Housekeeping: TTAC's Comment Policy

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
housekeeping ttacs comment policy

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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  • Stewart Dean Stewart Dean on Oct 29, 2009

    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...

  • Greenb1ood Greenb1ood on Oct 30, 2009

    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.

  • Arthur Dailey Is most of your driving in stop and go urban traffic?Do you have kids, who you have to drive to and from their activities? Sometimes with their friends/teammates.Do you have pets? Do you have some mobility issues?Can you perform maintenance yourself?Do you have a discretionary fund for unforeseen repairs?Do you have another car, so that you only need to use this on weekends or rural/highway trips?Check your answers to the above. They may tell you that as nice as this car is, you might be better off with a new, boring but more practical SUV.
  • DungBeetle62 Before everyone dumps on California and their tax structure and Gavin's hairstyle, my recent road trip (which didn't get to California) was as follows when tanking up Super Unleaded.Texas - Fort Worth area Costco : $3.36Texas - Amarillo Sam's - $3.46New Mexico - Albuquerque Costco - $3.75Arizona - Flagstaff Sam's - $4.25Nevada - Henderson Costco- $4.72Oil is oil is oil is oil. State taxes vary, transporting the refined product varies, but a friggin BUCK AND A HALF more a gallon (and we're talking Costco to Costco here) ain't passing the smell test as you get out west. No, count me in with thinking someone out west is going for a bigger bite of the apple and figuring people will blame Newsom.
  • Tassos Whoever pays $23,000 for this 15 year old unreliable car will regret it. I would not pay half that.Go get an excellent E55 AMG, also 2008, and pretty close HP-wise, with far higher Torque, and a proper luxury interior..
  • VoGhost Why would anyone want to save a car dealer? No really - what actual value do they provide?
  • FreedMike Really nice example, but these are LEGENDARY for being money pits.
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