fight.

    1. Meta-commentary. The comment policies say, “Please do not tell the Boing Boing editors what to blog. Writing “But that’s not a wonderful thing” is lame. So is “topic [X] bores me,” or “subject [Y] sucks.” What I saw here was far more substantive criticism. If this policy is taken to its extreme, what it essentially says is “Don’t criticize BoingBoing,” which seems to run contrary to philosophy of any political commentary found in the editors’ posts, which are always on the side of openness, information, against censorship (even when it’s legal), pro-whistleblower, etc. I mean, it sounds like one of Cory’s posts: “Prominent pro-free-speech website deletes non-abusive criticism, tells posters to stick it.” I know it’s your site and you have every right to delete anything you want, but I would hope you would use those powers for genuinely off-topic or genuinely abusive or offensive commentary.

    2. Advertising. I’m pro-advertising. I never pay you guys any money, and I know you have to pay for the site somehow. I like billboards. Heck, I think Wikipedia should have advertising instead of trying to guilt-trip its users with pledge drives. But something sure to annoy me is to blur the line between advertising and editorial. I’m not in any kind of web business and don’t know how affiliate ID links or whatever work. So you say that Cool Tools isn’t paying to post, OK. But the tone of their posts is consistently rah-rah for whatever it is they’re hocking. As I said in my deleted post, it’s right there in their name: they don’t post about anything but tools they think are cool. They may not be pay-to-post, but their posts are sure written as if they were advertisements. The line gets blurred, and that’s what people don’t like about them.

    1. you’ve looked up antinous, right? “prime example of disregard for the custom of xenia (guest-friend hospitality)”

      is joke. I get joke. still think bb…well, may as well say: I think bb had a cool friend and wanted to bring him some traffic–he gets a little money (lot for him), bb gets a little money, readers get cool content, everybody wins.

      It isn’t stealth marketing, not a conspiracy, it’s right bloody there–the cool tool posts bring money. But it’s a small amount so who cares?

  89. I didn’t see any signs of comments getting out of hand in the pepper tool blog; if anything the post purge “on topic” comments have slid downhill. The purged comments were saying “This entry is turning me off of boingboing” and offering suggestions for how to make boingboing better. Purging them and leaving the “Rah rah pepper fetish” comments makes me feel like a tool. Not a Cool Tool.

  90. IMHO, that CoolTools post was over-the-top
    advocacy: an everyday-carry personage says s/he
    uses/owns _3_ of the featured _peppermill_. This
    is perfect for but not here.

    We read and trust your blog, and when we see an
    entry like this it lessens our trust.

    Way to ameliorate this: include the poster’s name along with the
    Cool Tools appellation. That way the posting doesnt have the the
    imprimatur of boingboing proper, just that particular poster.

    if you have Firefox, you won’t suffer these indignities.

    1. I’m with you. Some of the CT reviews seem useful (although I’ve learned my lesson to not buy things solely because they’ve been mentioned on BB), but I think the key point is that we don’t know who has submitted the review. Sure, it’s curated content, but it’s not much different than reading an anonymous review on Amazon or Yelp.

      Because it’s anonymous (posted under the generic “Cool Tools” moniker), it has less value. Just by putting a name (or alias) on there, it would at least help answer a lot of questions like: Who is Pepper Mom? Does she have some sort of kitchen experience that would bolster the review? Has she written reviews previously that are helpful, or are they all “A++ Will purchase again!!1!”-type reviews? Does she subject the gizmos she’s reviewed to the same use/abuse as Mark or Cory or David or Xeni or Rob or even KK and his editorial staff? Can I trust the review to not be a shill? (This last question is not accusing CT of creating shill reviews, just that they even admit that fake reviews can get through their review process.)

      This post just stuck out because it was written with a PR voice, but the criticism is valid for the whole series. I like CT, and visit it independently of what gets posted here, but it’s a bit incongruous with the rest of the content here because of the anonymous nature.

  91. OK, now I’ve read Cool Tools’s FAQ, because yet another person has posted questioning whether the Pepper Mom is a paid ad (note to the editors: If people keep thinking something is a paid ad even when you guys say it’s not, there is a problem with the post). What they say is:

    Most of the reviews on this site are written by readers. We emphasize recommendations based on personal experience, so in most cases, reviewers have bought the item with their own hard-earned money, which makes their recommendation on Cool Tools all that more valuable.

    OK, so far so good. But perhaps this next sentence explains something:

    While we do ask contributors whether they have invented or sold the item they are reviewing, we don’t have any objective way to confirm what they tell us.

    Hmm. Later on:

    We only publish positive reviews. If we don’t love a tool, we say nothing. Even merely “good stuff” will get ignored. If it ain’t great, we don’t run it.

    Okay, so they publish user-contributed reviews, have to rely on the editor’s intuition to vet for validity, and it’s a requirement that the ads be over-the-top, gushingly positive. I can’t possibly see how this system might be taken advantage of by someone wanting to shill their product!

    Or at the very least, this tells contributors to be less-than-honest with how much they love a product. “I’m sorry, but we cannot publish this submission. You indicated a mere ‘liking’ of the product. Please indicate that you love this product with all of your heart, and we will consider your submission for publication.”

    What this results in is the erosion of trust with BoingBoing, which is of course compounded by the heavy-handed moderation in which pointing this out marks a post for deletion. I may not always like the BB editors’ contributions, but I at least know that they come directly from Xeni’s or Mark’s or whoever’s real feelings or interests. Cool Tools is anonymous. Cool Tools uses inflated, gushing language. I don’t trust Cool Tools, and BoingBoing should reconsider carrying their posts.

    1. Cool Tools: I tend to agree with everything adamnvillani and MarkM say here. The only compromise position I can think of that might alleviate some of my misgivings – which in my opinion are justified – would be for all CT posts to be bylined for the purposes of trust.

      However, as I said in my now deleted comment on the portable pepper mill, if there are numerous reviewers (and the CT guidelines suggest this to be the case) even that wouldn’t help much.

      FWIW, for the time being I’ve decided to stop reading Cool Tools posts. I don’t mean to be offensive or to make a big deal out of this, but I do feel it’s worth commenting on – and apparently others do, too.

  92. So I’ve changed my thinking about the Amazon Affiliate links.

    Evidently, it’s so common that it doesn’t even bear mentioning. Bloody near every product, notably the gift guides, is all about affiliate links. Not just this blog, but all of them.

    I was just naive. I still think it’s fair to add something to the ad policy, though.

  93. Your comments form sucks: and the mobile site keeps interfering with the form on my interface.

  94. Anyone else think that Microsoft “Feel Free to Share” add (the one with the guy with mouth open, something spraying in the air, knobby dark thing in his hand) looks like he’s… Oh, I dunno…

  95. This suggestion relates to commenting. Please publish it as I would like others to have an opportunity to give feedback (agree/disagree).

    The Suggestion – For an new entry by one of your contributors, would you please include the category?
    Some rationale.
    1. When readers submit a link they must provide a category. It would be community-affirmative for BB contributors to do the same.

    2. When reading an entry, it is important to understand the context. Is the contributor filing article X under “Weird” or “Business” (or both)? This sets the stage for an constructive response/comment by the reader.

    3. Readers can choose to quickly skip over categories that they don’t wish to see. e.g. SteamPunk (I can’t imagine anyone not being an SP fan, but that’s just me), or Political posts.

    Thank you.

  96. how does one subscribe to threads? even better: to get notified when someone replies to your comment?

    1. We’re switching comment systems any day now, so I don’t know if we’ll have that capability.

    2. After they kill the new commenting system, maybe impossible.

      But for the moment, there’s a really cool thing you can do to get a feed of posts to stuff you’ve replied to.

      Click your name.
      Click “View”.
      You will see two links, “revent actions” and “comment threads”.
      Bookmark whichever appeals to you most.

      Or if you scroll down through the page, you’ll see RSS feeds for these things, which are much cooler to bookmark, at least in Firefox. They become folders of links in your bookmarks, each link a recent post.

  97. does wanting an email subscription to my posts like every other site in the world make me seem old? until RSS pushes images uniformly i’m not likely to use it, as a receiver anyway.

    BTW, the content on this site still blows away anything else. keep up the good work, all.

  98. Hey, I just had a comment removed. Is there any way to find out why? Obviously, I want to be a good member of the boingboing community, and I don’t go to the trouble of posting just to get on the nerves of the moderators.

  99. Well, this is a first — comments in the Comment Policy page; unintended consequnce of WP/Disqus, or Bold New Direction?

    I’ll save the long list of questions for Rob/Antinous (while continuing to hope that a FAQ will be forthcoming ::hint hint::), but I sure would like to know:

    Is an update to this page in the works? When it disappeared for a few days after the WP/Disqus transition, I guessed it was being worked on; now, not so sure. Anonymous posting is gone, yes? Along with post numbering? And previewing? How about the mysterious circumflexed capital As? ;-)

    Can you link to Disqus info on what happens with our email addies? Is there a Disqus privacy policy directed toward end users? (Great Ghu, I hope the posted Disqus PP is aimed at “customers” like BB, and not end users…) Any links to the ins-and-outs of using Disqus? (As in what html or BBCode tags are valid, any gotchas in account profile settings, the fact that Mailinator addies seem to be acceptable; even just simple rules like “user names must be at least 3 characters long, and cannot begin or end with an underscore”?)

    Images policy? <– that’s a link.

    And to anyone who can help out — over the past couple years I’ve been writing user-side style sheets for my visually-impaired friends, to compensate for the ocassional tweaks to Comments presentation. Now that Disqus is serving the whole thing up as a lump of opaque CDATA, is there any way I can continue to apply user-side CSS?

    1. There were about 200 comments on this thread which have gone missing.

      The only update that I was planning was an image/avatar policy.

      Anonymous is gone because 1) it was a huge pain in the ass and 2) there are multiple ways to sign in now.

      Preview is gone because you can edit your comment.

      The A’s were a mystery.  They seemed to just be extra spaces.  I think that I got rid of them all.

      Here’s the Disqus info that I’m using:   It includes what tags are valid, which are a lot more than MT allowed.

      Rob or Dean will have to answer the rest.

  100. hrmf, the “in response to” popup is broken. If the entry responded to is long, the popup will stretch outside of the edges of the browser window. And even tho there is a “jump to” link, it will be inaccessible thanks to the popup not scrolling (in Firefox5 at least).

  101. Is there no way to post without getting involved with disqus, which I hate, which doesn’t work right half the time and which seems like a CIA, FBI or NSA front organization. Please, please, please go back to the old system. Or at least let those of us who HATE disqus be able to avoid it.

  102. As much as I enjoy a good trollendectomy it sure can make for a confusing read when there are a bunch of responses to a comment that’s been deleted. Is there a way to add code to indicate when this has happened? Maybe change the text that reads “in response to so-and-so” to “in response to a deleted comment”?

    1. The simplest solution would be not to feed the trolls. If a (usually brand-new) commenter is on his/her third or tenth, furious, insubstantial, repetitive screed, you can expect the worst ones to disappear.

      You can also edit your own comment to reflect the change. If you’ve pulled a quote for a response, that serves, as well.

  103. There’s a lovely (albeit wrong) display “5 comments 4 likes received” below my name. Any way I can see these? Clicking my name tells me I have 3 posts to BB (also wrong), and one to somewhere else, and clicking those links just takes me to the sites, rather than to any list of my posts.

    Back in the day (ie, a few weeks ago, when everything was still working, and the comment system wasn’t run by a company with the world’s worst ToS) we had a whole profile and everything, where we could view all the comments we’d made. We could subscribe to responses to our comments through a feed. It was one of the better commenting systems out there.

    Nowadays, comments seem to be just thrown into the void. No way to view them, or check for responses or followups, nothing. The user profiles are a joke, now: just some useless WordPress fluff.

    1. Apparently the new commenting system has even given up on paragraphs?
      [edit: editing it fixed it]

  104. OK, I’m going to try again here, since it looks like my previous comments were lost.

    1) @Antinous_Moderator:disqus  , how are we supposed to know if it’s someone’s first posting?  I don’t see any way of looking up a user history other than my own, unless I write a comment addressing them first, then click the button that appears like this one.  That’s a lot of effort to go out of ones way to avoid the trolls.   Requesting people go back to check on their comments to then edit them to note that they’re responding to a comment that’s gone seems like a cop-out; an automated fix would be more elegant and wouldn’t depend on people to check constantly on the comments.

    2) I know I’m not the only person who still can’t get in with their BB login because the email address was gone.  Rob was “working on something” at the beginning, but I haven’t heard anything since then.

    3) Along those lines, I wasn’t the only person requesting that numbers and datestamps be added to comments instead of this ridiculous “x hours ago” stamp that’s useless for referencing comments after any period of time.   Rob took a “we’ll see what people have to say about it” attitude, but I don’t see many defenders of this style.

    4) The mobile version of these comments is completely useless, at least on IOS (they don’t even show up at all in the m.boingboing site.  You need to load the full site to even see the comments).  Threaded posts have a link to show/hide replies, but that function does nothing, and the comments don’t have any indication who the response is.   There’s also different CSS loading for those comments, so Mods/Authors aren’t highlighted, the “in reply to” doesn’t show up, nor do the number of likes or the flag functionality.

    5) The edit functionality CSS is screwy, at least on my Safari browser on Windows. It looks like there’s an element within an element, so I can’t increase the size of the comment box. It’s very difficult to edit long comments with such a small unresizable box.

  105. Not sure if this is the place, but what happened to j-k shortcuts?  They no longer seem to be working; is this somehow tied to the new commenting format?  Although I don’t see why it would be — it’s the only thing I can think of.

  106. I hate Disqus. Right now my solution is to have a browser just for commenting on boingboing, opening it to comment, then closing it when I’m finished and never using it for anything else. I don’t know what protection that gives me except it stops them from trailing me around the web.

    I am very disappointed in boingboing for using them. But I understand. Many left wing sites suddenly only allow comments through Disqus, making it easy to track comments back to real names, so come the time when they want to go after us they can easily ID us. It was easy for them to get this control just by appealing to the laziness of the IT people on these sites. The IT guy/gal makes a couple of clicks and suddenly no longer has to deal with any comment issues, programming, or moderation. We lose our anonymity so they can avoid a little work. And if things ever do go very bad, maybe under another Republican president put in office by a fixed election, they can use Disqus to help them track who they want to hassle, pick up or worse. (Yes, I’m paranoid.) Those in power are determined that anonymity on the internet has to end. Disqus is part of it. Boingboing sold out when it started using it.

    Also Disqus deletes any comment critical of Disqus. Thus making sure that boingboing misses how much it’s hated.

  107. Regarding the popularity of the system, I’m afraid you’re in a minority. The number and volume of comments it up sharply since we started using it.

    Disqus doesn’t delete comments at Boing Boing. Our moderators do, though, in line with policy.

    A less laborious method of preventing tracking cookies is to install a plug-in such as Ghostery or Adblock. Go right ahead, we don’t mind.

    The old system offered no more anonymity than Disqus. Unregistered is not really anonymous. With the old system as with the new, some server data on commenters  was ultimately accessible to the police and the courts. If you wish to be truly anonymous, you should sign up using a hushmail-style email account and access the site using proxies. 

    Please feel free to establish and use anonymous identities at BB. 

    Boing Boing’s used third-party commenting systems from ~2001 onwards. Quicktopics obviously had access to commenters’ data. So if this is selling out, we sold out almost from the very beginning.

    The way your objection to the technical aspects of commenting anonymity spins off into a discussion of American domestic politics was intriguing.

  108. Is it possible to have the focus be on the top most of the new posts, when clicking the “open new posts” link?

  109. Awesome. Will the update include a return to being able to track responses to our posts? Or at least being able to make some kind of feed of the posts we’d commented on? Or… something, anything, that will stop comments going into the void?

    I’m guessing “soon” means weeks/months rather than hours/days (since you all have day jobs, I think!), so I’ll try to remember to just bookmark any thread I comment on, and check them weekly.

    For all my distaste of Disqus, there *are* some good points to this update. Definite improvements from my point of view include:
     – comment editing;
     – image embedding (OK, arguably not a plus, in most cases, but really handy when used well);
     – remembering me for more than 24 hours.
     – (currently unrealised) potential for comment tree view.

    Sure, these don’t even begin to outweigh the ghastliness of losing any kind of tracking of my comments and the responses. But they ARE cool, and I can see how this could work out well if the missing functionality is returned.


    But then there’s their ToS, which is another kettle of fish entirely. seems to be the closest I can find to a ToS, though whether it’s aimed at BB or the BB community, I’m not exactly sure, but since it doesn’t say, I’m guessing both:

    By accessing the Disqus website (“Site”) or using the services offered
    by Disqus (“Services”) you agree and acknowledge to be bound by these
    Terms of Service (“Terms”).

    Is commenting on a site that runs the system a “use”, or does “use” only cover running it on your site? That’s something for the lawyers, I think.

    By posting content, you are granting permission to us and others to
    access and use it in connection with the Services, the Site and
    otherwise in connection with our business.

    That seems to say: commenters (and original BB article posters?) grant Disqus an irrevocable license to use your comment/post in any way they see fit, including to promote things you might personally find objectionable, misrepresent your opinions, etc, so long as they can find a business reason for so doing. Not something I object to, as I consider my comments to be placed in the public domain. But I could see people who care about that kind of thing being a little upset.

    Your use of a license in connection with your compilation does not
    affect Disqus’s right to access and use it in connection with the
    Services, the Site or otherwise in connection with our business.

    If you release something (a “compilation”, which isn’t defined) under a specific license, then post that to a Disqus board, Disqus can still ignore that license, and share it with their customers under any license they like, or none, so long as they can find a business reason to do so.

  110. Hey, older threads have commenting closed? What’s the point in that? Who gains? Some of the most interesting online discussions I’ve had, have been the long ones here in BoingBoing, back when we could get notifications of that stuff. Still, means I only need to keep the most recent few pages bookmarked, I guess :( But still: saddening.

    1. Threads close after 5 days. Older threads accounted for the majority of spam and crazy people getting into turf wars.

      1. I guess that makes sense then. Damn shame, though :( Darn you, spammers, darn youuuuu! You spoil it for everyone!

        I’d still love some way of tracking threads I’ve responded to, at least for the last 5 days. But OK, I guess you’ve gathered that and I’ll shut up saying it now :P

        It’d also be nice to have a list of most-liked comments… but that might encourage me to make content-free cultural-reference comments instead of longer, more thoughtful ones. And anyway, it’s an unreliable metric, since not every comment gets the same number of readers. So OK, maybe not.

  111. Great policies.  The only one I call into question is “• Please don’t suggest that the victim “had it coming” in a civil liberties/human rights thread unless you have some evidence to support your claim.”

    The rule demands that the commenter supply “some evidence” to support a
    “he had it coming to him” claim.  My only issue is that this rule
    implies that the evidence contained in the original post does not
    contain evidence to support a “he had it coming to him” conclusion and
    that the commenter must supply extra-BB evidence to support a “HHICTH”

    Two problems:

    1) This is squelching honest debate on the role of police and the duty
    of civilians in societies.   I assume we have all seen many many videos
    where there was a honest disagreement about the amount of force used in
    an arrest, etc.  Not being able to take one side for fear of censure or
    banning is kind of draconian.

    2) It implies that any post on BB about civil rights will always be of
    the “this guy didn’t have it coming to him” kind and never of a “Here is
    how NOT to interact with cops…boy this guy had it coming to him!”
    kind.  Under you policy, even if BB posted an article the latter type,
    we couldn’t discuss it at all unless we supplied “some evidence” of our
    own.  Odd.

    All of this is moot if we can, in fact, use evidence contained in the
    original post under discussion.  But, if that were the case, then why
    the policy in the first case?   It just smacks of “cops are always
    wrong” attitude that is just not in line with the real world of honest

    Perhaps you should clarify it?

  112. Anyone know what determines whether one’s name on a post appears black and is a link to something (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) or appears red and isn’t a link?  I was thinking it would be great if I could tie that to the Website listed in my profile….

    1. Black=not a link, red=link – but I guess that was prolly a typo, if it wasn’t the other way round for a bit at first.

      Click on your avatar to go to your Discus profile page (actually, anyone’s avatar and profile page will work). At the top right you’ll see your avatar and a drop-down arrow; mouseover to expose the Edit Profile link.

      Second field in the pop-up, on the first Profile tab.

  113. Rob says: “A less laborious method of preventing tracking cookies is to install a
    plug-in such as Ghostery or Adblock. Go right ahead, we don’t mind.”

    That would be a great idea, except that it’s impossible (for me, on FF at least) to log in OR EVEN TO READ COMMENTS without disabling Ghostery web-blocking for Disqus. Just for boingboing … and then remembering to turn it back on again.

    The new system may be easier for some, but it’s a bloody mess (WP -and- Disqus to deal with), and most days I just don’t bother to read the comments … which is a real PITA. It has pretty much spoiled BB for me (even putting aside the 13 different trackers on the site). Oh well … it was real while it lasted… for about a decade in my case.

    1. my one stop shop for such things is noscript. Especially once i learned about how to configure ABE. Now i have no facebook share/like buttons tracking me around the web for instance, but can still access facebook itself without having to enable or disable anything:

  114. How does approval-queuing for signed-in users work?  I was under the impression that signed-in users were able to post automatically, though they could (obviously) be moderated after the fact.  However, I just composed a comment, hit the “Post as benenglish” button, and then got a popup saying my comment would be held for moderation.

    Is this new?  I haven’t posted much since the changes a few months ago; those changes made BB pretty much unusable to me from my work computer which is where I did most of my reading.  Recently I retired so I’m trying to get back into the BB habit again but if all comments are held for moderation, even when signed in, I’ll have to reconsider how much effort I’m willing to devote to trying to get my words to appear on the site.

    And yes, I did read the comment policy page again before I posted this.  I apologize in advance if I’ve missed something obvious.

    Added edit – OK, this is weird. My post to this page appeared instantly, with no “being held for moderation” popup. I must have done something wrong in the post that prompted my initial question. Too lengthy, perhaps? Can excessive length cause a post to be held for moderation?

    1. Your comment violated the Comment Policy to the extent that it triggered the automatic filters. Please read the policy. The issue is quite obvious.

      1. Thanks.

        It took me a while to figure it out but, in retrospect, it’s obvious that the “If saying it to a
        stranger in meatspace might earn you a black eye, please don’t say it in
        your comment” portion of the commenting policy is the part that applies.  The person I was replying to was clearly on such a short fuse that any expression of disagreement with him, if it had happened in meatspace, might have earned me a black eye.  Thus, I shouldn’t have even made my initial post.

        All in all, I think you did the best thing possible by killing commenting on that thread early, ahead of the usual cutoff. 

        Again, thanks.

  115. I’ve had a few comments of mine disappear (re: non-disclosure of wachismo sponsorship on post that mentions their watches.) I didn’t mean any mal-intent and as far as I can tell, I have not violated any of the policies above. Can you help me to better understand why my posts were removed?

  116. pointless criticisms of the new layout:

    1) do you really need a menu bar? no one, ever, will use that stuff.
    2) the ad/highlight region to the right is WAY too big. Can’t you pick one thing to advertise/highlight and let us read the content with the rest of the screen?
    3) the submitterator and comments are hidden. you guys MUST know that user submissions and comments are the stickiest things about the blog. the best stuff in your content is either previously viral or gets reposted to yahoo…get over yourselves and go back to emphasizing USER content.

    Thanks for pretending to listen!

  117. When not signed in, I click the “Reply” button, compose, click the “Post as…” button, then BB makes me sign in via popups before the post can proceed.  I do so then click the “Post as benenglish” button.  The post appears.

    However, following that sequence of events, the “In reply to …” text that should appear above my post is missing.

    This is a possible problem or just my misunderstanding of the way things work, I don’t know which.  Most likely the latter.

    I thought you might like to know. 

    PS – Since this is only tangentially related to moderation policy and I don’t want to do any unintended threadjacking, please tell me if there’s a more appropriate place to post observations such as these.

  118. Here’s an addition to the policy: if you say “meh” in a comment, I’ll probably delete it. If you say “woo,” I might delete it.

    1. On a related note: If you say “first world problem”, I’ll ban you and when you complain about being banned, I’ll tell you that it’s a first world problem.

  119. Why is it that sometimes when you go to post a comment, hitting the “post as…” button doesn’t do squat?  I’m getting frustrated that I can’t reply to some n00b on the latest NDAA thread.

    1. Maybe just a Disqus hiccup? Copy your comment and reload the page would be my only advice. If it continues, e-mail me or contact Disqus if you have a Disqus account.

      1. I tried a good dozen times and gave up.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it don’t.  I have cats that are more predictable.
        Disqus is icky.  That is all.

        1. I just had it happen, too.  I was able to comment as a reply from the back side, but I couldn’t get it to work from the front.  Very annoying.

  120. Antinous: regarding the thread belonging to the post “Response to Boing Boing post on “Police Pad” gadgets in Georgia, from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia”:

    Several comments that disagreed with the author in the most respectful manner I’ve ever seen were removed. They did not violate any of the rules above or tried to tell the author what to do; in fact, the one comment that directly insulted a fellow commenter remains.

    In the interest of getting along here, could you be so kind as to clarify what exactly was so offensive about them?

    Thank you very much in advance.

  121. I believe that the moderation policy is too vague and subjective. I also believe that it is implemented in an arbitrary way that undermines the moral authority of BoingBoing.

    BoingBoing is an important voice in calling censorship to task. I agree completely that BoingBoing is a private entity and has every right to moderate comments in whatever fashion they choose. However, if you talk the talk, you must walk the walk as a matter of practicality and moral integrity. The system should be transparent without arbitrary and capricious use of power.

    When comments are deleted without notice, it creates an atmosphere of consensus where really there is dissent. I understand that comments shouldn’t thoughtlessly criticize an editor’s post (i.e. Disney sucks!), but there are several related lines of thought that should be allowed: social commentary (In this instance, Disney gives inappropriate role models to children…) , political commentary (Disney lobbied in such and such a fashion…), a fallacy or lack of logic in the editor’s thinking, etc.

    I was recently banned temporarily for criticizing Zooey Deschanel. From my biased perspective, I was providing social criticism regarding the authenticity of the “Sexy Nerd” trope in film and TV, one of the cornerstones of Ms. Deschanel’s career. From the moderator’s perspective, I was being repetitive and hostile. My comments garnered plenty of likes (which is less likely if I am an authentic troll), and plenty of thoughtful responses and some agreement. In fact, most of the comments seemed to judge Ms. Deschanel’s performance negatively.

    One of the problems was I didn’t have a log of deleted comments so that I could deduce what  exactly was violating the moderation policy. Also, it creates a situation where the defender of the editor’s post can respond to me, but I can’t respond to them because it is “repetitive”. From my perspective, I was engaged in a responsive dialogue with another user.

    Anyway, I appreciate the effort and work that goes into BoingBoing and the moderation of its comments. I would also like to thank Antonius for rescinding my ban. I will do my best to converse in a responsible and civil fashion.

Comments are closed.