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Engadget disabled comments on their site because of the trolls, many other sites spend half their time battling people who chose to make others miserable – it’s what the web has become in many corners of netland. MAKE will always have a vibrant community and great comments, that’s a promise I know we can keep. We’re going to post our refined comment policy up in the next 24 hours or so (stay tuned for a great post from Gareth on this). From the start of MAKE, 5+ years ago now, we’ve actively encouraged great discussions and try to jump in to resolve issues in the MAKE comments — so far it’s worked out pretty well — MAKE is a safe place to post in the comments, it’s a safe place to post your projects.

But other places are not and never will be.

This is where “shutup.css” comes in. I just installed it and I love it. It just removes the comments on many sites so you can enjoy the content and not the poop-fest.

I’m not going to pick on any specific site out there, but I think it’s fair for me to say that I think the comments on some electronics-y related sites are pushing people away from sharing their projects lately. There are tons of great projects that make it to many of these sites, the editors do a great job with the sites and content, but there’s just too many people who are determined to make the comments an awful place. shutup.css is now installed, I visit these site more now, even in the few short hours I’ve been using it – they get the page views and I don’t need to accidentally glance at something awful. Eventually I think every site will work towards setting productive tones, it takes time and resources — not everyone has a community manager for their site(s) – until it gets better on some of the sites I frequent, I think I’ll use this comment blocker. shutup.css didn’t come with every site I visit in the list so I needed to edit it. The sites it includes are digg, slashdot, youtube, etc… For youtube, I was using the Feynman quote-comment-replacer, that worked well – but I like this “clean” web without comments even better.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. charlie says:

    to see what you come up with, i’ve stopped visiting engadget as much, since its not as interesting anymore, the comments are entertaining and there are so many blog sites these days that it is hard to find one with the ‘hook’, most of the stories are posted around, you see the same stories on make/hackaday and sometimes engadget.

    Bad people are everywhere, you just ignore em.. The comment systems that allow users to moderate seem to work pretty well.

    like the quote, been on the internet a long time, been flamed by better than you! ;)

    I guess i just don’t get why people are so sensitive about a nasty post, they’re only doing it for a reaction. I used to be a mod on fark, and i spend a lot of time at places like somethingawful, i guess i’m just good at ignoring the bs.

    People reckon its anonymous that allows it, but i see people flaming on places like facebook too.

    I truely believe that helicopter parenting is bad, and so would helicopter blogs/forums, its better to accept and deal with the trolls than to beautify/censor them away. (accepting of course that is the plan)

    I read the make blog everyday, i don’t notice that many comments anyway, i can’t say i’ve noticed many of the X sucks type of thing, hackaday has more of that, but the comments are still useful.

    But this might explain why you always look so serious PT ;)

    Politically correct just doesn’t work, people say mean stuff in a nicer way, but the underlying aggression is still there, there is a lot of negativity in the world at the moment, same goes for censorship. Better that N guilty men go free that one innocent go to gaol..

    Anyway I am interested to see what you’ll do, I like what you and adafruit etc do.

    Incidently some of the bigger sites have had better commerical success with an all female moderator group..

    Just for the love of pete, don’t do a , will someone think of the children! ;)

    cheers!

  2. Phillip Torrone says:

    hey charlie, thanks for the kind words and support. i have two modes when it comes to comments – 1) working hard to make them great and create wonderful communities, MAKE and adafruit are ones i’m proud of. and 2) reading a lot of sites for research, news, enjoyment, etc.

    for 1) i’ll always read every comment and if it’s awful i don’t have any problem working with the commenter to provide more value, if it doesn’t work out – they’re gone, but usually people do like to participate and sometimes they only know what comments sound like from sites like digg.

    for 2) i just want to get in and read content, not ads, not comments from crazy people. in this case the commenter blocker is good. youtube is a good example, there are a lot of good videos from makers, i just don’t want to see the poop-fest comments while i’m watching a video.

  3. charles says:

    I often wonder why popular websites and blogging software don’t automatically use some kind of comment moderation system similar to Slashdot. Slashdot was pretty much the forerunner to the modern news aggregation/blogging scene, it’s puzzling why more sites don’t take the good ideas from it.

    Moderation has it’s weaknesses (groupthink tends to be modded up, while unpopular yet relevant commentary gets modded down), but on the whole it takes care of the spam, trolls, and idiots much better than anything else I’ve come across. It puts the users in control so editors and administrators aren’t bogged down in approving/disapproving each and every comment posted to the site. Even just a simple little “flag this comment as idiotic” link that the system hides by default with enough clicks would work a lot better than nothing.

    However, my biggest peeve is when sites disable anonymous comments altogether as their solution to the spam/troll/flamebait comments. I don’t like handing out my email address willy-nilly to every blog on the planet just to speak my 2 cents. (And don’t get me started on the sites that have a comment box and then tell you to register _after_ you whack out a long monologue and hit Submit.)

  4. Joe Pritchard says:

    The answer to not wanting to leave your email adderss all over the place is to use a web based one or set up a couple of throw away ones on any domain you happen to own. And also, just be wary of where you DO post. I actually use my main personal email address and so far, after a good few years of using forums and posting on blogs, haven’t had a lot of spam.

    On my own blog I use sofwtare to pre-remove the obvious spam and then I check the rest before approving it – easy for me as I don’t get many comments. :-)

    For some years I was an Admin on a discussion forum here in the UK and after I started getting real physical threats from people who DID know where I lived (somehow) the crap that you normally get from wannabe gangstas and l33t fanbois became less relevant. Fame war or firebomb – no choice, really!

    Having said that, the morons will always be with us. There’s no point in trying to enlighten or educate them because they don’t care.

  5. charlie says:

    yep, youtube is the halo of the internet. Some of the stuff is bizzare but its that bad wreck thing where you know you ought to look away.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The latter allows to have such modifications linked to a site, the former is useful to figure out what to actually modify. I.e., for blog.makezine.com:

    @namespace url(http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml);

    @-moz-document url-prefix(“http://blog.makezine.com/archive/”) {

    #page > #header, #page > #secondary, #page > #main > #blognav {
    display: none !important;
    }

    DIV#page > #main { width: 90% !important; }

    DIV#page > SPAN.space { display: none !important; }

    }

  7. naisho says:

    This is something that needs to be addressed but I don’t see it getting better anytime soon. Back in the days of the BBS some sysadmins would have ‘l33tness tests’ to bar the uninformed from registering; maybe we can return to something like that to curb the stream of negative garbage that sites are experiencing.

    One tip: disabling Javascript will kill the comments on all of the Gawker websites (Consumerist, Kotaku, etc).

  8. David says:

    When you hook up your projects, you need both the negative and positive terminals. Of course you can delete my comment here for my opinion of “nervous nellies” “censors” and my description of these people begs for a better word than “LAME” I think the tool is like wearing blinders. The less you see, the more ignorant and “LAME” you will be.
    So go ahead and assert your lameness and prove me right, turn on your blinder tool. Besides you don’t deserve wisdom really do you?

    -David

  9. Phillip Torrone says:

    hi david – i don’t think you read my post carefully – if you’re going to called project “lame” and not add anything positive to contribute you don’t need to worry about your comment not being seen because of “blinders” it won’t be seen because it will be deleted by our team.

  10. Volkemon says:

    @ PT and crew-

    Comments on MAKE are the BEST!!! Whatever you all are doing, keep it up. There are MANY times that I click on posts that I otherwise would skip by just because there are comments. And reading them has led me on some great discoveries!

    THANKS!

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