Sunday, 3 November 2013

Rules And Guidelines Relating To Commenting

Evening ladies and gentlemen, it's about time we talked about comments.

A few long time subscribers might have realised over the years that this blog has had the odd problem or two when it comes to those leaving comments requiring them to be blocked. While most of these have been few and far between it seems about time that some guidelines were put down as to what gets marked as spam on here. After all, forums leave plenty of guidelines and details covering what gets members banned or their posts revoked, so it seems only right to have the same here.

To do this, it would be best to work off an example of every reason why a person's content will become marked as spam. One reason I have been holding off on this is because so many of those leaving hateful comments are the brony swarm I have left examples of a few times. Given my previously negative review of content from that franchise (due to the attitudes and actions of the fandom) it seemed unfair to use them as an example. They could be far too easily seen as being subject to personal biases resulting in the rules being written specifically against them, or other such issues.

In order to have someone represent everything wrong with commenting upon another's works or attempting to spark up a debate, it needed to relate to another franchise. Thankfully one such person has stepped up to be used as an example and they keep commenting upon a franchise close to heart. So here are a few points which will lead to a comment being blocked and going unpublished:

- Insults And Hostility

I'm putting this one up here first because it's the single point which leads to most comments being marked as spam. The level of hostility and insults being either thrown at my person or another individual leaving a comment on an article is not acceptable. If you want to argue against a statement they left, then please do so without name calling. I'd like to believe the majority of those who comment on this site can be trusted to act like adults.

A few incidents of this will only lead to the offending comments being marked as spam. If the level of hostility is minor, a single sentence in a much larger post, or an apology is made immediately afterwards then it may be overlooked. Should it reach the point where an offender is leaving nothing but inflammatory comments which add nothing to the discussion beyond blind hate, then they will be permanently blocked.

Please also note that this extends to any and all subjects of homophobia and racial slurs.

- Nonsense Arguments And Strawman Fallacies

This has been a problem with more than a few comments. Now, objections to the points in the essays, reviews and subjects of this site is perfectly fine. It would be wrong to block such a thing and quite frankly some of the most interesting responses have come from those objecting to a point or statement. One specific one which comes to mind is a well constructed entire essay discussing the Ork race which was left in the comments section of the look at Codex: Iyanden's lore. A very different but similarly well made one was in the Codex: Sentinels of Terra comments, which refuted the point about the rules avoiding siege warfare.

The issue comes when the actual objections are dumbed down to suit the person arguing or are obviously and woefully misrepresenting the argument at hand. That or being directed towards a much easier method to try and undermine the argument itself rather than addressing anything actually stated. The above example being "You hate this author, I think this is great, you are wrong" being the entire depth and breadth of the person's argument. It addresses nor counters any of the failings brought up with the writing in question, the crude structure of the pieces, the repeated failures in basic research. Nor even the mysterious retcons of events, only to be replaced by extremely similar plot lines only with the book's characters.
It's effectively a post without any meaning nor content, and as such isn't worth of being added to the article. If anything it detracts from it by being a waste of space and time. Unlike those which serve to critically analyse the work or cite events properly in favour of an argument, it reduces any kind of opposition to the piece down to playschool logic.

The "nonsense argument" part of this is linked into it. It's the determination to continue an argument no matter what, even when the actual subjects have been long since discussed and disproven. This often leads to the sort of logic displayed by people determined only to waste time and gain nothing out of it. A particular example from that one is the Iyanden fluff, which this user has tried to spark up arguments over repeatedly in other articles after failing to make any kind of headway or response in the original comments section of the article itself. Another example is where a response to a major logical failing based upon the resources avalible in the Farsight Enclaves was "that's communism for you." Something which was both a non-answer and failed to even begin to counter any points previously made.

These also link somewhat into the next examples on the page, but they are worth citing separately.

- Factual Errors And Reading Comprehension

... I was going to add "Paragraphs And Sentence Structure" as an entire point in of itself, but i'm hardly in a position to criticise the grammar of others.

The problem with many comments from certain individuals who visit the site is that half of their comments seem to be made while barely reading the work in question. Take for example the opening of the above which tries to justify one army's sudden leap from "siege warfare experts" to "Black Templars lite". It does so by stating that other successors are crusaders and that the Imperial Fists are noted to be fleet based. It does not for one moment try to address the actual problems the review covers: The introduction attempts to do away almost entirely with any siege or defence based aspects of the force, then proceeds to have them follow almost the exact pattern and doctrines of the Black Templars.

This is one to ultimately be combined with the other two to be taken seriously. If it is an innocent error or misunderstanding of the points being made, then fair enough. Errors happen and they can be easily corrected in the discussion. Should the comment ignore arguments made in the review already, repeatedly ignore the logic and points behind the argument, try to put words where there are none and change facts to suit their opinion, they will eventually be blocked. Especially should every single post they make continually follow this habit for weeks on end.

I hope this has been helpful to you and gives some insight into why some comments will be marked as contentless spam.

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