AppleInsider's updated commenting guidelines

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2016
We really appreciate the vibrant, opinionated and intelligent community that contributes to AppleInsider's comment section, especially those of you who have been here for many years. As the site has grown, we've noticed that an increasing number of threads that are hijacked and dragged off course by inflammatory or otherwise off-topic posts, so we've chosen to make some changes to our comment moderation guidelines.

From here on out, any comment that contributes something positive to the conversation is welcome, and those that don't will be removed like an extra button on an Apple mouse.

We definitely want you to:
  • Share unique perspectives, opinions, or insights based on your experience.
  • Engage in fact-based debates.
  • Speculate on why Apple's new headquarters is shaped like a spaceship, and not an apple.
  • Help each other out when you have questions.

We would prefer it if you didn't:
  • Complain about typos, timeliness, or the newsworthiness of a story - for that, you can email us (news at appleinsider dot com). We encourage you to do that if you see something.
  • Start personal flamewars with other commenters or insult AppleInsider's editors.
  • Veer things off-topic. A slight diversion is OK deeper into the comments, but we will use our judgment here.
  • Bring up politics when and where it's unwarranted. If it's on-topic we will allow it so long as it stays civil. Otherwise we have a forum for that.
  • Be overly negative just because. Sometimes stuff sucks, but being absurd and pounding on the same issue repeatedly is just tiresome. We're all here because we love Apple, there's plenty of hate for them elsewhere if that's your thing.
  • This.

It's pretty simple, really. Here are some samples of comments we're likely to remove:
  • Why is this considered news?
  • When did AppleInsider become Samsung Insider?
  • This story isn't interesting to me. Here is a link to another, completely unrelated story that does not contribute to this conversation.
  • AppleInsider should hire a copy editor.
  • I read this story five minutes ago at another website, because I spend a lot of time on the Internet.
  • You're an idiot; I'm right, you're wrong, 'twas ever thus.
  • Tim cook is the worst CEO EVAR, DAPPLE IS DOOME!D
  • Jobs never would have X, Y, Z  (it's tired guys, seriously.)
  • TRUMP is the chosen one! He will fix every problem and then give us all gooses what with which to gander.

When all else fails, just remember - be civil! Don't say things here that you wouldn't say face-to-face.

One last note: AppleInsider does partner with advertisers, notably in our price guides. These partnerships are always clearly identified, and our editorial staff is never asked to skew coverage based on advertising. Anything not explicitly marked as advertising is news content chosen by our editors solely because they found it interesting -- any comments suggesting otherwise will be removed.

Edit 12/16/16: Fixed formatting, updated rules to better reflect current moderation policy.
gatorguyjSnivelyravnorodom
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 54
    Is this post meant as an ultimatum and warning to forum participants, or is feedback expected?

    I think it only makes sense to ban blatant spammers and threadjackers, however if unsolicited constructive criticism is no longer welcome here... that could be an issue.
    tallest skil
  • Reply 2 of 54
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 315editor
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post



    Is this post meant as an ultimatum and warning to forum participants, or is feedback expected?



    I think it only makes sense to ban blatant spammers and threadjackers, however if unsolicited constructive criticism is no longer welcome here... that could be an issue.



    Feedback is always welcome. We're just advising commenters (both old and new) of some revisions to our comment policies. I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have.

  • Reply 3 of 54
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


     however if unsolicited constructive criticism is no longer welcome here... that could be an issue.

     

    agreed on this point. super-professional John Gruber welcomes comments (via twitter threads for each of his headlines) that point out copy errors, which he quickly corrects and gives thanks for.

     

    and my local newspaper has never said it would remove comments that question the editors or their stance on something. in fact, people do it every day and they often give interesting comments in return. defending their work (or choosing not to) is just part of journalism when there are public comment systems. they only remove offensive comments (name calling, etc).

  • Reply 4 of 54
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by NolaMacGuy View Post

     

     

    agreed on this point. super-professional John Gruber welcomes comments (via twitter threads for each of his headlines) that point out copy errors, which he quickly corrects and gives thanks for.

     

    and my local newspaper has never said it would remove comments that question the editors or their stance on something. in fact, people do it every day and they often give interesting comments in return. defending their work (or choosing not to) is just part of journalism when there are public comment systems. they only remove offensive comments (name calling, etc).




    Readers are always welcome to email us or tweet us with corrections and typos. But complaining about them in the comments (especially when a typo does not affect the content of a story) derails the conversation. Differing opinions are OK too — we're not looking to stifle the conversation, only keep it focused.

     

    Yesterday we had a big, breaking news story that was of great interest to many of our readers, so we labeled it "breaking." Rather than talking about the merits of the story itself (which would be a valid topic for debate), some readers instead took to the comments to repeatedly question whether the story deserved the "breaking" tag. This is the kind of discussion we think sidetracks the conversation without contributing.

  • Reply 5 of 54
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nhughes View Post

     



    Readers are always welcome to email us or tweet us with corrections and typos. But complaining about them in the comments (especially when a typo does not affect the content of a story) derails the conversation. Differing opinions are OK too — we're not looking to stifle the conversation, only keep it focused.

     

    Yesterday we had a big, breaking news story that was of great interest to many of our readers, so we labeled it "breaking." Rather than talking about the merits of the story itself (which would be a valid topic for debate), some readers instead took to the comments to repeatedly question whether the story deserved the "breaking" tag. This is the kind of discussion we think sidetracks the conversation without contributing.


     

    actually i found that discussion interesting. and indeed, i agreed w/ the readers you mentioned -- an analyst publishing a routine note isnt "breaking news", because theres nothing happening, right now. thats what breaking news is -- things happening right now. a guy with an opinion of what may or may not happen in the future doesnt met the definition.... but regardless of that, the discussion, even if one questioning the editors, was interesting. it wasnt offensive and i didnt find it at odds with why i come to AI. id hate to see those sorts of public discussions banned from the forum. it would make the site less valuable to me as a reader. as long as everybody's being civil, whats the harm?

  • Reply 6 of 54
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by NolaMacGuy View Post

     

     

    actually i found that discussion interesting. and indeed, i agreed w/ the readers you mentioned -- an analyst publishing a routine note isnt "breaking news", because theres nothing happening, right now. thats what breaking news is -- things happening right now. a guy with an opinion of what may or may not happen in the future doesnt met the definition.... but regardless of that, the discussion, even if one questioning the editors, was interesting. it wasnt offensive and i didnt find it at odds with why i come to AI. id hate to see those sorts of public discussions banned from the forum. it would make the site less valuable to me as a reader. as long as everybody's being civil, whats the harm?




    It wasn't a "routine note" (it's not like he has a publishing schedule), the note had just been released (hence the fact that it was quite literally breaking news), and it was a story of considerable interest to our readers. It was our editorial decision to label it breaking news, and that policy isn't going to change.

     

    We don't have a problem with readers saying they don't believe the story in question when they're commenting on the story itself. That's fair game and it contributes to the discussion. But we'd rather that questions or complaints about editorial policies be handled either in a new thread, a private message, an email, etc., since that's a different subject.

  • Reply 7 of 54
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nhughes View Post

     



    It wasn't a "routine note" (it's not like he has a publishing schedule), the note had just been released (hence the fact that it was quite literally breaking news), and it was a story of considerable interest to our readers. It was our editorial decision to label it breaking news, and that policy isn't going to change.

     

    We don't have a problem with readers saying they don't believe the story in question when they're commenting on the story itself. That's fair game and it contributes to the discussion. But we'd rather that questions or complaints about editorial policies be handled either in a new thread, a private message, an email, etc., since that's a different subject.


     

    no, the "breaking news" would be if apple had announced that, or if documents from apple had broken, etc.. theres nothing breaking about an analyst publishing a note to his subscription base. thats his job. these analysts do it routinely (thats why i call it "routine"), and when they do so it isnt breaking news -- its just their jobs, stirring the rumor mills in the hopes of attracting more paying subscribers. nothing changed between yesterday and today, thus nothing breaking about it.

  • Reply 8 of 54
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by NolaMacGuy View Post

     

     

    no, the "breaking news" would be if apple had announced that, or if documents from apple had broken, etc.. theres nothing breaking about an analyst publishing a note to his subscription base. thats his job. these analysts do it routinely (thats why i call it "routine"), and when they do so it isnt breaking news -- its just their jobs, stirring the rumor mills in the hopes of attracting more paying subscribers. nothing changed between yesterday and today, thus nothing breaking about it.




    We're just going to have to disagree on this point. Ming-Chi Kuo has an extremely strong track record on Apple's future product plans, and his updates are big news to many of our readers. That said, I do appreciate your take.

  • Reply 9 of 54
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 15,952member
    Personally I think the new commenting guidelines are well-considered and long due. There's quite a number of well-connected and/or educated members here who make excellent contributions. Those good comments have often been lost amid tirades, insults and intimidation. It's great you recognize the value of the forum as I've always suspected you have and committed to making it a friendlier, more informative, and inviting site by cleaning up the flotsam and jetsam. Thank you.
  • Reply 10 of 54
    gatorguy wrote: »
    Personally I think the new commenting guidelines are well-considered and long due. There's quite a number of well-connected and/or educated members here who make excellent contributions. Those good comments have often been lost amid tirades, insults and intimidation. It's great you recognize the value of the forum as I've always suspected you have and committed to making it a friendlier, more informative, and inviting site by cleaning up the flotsam and jetsam. Thank you.

    I would had written something like this, but my english is not good enough. Thank you also from me.
  • Reply 11 of 54
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 13,902moderator
    nolamacguy wrote: »
    actually i found that discussion interesting. and indeed, i agreed w/ the readers you mentioned -- an analyst publishing a routine note isnt "breaking news", because theres nothing happening, right now. thats what breaking news is -- things happening right now. a guy with an opinion of what may or may not happen in the future doesnt met the definition.... but regardless of that, the discussion, even if one questioning the editors, was interesting. it wasnt offensive and i didnt find it at odds with why i come to AI. id hate to see those sorts of public discussions banned from the forum. it would make the site less valuable to me as a reader. as long as everybody's being civil, whats the harm?

    It's not just once that it happens, there's been commentary on the use of the 'editorial' tag. That discussion doesn't need to go into the thread itself. There's a feedback section on the forum where each issue can be contained in its own thread. Readers in general want to read about the topic of the article since it's how they reach the discussion thread in the first place. Someone clicking on a promotion of some sort clicked it because they're interested in the promotion, a discussion about whether the promotion is legitimate or properly advertised as a promotion is not relevant.

    Put yourself in the place of the authors making the articles. You spend time putting together a story, trying to use the research you managed to do from the sources you could get hold of in a timely enough manner so people will be interested in it and then people just dismiss it as click-bait, mislabelled, late or they pick out typos and make some derogatory comments about the author. That commentary doesn't do anything positive for the forum discussions and likely won't prevent it happening again.

    The more that people do it, the more other people are encouraged to do the same. If all those meaningless discussions were removed, you'd lose nothing at all from the conversation. If people have such a fetish for this kind of minutia, there are more appropriate ways to deal with it, use feedback or email directly.

    The forum exists in its present form because of the articles the authors post, consider if it was just members making threads and they are supported by the promotions. It's not too much to ask that forum members show them a little respect. After operating the site for 18 years now, I think they've earned that much. Constructive criticism is useful, the guidelines are helping people to understand what is constructive and what is destructive.
  • Reply 12 of 54
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post





    It's not just once that it happens, there's been commentary on the use of the 'editorial' tag. That discussion doesn't need to go into the thread itself. There's a feedback section on the forum where each issue can be contained in its own thread. Readers in general want to read about the topic of the article since it's how they reach the discussion thread in the first place. Someone clicking on a promotion of some sort clicked it because they're interested in the promotion, a discussion about whether the promotion is legitimate or properly advertised as a promotion is not relevant.



    Put yourself in the place of the authors making the articles. You spend time putting together a story, trying to use the research you managed to do from the sources you could get hold of in a timely enough manner so people will be interested in it and then people just dismiss it as click-bait, mislabelled, late or they pick out typos and make some derogatory comments about the author. That commentary doesn't do anything positive for the forum discussions and likely won't prevent it happening again.



    The more that people do it, the more other people are encouraged to do the same. If all those meaningless discussions were removed, you'd lose nothing at all from the conversation. If people have such a fetish for this kind of minutia, there are more appropriate ways to deal with it, use feedback or email directly.



    The forum exists in its present form because of the articles the authors post, consider if it was just members making threads and they are supported by the promotions. It's not too much to ask that forum members show them a little respect. After operating the site for 18 years now, I think they've earned that much. Constructive criticism is useful, the guidelines are helping people to understand what is constructive and what is destructive.



    If an "analyst note" is published verbatim, it should probably be labeled as an Editorial or Press Release. If it is neither of these things (as is usually the case), then the person responsible for logging the story should provide neutral coverage that presents both sides of the story. In other words, if analyst "X" makes a claim, then it's incumbent on the AI writer to provide analysis and context and not simply reword the analyst's provided "note".

  • Reply 13 of 54
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,343member

    Sounds perfectly reasonable - thanks for the heads-up.

     

    I'd only add, in the same vein, that an auto-note to the poster - even if it came from an unaccepting mail -

    of the removed note would be nice...I often feel I've made posts I can't find later,

    so knowing whether I'd imagined it or had crossed a line would be both helpful and instructive.

  • Reply 14 of 54
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,479member
    Marvin wrote: »
    The forum exists in its present form because of the articles the authors post, consider if it was just members making threads and they are supported by the promotions. It's not too much to ask that forum members show them a little respect.

    700
  • Reply 15 of 54
    nolamacguy wrote: »
    nhughes wrote: »
     


    Readers are always welcome to email us or tweet us with corrections and typos. But complaining about them in the comments (especially when a typo does not affect the content of a story) derails the conversation. Differing opinions are OK too — we're not looking to stifle the conversation, only keep it focused.

    Yesterday we had a big, breaking news story that was of great interest to many of our readers, so we labeled it "breaking." Rather than talking about the merits of the story itself (which would be a valid topic for debate), some readers instead took to the comments to repeatedly question whether the story deserved the "breaking" tag. This is the kind of discussion we think sidetracks the conversation without contributing.

    actually i found that discussion interesting. and indeed, i agreed w/ the readers you mentioned -- an analyst publishing a routine note isnt "breaking news", because theres nothing happening, right now. thats what breaking news is -- things happening right now. a guy with an opinion of what may or may not happen in the future doesnt met the definition.... but regardless of that, the discussion, even if one questioning the editors, was interesting. it wasnt offensive and i didnt find it at odds with why i come to AI. id hate to see those sorts of public discussions banned from the forum. it would make the site less valuable to me as a reader. as long as everybody's being civil, whats the harm?

    I found the comments about it being a breaking story or not, were not being fair to the editors. But what really ground my gears was after the administrator replied, the commentators wouldn't give it a rest. It may have been over the line initially, but to keep beating the drum did put it over the line for sure. Some of the worst cat fights in the comments section are associated to posts by Tallest Ski. I've learned to just breathe deep and go on, but I am coming come to putting him on ignore... which I think most of the readers need to start doing with such posters, rather then engage such nonsense in an argument. Your idea of removing non-sense completely is a good solution too.
    singularity
  • Reply 16 of 54
    nhughes wrote: »
    Is this post meant as an ultimatum and warning to forum participants, or is feedback expected?


    I think it only makes sense to ban blatant spammers and threadjackers, however if unsolicited constructive criticism is no longer welcome here... that could be an issue.


    Feedback is always welcome. We're just advising commenters (both old and new) of some revisions to our comment policies. I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have.

    I'm fine with whatever you feel necessary to do to maintain order and have an interesting discussion. I used to comment in the MacRumor forum, but it was so badly managed that I came to AI and found the discussion area far better. The level of the intelligence on this site is of a much higher caliber (and maybe that's why they tend to pick on the article writers), and that's why I've stayed here.

    Congrats to the management of AI for making a better site. Whatever you are doing is working.
  • Reply 17 of 54
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by quinney View Post








    "I could tell that my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster and a radio."

  • Reply 18 of 54
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 13,902moderator
    If an "analyst note" is published verbatim, it should probably be labeled as an Editorial or Press Release. If it is neither of these things (as is usually the case), then the person responsible for logging the story should provide neutral coverage that presents both sides of the story. In other words, if analyst "X" makes a claim, then it's incumbent on the AI writer to provide analysis and context and not simply reword the analyst's provided "note".

    That's feedback you'd send to the people posting the article. Other forum members can't change it in future and some authors don't read the thread discussion so discussing it with other forum members doesn't help get the changes you want. It's better using the appropriate avenues for this. There's a contact page to send feedback directly:

    http://appleinsider.com/contact/

    A lot of these guidelines have already been in use and posts have been removed. Having the guidelines here helps clarify that so that members follow them more closely.
    boredumb wrote:
    I'd only add, in the same vein, that an auto-note to the poster - even if it came from an unaccepting mail -
    of the removed note would be nice...I often feel I've made posts I can't find later,
    so knowing whether I'd imagined it or had crossed a line would be both helpful and instructive.

    You've only had 4 posts deleted, sometimes it's easier to find posts using a search engine - if you type into Google:

    site:appleinsider.com boredumb "heads-up"

    and then click search options, posts made in the last week, you will find the post you just made there (assuming you do it within a week).

    It's not really feasible to send a note to everyone on why their posts are removed. Some threads get dozens of posts deleted because they've been derailed into all sorts of insulting or heavily political discussion. It also has a tendency to create a 'well they started it' debate about who's to blame. If you familiarise yourself with the guidelines, you'll already know why a post was removed. The vast majority of the time it's when a member directly insults another member. Some people have the idea that calling someone an idiot is ok if they are so sure they are an idiot. There is nothing to be gained in a discussion from sending an insult to another member, always deal with what they've said. Instead of calling them an idiot, tell them why you have a problem with their comment.

    If you can't stand what a particular member is saying on a regular basis then the appropriate response is not to push them into arguments in order to get them banned or declare that what they're saying should warrant a ban, you would put them on your ignore list by clicking their username and blocking their posts so you don't have to read them any more. There is a flag button at the bottom of posts if you feel that a comment is breaking the rules.
  • Reply 19 of 54
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post





    ...



    If you can't stand what a particular member is saying on a regular basis then the appropriate response is not to push them into arguments in order to get them banned or declare that what they're saying should warrant a ban, you would put them on your ignore list by clicking their username and blocking their posts so you don't have to read them any more. There is a flag button at the bottom of posts if you feel that a comment is breaking the rules.

     

    Agreed. Ignore is fine except when someone takes the bate. If I could ignore the REPLIES to the ignore comments I would be even more happy with this board.

     

    FWIW this site has a good following and I feel the comments are worth reading. One of the few places on the inter-web that I can say that about.

     

    Thanx.

  • Reply 20 of 54
    I agree with the intention of the new policy, but hope that it is somewhat flexible. If applied too rigidly it could stifle honest disagreement and debate. I also find the part about noting typos odd. How about providing a readily available button to make such a comment more convenient.

    At any rate, I much prefer this approach to that of CNN who just eliminated the comments section altogether rather than bother to curate out the garbage.
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