By on October 27, 2009

(courtesy: thegoodpinkknight.wordpress.com)

As TTAC moves into its next chapter, it’s important that we revisit a topic that has long been a defining factor in our site’s success: our comment moderation policy. TTAC strives to provide the very best discussion on all things automotive, and in order to maintain decorum and high-quality online discourse, we’ve always moderated comments. This will not change, because—as a visit to most other car blogs proves—it’s the only way to prevent otherwise interesting conversations from devolving into ad-hominem, flaming and general unpleasantness. To help combat the internet’s endless supply of insulting, angry, incoherent, thoughtless, unfunny and generally annoying commentary, I’ve enlisted longtime TTACers Jeff Puthuff and Daniel J. Stern to help patrol our community. If you step over the line, expect to hear from one of us. Meanwhile, hit the jump for a little more detail on on community expectations and behavioral standards here at TTAC.


Don’t flame the website, its authors, or fellow community members. This means no personal attacks. Focus your comments on the ideas, content, and tone of the piece you’re commenting on, not on the author who wrote it. Use thoughtful common sense here; if you think an author’s background or experience creates a relevant issue worthy of discussion, bring it up in a respectful way. Ad hominem attacks, incendiary remarks, namecalling, and accusations of bias are not acceptable, and neither is trying to shout down those who disagree with you. If you disagree with another commenter’s opinion, explain your disagreement without distracting from the larger discussion. Be ready to agree to disagree and move on. If you cannot distinguish between a debate and an argument, you will likely want to find somewhere else to discuss cars. Trolling—posting comments intended to provoke flame wars or personal attacks—is also not allowed.

It’s easy to comply with these requirements: just behave like a grownup and you’ll be fine. If you’re angry or upset, either because of something you read here or for extrinsic reasons, hold off on posting until you’re in a calmer frame of mind. Choose to express yourself in a constructive, cooperative, respectful way. You may suggest, for example, that TTAC should consider Toyota’s green policies, but don’t post “Toyota is a bunch of lying scumbags”. If you feel a reviewer should have tested a vehicle or product differently than was done, explain how and why, but don’t say “anyone who doesn’t take a Jeep off road is a wimp”. If you feel Ford makes particularly reliable vehicles, you’re free to say so, but don’t say “Anyone who likes GM cars is a poopoohead”. Avoid broad-brush denunciations of groups—liberals, conservatives, environmentalists, smokers, women, gays, men, straights, Republicans, Democrats, Tories, small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri, etc. If you wouldn’t use particular wording to somebody’s face, in person and in public, then don’t use that wording in a comment onscreen.

Cars and roads are heavily regulated, so politics will frequently come up. The conversation must remain centered on cars, motorists, roads, the auto industry, and their immediate concerns; TTAC is not a soapbox from which to advance particular political views. If you feel the urge to make political conversation not immediately related to cars, there are many forums on and off the internet for it; this is not one of them. Here again, a little thoughtful common sense goes a long way. Discussing bailout policy or drunk-driving laws or proposed emissions regulations is fine, but calling the president an illegal alien communist bent on destroying America is not. This is not a question of enforcing a party line, it’s just keeping conversation on topic.

Off-site links to information germane to the conversation are fine. Irrelevant links will be deleted as spam. Think very carefully before posting commercial links. Don’t abuse the extensive anonymity afforded to TTAC commenters; if your employment situation or anything else could create even the appearance of a conflict of interest, be candid and forthright. If you work for Chrysler and your comment is even a little bit close to touching on Chrysler products, fess up before you’re called on it. If you’re a GM employee, say so. If you’re a car salesman, make that clear. Here again: just behave as a grownup and you’ll be fine.

Discussion on a thread often spans multiple comments. However, if you are spamming a comments thread and attempting to dominate a discussion with sheer volume of comments, you will be warned and your comments will be moderated. Likewise, if your comment appears to be accepted but does not show up immediately, do not attempt to make it again and again; it means your comment has been set aside for moderation and will be posted once it’s been reviewed and found to comply with the standards and rules of this community.

If you have a comment on every detail of every story we run, you might be TTAC writer material, and we’d love to discuss that prospect with you; drop us a line at our contact form.

If you have a gripe about the website, or a suggestion for how it might be improved, please direct your remarks to the contact form. We will read them, and if they’re remotely reasonable they will be answered by email. Again, this is not about silencing dissent, it’s about keeping the conversation on-topic. If your concern is serious and presented thoughtfully, we can consider opening a thread to discuss it.

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74 Comments on “Housekeeping: TTAC’s Comment Policy...”


  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Here’s my vote of confidence: if it’s gonna be Jeff & Daniel’s show, then everything will be fine.

    What I would add though, is this. If an article’s style or content is unduly aggressive or amounts to personal attacks, it is naive (and unfair) to expect comments to stay civil. Publish “xy is insane” and be prepared for people to say the author himself is stupid. You can’t apply a completely double standard to articles and comments.

    Also, if a piece has a hidden agenda or is tantamount to trolling, then expect people to say the website’s editorial policy is bad. Publish an article praising Glenn Beck’s anti-government ethics: fair enough, but don’t be surprised if the subsequent discussion disintegrates. To use a drastic metaphor, if you run a cruddy bar, then don’t be surprised if a fistfight breaks out every now and then.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    “Anyone who likes GM cars is a poopoohead”

    Poopoohead?

    No-one has said that for days. Well, at least two days.

  • avatar
    97escort

    Yes, please apply the comment policy to the articles themselves. I do not appreciate double standards.

    “TTAC is not a soapbox from which to advance particular political views.”

    Like it or not politics is heavily involved in cars and vice versa. Take the cash for clunkers program for example. TTAC posted several articles attacking the program if I am not mistaken.

    And in the past TTAC has regularly attacked ethanol calling it a scam and a boondoggle. This is nothing but politics.

    If you take politics out of the car business, there isn’t much of interest left. And if TTAC can not be used to advance particular political views it should apply to both posts and comments.

    I have noted a decline in the number of anti ethanol articles lately, so maybe TTAC is changing under new ownership/management. Just be careful not to make the site so boring no one cares to visit.

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    TTAC’s anti-flaming policy is one of the primary reasons I use this site.

    I believe it is an intrinsic part of why this site has, by far, the most interesting and intriguing discussions on the net.

    The troll bogs that pass for blogs out there are not worth my time.

    Bunter

  • avatar
    IGB

    Based on personal experience, TTAC’s editorial policy is heavy handed at the best of times. I’ve only been called out once but it had a decidedly “you’re with us or against us” feel.

    I like TTAC because it’s light entertainment and at times genuinely interesting. I do roll my eyes occasionally at the sometimes over the top jadedness of the editorials but that’s part of it’s charm. Like a Fox News editorial, you can’t take TTAC as gospel. It’s a website like any other, the purpose of which is to delight and give food for thought…not necessarily be an exclusive source of fact.

    To be overly constrictive may ultimately be deconstructive. “Success” is a relative term and beating off the readership with a stick would force you to redefine success in more nontraditional terms. Like GM.

  • avatar
    paul_y

    @97escort: Bear in mind, those specific policy issues are on-topic for TTAC. General liberal/conservative/crazy politics is not. I think that’s the gist of the policy. Look at it this way: if a given topic is a common subject for cable “news” talking heads to scream about, then it probably has no place here.

    @Niedermeyer The Younger: While I seldom comment myself, I always have enjoyed the discourse here. Even when I don’t agree with the editorializing, I appreciate the civil, rational tone that this site, and it’s commenters and contributors takes. After all, there’s a pretty good reason I gave up on reading Autoblog quite a while back (I really, really got sick of 90% of the comments amounting to “omg buy amercan toyota sucks”).

  • avatar
    mdensch

    97escort :
    October 27th, 2009 at 6:25 am

    Yes, please apply the comment policy to the articles themselves. I do not appreciate double standards.

    I have to agree with 97escort on this. Looking at the recent “review” of the Lincoln MKT, it would appear that the author failed to meet TTAC’s standards for reader comments.

  • avatar
    KalapanaBlack

    I’d just like to add one thing:

    If you don’t like how the site is run, tread lightly right out the door. I’m sure the Motor Trend Forums or Autoblog would be glad to listen to your insight into running websites.

    /snark.

    Seriously, people. This site has owners and administrators. I can with 99.9% certainty guarantee that if you’re posting in this thread a comment about how you disagree with the way it’s run, you are neither, ergo you don’t really have a say. Take the good with the bad and stop moaning.

  • avatar
    cnyguy

    @mdensch:
    Looking at the recent “review” of the Lincoln MKT, it would appear that the author failed to meet TTAC’s standards for reader comments.

    I couldn’t agree more. Along the same lines, if an author is going to write such a review, he/she should be ready for negative comments and those comments should not be deleted from the site.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    Commentators must be able to make a proper response, especially on controversial subjects. Whenever Jack Baruth writes a piece which includes anything of his own driving, expect people to have an opinion, good or bad. If the subject invites heavy criticism or vastly disparate opinions, allow as much leeway as possible without it all going into flames.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    Agree with the many responses here, the authors of the articles also have to act like grown ups and go through the “standards” check list as described before hitting the “post” button.

    As you say, TTAC is moving to its next chapter, and I think this is the key to making it work and making it even more successful.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Very appropriate topic, especially after yesterday. Good points made by other posters; the rules should be followed on both sides of the computer screen.

  • avatar
    dmrdano

    I for one really enjoy reading the banter, and have contributed to it once in a while myself. It is usually pretty light-hearted and fun, but I will agree that at times people get a bit emotional. I have a preference for self-deprecating humor. I think we would all be happier if we took ourselves less seriously. I find car snobs, political zealots (on all sides), and arm-chair auto CEO’s highly entertaining. But mostly I just enjoy reading other’s opinions (and nostalgically thinking back to how many truly awful cars I have owned!).

    IGB noted, correctly, “Like a Fox News editorial, you can’t take TTAC as gospel.” It is good to take note of when any kind of site is offering objective information, a.k.a. news, and when they are offering opinion, a.k.a. editorial. TTAC offers both, but it is not always clear where the boundary is. I am OK with that. However, sometimes emotions get a little stronger in those articles where opinion starts to outweigh news.

    This site is like chocolate; it is habit-forming.

  • avatar
    CT_Jake

    I agree with others that TTAC sometimes engages in a double standard regarding comments. I’ve read articles that were scathing attacks on other bloggers/sites and yet the writer(s) yelled “flaming” when called to task. The old adage of ‘pratice what you preach’ applies here as well. TTAC may be the name of the site, but remember, it’s all really just MOAC [my opinion about cars]. Truth is as subjective as opinions about car design. Having said this, I enjoy the site and appreciate the vast majority of the articles and comments submitted.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    If you wouldn’t use particular wording to somebody’s face, in person and in public, then don’t use that wording in a comment onscreen.

    Unfortunately, in these times of agressive confrontation, e.g. town hall meetings, that’s not much of a limit anymore.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    Though my respect for RF’s talent, drive and wit remain largely undiminished, he and I have parted company on the subject of the article troll, for lack of a better term. In the past, numerous articles have been provocative in the extreme and would have, if written by commenters, been deemed flames. What I’m suggesting is that a good and respectful tone in the articles would help raise the tone of the comments. Also, if a comment were felt to violate the standards for the site, couldn’t the editors simply delete it? The opportunity to post is a privilege that should only be extended to those who respect it, but editing ought not be a sub rosa attempt to stiffle legitimate disagreement (even if a light were to occassionally shine on those in charge). Still, your statement of the ground rules is excellent and will serve all well if applied fairly.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    mdench, cnyguy +1

    Let me even be more specific about the Lincoln MKT post from Farago…

    “I know Lincoln dealerships treat their customers well, if only because of their scarcity. But anyone who buys an MKT instead of an up-optioned Flex or something else entirely is an idiot. Actually, make that a blind idiot.”

    Edward…as one of those “scarce” Lincoln consumers—if this post by Farago isn’t flame/disrespectful—I don’t know what is.

    Bad review of the MKT—fair enough—it is a polarizing vehicle. But the tone and personal attack by Farago on those that would purchase it is so against the TTAC rules you espouse that it’s laughable.

    As a Lincoln owner—I could care less what Farago thinks and he can say what he likes—it is a free country. But if he can call me and other potential Lincoln owners idiots—why can’t we respond in kind or at least have all on this site play by the same rules and keep it respectful !

  • avatar
    jamie1

    In the spirit of openness and honesty, I am one of those contributors who works for a car manufacturer (in this case, Ford).

    I agree wholeheartedly with the policy outlined above, but also agree with some of the comments that have followed on.

    Flaming a person is not acceptable – that is fair. But if any one of TTAC’s writers or contributors chooses to flame a product or manufacturer and in doing so, makes errors or deliberately inflammatory remarks, then they should expect, and the site administrators should permit, fair and reasonable comeback.

    I am guilty of not having taken time to calm down before posting on the Lincoln MKT comments yesterday. I allowed ill-mannered and unpleasant comments about the vehicle that I look after to get under my skin and subsequent posts from one particular commentator should have been ignored by me for which I now apologize.

    However, in the interests of balance and fairness, I posted a link to a couple of reviews of the MKT including one that was written by an sound and vision expert talking specifically about the audio system that had been denigrated in the article. It is a pity that these were deleted as I would suggest these were germane to the discussion in hand.

    I continue to support TTAC and its work and look forward to fair and reasonable comments being made about our products as well as the competition. I am also sure we will be allowed to voice our opinions and where appropriate, defend our position should the need arise.

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    After the other day I thought this site was done for. Yes you need this policy.

  • avatar
    NN

    TTAC’s comment policy is without a doubt one of the pillars of the site’s success by keeping the conversation intelligent and informed. I don’t even bother to read comments on other sites, but TTAC’s are always worth it. Keep up the good work.

  • avatar
    mikey

    OK… Time to start a new era? I’m in. Fair,firm and consistant,with the delete/ban policy. Lets do it.

    Mikey, GM houly retired.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    Very appropriate topic, especially after yesterday.

    and,

    After the other day I thought this site was done for.

    Crikey, what happened???? Waadda’ I miss?

    (Wasn’t me was it??)

  • avatar
    FleetofWheel

    Understand the general idea but it’s hard to not refer to the well-known positions of certain groups(environmentalists, MADD, etc)when using the brief space of the TTAC commentary box.

    For example, some previous comments referred to the Fox news trope whereas I think better examples are the pious yet still biased ‘straight news’ on CNN, NY Times and so forth. We see it differently and that to me is good commentary, not contentious.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    @Edward:

    I totally buy the rules, but I’d suggest that they need to be evenly enforced. To wit, from yesterday’s Lincoln MKT post:

    But anyone who buys an MKT instead of an up-optioned Flex or something else entirely is an idiot. Actually, make that a blind idiot.

    Trashing a car is one thing; trashing people is another. Sarcasm is fine when the subject merits it; vitriolic and mean spirited attacks on people is another.

    I think that if this policy is to be worth the bandwidth used to publish it, it needs to be enforced for everyone.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    Thanks for the reminder!

    This policy is nothing new, and Farago set it long ago…however the site has grown quite a bit in the past year and we all need a reminder of behaving like we do in public/in person. I’ve always enjoyed the conversations on TTAC much more than on any other weblog (which I never joined) due to the lack of immaturity and ignorance. There are extremely intelligent people that make up the B&B here…hate to see them leave, even when RF does.

    We may not agree with everyones editorial, statement, or opinion…doesn’t mean they’re wrong or slandering. You can’t judge a car by pictures or what all of the (cheerleaders) press states in their car reviews. The MKT was Farago’s honest opinion, not because he doesn’t like Ford products (go read some of the archived reviews). He stated his opinion based on what he saw, and most likely compared to other vehicles in the same market as well as his own personal family vehicles (formerly an Odyssey, now a GL).

    I’ve gotten into heated and very silly discussions, and have been emailed by Robert to settle it down and those comments were deleted. Granted, it was a few years ago now.

    I just hope this site will strive to keep its’ integrity as we move on and a new owner settles in, and this policy is a great indicator that it will do just that.

  • avatar
    MMH

    Agreed with those above who note that the policy and its enforcement help make the site better than most. I’ll also echo the sentiments on the MKT article, but I think some amount of that is RF getting in a parting shot or two.

    Full disclosure: I got caught up in the nonsense over the weekend and was censored for it – rightly so. Keeping my mouth (er, keyboard) shut for a while.

  • avatar
    mach1

    The “GM Death Watch” series drew me into the TTAC circle several years a go. As a then active Ford engineer (since retired), I was intrigued by RF’s critique of GM. I and my friends had many conversations around his assessments and whether Ford suffered the same problems to the same degree. It would be difficult to argue that the GMDW series was not provocative – A relative unknown guy calling out the management of the “largest, most successful company in the world” and predicting their collapse.

    So, I disagree with many of the comments posted above concerning application of TTAC’s policy to the authors. It is perfectly OK for the articles to be given more freedom and even be provocative. The purpose is to stimulate a debate on the issues raised. On the other hand, requiring the remarks from the respondents to maintain a reasonable level of civility and not wander to far off-topic is fine. I also read the Yahoo Ford message board and it is a mess dominated by crude, rude, and irrelevant postings. I would hate to see TTAC drift in that direction.

  • avatar
    RetardedSparks

    Some very good advice here. If you are going to tell it like it is, you’ve got to be willing to hear it like it is.

    The tone of the writing is what defines the tone of the comments. You reap what you sow.

  • avatar
    Porsche986

    You know, I am glad this was posted today. After reading and commenting on the MKT review yesterday I was almost ready to give this site up.

    I think that it should be appropriate for someone to call out an author on an unbalanced article (again, I think the MKT is hideous looking, but come on… that article was purposely written to be provocative).

  • avatar

    good idea to maintain a level of respect for fellow posters. please remember tho to keep these pages open and free. censorship is a dangerous thing. TTAC has a reputation of openness and honesty in an at times brutal forum.

  • avatar
    Lokkii

    I, for one, welcome our new overlords!

  • avatar
    TexasAg03

    Avoid broad-brush denunciations of groups—liberals, conservatives, environmentalists, smokers, women, gays, men, straights, Republicans, Democrats, Tories, small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri, etc. If you wouldn’t use particular wording to somebody’s face, in person and in public, then don’t use that wording in a comment onscreen.

    I never say anything online that I wouldn’t say to someone’s face, including some of the things mentioned above. If I think someone is a whacko environmentalist, I’ll tell them online or to their face.

    Having said that, the comment policy is one of the primary reasons I frequent TTAC. After having the lives of my children threatened (indirectly, but threatened nonetheless) at another AUTOmotive BLOG, I find TTAC to be pleasant.

  • avatar
    NickR

    BTW, Television Without Pity used to have a good warning system in place. You basically got give strikes and the website managers could assess a penalty of anywhere from 1 to 5 points based on the severity (1 for going off topic, 5 for calling someone an asshole). When you hit 5, they deleted your ID and blocked your IP.

  • avatar
    Islander

    It seems to me the articles are written in such a way as to incite aggressive comments. Read anything about Bob Lutz printed here and you will see a personal attack.

  • avatar
    BDB

    I second (third? fourth?) applying the no flaming policy to your own articles.

    In addition to the MKT review, to show this isn’t just domestic bias, I’d point out the zero star Prius review as another example of a car review that was 100% flamebait.

  • avatar
    Bruce from DC

    As a moderator of the comments section of another “enthusiast” web site (not about cars), I sympathize with your efforts; and, in my brief time here, find them to be pretty successful. It does not seem to me that there’s much that needs fixing.

    Substantively, I do NOT think the writers of articles should be held to the same standards as the writers of comments. To be interesting, writers have to write with some style . . . and that may be opinionated, sarcastic, whatever, viz the comment about only a “blind idiot” buying an MKT vs. a Flex.

    If people confine their discussion to the substance of the article and others’ comments, then 90% of the problems will be taken care of.

    Keep up the good work!

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    I really like the comment policy. The big challenge is how to administer it in an even-handed way over time. That’s not easy for anyone to do. However, I suspect that it will be an advantage for a number of people to share that responsibility.

    My biggest complaint about Farago was that he would write needlessly inflammatory postings that had more to do with politics than cars, and then censor comments that disagreed with his ideological perspective, which can be pretty conservative.

    Meanwhile, Farago appeared to often look the other way while the comment threads were filled with shrill, “Obama is a communist” rhetoric. There have been times that I’ve wondered whether this site was turning into the automotive equivalent of the Drudge Report or Fox News.

    I hope the owners of this site recognize that gearheads are as ideologically diverse as the rest of the population. Certainly TTAC should have a strong point of view, but please treat the comment section as the equivalent of a newspaper’s letters-to-the-editor page — the place where all ideological perspectives can be presented if done in a civil, factual and on-topic manner.

  • avatar
    CarPerson

    @ jamie1: It is a pity that these were deleted as I would suggest these were germane to the discussion in hand.

    You have the option to re-post with some of the language toned down. Give that a try rather than sit there and fume.

  • avatar
    grog

    Double-standards between the editorial staff and commenters? I’m shocked, shocked to find that here.

    That one wins this week’s Claude Raines Memorial Gambling Awareness Award.

    This site “is not a soapbox from which to advance particular political views.” Unless, of course, you’re a member of the editorial staff or one of the vast see of commenters who espouse the same political perspective.

    A rare twofer: Another awarding of this week’s Claude Raines Memorial Gambling Awareness Award.

    “Avoid broad-brush denunciations of groups…Avoid broad-brush denunciations of groups…If you wouldn’t use particular wording to somebody’s face, in person and in public, then don’t use that wording in a comment onscreen.”

    Unless, of course, you’re a member of the editorial staff referencing Bob Lutz’s prostrate issues, or calling him a Putz (guilty as charged).

    Having said all of that, moderation of the comments for flaming and moronically off-topic forays Is A Good Thing. It’s just when you start getting all hidebound about politics, trolling and sweeping statements many of us can see your collective noses get collectively a little bit longer.

  • avatar
    CamaroKid

    I couldn’t agree more. Along the same lines, if an author is going to write such a review, he/she should be ready for negative comments and those comments should not be deleted from the site.

    The MKT review was a cluster **** of deleted posts… I posted an agreement with the author of the editorial and my post got deleted too…

    I can add to this policy that if you want people to contribute… blanket deletions of posts is not a great way to win friends and influence people.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “TTAC is not a soapbox from which to advance particular political views.”

    Then this should apply to the articles themselves, which clearly have continued to advance a very clear political agenda.

  • avatar
    TZ

    TTAC is not a soapbox from which to advance particular political views.

    As others have noted, if TTAC wants to avoid a particular thread turning into a political discussion, it should probably avoid making politically-charged statements in the articles themselves. To date, those politically-charged statements have been quite frequent.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    I’m fine with political in the sense of debate over the efficacy of Cash for Clunkers. Political in the sense of “take all the Democrats and stick them in exploding Hummers” doesn’t belong here. Save it for Fox.

  • avatar
    wsn

    It’s inherently difficult to draw a line between acceptable criticism and flaming.

    Thus I propose that it’s the responsibility of the article writer (instead of TTAC) to decide which comments are to be deleted.

    If a regular writer can’t handle it well, then fewer readers would click on his articles in the future. That way, we will have a “natural selection” going on at TTAC and may the best writer keep on writing.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Most of us get this. Stop the name calling and many of the problems melt away.

    Legitimate, healthy criticism of public policy is not a flame, however. If Obama/Schwarzenegger/Stabenow/Olbermann/Hannity say something or do something auto related, criticism of the appropriate person is relevant.

    I’ve seen a few threads where people soil themselves over defending someone in the public space. Folks, the criticism isn’t of you… it’s of someone else, and as long as it doesn’t devolve into 3rd grade name calling, and stays auto relevant, that’s healthy discourse.

  • avatar
    Bridge2farr

    Yes. It will be all good as long as it’s fair and balanced. Not radical like MSNBC for example.

  • avatar

    The typically thoughtful comments here give me confidence. A few thoughts:

    1: TTAC has to keep running provocative pieces, otherwise it ceases to be TTAC.

    2: TTAC has always offered to print contradictory opinions in editorial form. Consider this the next time a story gets under your skin. Responding in kind is more effective and appropriate than unleashing a stream of angry comments.

    3: Politics are difficult but unavoidable. Somehow though, we’ve been able have some remarkably diverse, free-wheeling discussions. Again, it’s about staying on-topic and considerate.

    4: Though I will continue to read all the comments here, understand that Daniel and Jeff (rather than the myself and/or the author) are handling comment moderation. In other words, if you want to make a point about TTAC’s editorial policies, you should do so directly to me in the contact form. Community standard enforcement (like advertising, although not to quite the same extent) is going to be handled independently from content and editorial decisions.

    5: Enjoy! And remember, this website exists to serve you, the reader. If we are failing in any aspect of this, let us know at the contact form. We always appreciate feedback.

  • avatar
    zintradi

    I don’t know if I can comply…
    I have very strong feelings about those furry creatures from alpha centauri.
    My sister got me one and it got into my halloween candy and multiplied now I can’t get rid of the stupid things.

    That being said “just behave as a grownup and you’ll be fine” is always good advice

  • avatar
    volvo

    TTAC is not a soapbox from which to advance particular political views.

    Missed yesterdays blow-up but to keep politics out of it I would suggest avoiding the following subjects

    Red light cameras

    CAFE standards

    GM and Chrysler

    VERBA

    UAW

    Offshoring

    Speed limits

    Alternative fuels

    IMO these all have more of a political than rational basis. If you avoid these subjects 90% of divisive comments will be avoided.

    Kumbaya y’all (oops).

  • avatar
    Maverick

    TTAC has perhaps the most aggressive moderation policy of any site I participate in.

    I think it is too strict since you aren’t allowed to critically attack (and I mean that in the most positive form of ‘attack’) the thinking of authors or commentators.

    The other thing is that I have a real problem with is Michael Karesh constantly pimping his website here (as well as other communities). He has had some real strong new product reviews. But every time he brings in so-called data from his company—which I find to be highly suspect—it diminishes this site. He was run off Autoblog because of his constant marketing.

    I’m just saying if the comment policy is going to be strict and heavily moderated, it needs to apply consistently.

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    Glad to hear TTAC will try to keep discussions and comments reasonable.

    However, TTAC might try for a few more positive editorials and articles. Example: which car companies are doing things RIGHT (at least to TTAC editors, etc.)?

    Also, the articles on vehicle ownership experiences and new technology are a welcome addition.

    To build on an earlier metaphor; If you run a bar and serve one kind of drink/music/atmosphere, expect to get mostly one kind of customer.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    @ Maverick… I guess if you don’t like it, then you don’t have to participate. A line has to be drawn, and TTAC has the wherewithall to draw it at a higher level to keep comments on topic and relevant to the subject matter.

    Finally, Micheal Karesh has been part of TTAC for a long time and often compiles data for this site. In fact, at one time his site was under the main drop-down menu for car comparisons. He is savvy in getting the information needed so that people will be able to get concise and accurate ownership information when they’re looking for a new vehicle. I do participate with my current vehicle, and since I’ve been in the market for a family vehicle…he has been knowledgeable in his opinions as well as what owners have reported on his site. But, that’s just my opinion.

  • avatar

    grog: referencing Bob Lutz’s prostrate issues
    Alas, that’s the last thing Mr Lutz suffers from: he is not prostrate. He expects the world to be prostrate and that he get a free pass to walk all over us with cleated golf shoes. We, of course, are supposed to smile, thank him and pay money to buy his wonderful cars….

  • avatar
    NickR

    One more thing…the next time you review a Corvette and someone says the Lambertuzzi Colangelo Speciale (built at a rate of 2 per year from materials recovered from stealth aircraft crash sites, selling price $US 1.75 million) is ‘0.1 seconds faster around the Nurburgring than that Corvette!’ I recommend the death penalty.

  • avatar
    cardeveloper

    Flaming and personal attacks need to be deleted…

    But views contrary to the author, publisher, or moderators deserve to stay.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    volvo:
    Missed yesterdays blow-up but to keep politics out of it I would suggest avoiding the following subjects

    Red light cameras
    CAFE standards
    GM and Chrysler
    VERBA
    UAW
    Offshoring
    Speed limits
    Alternative fuels
    IMO these all have more of a political than rational basis.

    Those are irrational topics for an automotive site???

    If you avoid these subjects 90% of divisive comments will be avoided.

    Yup.
    And there would be little worth reading here.

    And, yes, there’s definitely a slight right-of-center / libertarian tilt to this (and other) car enthusiast web sites.

    For a different tone, I suggest Consumer Reports or OprahsGoodCars.com

    Kumbaya y’all (oops).

    That reminds me. If I change my handle to “ihatevolvos”, will I be flaming with every post?

  • avatar
    ChristyGarwood

    “Lokkii :
    October 27th, 2009 at 10:02 am

    I, for one, welcome our new overlords!”

    +1 and Hail to the Chief Instigators!

    from a GM employee that loves to read the intelligent back, forth and around on this site.

    But what in the world are you all saying that gets deleted?!?!?!

  • avatar
    dolo54

    But in all seriousness, what was actually wrong with that gas pump picture?

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    I personally like the “stir it up” attitude of some of the articles. They and some of the subsequent comments have been a riot.

    As Edward says, anybody who disagrees with an article can always pen their own response. I prefer this anyhow, because it would make it easier for me to skip subjects that I disagree with, or stances that would likely bore me.

    Yeah, that’s a big one for me…boredom avoidance.

    It may sound bad, but I already often opt out solely based on the subject line of an article either because the topic bores me or because it revolves around a You Tube video (which often bore me).

    It may be a sickness…I am easily bored by watching videos where somebody is just driving around and around and around.

    Sometimes I even save time by avoiding articles with boring looking pictures.

    Hey, what can I say, I’ll never know the difference, so as far as I can tell, it’s working for me!

  • avatar
    pnnyj

    I’s good timing that this housekeeping post came up now as it’ll give me a chance to give TTAC and Mr. Farago some well deserved praise.

    Last week I logged into the email address that I used to sign up to TTAC (I use that email only for signing up for stuff on the net so I don’t check it regularly.) Anyway, among the pages of spam and crap was a nice personal message from RF responding to a comment I had made on a post here two months ago. He was agreeing with the point I had expressed in my comment about the tone of a particular post, I thought that that particular post had been a snark too far, and the post was edited accordingly. I remember seeing the edited post back at the time but until last week I had had no idea about the personal message from RF. I am bowled over by the awesomeness of TTAC and its moderation of the comments section, real personal customer service from a website that I’m not even a paying customer of. It was a very nice touch and way beyond the normal call of duty on the internets. Thanks.

  • avatar
    dean

    How about allowing flames, provided they are quoted from Shakespeare. How about:

    You scullion! You rampallian! You fustilarian! I’ll tickle your catastrophe!

    That’s the start of a flame war I could appreciate!

    Seriously, though, I’m happy about the policy re: thread spamming. There are some users here who seem to think there is a post counter, and he who dies with the most comments wins.

  • avatar

    In my opinion too many inside Detroit employees are missing the point. Regarding Bob Lutz RF explained it all nicely a while back. He is a public figure in the auto industry. You or I or a writer can call him an idiot or worse. That is not a flame. If Bob Lutz were to post a comment on TTAC then no one can respond to him in that thread with a flame because at that point he would have the same courtesy extended to him as any other person who posts a comment. Its not that difficult to understand.

    Another example, its not a flame for me to hypothetically say that people who work at GM are idiots and a–holes. If you’re an employee of GM and you post a comment to defend GM or counter my claim then you can’t call me an idiot or an a–hole but then I can’t call you one either but your company or generic references to its employees is always fair game.

    Finally some people need to accept that other people will simply disagree with their opinion. I’m tired of reading endless back an forth comments on some threads. If someone disagrees with you they are not an idiot. Regarding cars people have different needs and they have different tastes etc.

  • avatar
    NickR

    One more thing. When people are signed in, their name appears at the top of their posts. Therefore, they do not need to be signed. We know who you are. It’s annoying. Even more annoying than the complete disappearance of cheerleader pictures and Katie’s love of the X-Type, which I suspect are unrelated.

  • avatar
    KnightRT

    This tongue-clucking is hilarious in light of Farago’s most recent Lincoln review. Exactly what is the going rate for an ugly-ass station-wagon-on-stilts styled by psychopaths?

    > 1: TTAC has to keep running provocative pieces, otherwise it ceases to be TTAC.

    Why? Do you think the truth is always provocative? I’ll tell you a secret: sometimes it’s boring as hell, and that it’s tarted up anyway is one of my most frequent criticisms of this site. Based on the tenor of the articles from the last few years, ‘TTAC’ is false advertising. It should have been named “An angry man sticks it to domestic automakers” or “GMSucksBalls.com”.

    Anyway, Martin’s comment at the top of the list most accurately sums my feelings.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    I do prefer the limits on derogatory comments directed at each other. Anybody who’s attempted to read comments on YouTube knows what a waste of time unregulated comments like that are.

    Regarding more flexibility for the staff, well I think that is necessary; it helps stimulate good discourse. However, I do believe there is an attempt to “troll” by making things more political than they need to be. Some topics seem to be selected expressly for their ability to create a political firestorm…say any topic that has the phrase climate change, for example, in the heading. It is interesting to note the value of “political branding”. MSNBC intentionally and openly caters to the left, offering a direct contrast to the hard right programming on Fox. CNN does try to be the centrist station and is arguably far more “fair and balanced” than the other two, yet it draws the fewest viewers. So it is understandable that there is an attempt to draw hits from posters by intentionally politicizing a topic. It just gets demoralizing that all automotive journalists seem to be conservative or libertarian.

  • avatar
    mtypex

    Ed, I read the rules. Still unclear: If Toyota makes boring cars, are we allowed to point this out or not? Thanks.

    If you don’t talk about bad (OH/NJ/MA/take your pick) drivers, speed limits, GM, Chrysler, Glenn Beck, red light cameras, and expensive badged-up Ford crossovers, what’s left? (Navigation system pricing schemes? Yawn.)

    As for content, the site has its ups and downs, veering from hot content to, well, slow day filler. You guys have a lot of good stuff here, which is why I keep coming back.

  • avatar
    MichaelJ

    Lol @ KnightRT:

    Based on the tenor of the articles from the last few years, ‘TTAC’ is false advertising. It should have been named “An angry man sticks it to domestic automakers” or “GMSucksBalls.com”.

    Anyway, besides all the comments about the articles needing to follow the rules, which I agree with, my chief irritation is the double-standard in the writing that leads so many to point to anti-domestic (mostly anti-GM) bias.

    I recognize that this is a little off-topic since we’re talking about the commenting policy, but when I see a headline like “Fritz Henderson Wants to Increase Speed in Decision Making – What a Complete Idiot”…that kind of invites a response like “do you actually have to spin that hard and make shit up to meet your ‘Slam GM Quota?\'”

  • avatar
    Greg Locock

    “But what in the world are you all saying that gets deleted?!?!?!”

    You’d be surprised. My previous comment in this thread pointing out an inequality was deleted. Which since I post under my own name is bit , um, weird, to say the least. I fully appreciate that nobody has a right to a soapbox, but would have though that sober postings by named professionals on policy were unlikely to be inflammatory to an audience used to the usual standards round here.

  • avatar
    Joseph

    It’s unfortunate that this kind of topic needs to be stated, it would be best if people acted mature on their own. Since we all know there are trolls, etc out there, I thank you for this great reminder.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    @Greg Locock

    My previous comment in this thread was also deleted.

    Welcome to the new TTAC.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    My previous comment in this thread was also deleted.

    Either they do it to mess with your head, or it’s just going to show up in four or five hours when WordPress gets it’s shit together.

    On a serious note, the comment policy works reasonably well. I’ve recently tried posting to Autoblog again and was, pretty quickly, reminded why I gave up. Compared to here, I can actually have a disagreement with someone and not have it degenerate into a ‘”Your mom!”, “No, your mom!”‘, which is nice. And rare.

    If I were to complain, it’s that the occasional post and/or article could be construed as page-hit bait. Again, we’re not talking Autoblog’s “A Tundra Post Per Day Makes AOL Pay” behaviour, but I do get the impression that either the pot is getting stirred, or that someone really likes dead-horse beating. As such, perhaps an achievement system as “positive reinforcement”:
    * In a post about diesels/hybrids, the first person who mentions hybrids/diesels gets a “We Got The Memo” award. Including editors.
    * Use of “Pious” or “Smug” gets you “Quoting South Park Does Not Make You Look Smart”
    * In posts about government intervention, the first use of the word “Socialist” gets you the Reverse-Godwin badge. I used to hand out “Godwin” badges when I was on a few Arts boards; it was terribly effective.
    * Variations on Obama (Obozo, etc) gets you the “Rush Limbaugh Prize for Journalism Excellence”. Feel free to apply this to people who use “Shrub” or “McSame”, because it’s about as smart.
    * Climate change. No, just delete these from the get-go, there’s no saving them. I was going to suggest a Pirates For Carbon Reduction badge, but it’s a lost cause.

  • avatar

    psarhjinian: +5 or maybe +20
    (and didn’t I mention that I’m a diesel enthusiast?)

    A sense of humor and balance is both required and an indicator that one is worth listening to…

  • avatar
    greenb1ood

    I gotta say that a return to civility – not that we had wandered too far – would be welcomed.

    A year or so prior, I had intentionally flamed an author because his article was blatantly bias to the point of ignoring facts.

    RF deleted the comment and sent an email posting of the policy. I responded by saying that I did it on purpose to get his attention, and laid out my argument for why the article crossed the line.

    He responded to my explanation with two simple words: “Point taken.” The article wasn’t pulled, the comment wasn’t re-posted, but the editor understood both my concern and objection. I was deeply satisfied and my respect for TTAC and Farago was off the charts.

    Unfortunately, I feel like RFs worst nightmare – zombie GM – has come true and as a result the man is challenged to maintain his own filter. Add in the ownership changes and other side issues occurring for maximum frustration.

    I love the man’s passion, and agree with him most times, but the site needs to remain a beacon of educated, well thought out debate in the dark sea of untamed waste of electricity that is internet commenting forums.

    So if RF stays, let’s help to give him a nudge back toward sanity by respectfully disagreeing with his tone starts looking like an attempt to parody “The Shining”. Other authors follow his lead, and the pre-bailout Farago raised the discourse standards of an entire industry.

    If RF goes, let’s wish him well and respectfully hold the other authors to same standards, as accountability is not a one-way street.

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