How to Comment and Not Get Banned

When we first started our Star commenting system, someone emailed me to ask that their Star be removed.

Why?

Because they said they didn't like the pressure of having to think carefully about what they were going to write before they typed it and hit enter.

That's not what we want from Star commenters. That's what we want from all commenters. If you come here expecting a free-for-all of memes, trolling and insults, go somewhere else. There are plenty of places on the Internet that will welcome you with open arms.

On Kotaku we expect much more. Here commenting is a privilege, one we will yank away in a heartbeat for breaking our fairly easy to follow rules.

In a nutshell we want you to think before you type. We want you to behave and comment as if you were talking to a living being, face-to-face, not typing into the Internet Ether hidden behind layers of anonymity.

So in the spirit of holiday house-cleaning, it's time for a crash course in comments etiquette. What can you do? What should you definitely never do? What, in effect, do we want from you, our commenters?

Gawker Media blogs are known for their savvy commentary. Kotaku is, last I checked, the highest commented site in the group. We strive to let in a smart and plugged-in community, and we want comments that serve as first-rate contributions to the post at hand. We love new insight and inside information. We value informed response and welcome
spirited debate. Above all, comments should always further the discussion. "Lifehacker's Guide To Weblog Comments" is a great jumping-off point for the uninitiated.

We like to see good spelling and grammar, because we're nerdy like that. Capitalization and punctuation are important, too. These basic requirements go a long way towards making us all look better. Staying on-topic in a thread is essential — but now you can also take a topic to your own generated #hashtag page, then direct others there. Editors may sometimes caution that a thread has gone off-topic and should be moved to another forum.

Many readers have already discovered how to make their voices stand out via our #speakout page. Here you can share breaking news, leaked info, links of interest and timely video. Give us some substantive lines on why we should follow up, and your post may be promoted or featured on the blog. The #speakout page is also an excellent space to audition as a first-time commenter with a
juicy tidbit or to show off your investigative instincts. I may even start perusing that hashtag page for potential future writers. Strike that, I will be on the hunt their for good, original articles. Advertising and spammers will be summarily banned, but quality contributors have the spotlight.

In addition, there is now an informal commenter forum, #TAY, where the conversation is yours to guide. This is the place to add comments, liveblogs, pictures, video, and links that are relevant to your community. It's also easy to jump over here if you find yourself veering off-topic and want to take others with
you.

So: thumbs up to attention to detail, thoughtful typing and prodigious use of the 'Shift' key. Personal attacks, inappropriate behavior, off-topic rants in comments and idiotic memes are subject to bans and disemvowelling. Starred commenters should be aware that their privileges are not guaranteed, and should be careful in the comments they approve and promote. Commenters can be demoted for unruly or obscene posting. Baiting trolls helps no one, and we want the level of dialogue maintained to be high. But editors and moderators are equally on the lookout for our best contributors, too, to promote and star for brilliant efforts of the commenting kind, so let's see what you've
got.

A Guide to Proper Commenting