By on October 10, 2012

Shaikh Jalal Ahmad wrote a very informative series on car suspensions. Sgeffe called it “an interesting (and timely) series.” Felix Hoennikker could not “wait for the next one.” JuniperBug welcomed the series from  “a highly respected suspension tuner/builder.” But it takes only one drunk or rude guest to ruin a whole party. We are about to lose a valuable and knowledgeable contributor, just because commenters forgot their manners.

Willman wrote something that would have triggered a very robust response would he have said it in my face.

I would like to direct your attention to TTAC’s Commenting Policy, which states:

There are two very simple guiding rules to commenting on TTAC

  1. When commenting, picture yourself being invited to a dinner party with a roomful of strangers. You probably will not attack or insult the host, or the other guests. You will get annoyed by rude and uncivilized guests. You will understand that the host will not invite people back who violate simple rules of civility. Attacking the host could mean an end of the dinner before deserts are served.
  2. You have a right to your opinion, you are immediately wrong if you are rude. Rude, uncivilized remarks mean an immediate loss of the argument. They also can mean a loss of commenting privileges.

For those who need extra amplification, it says:

No personal attacks on other commenters or TTAC authors. Disagreement is no attack, name calling is. You may make a robust argument, but you may not insult the other person. To provide for a safe workplace for TTAC authors, there are increased standards. “

We will not tolerate the abuse of our authors. Willman has been banned for violating a simple, and clearly stated rule of TTAC.  I apologize for the rude and uncivilized behavior of a TTAC commenter. Please note that this is not about what you say. It is strictly about how you say it. Commenters have a right to their opinion, and we will fight for that right. There is no right to a lack of manners.

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65 Comments on “No Manners, No Comment: How To Get Banned At TTAC...”


  • avatar
    iainthornton

    It is sad how a comment can be so pointless. All the best to Shaikh Jalal Ahmad. I hope he’s not too offended.

    • 0 avatar
      Ciriya.com

      “sad”? Really? Aren’t you overdramaticizing that a bit? With all due respect to Mr. Ahmad, this is the internets. When you write an article, you should EXPECT people to bitch and moan and hate. As far as I’m concerned, if they don’t, you might be doing it wrong, especially on a site like TTAC. disclaimer: I, for one, liked the article.

  • avatar

    I read the article (again), and then had to go back and check to see if you named the offender, because it wasn’t immediately obvious. I originally thought that the comments might have been deleted.

    The person in question may have been a little out of line in his tone, but some people are like that. One guy on a forum I used to frequent was regularly a complete and total douchebag to just about everyone, yet people put up with him because he (sometimes) knew what he was talking about and had connections to good yet cheap performance parts. Sure, he got put on temporary bans but was always allowed to return.

    That’s not excusing completely out of line behavior, however, and I don’t frequent the comment section of this site enough to know if the commenter in this instance has a history of such. If not, I would think that a warning instead of a ban would be more appropriate in this case – because while like I mentioned, his tone was a little brusque, his observations were spot on.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      +1

      I was more offended by the commentor’s incoherent rambling, about his inability to form a sentence or even phrase that made sense, than by any words he may have used in said comment.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Just a question.Robert Farago would E mail a warning,or two. Never three. Is this polcy still being practised?

    I just hate to see one of the good guys get banned,cause he had a bad day. TTAC has banned some real good folks recently,over a heated conversation.

    As tough as Farago could be,he only banned the real dick heads. Hey, he kept me,whats that tell ya?

    That being said. You guys are the boss,and you folks do have the ban button. Use it as you see fit.

    • 0 avatar

      Farago is long gone. He had a complicated commenting policy that laid out in great detail WHAT can be said and WHAT cannot. This policy is gone. Instead, there is a simple policy, it specifies that one can say anything, as long as the HOW it is said is not offensive.

      This gives a lot more leeway, at the price of abrupt bans when the line is crossed. Honestly, I don’t feel like a lot of email back and forth in that case. We also do not differentiate between “good” or “bad” commenters. This simple rule goes for all.

      • 0 avatar
        cackalacka

        I concur with the action taken in this case. There are myriad ways this dude could have posted his objections regarding substance without being a complete tool about it. Frankly the premise of his response was off base.

        I thought that the series was interesting and informative, and given the world of donks and slammed cars, it is nice to have an industry resource that is capable of speaking to enhancing suspension for performance rather than the moar loew aspects.

        “You didn’t answer my question, and I live in a world of instant gratification, so I’m going to be a complete jerk about it” isn’t that low a bar for banning on a healthy site.

  • avatar

    Given the sentence structure, overall thoughtlessness and lack of reasonable tone, it seems like our friend Willmann found his way from Jalopnik. In all honesty, that’s exactly where he should stay.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Looks like it doesn’t take much to get banned around here. Give him a break. I don’t see what the big deal is. His comment was more or less on the money and others agreed with it. Lighten up TTAC.. Jeez

  • avatar

    Although I am a newbie whose knowledge of cars pales in comparison to the rest of you, I thought the comment was 1) pointless 2) not constructive but destructive 3) offensive. Like I said I am a newbie, so I presume this is not the posters first offence as a warning would have been issued instead of the ban.

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    If he got banned for the one comment still on that link, I think that might have been a little excessive.

    • 0 avatar
      Ciriya.com

      +1

      He was a dick in the first 1/3 of the post, but considering that he was borderline apologetic in the last 1/3 of it and even Shaikh Jalal Ahmad didn’t seem offended, an instaban may have been a bit of an overreach. I’ve seen FAR worse than that post.

  • avatar
    Ciriya.com

    Why is there a new post every week on someone getting banned? I don’t care to know who gets banned every time someone does, nor does the other 95% of the readership who either comments rarely or comments never, nor do, I’m sure, most of the regular commentariat. Keep the dirty laundry where it belongs: in the laundry room. Don’t throw it all over the dining room.

    And before anyone says “to stop it from happening again”: one post per HOUR on how to act will never stop people from acting up. People are gonna act up.

    Better to put the rules above or below, or even inside the comment text box, than to post a new message like this every week.

    • 0 avatar
      Ltd783

      +1

      The amount of unprofessional material on TTAC recently is staggering. This used to be one of my favorite sites, now it seems there’s an article attacking a commenter, journalist, or other blog every day.

      Here’s an idea, focus on being more professional, and perhaps more manufacturers would actually let you drive their cars, so I don’t know, we could read than one review a week.

      • 0 avatar
        Amendment X

        Exactly. It’s almost as if TTAC is so desperate for content that they are using illustrations of bad behavior to supplement their ad income due to the GAPING hole left by the Niedermeyers. Hint guys, work on CONTENT.

        Banning this guy was excessive.

        Google “chilling effects on speech”

        Done.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    So, basically, the word ‘bacon’ did him in?

  • avatar
    danio3834

    He could have said it in less jagged terms, but I agree with him regarding that series so far. Lots of vague theory with little follow up and reinforcement of the principles. We were asked to pose specific questions and told we would receive answers, but have not. A bit disappointing.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Granted, I haven’t really dived into those articles as much as I might, I haven’t found them to be particularly dense in real content. My initial interest in the series has significantly waned.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    Has Jack Baruth been introduced to these rules? His personal attacks against commenter’s go well beyond the scope of being rude and certainly qualify as personal attacks. Disgusting.

  • avatar
    65corvair

    I have to agree 100%. The comments add another dimension to the article. The part if you are at a dinner party is perfect. That should apply to when you drive too!

  • avatar
    Speed Spaniel

    Sorry, but I see nothing wrong with what Willman said and ‘how’ it was said. His comments would actually have been very colorful at a dinner party and I’m sure some guests would have chuckled. This policy is too interpretive and without naming names some people need to grow a pair. In my mind what this boils down to is the Gods giveth and the Gods taketh away (or am I not allowed to mention God?). So much for commenting democracy, but my comment is I disagree. Guess I’ll be banned too.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    As one of the original founders and moderators of an audio enthusiast’s site that’s in its 13th year, I have a lot of experience dealing with DB comments.

    I have to say, after I followed the link to the story and the comments, I thought it was pretty mild and was surprised that the commenter was permanently ejected. It seemed like a weak attempt to imitate Jack Baruth’s style — without his ad hominem shots (by name!) at other “auto journosaurs.” Personally, I enjoy Jack’s style; but I have to admit some of his ad hominem attacks make me wince. This post did not.

    As you say — and as I have said to the people I have banned from the audio site — it is your sandbox and you have the right to make the rules.

    But other people have the right to pass you by.

    • 0 avatar
      Ciriya.com

      +9000

      And even if the dude came in and dropped a Youtube-commenter level flame (which he didn’t), there is no need for a whole blog post about it, yet again. I come to TTAC to read car articles, not to hear about why someone was banned. If there was never a post about this dude, nobody would notice he was gone except for him. Which is how it should be.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Gordon

        An interesting thing to consider might be the fact that articles about dudes getting banned for arbitrarily judged infractions seem to get about 10 times the amount of posts as Bertel’s fascinating articles about the vacillating sales figures of the Japanese medium car segment.

  • avatar
    TexasAg03

    I don’t think the comment was all that bad. It seemed more like a little jab that was over the top for effect. I think it was a bit much, but not deserving of a permanent ban.

    Having said that, this is not my site and it’s not a democracy, so it really doesn’t matter what I think.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    There have been times when I have commented here that I later came back and unsubscribed from the article because of what I felt were personal attacks. I think Bertel has it exactly right and my act of unsubscribing was in lieu of saying things that can get one kicked off.

    I think the blog will continue to improve if the emphasis is on making a point not putting another down. I don’t know what was said here so that comment is just in general. Good job.

  • avatar

    I think it’s time for me to get rid of the dunce hat avatar.

  • avatar

    i don’t get it. I liked the original article and thought it was
    pretty informative although perhaps not very factual. it was meant to be subjective.

    As to the commenter, I do not see any name calling whatsoever.
    One thing I have always liked about TTAC is that the colorful, balls-to- the-wall, no- holds -barred stories of the writers were often mirrored in boldness and thoughtfulness by the readers’ comments.

    I never have likened TTAC to a polite dinner party and never will.
    And I cannot imagine neither you nor Baruth minding their manners at such a party. These boring overrated parties would
    do better with some characters present, but I’m not sure how many invites are eminent. Maybe cocktail parties, but those are overrated too.

    This guy was just trying to be funny. Sometimes people don’t succeed with their attempts at humor. His attempt was a clear fail. But do not ever let these facts keep writers from trying. Reader’s comments are just as big a part of this site as the original articles.

    Buy him a beer and suck it up.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    IF the offending comment wasn’t THAT bad, perhaps a warning or at least a double-secret probation policy for a time is appropriate for a set period instead of an outright ban? Or does that involve too much time for an already thin-spread staff?

    In any event, it always pays to think thrice before writing anything, especially a response to someone’s comment.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    Yeah I don’t really agree with the ban either after reading the comments and follow-up. I found his comment less offensive than a typical Baruth post. Then again, I don’t get offended as a rule, I think the world is too PC as it is so I tend to let people say what they want and ignore the moronic. I can be moronic as well so maybe that’s why?? In either case, I didn’t feel like the comment did any name calling, more like he was frustrated at seeing no meat with his veggies? In parental terms, this was a time for a stern talking to, not an outright grounding.

    But as others have stated, its your sandbox so do as you wish!!

  • avatar
    dougjp

    Well at least this thread, and the multiple mostly identical previous threads just like it about poor behavior/getting banned, ensure that the thread count is kept up.

    Its the only site on the internet I’ve ever seen where this topic is raised by the site itself as a repeated public discussion in a forum. Yet there’s no DIRECT link at the top to “how to get banned” or “forum rules”. It may be under some sub menu, but everybody knows nobody ever goes there before opening their mouths.

    Think about that for a minute, and what does it say about this thread.

    • 0 avatar
      Ciriya.com

      The rules are under the FAQ link at the top of the page, but I didn’t even know that until two minutes ago, because I saw your post and went looking for any mention of commenting rules. I’m sure most commenters have never clicked that link either because frankly it’s a little obscure.

  • avatar
    Type57SC

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think I’d be offended by his posts. A bit embarrassed for him, but not offended.

  • avatar
    probert

    I don’t see the horror of the post – granted I’m a non Kosher Jew but generally fairly standard brit wit.

    The veiled racist Obama comments and the constant belittling of Union workers trouble me more. But hell, I don’t even have pants on as I type this so I’ll just STFU.

    Now, about the Gordon Keeble …

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Posting with no pants on? That’s offensive… :)

      I do agree with you about all the political comments, but I guess during election year one has to expect it.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I can’t say if Willmans banning was warranted or not, mostly because I couldn’t decipher his post to begin with.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    At least good old Farago would engage you in an ongoing email commentary. I actually miss his diatribe. No one ever had to guess what he was thinking. I guess he is somewhere sharpening his verbal lance, preparing to skewer some other progressive.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    I just read willman’s comment… yeah, I’d ban that.

    There’s the train of thought that some posters are trying to be Jeremey Clarkson or Jack Baruth, and just happen to cross the line. Well, leave it to the pros, then. Watch Jack’s videos and look for the mischievous glint in his eyes to know what in means to be a s**t disturber without being an a-hole.

    There is no part of willman’s post that even suggests that it was a slip up or a bad day, the intent to insult is quite clear. “I’m just telling it like it is” doesn’t cut it. People like that don’t survive for long in the real world, neither should they last any longer in forum traffi.

  • avatar
    suspekt

    Your out to lunch on this Bertel. Its sad and makes me not want to take part in your daily traffic stats anymore.

    His communcation style may have been lacking, but it was AUTHENTIC, GENUINE, and seemed to come from a place of truthfulness. He wasnt being malicious.

    TTAC is more and more on a path of arrogance. Somewhere along the way, something has set in that has TTAC staff feeling they are superior and decisions like this are proof of that.

    And then to change the Avatar for the individual to one of your choosing to further shame the person… shame on you!!!

  • avatar
    suspekt

    As punushment to TTAC, I shall withdraw my site attendance for 7 days. To all that disagree with this ban, do the same. For those that disagree with my take, that is okay too.

    TTAC benefits from the real passionate gear heads that visit this site and populate it daily with traffic and authentic commentary. Replacing anyone one of us is not easy.

    Maybe my absence will do nothing. Not a thing. But I know that each of my visits is worth a few pennies and I have the power to withhold those pennies.

    Its too bad. Maybe this raises a larger issue… Is TTAC becoming too full of itself?

    • 0 avatar
      slow kills

      I will follow suit. I find the banning and flimsy excuse behind it leave me aching for the Farago days. I also suspect that someone took offense to being called out for lax editorial approval on an insubstantial article. The criticism apparently was not taken as constructive and the messenger was shot instead.

  • avatar
    azmtbkr81

    The post was rude and clumsily crafted but I wouldn’t consider it a personal attack – I’ve certainly seen worse slide by in the few years I’ve been reading. As TTAC’s readership grows all sorts of crazies are going to come out of the woodwork. It is best just to ignore all but the most egregious violations or risk being viewed as heavy-handed.

  • avatar
    jeoff

    While I would prefer that people post as if they were at a dinner party, the truth is that this place more often resembles a men’s locker room (contributors and posters), and this expulsion has more to do with the sensitivities of the contributor than the intention of the poster. It was just silly (and ignorant) hyperbole, and he seemed to be trying to be more cute than mean. That doesn’t mean that what he said was OK, it means that if ever there was a time that a person should have been warned prior to being banned –this was it.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    This ejection and the ensuing commentary reminds me of the infield fly rule for the Cards vs. Braves game. Bertel made the call, now we just have to swallow the bitterness and take it.

  • avatar
    dartman

    This is what happens when people who really don’t believe in free speech are in charge; (generally non-Americans) feel free to ban me now…my life won’t suffer, but your little blog will…

  • avatar
    TireIrony

    You know what? There’s too much hyperbolic grandstanding combativeness in comments. The fact that so many don’t see what’s so bad about the banned post just reinforces how much we’re willing to embrace boorish behavior as long as it’s entertaining.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    They need to have articles that are actually about cars instead of the political stuff tied in with cars and the stuff like searching for pink cars and the “how often do you use your trunk” type stuff. The only section of the website that I visit is mainly the junkyard finds.

  • avatar
    dantes_inferno

    Correct me if I’m wrong – I was under the impression that this site was called “The Truth About Cars” as opposed to “The Politically Correct Truth About Cars”.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      There are places on the internet where the goal is to be as big of a dick as possible, 4chan, single make enthusiast forums, any number of political websites etc.

      On a website dedicated to discussing all thing car related, it’s generally much easier to get your point across while not being a dick about it. People are much more inclined to listen.

      That being said, I’m all for dick’s rights, but they shouldn’t be too surprised when they’re treated accordingly on the internet as well as IRL.

      • 0 avatar
        dantes_inferno

        > That being said, I’m all for dick’s rights, but they shouldn’t be too surprised when they’re treated accordingly on the internet as well as IRL.

        By that logic, then calling someone a dick (instead of an idiot) should be considered a personal attack and grounds for banning from TTAC.

        A consistent policy of enforcement would be beneficial to all who comment on this site.

        (B.T.W. – Personally, people can call me a dick until the cows come home. I’ve been called far worse, and I’m still standing..:))

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        dante, you’re right, the logic runs true. The dick example was just that, an example. Not an indictment.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    The tone in which you receive your news will eventually become the tone with which you deliver your news. As far as I’m concerned, a banning is simply addressing a symptom, not the disease. We all know the disease, but we value our discussions of your work more than to be banned for citing the progressing lack of skill or vision around here.

    If you are a gossiping fishwife, droning incessantly– every day– about every thing; you will run out of things to say. When you run out of things to say, you will invent things to say. Inventions are not all successful– in fact, InventHelp™ has a television commercial which has a disclaimer to exactly this effect.

    What we’ve got here, TTAC boys, is a lack of content causing the commentariat agony. We’ve endured The BoothBabe. We’ve endured rants about Christian symbology offending youall. We know the size of Baruth’s penis. We know you writers worth a damn have walked-away already.

    That familiarity breeds contempt. We feel contempt from every one of youall, very nearly daily– and, we as a group are simply lobbing the ball back to youall.

    Don’t hate the player– hate the game, yo.

    • 0 avatar
      TireIrony

      Lack of content is an excuse for bad commenter behavior? No.

      When you run out of things to say, you should walk away. If you can’t, that’s YOUR problem, not the site’s.

      There will be some people for whom no amount of fodder for good comments is enough. (Think of Homer Simpson in hell with donuts.) Some people will always run out of things to say, and it is then time for them to stop talking.

      Management has said before (and recently) that they do not welcome comments about what articles they should NOT post. Take that to heart. If content is lacking, suggest what you want to read, or walk away.

      Finish the phrase: “If you haven’t got anything nice to say…”

      Google it if you have to.


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