Commenting is a privilege, not a right. The following guidelines are very loose and open to our interpretation, but they should shed some light on the general perspective of the site's editors and moderators.
This is probably obvious but bears repeating: This is our website, and we will moderate it as we see fit.
Comments we love:
1. Clever and witty insights or retorts. We love your funny, so bring it.
2. Comments that reflect an interesting opinion that has yet to be presented.
3. Intelligent and thoughtful contributions to a discussion.
4. Bon mots — drop 'em if you got 'em.
How do you get yourself a star?
Doing the above consistently. But sometimes people fall through the cracks. If you feel that you've been unflinchingly fantastic and have yet to be awarded your due recognition, by all means email and we'll check out what you're bringing to the table.
Going forward, I hope we can be more liberal with awarding stars. However, the more we give out stars, the more casually we will take them away. This isn't about maintaining some starred-commenter quota; it's about keeping the pool of starred commenters — those who have the power to approve and promote threads — fresh and interesting. Turnover is good. If you lose a star, you may very well get it back. Almost nothing is permanent.
From here on out, we expect everyone to remain calm when editors and moderators step in. Crusades and campaigns will probably have the opposite effect of what you want.
Some of the things for which we may take your star away, or demote your comment, or maybe even ban you:
Read the post before you comment. If you miss the point, we're going to think you didn't read the post. And that is Not Good.
Commenters who excessively promote every opinion with which they agree — but add very little to the discussion themselves — should probably not do that. If you promote comments but haven't yourself left a main page comment in weeks, that's a problem. If you are promoting comments, we expect you to be leaving some of your own, too.
Arguing with editors regarding "censorship" or the violation of "free speech" is just silly, and it will almost certainly have some kind of consequence.
Editors are always open to polite criticism, so long as you back yourself up. If, however, you make the same critique on every single post or consistently argue and/or complain but have little else to say on the main page threads…best to mix it up or we're going to quickly grow tired.
Discussion and debate are great. Just be polite and don't gang up on anyone. When it comes to disagreements, we want witty repartee, not knife fights.
Speaking of: When shitstorms break out, think twice before you throw yourself into that thread. We have little or no tolerance for piling on an editor or fellow commenter.
We expect good humor and good faith. A lack thereof is a problem.
We are not fine with ill-tempered sass or bullying, be it directed towards the editorial staff or your fellow community members, nor will we tolerate what we interpret to be personal attacks. A commenter's tone is everything.
Now that we've got that out of the way...
If you really want an editor to hear you, it's always best to email. It's nearly impossible for us to write and edit and keep up with the comments. That's why we always ask you to send us genuine editorial concerns and issues; we are 200% more likely get your message via email. We may not respond, but you can be sure that we see what's in our inbox.
Oh, don't forget your comment moderators!
In addition to the site's editors, the lovely BabyJane is your head moderator. She and her team of moderator all-stars — Donovanesque, Wolfabeast, Slaybelle, Jan74, AndBegorrah, BrutallyHonestBabes, Curt Cole, and Krushchev — are here to keep everyone playing nice. Moderators demonstrate what we value in commenters; please give them the respect they deserve.
And you can help, too.
It is a community, after all, and we want your involvement. You'll note that at the top of the homepage is a box that says "let your fingers do the talking." From there, you can nominate comments of the day (tag #cotd); help us smack down trolls (#trollpatrol); send us tips (#tips, but email is always good); or write on any other tag page (#groupthink, #meetup/#meetups, #blogroll, etc).
We appreciate everyone's participation in our community, and look forward to the continual passing of the peace pipe. Kumbaya, and happy commenting.