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Engadget did something that is just short of amazing and I have to applaud them for the action. They turned off comments. They issued a statement explaining why they took the action they did. According to editor Joshua Topolsky, comments are only off for a short time. The reason: unacceptable behavior. According to Mr.. Topolsky, “…over the last few days the tone in comments has really gotten out of hand.” He’s right. But, in my very humble opinion, its been ugly for quite sometime now. He goes on to say that it is a small number of people who are misbehaving and they will be prevented from commenting again. Well, that’s fine, but what is to keep these people (and I use that term lightly here) from using other names? Engadget’s commenting system is pretty lame in regard to the whole ‘account’ and verification process.
The comments, while often entertaining, tend to degenerate into fanboy (or girls) insults and worse, no matter what the subject of the article may be. And then there are the juvenile ‘first’ posts. Really, what’s the point? To show how infantile one is?
Engadget’s style may have something to do with the problem, though over the last few months, the site has gotten much better and the snarky attitude has been toned down a bit. Still, that style probably has as much to with the tone of the comments as the infantile commenter’s themselves. And by ‘infantile commenter’s’, I am referring to the ones posting the garbage.
Hopefully, this action will flush out the bad eggs, but, sadly, I fear that when they restore the comments, they will fall prey to a backlash. I hope they don’t. A little snarkiness and debate is fine, even healthy, but taken to the level that often go, it is just sad. Even sadder is that these people do not even have the courage to use their own names. They hide behind the anonymity that the Internet provides and they use aliases that are often just as lame and sad as the comments they leave.
Good for Engadget. Kudos for taking the action. Maybe other sites will follow suit and do the same.