Commenters Banned

Abuse the privilege of commenting on Consumerist posts and we ban you.


Miss_smartypants: Troll.
Ghost_of_Awesomist: Insisted that the $55 Mac and Cheese customer was a “rube” who got what he deserved.
goaway147: Don’t rant about the immorality of the Morning Deals.
JB3: Saw no similarity between a swastika and a totenkopf. Disparaged those that did with a litany of hateful words and phrases. Go figure.

A flux of new commenters means axing the old; with the dawn so comes the duck! — BEN POPKEN


Edit Your Comment

  1. wikkit says:

    I happen to enjoy much of the insight provided by miss_smartpants. Looking over her comment history on google I see that she has provided valuable contributions to a number of threads. I can also see that she can get passionate and longwinded on a topic, but that doesn’t make her a troll.

    Is there an appeal process to this public execution?

  2. Man, now *I* wanna comment on the immorality of morning deals. Um …. God hates digital camcorders?

  3. Emrikol says:

    hehe, I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist:

    CROWD: Burn her! Witch! Witch! Burn her!
    BEDEMIR: Did you dress her up like this?
    CROWD: No, no… no … yes. Yes, yes, a bit, a bit.
    VILLAGER #1: She has got a wart.
    BEDEMIR: What makes you think she is a witch?
    VILLAGER #3: Well, she turned me into a newt.
    BEDEMIR: A newt?
    VILLAGER #3: I got better.
    VILLAGER #2: Burn her anyway!
    CROWD: Burn! Burn her!

  4. wikkit, I’m sure she can earn her way back in if she’s as good as you insist.

  5. james275 says:

    i think you’ll find that banned users just keep coming back. on my blog, i deal with that problem like this – banned people can still comment, but only *they* can see their comments. they don’t even KNOW that they’re banned. ;-)

  6. I second the motion to unban/appeal miss_smartypants. Her arrogance/trollness was endearing in a sweet sort of Invader Zim sorta way.

  7. ElizabethD says:

    Ben, is there a FAQ or list of Consumerist comment no-no’s? The light would go out of my weekdays if I were to be banned from here! (Sad, ain’t it.)

  8. Pelagius says:

    Hm. About 50% of her comments seem to be calling people, mainly the editor of this blog, out for “misquoting” her.

    Anyway, I’m just glad I dodged the axe…

  9. bambino says:

    I happen to agree with the bans. Consider yourself applauded, Ben.

  10. Mike Tyson's movie career says:

    Wow! First Awesomist got banned from Gawker, now Ghost_of_Awesomist gets banned here. Cue Ghost_of_Ghost_of_Awesomist to show up on Friday.

    Oh, and it is excessively easy to get back into the commenting fray, so no one should feel too bad for these people.

  11. RumorsDaily says:

    PHEW, survived yet another round of bans. I was very concerned.

    That being said, what on Earth was the guy saying about morning deals? What exactly where the moral issues being raised. Can we bring that guy back so I can at least have some understanding of what his issue is? I’m truly intrigued now and I’d like to subscribe to his newsletter.

  12. RumorsDaily says:

    Oh, morning after pills. Nevermind.

  13. Xkeeper says:

    See, on the forum I operate, we have this nifty utility we call the banvil:

    It’s pretty useful, since it’s big and red and says “BAN” on it.

    (also, woot, my horrible pointless comments haven’t gotten me the axe yet)

  14. Ben Popken says:

    Here’s an example of the comments you’re missing by not having miss_smartypants around. She emailed this to me after we banned her. Synopsis: she thinks George of VerizonMath did his math wrong….

    “have tried to submit a comment to the comments section of this particular article, but I guess not just anyone can do so. So, I thought I’d send you an email with my thoughts as I’m quite disappointed that you’d run with a story like this on your site without having basic math facts down yourself, or making sure posters do as well. So, here was my comment.

    I’m shocked at the number of people patting old George on the back. I wonder where he went to school.

    Can we acknowledge that .002 cents x 5 = 1 cent?

    Perhaps not all of us can?

    Assuming I get no argument there, I’m going to use bodhisoma’s post above as my guide.

    Okay, instead of multiplying the way he did above, we’ll divide instead.

    Take 5 into the 35,893 and you’ve got = 7178.6 CENTS Then, to convert that number into a dollar amount, we don’t have to pull the 100 out of thin air. We simply can use the 100 to covert cents to dollars (genius huh?).

    100 into 7178.6 = $71.786 which has been converted from cents to dollars.

    Just because some imbecile decides to redefine basic math principles, doesn’t always mean he’s right. I too feel really bad about the educational system in this country and any country that has representatives posting to this site because somewhere along the line, basic facts got missed.

    Thank GOD for calculators.

    To those who run this site, it’s very sad that you don’t double and triple check that your information is indeed factual before running with it.”

  15. acambras says:

    Oh my God — that is just insane.

    Perhaps *not* all of us can acknowledge that .002 cents x 5 = 1 cent, because it’s INCORRECT!

    If I read Miss Smarty Pants’ posts correctly, she’s a recent law school graduate. Thank GOD she’s not an accountant.

    I hope her clients check their legal bills carefully.

  16. wreckingcru says:

    “Can we acknowledge that .002 cents x 5 = 1 cent?”

    I practically choked on my snapple orangeade (mmm) reading that…

    “I too feel really bad about the educational system in this country ……Thank GOD for calculators.”

    oh god, I can’t even describe how hard I’m laughing.

  17. wikkit says:


    So you’re banning her for bad math? Or insistence that her bad math is correct?

    The groups of people I can understand banning are:
    1. Shillers
    2. People who are disrespectful or rude
    3. Trolls, or people who post nothing but mindless verbal-vomit rants (ie “Verizon sux”)

    I’m not going to fall on my sword over this, but I think you have some of the best commenters of the blogs that I’ve seen. I hate to see you cut people unless it’s necessary.

  18. Sheik says:

    “thanks god for calculators”?
    Wow, maybe you should learn how the basic math behind the use of one before you swear by it. I love irony. I also get a kick out of misinformed know-it-alls.

  19. gotbock says:

    I guess Miss Smarty Pants name is appropriate, in an ironic sort of way…

  20. ACurmudgeon says:

    I can understand banning smartypants. I recall wishing for a block-comment ala digg for her on a couple of nazi shirt stories.

  21. In the immortal words of Nelson Muntz,

    “Ha ha!”

  22. Just because some imbecile decides to redefine basic math principles, doesn’t always mean he’s right.

    Wow. You know, you should probably make sure you’re absolutely right about something before calling someone an imbecile. Or better yet, don’t call them an imbecile.

    Can we acknowledge that .002 cents x 5 = 1 cent?

    .002 of a cent X 5 = .01 of a cent (not .01 of a dollar, which would be a penny)

  23. Mike_ says:

    miss_smartypants should see if Verizon is hiring. She’s a shoo-in.

  24. acambras says:

    I hope she’s reading this right now. Ben, will you let us know if she sends you another silly e-mail?

  25. homerjay says:

    Wow, its an ol’ fashioned commenter slaying! Ahh, that brings me back.

    Now, I would have let them comment on just this one post, just to see how combative and arguementative they get about losing their rights. :)

  26. Fuzzy_duffel_bag says:

    the important thing everyone is missing here is that it is illegal to melt down your .002 cents to sell the metal (which is worth .003 cents (thank god for calculators!!!))

  27. FMF says:

    Not sure exactly what a “rube” is ( says it’s “an unsophisticated person from a rural area”), but I agree that the guy who ordered the $55 mac and cheese got what he deserved. Who buys something from a menu with no prices??????? Answer: someone who gets what he deserves.

    Is this a comment worthy of being banned? Yikes!

  28. Nancy Sin says:

    It’s just another step in keeping this The Consumerist instead of The Consumers (And Most Other People) Are Usually Wrong And I Can Prove It.

  29. FMF: His exact words were “If you didn’t realize it was truffle, then you’re a moron.”

    and in a separate post “This guy was at the Waverly. Buy a Zagat, douchebag.”

    Oh, and “rube” is an insult as well; it’s usually used to call someone an idiot not just unsophisticated.

    I take the position that people don’t deserve to be ripped off unless they were doing or trying to do something illegal or unethical in the first place. However, there’s a difference between not agreeing with someone’s position and flinging insults all over the place.

  30. Sudonum says:

    I guess Smarty Pants can’t put her .002 cents worth in anymore.

  31. MarcAnthony says:

    Be nice! It’s Christmas time!

  32. bluegus32 says:

    I, for one, applaud you Ben. Forces the rest of us to remember to watch our mouths and be respectful. In the anonymity of cyberspace, many of us forget our manners. Thanks for the reminder.

  33. acambras says:

    I’m not religious, but I don’t think Jesus would approve of Ghost-of-Awesomist calling people “moron” and “douchebag.”

  34. valkin says:

    it’s kind of crappy to post an email of a person you’ve banned, have everyone make fun of it here, and then not allow that person to reply and/or defend herself.


  35. spinachdip says:

    I’ll always remember Miss_smartypants as the girl who finds it impossible to avoid the sight of exposed breasts of a breastfeeding mother (some peripheral vision, that), and insisted that babies be fed on the shitter.


    And Awesomist will be back. Gawker Media sites aren’t the same without our favorite Columbia co-ed tagging, angry Republican, elitist New Yorker.

  36. The meta-reality of blogging: a blog post about comments on blog posts leads to commenters commenting on comments and commenters.

  37. OnoSideboard says:

    Can someone tell me how to google to see their past comments? Thaaaaanks.

  38. spinachdip says:

    You can see their comments at*commentername*

  39. Angiol says:

    FMF: Rube is generally used in the same sense as the word ‘hick’.

  40. ikes says:

    i have enjoyed these comments.
    A+++ would read again!!

  41. OnoSideboard says:

    Thanks spinach.
    I think Ben shows great restraint by not banning the multitude of commenters who personally attack him when they disagree with a post. It is his blog, after all.

  42. Jennifer42 says:

    LOL, ikes…cute.

    On the subject of commenters, though, I’m not sdure it’s faiur to ban anyone over contentiousness or pov- namecalling, tro9lling, etc., yes- but just for being snotty or argumentative? Seems kinda biozarre for a blog that’s about swimming upstream, that’s all. IOW, I thyin miss Smartypants was obnoxious, but you need a little obnoxious- kieeps thingsa interesting. A chorus of ‘right on’ is boring….

  43. “Rube” has a less negative connotation in Minnesota–it is used in a more friendly sense to refer to a big sports fan. I think the evolution goes that the person is so devoted to the particular team that he/she becomes a “sucker” for the team, naively devoting a great deal of time and effort to supporting the team. The term is used a lot on the radio station KFAN: their message board is even called “rube chat.”

    A lot of words with negative connotations shift to a more positive meaning over time as some groups empower themselves by “owning” the word. That said, I don’t think even a Viking fan wants to get called a rube by strangers. Not even if called, as Hannibal Lector calls Clarice Starling, “a well-scrubbed rube.” It’s still an insult.

    Also, the word “rube” applies in a consumerist sense because it applies to “suckers” who can easily be hustled because of their unsophisticated nature: like when Bart Simpson was working at a carnival and talked about hustling rubes.

  44. acutusnothus says:

    What’s the ideological difference–internet logic-wise–between banning and censorship? Just curious from a free speech, internet-as-the-last-bastion-of-truly-free-expression kind of way.

  45. Triteon says:

    The meta-reality of blogging: a blog post about comments on blog posts leads to commenters commenting on comments and commenters.
    Oh god, my eyes are spinning…too funny!

    The insults usually bother me on this site, not for the language itself but for that fact that those who most frequently use them can’t come up with other words to use. Can we Woot! a thesaurus?

  46. din says:

    wikkit, that’s so noble of you to go to bat for smartypants like that. I bet she’ll totally go out with you now. ^5!

  47. ediebeale says:

    acutusnothus, I understand your point, but keep in mind that a blog (especially any Gawker media blog) is not a democracy. Commenters are invited in one form or another, and they are asked to abide by certain rules. A newspaper doesn’t HAVE to publish every letter to the editor it gets. It chooses to, and it’s not censoring you if it does not choose your missive. Same thing with blog comments.

  48. acutusnothus: the internet is still a bastion of free expression: anybody can start a blog and write anything he/she wants. Once you start that blog, you are not obligated to let anybody say whatever they want on your blog. If the Consumerist wants to ban a commenter from its site, that commenter hasn’t been censored; that commenter has every right to start up his/her own blog.

    The parallel is the First Amendment: it guarantees the right to free expression, but it does not come with an obligation or right of publication, an audience, or any media or forum.

    One can support another’s right to free expression without allowing that free expression on one’s own website.

  49. OnoSideboard says:

    acutusnothus, “censorship” is generally considered the official public repression of free speech. Free speech is a guaranteed public right, not a private right. Consumerist is a private blog owned by a corporation (sorry Gawker!). Just as Starbucks can forcibly remove a patron who comes into the store and starts yelling about how Starbucks enslaves coffee growers and baristas are robots and customers are rubes, Consumerist can forcibly remove offensive commenters.

    The angry Starbucks patron, just as the angry Consumerist commenter, is entitled to voice their opinions, just not inside Starbucks/Consumerist.

    Personally, I disagree with the internet being the last bastion of free speech, considering the vast majority of the internet is privately owned and operated. The real home of free speech is your apartment, your own blog, the street corner, the park, or the local college quad. Raise your voice, make it heard, it’s your fundamental right–just not in someone else’s private space.

  50. acutusnothus says:

    I can accept your supposition, but for an edgy (and valuable) site like this–a modern day muckraker relying on cutting and inflammatory headlines followed by (the occasional, not-so-fleshed-out expository) investigative postings, and using freedom of the press/speech as legal safeguards, all to inform consumers while building a strong readership–well…I smell more than a whiff of a double standard in the air. Then again, it may be just be the two cups of Kona talking.

  51. A haiku for miss_smartypants:

    Oh miss_smartypants.
    Shit, I wasted five phonemes
    I’ll try later on.

  52. divendra says:

    As a recent short-term ban-ee on the Sims 2 site, after leaving a mildly critical comment in a moderator’s guest book, I sympathize with those who are banned.

  53. divendra says:

    How interesting that those who enjoy the benefits of living in a democratic republic that so far permits free speech are so eager, when they have power themselves, to deny it to others. As a recent short-term ban-ee on the Sims 2 site, I sympathize wholly with the banned.

  54. dwarf74 says:

    Whew. Miss_smartypants seemed a bit off her rocker ever since her article about arguing over a $50 rebate (that she agreed to) and refund (which she wanted instead). She just doesn’t seem quite… erm… sane.

  55. He says:

    For anyone who still doesn’t know where the term Rube comes from, read wikipedia’s Rube Goldberg entry. The guy was a genius in a roundabout way. A really roundabout way.

  56. He:

    See second definition. Although yours is interesting :) Rube Goldberg rocks.

  57. Hoss says:

    let’s see — someone can be a quadriplegic bigot and someone else can say abortion is a “tickle”.

  58. Shadist says:

    Reading over Mss_Smartypants replies I am rather amused by two things. First her stance that Wal*Mart should sell the Nazi shirts because it’s not fair to pull them because some people are offended.

    That post followed one about how women shouldn’t breastfeed on an airplane because it offended her personally.

  59. Shadist says:

    Reading over Miss_Smartypants replies something pops out at me.

    On the one hand she objects to someone breastfeeding on a plane because it offends her personally.

    On the other hand she thinks Wal*Mart should sell the shirts with the Nazi link because it is unfair to make them stop selling things because it offends a limited number of people.

  60. Oh, good lord, spare us all the shrill, tenth grade censorship protestations.

    Consumerist is here to inform and entertain. They’re entirely within their moral obligations to cull comment accounts that do not support that end.

  61. Shadist says:

    Damn. It didn’t appear to post my reply so I retyped it and *pop* there is my first and second attempt to say the same thing.

    Sorry about that all.

    PS I used Rube Goldberg referance in a paper for honors english and then had to turn around and explain what it was to both teacher and fellow students. :(

  62. Ben Popken says:

    Lively and pugilistic debate is good and fun. Commenters become candidates for banning when we feel they’re undermining the quality of the conversation to an exceptional degree.

  63. bluegus32 says:

    If I may ask, Ben, what was it that pushed you over the top on these people? Was it an isolated incident for each that did it for you or was there a moment where, over time, their posts taken as a whole were getting to be too much?

    I ask because, in reviewing my comments, I question if one or two of my comments may have been inappropriate. I hope not. I love adding to the lively debates on this site.

    I certainly don’t want to be on the chopping block.

  64. acambras says:

    There have been times where, after reading a few comments from people (like Ghost-of-Awesomist and Miss SmartyPants), I’ve realized that they seem to be impervious to reasonable thought and civilized communication. I start to respond to their invective but end up throwing up my hands in frustration and disgust.

    Fortunately, that’s right about the time that Ben does some banning and restores some civility and order around here.

  65. I like cheese.

    I thought Pelagius, that you got banned on Gawker?

  66. Pelagius says:

    Oh really? Not last time I checked. What a frightening prospect? How else would I kill time between service calls.

  67. flyingpancakemachine says:

    Sorry to hear about the others. Anyway, here I am, a student of consumer behavior and the millions of problems an individual can have created for him for a small fee.

  68. Hmm..must have been someone else with a familiar Commenter name.

  69. magilacudy says:

    I can sort of see the “immorality” of posting the morning deals (not reading the guy’s original posts mind you) as bringing more n00bs i.e. more competition i.e. more chance to spoil hidden deals and what not.

    /please don’t ban me

  70. acambras says:

    No, magilacudy, goaway147 was upset because that was the day that Planned Parenthood was giving away doses of the morning after pill. You can read his comments (and the associated Morning Deals post) by going to:

  71. magilacudy says:

    Oh ok. Wow, totally did not expect that.

  72. let’s see — someone can be a quadriplegic bigot and someone else can say abortion is a “tickle”

    You’ve never heard the “abortions tickle” line? It’s on a t-shirt. I assumed no one said anything because they’d already heard it before.

  73. acambras says:

    I found the “tickle” reference, but who was the [alleged] “quadriplegic bigot?”

  74. bluegus32 says:

    I can totally see why goaway47 was banned. His remarks were over the top and he kept going even after Ben told him to can it.

    But Miss Smarty Pants? She was definitely a smart-ass but a lot of her comments were insightful.

  75. I found the “tickle” reference, but who was the [alleged] “quadriplegic bigot?”

    rit was:

  76. acambras says:

    As another commenter said, a quick read of Miss Smarty Pants’ comments reveals some hypocrisy on her part. She rails against the idea of WalMart pulling the Totenkopf shirts, saying that it shouldn’t matter that a few people are offended. And she also decries breastfeeding on airplanes, saying she finds it offensive.

  77. acambras says:

    Oh my God. What an asshole. I hope he gets audited.

  78. acambras says:

    I mean, I hope quadriplegic bigot asshole rit gets audited.

    And though I don’t wish catastropic injury on anyone, rit should remember that each of us is just one car accident away from paralysis.

  79. gypsychk says:

    bluegus32: I think the problem might have been that she would occasionaly make one semi-insightful comment. And then proceed to hammer it home while growing increasingly worked up and decreasingly coherent.

    She was offensive, and I thank Ben for packing her off to the airplane toilet, where she can be offensive in private.

  80. loraksus says:

    So how long until the trolls start competing to get their names on the front page on the banned list?

  81. ChazB says:

    I applaud Ben for doing this. I know from having run a popular pre blog era blog/message board how hard, or easy, it is to make the decision to ban someone and then enforce it. I also know that it is generally useless to argue with the powers that be on the intertubes…I’m sure Ben has very good reasons for each banning beyond what we can see in the comments. Most of these types of people, ones that end up being banned, are active email nuisances too.

    You’re doin’ a heck of a job Bennie.

  82. RapperMC says:

    I feel like I need to post too, lest I be banned. This is the cool people (read: not banned) room. I must be a part of it.