Housekeeping: Let Civility Reign Once More

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Alright, people, listen up.

I know the world seems more divided than ever these days (although as someone who minored in history, I can assure you this is nothing new). I know that as much as I’d like to keep the craziness of politics away from TTAC, it’s not possible — the automotive industry intersects with politics all the time, and it’s our job to cover those topics and stories. I know arguments on social media are getting nastier.

That doesn’t give you an excuse to come here and step out of bounds in the comments. Over the past few weeks, the editors have received multiple complaints about personal attacks, racist speech, and the like. We’ve addressed individual complaints already, but enough of you have reached out that I felt compelled to say something.

It’s not just that some of you have reached out – I’ve also seen the decline in civility in the comments with my own eyes.

It appears that either a bunch of folks are new here or have forgotten the rules. One of my predecessors laid out the rules for commenting, and before we delve further, I post them here to remind you. You can also find them by clicking the FAQ link at the top of any page on the site.

What’s TTAC’s commenting policy?

It is not what you say that matters but the manner in which you say it; there lies the secret of the ages.

– William Carlos Williams

Comments are an inseparable part of TTAC. TTAC has a reputation for high quality comments written by knowledgeable people. We appreciate all comments that improve this reputation. Quality will lapse without quality control. Therefore, the following commenting guidelines are in effect. If you do not agree with these guidelines, do not post comments on TTAC.

Posting comments on TTAC constitutes an acceptance of these guidelines.

There are two very simple guiding rules to commenting on TTAC

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 desserts are served.

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.

However, should you feel the need for a more structured guideline, the following are TTAC’s Six Rules of Civility. Failing to adhere to these guidelines is grounds to be removed from current and future conversations:

  1. No personal/ad hominem attacks. One can communicate disagreement without attacking those with which they disagree.
  2. No racism, sexism, or bigotry.
  3. No spam/unwarranted self-promotion/advertising.
  4. No flaming/ trolling.
  5. No political campaigning/hackery.
  6. And most important of all TTAC reserves the right to take away commenting privileges for any reason, even those not listed in the guidelines. We provide the comment section as a service. It is not a right. Treat it as a privilege that can be removed at any time.

When I came on board, I said these rules should remain in effect. That’s because they’re good ones.

Yet, lately, too many of you have been in violation. I’ve seen rules number 1 and 2 being violated especially frequently.

Our mods work hard, and we’ll catch as many violations as we can as quickly as we can. But you can meet us halfway by avoiding personal attacks, not trolling, and not saying things that are racist/homophobic/sexist/xenophobic/transphobic or otherwise bigoted.

“But what about my free speech?!” Rule 6 is clear – you have a right to say whatever you want but you don’t have a right to say it here. We’re under no obligation to put up with inappropriate speech in the comments.

Our comment section is supposed to be mutually beneficial. We benefit by reader engagement and the extra traffic it may bring in, and we also benefit by learning from you. You always hold us to account when we make factual errors or miss typos, or when we construct a poorly argued op-ed. Our writing and reasoning skills are often sharpened by your feedback.

You benefit by having a space to anonymously spout your opinions on any given article, whether you’re talking about political policy or the failings of a given OEM. The comment section is meant to be a friendly community for frequent readers of the site to gather and discuss the news of the day. Perhaps it may even lead to offline friendships.

This mutually beneficial relationship is not possible if the comment section devolves into a cesspool that drives away those who want to have reasonable, rational debate or discussion.

Looking at the bigger picture for a moment, I am not referring to the current debate over “civility” that’s roiling political media. I don’t care if you think it is or isn’t OK for Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be turned away from a restaurant. This call for civility extends only to TTAC-related spheres, including our comment section, our Twitter account, and our Facebook page.

We’ll never take issue with views that differ from our own (except for those that are racist/bigoted, et cetera), and our own staff is all over the political map. So feel free to express yourself. Just please do so in a civil manner, and please respect our mods when they do their jobs (at least one of you has been nasty to our mods, and that’s not acceptable).

TTAC’s comment section is part of what makes this place unique and special. Let’s keep it that way.

[Image: Fizkes/Shutterstock]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

More by Tim Healey

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  • Lie2me Lie2me on Jul 04, 2018

    I left the site a couple of years ago because of all the nonsense mentioned in this thread, today was the first time back just to see what was going on *sigh*... Same people beating the same dead horses

  • Quality Quality on Oct 09, 2018

    I do not like to see or read scurrilous or vacuous comments that or uses foul words, especially when they are about others commenters or a reply to one. I quit reading YouTube comments because most of them see how many times they use the “F” word or are right down foul and nasty to some other commenter. Sometimes, all you see is repeated “F” words.. …and they think that is an intelligent comment!

  • Ted Lulis Head gaskets and Toyota putting my kids through college👍️
  • Leonard Ostrander Plants don't unionize. People do, and yes, of course the workers should organize.
  • Jalop1991 Here's something EVangelists don't want to talk about, and why range is important: battery warranties, by industry standard, specify that nothing's wrong with the battery, and they won't replace it, as long as it is able to carry 70% or more of its specified capacity.So you need a lot of day 1 capacity so that down the road, when you're at 70% capacity with a "fully functioning, no problem" car, you're not stuck in used Nissan Leaf territory."Nothing to see here, move along."There's also the question of whether any factory battery warranty survives past the original new car owner. So it's prudent of any second owner to ask that question specifically, and absent any direct written warranty, assume that the second and subsequent owners own any battery problems that may arise.And given that the batteries are a HUGE expense, much more so than an ICE, such exposure is equally huge."Nothing to see here, move along."
  • Roger hopkins The car is in Poland??? It does look good tho...
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X The push for EV's is part of the increase in our premiums. Any damage near the battery pack and the car is a total loss.
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