A Message From Hortense, Our Commenter Moderator

Illustration for article titled A Message From Hortense, Our Commenter Moderator

It's been a busy week. Month, even. We've had controversies, good press, bad press, new people and lots of tech probs. And so our beloved Hortense has written a missive, originally posted on Facebook, and it's for you guys, the readers and commenters. She writes:

Hello Doves!

I've been fielding some questions from many people as of late, so I thought I would take a stab at answering some of them in convenient Facebook note form. Oo-de-lally!


It has been a pretty rough week for everyone, but I would like to thank those of you who participated in the discussions on the boards in a calm and civil manner. I understand that many people are hurt, angry, and upset- but I was very impressed to see so many commenters express their feelings without resorting to vicious personal attacks. There is a lot of healing that has to be done, but the fact that many of you were willing to talk openly (and also to listen!) is a sign that that process is underway, as slow as it might seem to be.

So let's get to biz-ness, yeah? (You guys, I have a problem with saying "Yeah?" after every sentence now. I have to stop watching British television.)

1. Meetups/Facebook

If you are looking for local commenter meetups, the best place to start is by adding "Jezebel Dot Com" —not the Jezebel Fan Page, though you certainly can add both! :)— to your FB Friends list. Jezebel Dot Com is a member of nearly every Jezebel-related Facebook group out there, from London to LA, so you can easily find a group in your area by clicking the links on the Jezebel Dot Com page. It might take a few days for your friend request to be accepted- but hang in there!

2. Don't Ban Me, Hortense!

Dudes, I am not out to get you. I only ban people who are clearly breaking the rules set about in the Commenter Etiquette Post.


These rules apply to everybody. New commenters, old commenters, even me!

Most commenters (with the exception of really terrible trolls) will receive one warning before a ban is put in place. If a commenter is banned, he or she may reapply for commenting privileges in 2-4 weeks. It is rare that a ban is permanent. I don't enjoy banning people (well, again, with the exception of really awful trolls), and I am always willing to hear the banned commenter's side of the story. Most apologetic commenters are reinstated and go on to be great contributers to the boards.


If you feel your ban was unjust, or don't understand why you were banned, you may always contact me for an explanation. Recently, we've been having some pretty serious technical problems (as I'm sure you all know) and some commenters are actually being banned without my knowledge. So please feel free to state your case, so we can straighten things out and get back to having fun on the boards.

3. Comment of the Day and Such

If you have a nomination for Best Comment of the Day or Worst Comment of the Day, please email it to me at commenters@jezebel.com. It is much easier for me to get your nomination by email than try to track it down as

@AwesomeCommenter: COTD! in the threads.


4. Technical Problems

We've got trouble, right here in Jezebel City, with a capital T and that pretty much stands for Technical Problems. There's nothing the editors or I can do about it, sadly, and the tech team is working extremely hard to work out the bugs. 8000 comments about the technical problems doesn't really help anyone. It is much more helpful if you send an email to tips@jezebel.com. describing the technical issue you are having, so that we can forward it to the tech team.


5. Snap Judgments

Oh, boy. Snap Judgments are the source of many controversies. Many commenters feel that SJ's have gone downhill over the past few months, due to people not really understanding what SJ's are all about. In the simplest terms, a Snap Judgment is just that- your first reaction to the photograph. Your response should be quick, witty, and should relate to the picture. There really shouldn't be any paragraph-length comments on a Snap Judgment.


Above all, responses should be clever, snarky, and funny. Consider the scene. What's going on in the picture? What is the person thinking? Be creative. Have fun with it!

You don't have to be negative to be funny, either. You can say that you like someone's shoes, or bag, but please, for the love of candy, try to frame it in a way that adds something to the thread. 8,000 "ooh, cute bag." comments create a boring echo chamber that nobody really wants to read through. You could opt to say something like this, instead, "I would sit through the entire first season of Living Lohan without saying one bad word about Dina Lohan if it meant that Lindsay would hand over those shoes. That's how bad I want those stupid shoes."


Or some such.


Please read the post and the comments before posting your own. Please. PLEASE. There is nothing more frustrating than reading duplicate comments or comments that begin with "I didn't read this whole thing, but..."


7. Kindness

Remember: though we only see each other through tiny picture boxes, we're all human beings. This includes the editors. Anna, Dodai, Jessica, Megan, Sadie, Moe, Tracie, Maria, and Intern Margaret and Intern Anna work very hard to keep the site running and to give us all something to read each day. You don't have to like every editor, but there are enough posts on the site for people to find something to read, enjoy, and comment on without having to stoop to nasty, vitriolic attacks.


The same thing goes with dealing with other commenters. I don't expect everyone to be friends, but I do expect everyone to treat everyone with respect. Before you press the submit button, ask yourself if you'd ever say the things you've typed to a person's face. The internet makes it easy for us to detach and to forget that there are real people on the other end of our screens.

Sometimes, the best thing we can do is to try to offer each other a little kindness.


Oh, and also, humor. Bring it, please. I need to laugh like nobody's business. I think we all do.

If there's anything I missed, let me know at commenters@jezebel.com.

Thank you!


By the by, I hope that in part, this thread could be used to tell Hortense how much we appreciate her. —Dodai [Seconded by Anna]


Earlier: The Girl's Guide To Commenting On Jezebel



Hortense, my love for you and your amazing work knows no bounds. Please let me send you some cookies!

@Lymed: You make so much damn sense some times it scares me. I hope to one day be as cogent in my arguments and thoughts as you are on a daily basis. Smoochies from a stiletto and mini-dress wearing feminist!