Helpful Guide For Using Our Comments

Sister site Lifehacker has a great guide with everything you need to know about using our comments system. Whether you’re a beginners who can’t figure out how to start commenting, or an advanced users who want to add formatting to and embed pictures in their comments, it’s full of good nuggets of knowledge. Don’t forget to read The Consumerist Comments Code before you start commenting so you know the rules we use around here to at least try and keep our comments section a grade above YouTube’s.

The Power User’s Guide to This Web Site [Lifehacker]
The Consumerist Comments Code (Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. snoop-blog says:

    A grade above youtube? That’s not really shooting for the stars. In fact the reciept checking post is chocked full of trolls. If you are commenting on here about how people on here have no life, isn’t that irony at its best?

  2. snoop-blog says:

    Ben you used to have a bigger, heavier ban hammer. I don’t see what the big deal is about banning trolls. I wouldn’t even warn them first. By the time someone comments on here, they’ve probably been reading it for a while first. If they can’t keep it civil, just ban them. Believe me, they will make a new name and come back, and hopefully not be a jerk then.

  3. NotChoinski says:

    Just curious, I’d like to see Gawker more thuroghly explain how it manages comments.

    Is there only one comment moderator across all the sites?

    If not, why would de-activating a commenter on Consumerist deactivate the user on all Gawker sites?

    If comments are deactivated with ‘No explanation, No appeals’ why invite users to write Gawker asking for help if you think the comments were turned off inappropriately?

    What kind of volume of comments does Gawker have to manage, and does it affect the decision making?

    Just curious. C’mon, open the kimono a bit.

  4. girly says:

    Yahoo! comments were the absolute worst, of course they won’t even let you comment there anymore!

  5. snoop-blog says:

    HaHa! I now can blink!

  6. snoop-blog says:

    @girly: I thought aol’s was worse. where did those nut-jobs hatch from who comment on there. I swear they are not even real people.

  7. HunterZ says:

    @snoop-blog: You need to cut down on the caffeine.

  8. captainpicard says:


    what is a troll comment to you may be an insightful comment to someome else.

  9. snoop-blog says:

    Man my blink didn’t blink. What the blink!

  10. SkokieGuy says:

    I also notice that when someone is banned, their comment is wiped out.

    By publicly banning the person and leaving the comment (if it’s not too profane, racist, etc.) it serves as a great example of what are unacceptable comments.

    It also helps because often there will be quite a few replies to the (banned and removed) post that then become difficult to follow.

  11. renilyn says:

    Man, for a half a second there, I thought installing the new Gawker thing for Firefox would actually allow me to see nested comments again. *sigh*… Nope :(

  12. Bladefist says:

    @captainpicard: Good point. Which is why its important to debate the person, not attack the person.

    To me, a troll is someone out there on the internet going through the effort to call someone a troll.

  13. I love that guide from Lifehacker. I mostly love it b/c I’m featured in one of the images. I’m an egomaniac. I admit it. It should be required reading, and you should have to answer questions based on it to submit your application to comment.

  14. mike says:

    @Bladefist & @captainpicard: There are some obvious trolls, however. Like when they only make one comment per discussion.

    It’s a fine line…but someone’s got to moderate it. The commenting guideline is long overdue and makes sense.

  15. Anonymous says:

    You could copy from Deadspin’s Comment Ombudsman column where he shows examples of bad comments, why they are bad, and why those commenters are being banned. You can also make fun of the commenter, if you want.

  16. snoop-blog says:

    @Bladefist: Exactly. I get sick of all the name calling and personal attacks. That’s why as much as I do comment, I didn’t bother commenting on the reciept checking post.

  17. I was looking for a post like this but the search was failing me. I guess my keywords are teh suck :(

  18. timmus says:

    I miss the days when Ben would get on a kick and throw people out of the bar en masse. Seems we had less problem with trolling in that era.

  19. Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

    @SkokieGuy: I’m not sure what you mean… we generally do not delete comments. Unfortunately it’s a bit difficult to point out problem commenters as you actually have to click on the name to see that they can’t comment; it’s not posted next to their name in the comment threads (as, say, we could do in a forum thread situation).

    In regards to the receipt checking thread, it’s a topic that tends to attract the jerks. We go through, we weed people out after they misbehave. Unfortunately there’s not much we can do to prevent trolling (other than the audition process in place) – we can only create guidelines, and then react to misbehavior.

    If you see inappropriate behavior, the best way to handle it is to email me: I’ll deal with it accordingly.

  20. forgottenpassword says:

    I’m just worried that I will get a warning response from a moderator & not see it….and then get banned if I screw up again. I dont always go back to consumerist articles after making a comment.

  21. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    @renilyn: That goes for both of us. Some neat formatting stuff listed here though. I never knew about the “blink” option, tho it doesn’t seem to be working for poor snoop!

  22. Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

    @forgottenpassword: As long as you follow the guidelines, you should be fine.

    In the unlikely event that you’re banned but don’t know why, just email me. We can and have reinstated some folks (depending on their correspondence with us and their original offense). This is especially true for long-time positive contributors. Someone who comes out with guns blazing right out of the gate is substantively different from someone who’s been a member of the community and a positive influence for some time.

    For what it’s worth, forgottenpassword, you don’t have any warnings. :)

  23. snoop-blog says:

    It worked for me on the messages system that is in our profiles, but not here. I’ll try one more time: blink.

    it’s working in the preview…

  24. oneliketadow says:

    Monkeys + keyboards would beat Youtube comments.

  25. SkokieGuy says:


    I can’t locate an example now, I do know I’ve sometimes scrolled back through comments after reading someone was banned and the comment was gone.

    Since you’ve explained it’s not normally done, perhaps these were instances where the comment were especially vile.

  26. forgottenpassword says:


    Well, I admit I have a tendancy to get a little wrapped up in a particular subject (like the reciept checking stories…. god I love those!).

    Anyways… How do I go about gettin one of them thar fancy stars next to my name?

  27. These rules may end up evetually hurting both you and the blog.

    Reading blog comments should also be fun – not just work.

    Readers are not getting paid so it is important that they be allowed to show their personalities or even release an occasional catharsis. They are the reason for your success!

    Comments that are too strict, are boring. What sets this blog apart from some others is the personalities that come across in some of the comments that make them more entertaining and alive to read. It is certainly not as bad as YouTube or Digg or Slashdo, but a safe middle ground that adds zest to the overall intelligent contributions of the readership. This is an emotional, provoking blog – so expect the comments to be emotional and sometimes provocative. They reflect the mood of the posts

    If we want strict intellectualism we can read Consumer Reports.

    In terms of blaming the victim – this is the real world. It never does any good to hide from what people are thinking. If society doessometime blame the victims – it is because that is the way life is perceived to be increase the odds of survival.

  28. Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

    @SEARCH ENGINES: Let’s keep things on topic. If you disagree with the comment code, please send it to Ben via email; this thread isn’t intended to become only spleen-venting about the code. Thanks.

  29. MissPeacock says:

    @renilyn: I miss this functionality more than anything. Maybe emailing Yogurtearl would help? I sent him an email once thanking him for his nesting comments script and he was nice about replying. Perhaps he’s cooking up a new script as I speak!

  30. mac-phisto says:

    @SkokieGuy: i like the way some of the other gawker sites do their banhammer posts that identify the violators & why they were banned. kind of fun.

  31. snoop-blog says:

    I like to remind people that this is the Consumerist, not the Conglomerist. This is where shoppers bite back, and sometime it’s about bringing change for consumers. If they bought a playset that was a lot smaller in real life than on the box, we shouldn’t be so smug to say “the dimensions were right on the box!” not everybody is a human tape measure, it’s about bringing change so that products are advertised more fairly. Did the toy manufacturer break the law? No, but some of the consumer laws need changed and that’s what the point is of those kinds of posts.

  32. dripdrop says:


    So it’s not just me!

  33. SkokieGuy says:

    IMHO putting a direct link to the comment code on the left side of the page (right below the link to Roz as moderator) would be a good idea, beside having it within the ‘help’ menu.

    The increased visibility couldn’t hurt.

  34. Meggers says:

    @rainmkr: Agreed. I was also looking for this. Maybe it would help if the post was permanently linked to on the front page, like on the left side underneath the Gawker Media Network blog links.

    Just an idea.

  35. Meggers says:

    @SkokieGuy: You beat me =)

  36. weakdome says:

    The blink tag hasn’t worked on IE for ages… Firefaux still lets you use it, unfortunately.
    If snoop’s text isn’t blinking it’s most likely becuase you’re on IE (or some other browser with enough sense to have disabled the horrible blink tag)

  37. PurplePuppy says:

    @snoop-blog: So true.
    I don’t know, maybe some folks like reading comments that come off like a cage-match, but I just stop reading. The comments I love (and love-to-hate) are pithy/sarcastic, helpful, or tell their own experience with the same type of thing.

  38. mgy says:

    @snoop-blog: Don’t make that a habit :p

  39. snoop-blog says:

    @weakdome: nope its working now and I use Opera 9.5 for my browser. I made a second attempt up there that’s still blinking, the one that says it works in my preview just click my name @snoop-blog:

  40. snoop-blog says:

    @mgy: word! I already thought about how that could get me into trouble.

  41. captainpicard says:

    when does moderation become censorship. Just because I don’t agree with the poster or feel the person is being a “baby” I run the risk of being banned. That itself then becomes censorship. I agree that the use of moderation is necessary but at times it can become draconian on this site.

  42. Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

    @captainpicard: As I just posted above, let’s keep things on topic. If you disagree with the comment code, email me or Ben. This isn’t a debate about the comment code.

  43. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    I miss the good-old days when commenting on Gawker blogs was invite-only.

    The threads were a lot smaller, but a lot less tard-infested too.

  44. Trai_Dep says:

    @snoop-blog: I actually think public, gratuitous ban-hammering, with a snarky explanation why (extra points for tracking down where they live and putting into stocks outside their nearest Starbucks (like the Pilgrims did (if only they had access to steamed, frothy milk))) would be a highlight of every late Friday’s Consumerist read.
    Or a Lord of the Flies twist: a poll where starred* commentators vote to exile trolls to be beheaded and their noggins placed on a pointy stick.

    * Yes, I’m a rock-star elitist that buys argula. Now can I get that Dem Veep nomination? I’ve been waiting by my mailbox far too patiently…

  45. snoop-blog says:

    Could you imagine writing a really long comment with the blink? You would only be able to read so much in between the blinks.

  46. Trai_Dep says:

    Although, my kingdom for a strikethru command, because it can be used for attempted* always hilarious results.

    * Pretend italics = strikethru, and watch your funnybone swoon yawn jadedly.

  47. Orv says:

    One thing I’ve been wondering for a while — what’s the proper way to quote text from another reply? I usually just put it in italics, but I see other posts with fancier quoting, and I’m not sure what tag to use for that.

  48. @Trai_Dep:

    “Although, my kingdom for a strikethru command, because it can be used for attempted always hilarious results.

    * Pretend italics = strikethru, and watch your funnybone swoon yawn jadedly.”


  49. @Orv: Some gawker sites use the [blockquote] tag, but best I can tell, it doesn’t really do anything on consumerist.

  50. MikeB says:


    One thing I’ve been wondering for a while — what’s the proper way to quote text from another reply? I usually just put it in italics, but I see other posts with fancier quoting, and I’m not sure what tag to use for that.

    You can use {blockquote}The quote here{/blockquote} just replace } with > and { with <

  51. chauncy that billups says:

    @mbouchard: Just do a right-click ‘view source’ and search for the text that has the formatting. Usually the html tags will be visible.

  52. @Orv:

    @Orv: Some gawker sites use the [blockquote] tag, but best I can tell, it doesn’t really do anything on consumerist.

    Apparently I had some kind of typo when I tried it, and as mbouchard, pointed out indirectly, I am a moron.

  53. snoop-blog says:

    @92BuickLeSabre: comeone don’t leave me hangin how do you do the strike through, I’ve been trying variations with no luck.

  54. snoop-blog says:

    @92BuickLeSabre: whoops, obviously didn’t preview that one.

  55. Peeved Guy says:

    Since we’re on the subject, does anyone else have the problem of hitting the “reply” arrow and the code being inserted properly, but the hyperlink does not work in the preview or final post? That’s been happening to me more often lately.

  56. Peeved Guy says:

    @Peeved Guy: An example of my previous post… (I think)

  57. MissPeacock says:

    @Peeved Guy: Can’t say that’s ever happened to me. Maybe you are inadvertently deleting something in the code? (Although I can’t imagine you are or would.)

  58. Peeved Guy says:

    @MissPeacock: Curious. It’s a Firefox thing. I wrote this post in IE and its working in the preview.

  59. Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

    Peeved Guy: I always use Firefox and can’t say I’ve encountered this, myself.

  60. MissPeacock says:

    @Peeved Guy: @Consumerist-Moderator-Roz: Me either. I’m using Firefox 3.whatever.

  61. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @Orv: My personal preference is to use italics for quoting comments; you don’t really have to use the blockquote tag. I figure I’m using the ‘@’ link so anyone can follow that link back to the original comment.
    I do use blockquotes when quoting articles though.

    @dripdrop: Yeah, I haven’t gotten the indenting back either. I thought I updated the js for it but I guess I’ll try again later.

  62. savvy999 says:

    I wish consumerist had a vote/rank system for comments. The star thing is about commentors, not about individual drive-by comments, some of which deserve adulation, some of which deserve hate. Like the dailykos rec/hide system.

    Just my $0.02

  63. @savvy999: Some commenters are starred thanks to a comment. Then they attract followers. I think that’s how I got mine. I barely had any followers at first.

  64. Peeved Guy says:

    @MissPeacock: Weird. I disabled all of my extensions and it started working. I re-enabled them one by one and it’s still working. Oh, well, such is the life of an extension junkie. Thanks for the replies.

  65. PurplePuppy says:

    Oh, I just thought of a BURNING question I’ve had! Is there any way to know that someone has replied to you in a thread other than scrolling and scanning all threads where you’ve posted?

  66. drjayphd says:

    @PurplePuppy: That’d come in handy, and I thought it was in the Better Lifehacker (or whatever it’s called) Firefox extension. Never checked, though.

    And as for formatting, any reason you have to improperly close the image tag to post an image? Seems counterintuitive, at the very least.

  67. Amelie says:

    Don’t forget to read The Consumerist Comments Code before you start commenting so you know the rules we use around here to at least try and keep our comments section a grade above YouTube’s.

    You’ve got to be kidding. The reason I scarcely comment anymore is that there appear to be no rules. After the last reminder posting of your comments code, I reported some guy who said, “Yeah, I keep it in the corpse of the dead hooker buried in my yard.” Nothing was done. The other day someone blamed the victim and all the moderator would do was to tell him to play nice.

    This site has great stories but the commentary isn’t even a shadow of what it used to be, before this site got famous.

    Take your Comments Code and shove it – because it’s a sham.

  68. mac-phisto says:

    @snoop-blog: i pieced thru page source once & i could’ve sworn it was a {del} command, but then i tried using it & it didn’t work.

  69. MissPeacock says:

    @Git Em SteveDave is a poor substitute for LindsayJoy: I believe you get a star based on the number of followers you have, not based on a particular comment. Seems like I read that somewhere, but I can’t find it right now.

  70. MissPeacock says:

    @MissPeacock: Looks like it might be a mix of comments and the number of followers. I want one! :)


  71. @MissPeacock: It can also be given out (or removed) at an editor’s discretion.

    So at least you have a choice as to whether you want to butter up the editors or butter up the other commenters….I mean, either way high quality commenting should eventually garner a star.

    @Amelie: I’m really curious where the italics were supposed to end in your comment. It could be read so many different ways depending on where the emphasis stopped and started!

  72. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    And as for formatting, any reason you have to improperly close the image tag to post an image?
    @drjayphd: Huh? Lemme see…

    Yeah, that’s weird… If I put ‘>’ or ‘/>’ or even [/img] (but with angle brackets) it goes bye bye.

  73. @Rectilinear Propagation: But you can still use “, width = 150” etc. to make it a more manageable size.

  74. MissPeacock says:

    @MissPeacock: You know what? I’m starting to see nested comments here and there on various Gawker sites. One or two comments in a post will be nested, but the rest are not. Very strange.

  75. Trai_Dep says:

    You can tell Ben doesn’t really rule the Mighty Gawker Empire because the associated sites lack a HTML command for automatically inserting a Kitty pict.

  76. 6a says:

    @Consumerist-Moderator-Roz: How do we know if we get approved for commenting?

  77. badhatharry says:

    @Amelie: If the dead hooker line was taken out of a funnier context, then that may have been me. I’m always a fan of a good dead hooker joke, because they’re so ridiculous. If it was me, then I apologize for offending you.

  78. thelushie says:

    @92BuickLeSabre: Butter them up?

    My Roz, you are looking lovely today. Did you get your hair done?

    (I want a star.)

  79. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    I leave for a couple hours and come back and YAY, Snoop’s got his blink on *grin*

    @Trai_Dep: Can you just imagine if Consumerist linked to I Can Has Cheezburger? Comments would never be the same.

  80. junkmail says:

    @MissPeacock: Same problem, the “Better Lifehacker” scripts haven’t worked for quite a while now. Miss ’em. :(

  81. @Neecy: do we really NEED (or want, for that matter) a blink option?

    i can’t remember where i originally saw it, but this is the ONLY acceptable use of the blink tag:

    Schrodinger’s Cat is NOT alive

  82. Ben Popken says:

    @Amelie: What are you talking about? We banned that person.

  83. Amelie says:

    I apologize then. When I checked his profile later in the day, I saw no evidence of banning or deletion of the comment. Obviously I checked to soon.

    But it appears he may be back as evidenced by this comment on the thread:
    badhatharry at 06:39 PM Reply
    @Amelie: If the dead hooker line was taken out of a funnier context, then that may have been me.”

    I am however still disappointed with a lot of the comments, especially compared to the intelligent and often clever ones I see on your sister sites, such as Gawker and Jezebel.

  84. badhatharry says:

    @Amelie: Then it wasn’t me. I’ve never been banned. And I wasn’t sure if I made a dead hooker joke on here or not, although I have made them with my friends.

  85. Trai_Dep says:

    @Amelie: C’mon. He’s a monkey. A monkey with glasses. No dead hooker jokes. Banana jokes? Well…

    I must live a sheltered online life. I didn’t realize there were Dead Hooker jokes until I Googled them. Much to my regret. They don’t compare favorably to the Gold Standard of adolescent jokes in poor taste: Helen Keller jokes.

  86. Lordstrom says:

    Ugh. Banning someone for a dead hooker joke is exactly why I rarely comment now. The fun has been zapped out of this site. I still refuse to read any kind of comments code.

  87. @lorddave: Well, it is a bit out of place on a story about FDIC Insurance.

  88. The Warrior-Poet says:

    Hw t dsmvwl fllw cmmtr? D y hv hck?