Can we have a chat about comments on articles?

Feature Simon Brew 3 Mar 2014 - 10:00

Just a word or two about the comments on articles at this site.

Human beings write articles. Human beings read articles. Human beings write comments on articles. Human beings read those comments.

That seems a fitting place to start. And we're eternally grateful that the vast majority of readers of this particularly cantankerous website appreciate and respect that. That some of the posts in the comments section of articles may be sharp, but even then they tend to be extremely constructive. Thus, whilst we might not agree with it all, it's healthy and right that we're held to account for what we post on the site. There's no problem with that whatsoever, and our skin is a lot thicker than this post may make it sound.

But I wanted to put this post together just to nip something in the proverbial bud. That's because over the past few weeks, a few comments - not too many, but enough to warrant this post - have edged a little close to the line. In one or two cases, they've stepped over it.

We don't censor, as a rule, comments on articles. We delete about 10 a year at the moment, and even then it's reluctantly (the Disqus system we use has some auto-filters, that tend to stop posts containing weblinks - for historic spam reasons - and fruity language). But can we agree between us a mini-code of conduct? We don't want to get all draconian and lay down lots of rules. We also don't want to stop you giving us shit when we deserve it. And if you read a review of ours and vehemently disagree, it's healthy and right that you have the opportunity to respond.

But, for the sake of clarity, the posts that we clamp down on feature:

* Those posting spoilers with no warning (rare, but unfair)
* Those getting personal (rare, and not welcome)
* Comments discussing the sexual attraction of the man/woman/CG animal in question, when they're along the lines of 'I wouldn't', or something of equal ilk.
* Anyone slagging off Jason Statham. But that's just common sense.

We've lost writers from Den Of Geek in the past due to personal attacks on them from one or two people who did not share their opinion of something. It's a source of regret for us that that's the case. In that particular instance, the criticisms were less about the writers' opinions, more about the writer themselves. And that's not on.

So whilst such comments aren't a feature of Den Of Geek as a rule, thankfully, I'd rather pen a note like this just to stop things before they have a chance to get silly. You can feel free to disagree - I'm happy to discuss any feedback you have in the comments below. But just to reiterate, as anonymous as the internet may be, we're all human beings. We have eyes, ears, brains and Doritos, and it'd be lovely if at least two of those weren't ruined by a comment that overstepped the mark.

Thanks for your time.

Simon Brew
Den Of Geek

Disqus - noscript

I think Jason statham is a Numpty. Go on DoG Mod me if your hard enough. ;)

"Comments discussing the sexual attraction of the man/woman/CG animal in
question, when they're along the lines of 'I wouldn't', or something of
equal ilk."

I think this is an admirable stance and one which should be picked up by many more sites.

But it doesn't really sit well when I'm seeing two links in your "From the web" ads below the article that are clearly objectifying women.

I know that you probably don't have control over this content these make you money but surely it's important to guarantee that you can practice what you preach?

You're right.

We don't have direct control over those ads, and share your concern. It is being addressed. - Simon

*Reaches for the special ban potion...*

Great article. Totally agree.

Anyone says a word about the Stath and you send them to me ok DOG?

I can't help it if I find Will Arnett's Lego Batman so alluring that I need to tell the world about it, but I will try to rein myself in in future. Jason Statham is still a ninny though.

I took to understanding DoG is more against the "negative" comments about said man/woman/cg animal. I agree with this but objectifying men/women in a positive way that are in the spotlight is inevitable, they have put themselves there and know what to expect.

I am all for standing up against negativity I also think it is acceptable to compliment someone with your desires... even if some are slightly more blunt than others.

(please note, I do not agree with any sexual comments about cg animals, they had no choice in their inclusion in a movie and any comments could hurt their feelings, positive or negative!)

I ask men who question the Stath's existence. "If you got paid well to do something you love and at the same time have a beautiful woman twenty years your younger on your arm, would you turn it down?"

The guy is a legend. Have loved him since he played The Monk.

Well said, I love this site, and to post inappropriate comments on here is blasphemous in my eyes!! Keep up the excellent work!

Pfffft! Screw potion ..... use hammer!!!!

Who's Jason Statham?

I concur wholeheartedly.



No ban.

But your details have been passed on to Mr Statham. He'll be round after his workout.

I personally would not do Jason Statham, for reasons that are mine and mine alone to know.

Nicely put Simon. Comments are the wild west of the internet still. People feel they have the right to say and behave in any manner that they feel they can. I am yet to see anyone act like this in public.
I belong to a forum and recently took the stance to stand up when others posted anything sexist, racist, homophobic etc. After 2 months, I am worn down and will shut up now. The abuse I took and how others felt I was a "White Knight" just really got me down.
I personally would rather see a site take a really harsh approach with those who comment in a repugnant manner. Can't make a post without a single personal insult? Banned. Can't accept that someone has a different view to you and thus you go about trying to convince everyone that YOUR view is the only true one? Banned.
I am frequenting this site more and more and 99% of people in the comments are awesome. the 1% still need weeding out and have to learn that we just don't act in this manner.
Keep up the great work.

I'm sorry but Jason Statham sucks.

Well said Simon!

Sorry that was negative. He's a cool actor but I liked him better when he didn't make so many ridiculous action movies.

It's a shame when people feel the need to belittle just because they disagree. And it's very Dad to hear about writers leaving.

However when it works it works well. I had a ball throughout the day after you published my last article interacting with the commentators who were all complimentary, funny and a pleasure to chat with.

His movies were regularly ridiculous. I'm not sure what period you were talking about. Are you talking about the days he made movies like Crank and Transporter? Are you talking about the earlier days when he made over the top stuff like "The One"? Are you talking about the days when he made ridiculous comedies with Guy Ritchie? I'm not sure when you thought Statham had some kind of aversion to ridiculous stuff.

I think it would be nice if we could maybe moderate some of the hates speech, such as racism and sexism, but I suppose that could be easier said than done.

We do our best. Fortunately, we don't have too many problems of that ilk in the comments on this site, but we've vigilant nonetheless. - Simon

Agree. But I really can't stomach Jason statham. Hate almost every single of his movies-snatch was awesome, but not thanks to him.

Oh, that one stings...

Surely we can still sexually objectify the Stath. Nothing wrong with a bit of man crush!

'Objectifying in a positive way' is an interesting concept. Is it an oxymoron?

I've seen it from time to time, though I've also seen it deleted, which is nice. Though I've also found a quick way to flush out who's a bigot, is generally by pointing out something being sexist, racist or otherwise discriminatory. Anyway, it's nice to see you deal with that, and thank you for responding to my post! I feel honored or something. (Not sure what word to describe it, but somehow "honored" seems like hyperbole.)

Agreed! Like joining in with the commenters, they've been good to me so far. Imagine it sucks being on the receiving end of hurtful stuff tho

Funny this because I always felt the DOG comments sections to be the most civilised of those I've read... I know some comments can go too far but I've always found it odd that someone can be so affected by a total strangers insults... Should be water off a ducks back.

I greatly admire the guy. I think he's a decent actor. Perhaps not oscar worthy, but good. Plus how can you not respect and fear a guy is in such great shape, does his own physical, action and driving stunts?
(Seriously, he did his own stunt driving, look it up)

Just with regards your "Should be water off a ducks back" comment: it's easier said than done, sadly. If you're invested in a piece of work that you've spent a lot of time writing and putting it together, personal abuse at the end of it tends to get through the flame shield from time to time. Speaking personally, I really wish it wouldn't. - Simon

TROLL!!!! In the Dungeon! (faints with a whimper)

I love this site, I really do. There's no other UK based film site out there where we can openly discuss out likes/dislikes whether they are popular or not. There aren't many sites where I can confess to not liking art house cinema or liking Grown Ups 2 for that matter :)

Hey DoG, this is totally off topic but is there any chance we could see some Black Sails coverage? It's a phenomenal show and deserves more attention.

Great sentiment, cracking site. Keep up the good work dudes.

Whoa whoa whoa... who's been bad mouthing The Stath!?

Personal attacks on each other is one thing, but to slag off The Stath? It's just plain wrong.

I'm sorry, but there are no excuses. If I had my way, I'd bring back capital punishment for this sort of offence.

Jason Statham is wonderful, as CGI animals go.

Good stuff. Aside from anything else, I browse in work sometimes and the likes of the "best views on the internet" semi-spam nonsense with some poor lady's cleavage splattered all over it aren't the best fit. :)

I've realised recently, though, that if there's one or two particularly objectionable ones, you can hover above them and click on a wee X in the top-right corner to get rid of it. Might be helpful for folk in the short term!

Can we apply this article to the whole of the internet in general please? that would great, thanks.

DoG, how do I keep from being redirected to the US site? If i don't get on an article early enough and comment real quick (I apologize for pointless comments, unless they're funny), then I can't read it with comments, which I enjoy. And I know it might be 4 or 5 in the evening over there, but here in Mississippi, it's 1968. Seriously, it's 6 am.

Articles here are fantastic, but commenter's insight is too, and very few people do on the US site. Thanks, mates.

Nicely put Simon. DoG's style and attitude, you never take yourselves too seriously, is in sharp contrast to many self-serving or wacky sites that believe that the world would fall apart without them. Frankly, you run a nice site that people don't have to pay to pop into - there should be no problem telling the odd person that they are out of line.

I like Jason Statham!

Another intelligent, honest post. Another reason this site is the one I keep coming back to above all others.

I don't come across many negative comments on DoG, but it's heartening to know that you're trying to prevent even those few from being made or getting through - especially when other sites these days seem to relish the sniping in the comments sections.

Love your work.

I am a little surprised by this article. DoG is the only website that I ever engage with the comments section. The reason is that I find the people who leave comments here to be thoughtful, funny, interesting and up for debate. Unlike other sites where it all ends in a silly argument. I have never actually seen an offensive comment on DoG, even when I stand up for Man of Steel. Hopefully the trolls will stay away as I think it is a pretty special community.

Isn't he that guy who's doing the new SantaClaus movie, the one where Santa kicks every elf in town for stealing his sack of presents. ;)

I love Jason Statham. As you were.

Disagreeing with People is fine, debate should be open and frank.
However I fully support your request that people moderate their behaviour. I personally have never understood you love of Jason Statham and will no doubt continue to be baffled until he learns to emote...anything. I don't feel the need to call you names over it.

i love the comments on here, people will actually debate with you in a good manner that encourages you to debate back and when you say something stupid as I often do usually when someone chins you it is still done well. I think it is one of the few geek sites on the planet that has a good comment section.

As long as there isn't a repeat of the MJ casting news then we should be great. Most idiots get chased by the decent folk around here

I couldn't agree more with johnwright79, DoG is the only website I comment on too as the community here has to be one of the nicest, politest and all-round loveliest bunch of nerdy-folks on the internet.

For the most part, DoG comments are great. Rarely a cross word said, and everyone in nice and friendly. I'm quite surprised that there has been enough negativity for you to have to write this article, but guess I haven't read everything.

Seeing as you brought it up though, why can't I post links? Everytime I include one, even one to youtube or something, my post is "Awaiting Moderation". Your moderators are a bunch of skivers though, because it will never returns.

I can understand you not wanting to allow people to post links to all websites, but why isn't youtube whitelisted?

I think there was an article about this a while back but can't remember the outcome, is there a time limit on spoilers? I sometimes mention things from years ago without thinking about it and get called out for spoilers. I suppose I would be best putting a warning to be cautious but as I say, it's something I don't consider if it's from a long time ago.

Sorry, that was a bit rambly!

True, cannot argue with that, maybe not the best worded argument from me.

... not cool man, not cool

Agree totally about people posting spoilers in comments. On a related note it would be good if DoG could put in red caps the word 'SPOILER' at the very title of spoiler-ish articles.

I think one lesson a lot of commenters could learn is to actually read the articles before they post comments. So many times, I see people start to tear a new one into a writer's opinion based purely on the header/picture without having actually read what the writer is saying (quite often the answer to the argument is covered in the piece anyway). It's really rude and definitely a lot more hurtful to the writer than just not saying anything at all. It's like saying "I just want to fight with you and shout my own opinion over you more than I am interested at all in reading this thing you've laboured over for however long".

In general, the DoG comment section is infinitely more polite and less offensive than any other film site but this is still one thing that bothers me. Debate is a great thing but if someone's started it, at least have the etiquette to hear their point out before making your own.

I fully agree, although I've actually been guilty of this. An article interested me, but I was at work so I skipped one paragraph. Then I posted a comment that was directed to the writer (implying he'd overlooked an angle).
Wouldn't you know, he'd addressed it in the very paragraph I skipped.

The shame.

Read. The. Article.

In the vast majority of cases yes, just compare with typical Youtube commenters and you really see the difference. However, I read an article on DoG recently where one or two of the posters were personally attacking the writer and that was disappointing. I didn't agree with the writer either but I embrace alternative points of view as sometimes they persuade me to change my mind. For example, having read this article and the responses I will not again be leaving comments on DoG commenting how great Scarlett Johansen looks in the recent Captain America 2 posters as it could cause offence. Some thoughts are best kept to oneself out of consideration for others.

I am so telling Statham on you!

I think it's Disqus rather than DoG, but "Awaiting moderation" is a very misleading message.
What they should have written is "Your message has been consigned to oblivion. Please re-read the terms & conditions"

Here here. I love this site in part because of the generally intelligent, thoughtful, generous, informed and witty nature of the comments. Let's keep it that way - the idiots can go elsewhere.

Well now that's out of the way, how about a nice cozy chat about which woman could have played the Doctor.

I second this! The US site is nothing compared to the UK one and I always find myself being redirected unless I'm on a proxy.

It's made even worse by the US tablet version of the website.

First, the UK one loads and I'm happy. I start to read and BAM it's gone and the page is reloading. I get the substantially lacking US version which I start to read and BANG it's gone to, replaced by the tablet version of the US site.

Personally "trolls" are spineless apes who use the web to spurt their hatred. But they are, sadly, a fact of life on the web. I have to say DoG comments are some of the most civilized out there which is why I engage with them and hardly any others. However - trolls are a fact of online life and rather than a polite article asking for it to stop (which will probably achieve the exact opposite effect now that you've voiced it), maybe online writers just need to man-up and brace themselves for dealing with idiots. Nobody is ever going to stop trolls, so it has to be up to the rest of us to adapt to them. This means either ignoring them or tackling them. Frankly ignoring them sounds best, but I'm sorry Simon I just don't see that your polite article will do what you want it to do. After all most of your readers are a decent bunch and this article isn't aimed at them. The few dumb nuts that it applies to - what do you really think they'll make of it? I mean really? But hey, it's a sincere approach and I hope it works.

Yes, and it happened today with the terminator/Arnold article. Sure I'll still read it, but I'll frown too. A lot.

Tamsin Grieg!

Just because it's unlikely to work doesn't mean I'm not going to try.

I'd rather still fight this, than accept the fact that if you write words on the internet it should be an accepted thing that you're going to be bullied. I don't see how anything stands any chance of changing at all if we don't at least try! - Simon

Am a MOD on another website and my experience has told me that the "idiots" can be divided into two catagories. The first are reasonable people who just have not learned "nettiquette" yet, and after it being explained to them, they are quite willing to change their ways. For those, this article will work. The second are people (and I use that term loosely) who just want to create havoc. They truly believe that this thing called an internet is both their personal playground and that there is no limit to what they can do. They use phrases like "freedom of speech" to hide behind, justifying doing things without reproach. For these individuals, this article won't do a blind bit of good. They do not listen. It will save you (and this great community) a lot of hassle, if you simply delete their comments. eventually they will either get tired of posting only for it to be deleted, or they will "learn" to post with the rules.

Either way, good luck and keep up the great work. DoG is a truly unique and great website. I hope you all realise how much us nerds and geeks love it!

That's disgusting, this is a family website. Think of the children.

Er..................... Moderators!!!!

"Comments discussing the sexual attraction of the man/woman/CG animal in
question, when they're along the lines of 'I wouldn't', or something of
equal ilk"

Not a fan of this. The sentiment is alright but I think that where one is the other will also be.

Yes people can cross the line.

I think bogging this down with the merits or lack thereof of objectification just muddies the water and would be impossible in a site devoted to tv, movies, games, comics, and books most of whom abuse the hell out of fanservice to get more people in.

Are we allowed to discuss the sexual attractiveness of Jason Statham though?

I would say that discussion of such a subject was mandatory.

Jason Statham should have been picked to play Doctor Who. Imagine how awesome that show would be if that came to pass?

In that case I'll just say it... I would. And DoG will never take my right to say so!

Is this about my Harold Ramis joke? :)

Right. I'm bringing Doritos to the next DoG screening

This awesome.

Yes, get it addressed, Den of Geek! I read this whole article wondering if my comments at you last week were to blame for this article existing, seeing as this site has probably one of the kindest comments sections I've seen on the internet.

That's how I read it, though in my case, I'm probably right!

I didn't get to watch ep 11 til Friday, which was great, since I only had to wait 2 days for last night's episode.

Good tip! Cheers!

Jason Statham? You need redirecting to the IKEA website... :P

It's not that hard to always write SPOILER just in case though, is it?

Thanks for posting. I come here mainly to read about female casting, as I'm more likely to read an interesting debate on DoG about the casting's faithfulness to the source, rather than, say, a whinge about Gal Gadot's relative lack of bust. I would like to continue to do so, so thanks for taking a comments stance and also for calling out negative objectification. Thumbs up from this reader.

Well said Simon. And I'm glad it's been put it black and white about Jason. It should just be common sense, but the funny thing about common sense is how uncommon it is...

Carry on.

I don't know....grow a thicker skin maybe. Sure personal attacks are one thing, but when certain reviews are completely inconsistent with a review or an article is completely pointless or nonsensical then you should expect to be called out on it.

The fact that you have to write an article about user getting wise to your tricks and calling you out on them should tell you A LOT.

Can we petition to change the site name to Den of Stath? At the very least we are overdue for a Stath-centric article.

Can we stop the violent shunting of non-UK readers to the US Gulag site? The comments on the UK site are typically...well...extant. While the comments on the US site...less so. I enjoy talking to you guys over there and the US antimatter site is devoid of any kind of discourse. Please let those of us who want to read the UK site read it...and comment...and if we want news about the CW or somesuch we'll happily go to the US site of our own volition. Just a sincere request.

I thought maybe Stath of Statham...

I truly think the rule of thumb should be "would you talk that way to somebodies face?". The anonymity (thank god for Disqus' spell checker) of the internet is a two edged blade in this regard. It protects those who have valid but unpopular opinions, but it also makes people willing to say stuff they would never say "in real life". Whenever I disagree with what someone has said I will post, but I try and be polite about it. I think having my real face to the left (yes that is me in the stupid hat - what can I say, I was young and handsome once... well young anyway) helps keep me in line and I encourage regular posters to add their own avatar of themselves. And you don't have to become a Google slave either, nor share every post with your Facebook stalkers, Disqus has it's own member login.

Katee Sackoff interview asks what she thinks of The Stath.

Thanks for the advice! I refreshed a few times and labeled all the sexual ones as "offensive" and now I don't have as many/any showing up!

You had me at "Just a word"

I disagree...

I'm not sure that writers who get overly upset about the bottom half of the web are ones you want to keep on board. The internet is self-publishing one's own opinions. People will always disagree with those and always get personal about it. It's not right, but it's the way it is and it is unlikely that this article will do much to stem that behaviour.

If this is a serious problem for DOG then you just need to clarify your policy and implement bans.

I miss the days when I used to get objectified in a positive way.


Firstly, the word 'appropriate' carries no ethical or moral connotations. Please internet humans...use the word correctly.

It's a synonym for suitable or apt; NOT right or wrong. Therefore a comment about about attractiveness in an article about an actor who uses their looks as a selling point IS appropriate.

A number of comments here at this website will illustrate the incorrect usage for anyone still confused.

We've all become so terrifed of speaking the words 'right and wrong' that we're twising ourselves in knots through mangled use of the language to express ideas and concepts that we are hardwired with.

There IS right and there IS wrong, and then there is appropriateness; and to write something like, 'Jennnifer Lawrence is a beautiful woman and I would date her in a heartbeat' below an article about her is not wrong, and it most certainly is appropriate, because she is an actress being promoted on her looks as well as her talent; not to mention that it's an innocuous comment anyway.

It's not sexist to say someone is attractive; it's not racist to point out someone's race and it is a dark and idiotic and puerile road we travel down to foster this kind of thinking.
Simon Brew's 3rd point unfortunately feeds into this foolishness.

I would.

I get redirected when using my Android tablet, but it's only when using Chrome. Firefox seems to work fine so far. The issue might be less to do with DoG and more with browser issues.

iPhone here, so I'll try Firefox, and if it doesn't work, then it's fed the phone.

What a faggot. Bet you're a negro too. Nig nig nig.

Well put Simon.

One of the great things about DoG, and one of the reasons this is probably the only site I interact, post and read the comments section is because it's full of like-minded folk who are up for the debate, chat, and Statham-bashing.

I've only seen two or three really offensive comments (one of which is on this page) and, to further highlight what a great bunch 99% of your readers are, these comments were simply ignored. No spiral into arguments, UK vs USA, God vs science or robocop vs potato-photos. Nope, simply left alone and the conversation continues around them. Spot on.

As johnwright79 brilliantly said below, 'this is a pretty special community'. Let's keep it that way :)

Top work DoG team. Keep up the good work!

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