How comment moderation works at Den Of Geek

News Simon Brew
5 Sep 2014 - 06:54

Just a quick note for those of you who post comments at the bottom of our articles...

We've had, for the first time in ages, a spate of having to delete a number of comments on the site of late, and I thought it was probably worth explaining how the moderation of user comments works here. I'm happy to take questions on this via our letters page, or in the comments below (although the letters page is where we tend to give longer responses).

I do want to say this first though: we're really proud of the community here. The vast majority of comments are free of the internet's trademark snark, and there's some really constructive debate that takes place. Furthermore, to be clear, we have no problem with people taking us to task on what we write here. That's one of the points of enabling comments in the first place.

However, just a few things.

Firstly, if you're discussing leaked TV shows/scripts/films, that have been obtained by... let's go with 'unfair' means, your comment will be deleted. We have to be zero tolerance on this, and in truth, make no apology for it. If you see such a comment, please click on the flag to the right of it, and we'll get it dealt with. Such comments are unfair to the people involved in the production of the work, and to other readers, who are willing to wait and watch things the proper way.

Secondly, we use the Disqus comments system, with a couple of presets enabled.

Before we used Disqus, the site was regularly being spammed by links to other sites, and occasional images of a, er, 'fruity' nature. As such, Disqus automatically puts into a moderation queue any comment that includes a URL, or embedded media. This is frustrating all around, I appreciate, but the problem we face is that without this function, we're still getting 10-20 attempts to spam the site a day. There's a small core team working on the editorial for the site, and we just can't keep up with it.

To be clear: the vast majority of cases of comments being posted and not appearing are down to this. It's not us censoring comments - we tend to comment when we've deleted something to explain why - rather a security function we've had to build into comments.

So, for instance, here's one specific complaint we received after a recent Doctor Who review: "I put up a honest negative review which you removed.. I took a before and after screen shot and will be putting up a review on other sites of's censorship of honest feedback. I take it you guys must be on the BBC payroll.. worthless site".

To specifically answer this point. The post in question had a weblink within it, hence it automatically gets eaten by Disqus. On a side point, we're not a review aggregation site (there are others who do that sort of thing much, much better), thus we don't tend to link to other reviews as a rule. But still, it was the Disqus settings in this instance. Regarding our place on the BBC payroll, if we are, we hadn't noticed. Our bank balance is still firmly in the red, depressingly.

We don't, in truth, have a firm set of rules to refer back to with regards comment moderation. We remove so few posts that we've never really needed one, and go on a case-by-case, hopefully common sense approach. But if you do have problems, we will answer them in full on our letters page, which you can write to at

Thank you for your time.

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