Read The Consumerist Comments Code

Have you checked out the Consumerist Comments Code? It’s got guidelines we’ve found make the comments area interesting and enjoyable for others to read and participate in.


Edit Your Comment

  1. coan_net says:

    I know before The Consumerist changed hands, there was the unwritten rule of not to be critical to the site/article

    (for example – when this site tries to make things sound worse then what they are, and if you point it out in the comment, you could get banned.)

    Since it was unwritten rule before – is this unwritten rule still in place?

    I myself try to stay within the rules, but of course when I see some articles purposely trying to mislead the readers… it is hard for me to just sit on my typing hands.

    • MostlyHarmless says:

      @coan_net: AFAIK, there was an unwritten rule that could get you banned, if ALL you said was how crappy the site was and how inaccurate the report is. That i suppose was geared more towards trolls, corporate shills, and general jerks.

      I think excessive criticism and sustained uncivil behavior would still get you banned.

      • coan_net says:

        @Lucifer_Cat: …. and I can understand that if someone just went from article to article and wrote things like “this is untrue” and that was all – then there might be reason to ban.

        What I never liked is when I would post that I believe the article is misleading, then I would follow that up with WHY I thought the article was misleading – expressing my own point of view about the article… always using proper language & everything….. and finding out that I get banned because I disrespected the site or something like that.

        … where I would think this site would like people who can express their thoughts and try to explain why they feel or think in a certain way…. but in the past, they only liked that if you agree with the original story. (still kind of wonder if that has changed or not with the new owners.)

        • MostlyHarmless says:

          @coan_net: Did you ever get banned that way?

          • coan_net says:

            @Lucifer_Cat: I’ve been banned twice.

            The first time, I have no idea why. I just happen to go and post something and notice that I could not… I never really looked into why, just asked to be able to and I was then given permission.

            The second time, I said I did not agree with the article – and how it was misleading the reader. I explained in detail on why I thought it was misleading. (again, using normal language – never use foul language, and never try to call people names or anything like that.) – and the next day I was banned. When I was unbanned, I was then told about the unwritten rule.

            Since then – every time I see this site misleading with a headline, I try to just say nothing. (since everyone knows the “grabbing” headlines even if misleading or false will get more readers then the truth… just wish that The Consumerist would be above that.)

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @coan_net: My gist of it is that constructive criticism is appreciated, whining is not. A “That sux!!” prompts a ban, while a “xxx would be a more accurate headline, no?” would be a starting point for an interesting discussion. Which, after all, is the point. Right?

      • coan_net says:

        @Trai_Dep: I agreed – but it does not matter to some moderators. I did not just put a “that sux” or anything like that. I first stated that the headline was misleading. I then went on to explain WHY I thought it was misleading.

        (my secret thought was that my argument was so good that it embarrassed the site since they even seen how they got it wrong and banned me before I could say more – but I’m probable just tooting my own horn in that thought.)

        • Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

          @coan_net: Was this prior to the comment code being in place? It must have been prior to my tenure, as I don’t have any emails about your ban. There wasn’t a formal set of rules before that time, but the comment code has been around since last June, so we don’t really have any ‘unwritten rules’ now.

    • Papa Midnight says:

      @coan_net: I’m sure if a harm less mistake was made or something was incorrectly posted that you could comment on it or send in an email to the consumerist and they would happily correct it, especially if you’ve garnered a tenure here and have a genuine record in the comment section rather than asinine activity.

  2. noone1569 says:

    First . . . haha just kidding . .

    This is really a good guideline for commenting anywhere and should be read by everyone.

  3. Mooshie says:

    In the comment code, there is a link to but that just redirects me to

  4. ThinkerTDM says:

    The first rule of the Comment code…
    C’mon, I know somebody wanted to say it…

  5. Chongo says:

    strangely enough, its gotten alot better as far as the whole “blame the OP” thing.

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    The link re-directs me to TicketsNow.

    Is this legal?

  7. philmin says:

    If I want to *constructively* point out as what I see as holes in the story, or even possibly flat out side with the company over the consumer, is this a bannable offense? I think I’ve done this before, never in a trolling manner or ever insulting anyone, and I have gotten very very negative responses. Is this not what is being looked for in comments?

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @philmin: Just observing as a long-time commenter (so this isn’t official), but you’re generally welcome to side with the company … in a constructive fashion. The comment code was really directed at stuff like, “The OP’s an idiot …” and “well, her first mistake was flying United …” and that kind of thing. We’ve had great participation from people in the industry or company in question who’ve been able to explain why the company did X and it was probably justified. The key is really being constructive and not being a dick.

      Sometimes people come in on an issue that’s been covered hundreds of times on Consumerist and spout opinions that were debunked two years ago (like, “But they have every right to check your receipt!”). That typically draws a negative response from commenters because we’ve been over and over and over it and it’s irritating when someone comes in as if from on high to “correct” all the “misinformation” he sees … when in fact he’s incorrect. Chances are it’s a newer poster for whom this is the first story on this they’ve seen, but it’s still irritating. Human nature, I guess! :)

  8. BlondeGrlz says:

    Based on many of the comments recently, I can safely say the answer is “No”.

  9. Acolyte says:

    In other words the message is, ya’ll have been getting out of pocket; read the rules before we ban you!

  10. Ubik2501 says:

    “Avoid tangential political rants or partisan diatribes.”

    Can we get this enforced a bit more strictly? I’m utterly sick of certain people barfing political nonsense over even the most tangentially related subjects and perpetuating the “sports-team” partisan nonsense that helps to kill meaningful discourse.

  11. Pasketti says:

    I never follow any website’s comment code. I follow my own instead, and have never gotten in trouble for it.

    1. Try to be interesting.
    2. If I can’t be interesting, be funny.
    3. Don’t be a jerk.

    • cynical_bastard says:

      @Pasketti: Sometimes you have to break 3 to follow 2.

    • Chongo says:

      @Pasketti: the don’t be a jerk part is key. People seem to have this tough guy/girl attitude here on the nets. I dont know why but when someone makes is a total jerk to me, even here on the inter tubes, I get a little miffed… Its fine to poke fun, but not ridicule.

      • downwithmonstercable says:

        @Chongo: Pretty sure #3 is the internet hipster code of conduct. Fortunately there isn’t too much of that on here. But I agree #3 is a golden rule. Nothing ruins a good debate or conversation like some asshat coming in and being a jerk. There are a few usernames on here that come to mind.

  12. t0ph says:

    I think there should be a ban on 47 pages of comments regarding the importance/obligation/ethics of tipping at restaurants. Gawd I hate those..

    • Acolyte says:

      @PerpetualBoredom: Tipping is a passionate issue for people. It always goes into super long comment threads whereever I have seen the issue come up. :(

    • WBrink says:

      @PerpetualBoredom: If you bring up tipping in a post at somethingawful, you’re immediately tempbanned. If you do it again, permabanned. It’s a stupid discussion that goes nowhere. I don’t know why people insist on offering “their view” on things when nobody cares and it achieves nothing.

      • MostlyHarmless says:

        @WBrink: holy gosh! its a rather strange day when somethingawful sets a precedent for common sense. gotta agree, debates that dont lead anywhere dont need to be started.

        • Ratty says:

          @Lucifer_Cat: Really not all that shocking. The SA forums are well-maintained and outside of a few boards made specifically for people to act stupid, you won’t find a lot of really bad posting.

  13. downwithmonstercable says:

    I remember reading the comments code section a while back and it said there was a Consumerist forum…but it’s not in there anymore. Did that go away, or did it ever happen? The link never worked for me when it was there. That’d be sweet to have a general off topic forum.

  14. Drew5764 says:

    There’s a bit of inconsistency in the last section of the rules, related to “disemoveled.”

    The second to last item says:
    “You may be banned, or, perhaps worse, “disemoveled.”

    Which is followed by the next item stating:
    “This is when you’ve said something out of line that doesn’t warrant a ban”

    So which is worse, a ban (last paragraph) or a disemvoweling (prior paragraph)?

    • SitDownNancy_GitEmSteveDave says:

      @Drew5764: A ban is bad b/c you just disappear, like my cousins w/crooked noses. A disemvowelment is a public shaming, b/c you get the little icon next to your comment showing that it was “killed”.

    • Feminist Whore says:

      @Drew5764: I think the key word here is “perhaps”. Perhaps it’s worse, meaning it’s subjective.

      And what GitEm said. Public shaming seems worse, IMO.

  15. 5h17h34d says:

    Who moderates the moderator(s)? I am always dumfounded by the one moderator here, can’t remember the name at the moment. Perhaps they are no longer moderating since I haven’t seen their name for a while now. :) (Yes, I complained)

    If this is the case, I pat my self on the back.

    • 5h17h34d says:

      @5h17h34d: Oh yes, I remember now, the name had “roz” in it as I recall…

    • Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

      @5h17h34d: Me? :) Ben’s still in charge of the site, so he would be the one to go to if you have a beef. I’m the only comment moderator.

      To clarify a few things:

      1 – If you see a rule not being enforced, please let me know. I welcome your tips – it’s very difficult to keep track of every offensive post, as we see comments even on older stories or comments that for whatever reason I missed. If I don’t take action, I’ll generally let you know why. My contact info’s always in the left hand panel; feel free to use it!

      2 – Critical posts are allowed. Persistent negativity is not. Finding where the line is can be difficult, but generally if you are acting in a civil and constructive manner, you are doing OK. It’s not a prerequisite for commenters to agree with everything the editors say! However, you should present your argument in a non-jerkish fashion. Just saying “this story sucks”, or an equivalent, is not helpful and is, frankly, boring. If you defend your argument, and do so in a civil way (no name-calling), generally it’s fine. We do make exceptions for people who hang around basically for the purpose of whining – persistent negativity, in other words – as it becomes tiresome.

      The same rule about negativity applies equally towards victims/tipsters. We rely on people bringing their stories to us. It’s fine to not agree with everything someone says, but just blanketly saying “I don’t believe you” or calling the victim names isn’t helpful or welcome. Essentially, the comment feature isn’t intended as a measure for people to tear every victim to shreds, which was what was happening in many cases before the comment guidelines were in place.

      3 – @Drew5764: That’s basically hyperbole. Disemvoweling is considered less severe than a ban, though some may disagree, I’m sure. Sometimes, comments are disemvoweled even though the poster is banned. I typically do this in the case of rule violations that are likely to create off-topic, inflammatory hijacks of the thread (racial slurs as one example). It’s a simple way of taking the piss out of an objectionable comment so people know that responding is not necessary.

  16. SexCpotatoes says:

    Nope, won’t do it. Warn me if I voilate terms of service egregiously. Otherwise, I’m blissfully ignorant.

    I’ll call people names, insult their ancestry, whatever I want, as long as it’s funny. Deal with it.


  17. MyPetFly says:

    On the subject of codes (albeit a different kind), can you include a link somewhere to a page that shows formatting codes for blog posts? Photos, text formatting, etc. Maybe at the bottom of the page or something? I’ve copied it down before when people posted the codes, but I keep losing things. I remember seeing buttons at the top of the posting box for things like that, but I haven’t seen them lately.

  18. arcticJKL says:

    “No sexism, racism, homophobia, xenophobia or hatred”

    Still waiting for a definition of hatred here.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @arcticJKL: I think they mean any kind of ‘ism’ or ‘phobia’ that they didn’t specifically name.

      Like freaking out at the OP for being Muslim, old, or overweight.

    • Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

      @arcticJKL: Hate speech is pretty well-defined. We want to keep out the kooks.

      • arcticJKL says:


        I hear similar comments from organizations all the time yet groups like FIRE (link) point out major discrepancies in definitions and the use of blanked statements to cover any speech that is not approved of.

        Its your website and if you just want to keep kooks out then that’s fine but I find it hard to know what acceptable comments are when having the wrong political bent can get you labeled a hatemonger.