back to article The Register Comments Guidelines

The Register operates a hybrid moderation policy. Here's how it works. The vast majority of comments will appear on the site automatically. This is because we trust you to follow the house rules. But just in case ... we have a mechanism for readers to report comments. The moderators will continue to deal with any comments and …


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  1. MrJP

    Yesssssssssssssssssssss... comments are automatically posted. GET't it?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Northern Fop


    I am a COMMENTARD, and will accept no alternative!!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Being Shilly

    "7. That person who doesn't hate the company you hate... they're not a corporate shill."

    Yes I am!

    - Corporate Shill

    1. mamsey

      You're not a shill...

      ...round here you're just an Anonymous Coward.

    2. The Cube

      What about the astroturf then?

      Whilst I appreciate the issue that some people like Microsoft and others prefer Fruity tin and you don't want fanboy flame wars (that is what ZDnet is for) you cannot be seriously trying to say that there is no astroturf on el Reg?

      I have read (and commented on) quite a few articles which look suspiciously like the stuff that my corporate PR agency pay "journalists" to write and then pimp round various outlets. These are very easy to spot once you are familiar with the method, they talk about a technology or a product category without any reasonable balance and in entirely credulous and uncritical terms (thinking of a particular article on retail payment tech here). The article will only obliquely name the sponsor, if at all, but will clearly be trying to create the impression that the sponsor's product or service is meeting a deeply important and necessary need and should be welcomed with open arms.

      As for the infestation of "corporate reputation management" slime in the comments, it is well above zero and we all know this, when will el-Reg face up to this obvious reality and provide an astroturf icon for these posters to be clearly labelled with, tis easy, just add to the Vote Up / Vote Down a "Vote Astroturf" option then it takes a reasonable number of people rather than just one basement dwelling fanboy...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What about the astroturf then?

        Our five per three month rule catches 99 per cent of spammers, shillers and astroturfers. Very occasionally people report someone who is an astro-turfer - we zap their account. But most imputations of bad faith are made by commentards with their own fanboi axe to grind.

        As for The Register - we published 13000 articles and produced a couple of dozen sponsored webcasts in 2011. We try very hard to make all our content editorially valuable. If we fail, you guys let us know via the comments pages.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          ninety-nine percent, matey

          Did you just make those numbers up, or did you actually run them? Since you're sitting on the data, you might as well grace us with actual statistics.

          On that note, I was wondering what the new policy would entail. I've learned to (mostly) write things that don't get zapped in the meantime, but I've had things rejected a few times too. It sounds a bit more lenient than pre-moderation of everything, but is it? Would, say, this account have survived? Just out of curiosity of a habitual double-checker, mind.

          Oh and I do recall a couple times where I really have no clue what was so offensive. Have you added a way to actually attach a note to the rejection pointing out what was wrong? As in, occasionally it's useful and even just a single line ("rejected by moderator because..." for the case where there is a note) would document the reason right with the comment. I can't quite be arsed to go out of my way to write something worthy of rejection to find out, but it would be a useful feature. In fact, I consider it a bit overdue.

  4. Forget It
    IT Angle

    Guideline #5 says: No spam, no links to porn – don't pimp your own website, blog or business. If you're linking to something that may be seen as naughty, help your fellow commenters by adding a NSFW note.

    But as far as I can see there is no way to link to any website - no html - or am i missing something?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Linkage ...

      First of all - we don't want html links in text form. Secondly, with our user forum trials we are playing with website links as well as some sophisticated html formatting.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Clarification, please.

        No HTML links in text form? So, for example this isn't allowed:

        Am I reading that right? Not trolling, serious question.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Clarification, please.

          No - it means no html links in text form to porn sites, copyright breaking sites, sites with malware, and so on.

    2. Paul

      only good links to the best free pr0n

      so long as it's free-range organic pr0n without advertising pop-ups and pop-unders and uninfected flash movie players, there's no problem :-)

      1. Graham Bartlett

        Free-range?! What about those of us who like our pr0n involving tying up? That's discrimination, that is! And I'll be over to give you a damn good hiding, just as soon as I'm let out of these handcuffs...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This way for user forum testing

    You are all welcome to try out our new user forums, currently lurking here. Navigation to come RSN.

  6. Jaruzel

    First Post... Not.

    Now that comments auto post, can we at least have a a policy to auto ban anyone who does a pointes 'First Post!' type post on articles ?

  7. DrXym

    No trolling

    Does that apply to articles as well?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


    2. Select * From Handle
      Thumb Up

      Re: No trolling

      HAHAHA that made my day.

  8. technohead95
    Thumb Up

    This is great news, finally comments will be visible much more quickly (for most people anyway).

  9. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    We're thick-skinned, but... if you slag off The Register or its writers your comment may get canned

    Is that why certain articles don't have comments enabled? :p

    Oopsy, does that count as a troll? :)

    1. Anonymous IV

      Will ALL articles now become on-commentable?

      Even those written by the initially-alphabetic author? You know who I mean...

      It would produce a level playing-field.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Some articles will never be commentable e.g. a report of an ongoing criminal case in the UK.

        Some articles will have comments switched off if the debate gets out of hand e.g. a flamewar

        Some articles may be pre-moderated from get-go, although we do not do this at the moment e.g. a report of an ongoing criminal case in the UK. And - this is what you are getting at - articles which many commentards use as platforms for ad homs against the authors.

        I will not countenance anyone attacking our staff. It really is very simple - kick the ball not the player.

        1. Anonymous IV


          "And - this is what you are getting at - articles which many commentards use as platforms for ad homs against the authors.

          I will not countenance anyone attacking our staff. It really is very simple - kick the ball not the player."

          Not at all - I have no real idea why this author has chosen to go non-commentable. It's just a noticeable difference from all the other authors.

          For heaven's sake, he can't be ALL bad, for he likes Verity Stob!

        2. mhenriday

          The present policy seems eminently reasonable

          and from my limited perspective, seems to be working well. But Drew, will your excellent admonition to «kick the ball not the player» apply not only to us lay commentators, but also to members of the staff ? I do not think it would be difficult to find instances in which certain article authors (nota bene, by no means a majority of Reg contributors) missed the ball rather badly and, it could reasonably be argued, with malice aforethought....


          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            if you or other readers see this happening ping me and if I think you are right I will escalate it.

            1. PT

              Consider this a ping. Comments Andrew disagrees with just never appear.

      2. irish donkey

        Would you be referring to articles which are usually pro-copyright enforcement

        Trying to decrypt your message 'initially-alphabetic author' . hmmmm

        Aardvark? or maybe .... Adrian.... Alan...... Andrea.... nope can't think or any more names starting with A or an O for that matter.

        And certainly not one that soap boxes about squeezes every penny out of its customers.

        There was an interesting article on the BBC which said that British Film took £1billion last year or something like that. Guess that doesn't fit with the agenda of the media industry being on its knee's due to downloading.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    Maybe posting under my real name isn't such a great idea, then.

  11. jake Silver badge

    "The first group includes people who have previously had comments removed"

    Assuming that plural means "two or more comments removed" (that would be me :-) ... Logically, the longer a poster continues to "contribute to the lively nature" of this forum, the more likely he or she is to have a comment(s) removed, for whatever reason. In other words, most folks who have been here for several years aren't self moderated.

    Hardly seems like a logical approach (I'd pick a percentage, personally), but it's your forum. Your rules. Carry on, all :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      For the avoidance of doubt, have updated the house rules to say "offensive or libellous comments".

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Drewc

        Define offensive. Ta.

        (This beer's on me ... and note that THAT is considered offensive in much of the world.)

    2. jake Silver badge

      I hate replying to myself ...

      ... but going back on the last several years of my posts, it looks like I have had roughly one out of 75 nixed (rejected) [mostly capriciously, which I have no problem with, I see that as more the nixer's issue than mine], and maybe one out of 2000 "removed from view" after being allowed by another moderator.

      I also see a couple of my posts that were nixed, then allowed, then nixed, and then allowed again ... where does that stand in the great scheme of things? At one point, I asked Sarah Bee in email if moderators moderating immoderately was copacetic. She emailed me back with one word ... "blush".

      Note that I personally don't give a rat's ass if I'm self moderated or not ... If all y'all at ElReg feel a need to read my commentardary before the rest of the planet has a go at me, I'm cool with it. But I do wonder if ElReg is perhaps spending time & money moderating folks who don't really need moderation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Reviewing "flagged" commenters"

        In the previous iteration of our modding system, moderators had to deal with well over 1000 comments a day.

        To help them do this, some commentards were flagged - sometimes because they were libellous, sometimes because they were indulging in vicious ad homs against other commentards, or maybe because they are xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic or racist. But mostly because they were directing barrages of fanboi insults, usually anonymously.

        However, many commentards were flagged simply so to alert the mods to read their posts more carefully. Maybe there were overly rude a few times, maybe they were involved a flame war or two. Maybe the moderator was having a bad day.

        I am unflagging this category of commentard.

        Also we are considering fine-tuning "flagging" e.g. letting commentards know that they have been flagged for pre-moderation, why they have been flagged and telling them how long they will be flagged.

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          At last

          Does this mean that we may get some feedback about why some comments are deemed unpublishable.

          I had a long exchange with Sarah on the last comments rule article about wanting to be told why some comments were rejected. I try to self moderate, but I do have comments rejected on an infrequent basis.

          I know that what you have said here is not quite that, but it's a step in the right direction IMHO.

          I miss Sarah. It's just not the same trying to bait the rest of you to jump into a comment trail!

          1. jake Silver badge

            @Peter Gathercole

            Sarah talked with some of us. Sarah isn't here anymore. This is ElReg's forum, not Sarah's, so ElReg's rules apply. I'm only in this thread to figure out what "the 2012 rules" really mean, on a day to day basis. My gut feeling for folks like you & I is to be yourself. It's always worked, why change it?

            Yes, feedback on nixed posts would be nice. But it's hardly necessary.

            1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

              I feel the registers forums have lost something

              I just wanted to point out that I had a visible (on the forums) conversation with the The Register's then most celebrated moderator about having the reason for comments being rejected made known. What has been detailed in the new rules may go some way to getting what I asked for. IIRC, Drew was also in on the exchange, which should still be visible.

              I didn't have to mention The Moderatrix's name, but I wanted to express my continued feeling of loss of the witty banter that typified us the commentard's collective exchanges with her.

  12. dansus

    Mod What?

    Am i one of the lucky 95%? Lets see..

  13. Bela Lubkin

    5 posts per 3 months

    I don't post that often, I guess I'll be throttled. Meh.

  14. Bela Lubkin

    One could game the system

    by posting a stream of inoffensive low level drivel, just to keep above the 5-per-3-mo line.

    Some random questions along those lines:

    - If you post AC and it's accepted, does that accrue to your account's total?

    - If you post AC and it's accepted, then flagged/reported by a bunch of users and eventually removed, does *that* come out of your account's hide?

    - Finally, if you have posted several messages before the moderator got to any of them; and one of those causes you to reach the 5-per-3 threshold, do the rest of your queued posts suddenly self-moderate?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One could game the system

      5 per 3 is an admittedly arbitrary line in the sand - which we drew while figuring out this stuff. It is easy for us to change and we may change this.

      We considered percentages, but that does not account for the otherwise sensible person who comes out with occasional libellous or homophobic diatribe, say.

      When "flagging" or accepting a commentard, we - the staff moderators -do not distinguish between anonymous and handle posts.

      Yes - the queued posts self moderate if one causes you to reach the 5-per-3 threshold. We will review this if spammers try to game it.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Gaming's easy.

        The trick is gaming it in your own favo(u)r ... All y'all have details on us commentards. The question is, which of us are most cost-effective in the great scheme of things? (I'm probably more a hindrance than a help ... I can live with that ;-)

        Agree that percentages aren't the only answer ... Individual posting history should be a factor. And ALL of us are guilty of getting nasty, occasionally. That shouldn't be a deal-breaker in an ASCII-only forum ... unless it's a consistent thingy with any particular commentard.

        Note that most habitual ACs don't know what an IP address is ;-)

        5-3 threshold ... Gut feeling is that those numbers won't work in the real world. Probably a better way to handle it is to start self-moderation after a couple-three dozen moderator approved posts, without any nixes.

        Not my forum, I don't make the rules. But I do have opinions.

      2. Brangdon

        5 per 3 sounds like it will punish people like me who don't post very often. I would prefer if, once 5 posts have been accepted, we're considered OK until we do something wrong. Penalising newbies should only be done to reduce spamming. Once I've established I'm not a spammer, I shouldn't have to suffer. Ironically, if I have to make extra posts to maintain my non-spammer status, those posts are less likely to be worth reading compared to posts where I actually have something to say..

        I suppose changing it to 5 per 12 would do almost as well. I have about 23 posts in 2011, so I'm above 5 per 3 on average, but it'd be easy for me to slip below.

        I have no idea what my posting history is like over that period. You might consider adding something about it to the "My Account" pages.

      3. Bela Lubkin


        I wasn't asking how the moderators handle anon posts, but how the scoring system does.

        When an anon post is accepted, rejected, or removed after acceptance, that's a scoring action that *could* accrue to the actual commentard account that created the post. If the database keeps track of that, etc.

        Or anon posts could be truly anon (at least in that regard), i.e. their ownership could be completely whitewashed as soon as they were injected into the review queue, leaving no way for the system to accrue the score.

        I guess for liability reasons, if nothing else, you probably need to hold onto who posted what, even anonymously. So I'll venture a guess that anon posts do accrue to your score...?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Anon scoring

          You venture correctly

      4. Bela Lubkin


        [I thought I posted this but can't find it in either the forum or "my posts"... going senile...]

        I wasn't asking about how moderators handle anon posts, but whether the <i>system</i> retains knowledge about who posted each anon post and whether the resulting scores accrue to the real poster. Then I decided you probably had to retain authorship information for various legal reasons; and it really would make sense to charge people for their anonymous misbehavior. So I probably answered my own question, but still seek confirmation.

        Plus I get to check myself for HTML Super Powers...

  15. Bela Lubkin


    Seems like it should be more sophisticated than that. I seem to have posted 57 times since April 2007, so that's what, 58 months, almost exactly one a month. Sporadically, of course.

    You should either have a "lifetime achievement flag", or do it in terms of good:bad ratio over the commentard's entire posting life span.

    Hmph. Commentard (and hmph) not in Opera's dictionary.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please let AC's

    choose their own icons.

    1. Jaruzel


      You choose to be anonymous. By definition you don't have an identity.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        So by that logic...

        ... the icon is not about the comment, it's about you, then?

        Personally I don't have a problem with figuring out who's AC and who isn't regardless of icon. In fact, plenty of posts I've made AC and without any icon on purpose. If the icon was an avatar then forcing the icon would make sense, but in this system, not so much.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The V icon kind of offsets the fact the one is being called a coward.

      The icon rules! =)

  17. Matthew 3


    it was only around the time that commenting was last tweaked that I twigged that 'Anonymous Coward' wasn't the handle for a particularly prolific commenter.

  18. eSeM


    I had stopped making comments after having a few posts 'moderated' for criticising bias from the Fanbois over on Reg Hardware.


  19. Jules75
    Thumb Up

    Fair enough

    Can't say fairer than that.

  20. Anonymous John

    This started before Christmas, and I thought I must have missed an announcement.

    Now, how about clickable links in comments?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Clickable links ...

      Like this, you mean?

      We are also playing with testing a few html commands in our new user forum.

      About 100 long-standing commentards have been granted these powers already - you fit the bill. So off you go!

      1. Winkypop Silver badge


        I never make these lists.

      2. Anonymous John


        And on my birthday too. No chance of multiple icons too, I suppose?

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Andrew Orlowski throws like a girl!

    Is this Libellous or trolling?

    Just want clarification...

    1. Big_Ted


      Yes it is.........

      Even if its true.......

    2. jake Silver badge


      Childish idiocy would get my vote ...

    3. Richard North


      Have you ever faced a fast ball from a decent bowler from a ladies cricket team?

      1. Arctic fox
        Thumb Up

        @Richard North. RE: "Neither" I have actually and it was not amusing.

        She was a damn good seam bowler with a *very* nasty line in occasional and well disguised short pitched deliveries. If you weren't careful she was fully capable of quite literally handing you your head. A really nice girl, great company in the pub afterwards but she was a bitch on the pitch (so to speak!).

        1. jake Silver badge

          @Arctic fox

          I'm with you on this ... When I was at Berkeley, we played a charity game between the baseball team & the softball team. The Lady Bears smoked us guys ... We had no hits or runs, they had 18 Ks, and scored twice. Was ugly, but a whole lot of fun :-)

          As a side note, I married my counterpart. Catchers need to stick together.

  22. Big_Ted
    Thumb Up


    One of the most annoying things is posting and then having to wait forever for it to appear, by which time it might be on a page or 2 back and ignored.

    Also will save multiple answers to a post clogging up the thread.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm a bit worried about #2

    Don't want the forums to start looking like Wired's...

    The best defense is being offensive I always say.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What are you going to do about the "Thanks for your post. Our moderators will get to it as soon as possible." message?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sounds like a reasonable place to let you know you're not flagged or nuffink, dunnit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Oh, it got changed.

        "Thanks for your post. Be patient."

        What's this, a hint I should lay off the posting?

  25. Jimmy 1

    May I be the first to say - and not in an unkind way - "what a load of bollocks!"

  26. Schultz

    The real penalty

    Any comments subsequently reported by Reg readers will be quickly examined, and if found to contravene our house rules, will be zapped, vapourised, smoked, eradicated. And <delete> worse </delete> mocked.

    1. Richard North

      Never underestimate the power of mockery... well-placed derision can change things for the better, anybody who's ever watched 'Mock The Week' knows this. :-)

  27. JDX Gold badge

    Bit confused

    I've seen some posts appear immediately and others go through moderation for a couple of weeks now. It appears my posts are still being moderated so either I'm on the naughty list or it's not been changed yet... if the former should I have been told about the posts that were naughty?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bit confused

      JDX, I have reviewed our moderation history for your account. I can say definitively that you are not on our naughty chair and have never been on our naughty chair.

      We don't have an elegant mechanism for informing people when and why they are on the naughty chair. Currently we risk moderators and commentards getting into protracted and / or ill-tempered email exchanges.

      But as I said <a href="", we are mulling over:

      (a) how to make this more transparent and

      (b) to work out time limits for the naughty chair e.g. hours, days, weeks, ever and a day

      1. Keep Refrigerated

        Thanks for clarifying that

        I also experienced some lag in comments being "approved", then some days they would be on the page the moment I clicked submit.

        I just assumed all posts were moderated, and the moderator was busier some days more than others... or was I naughty? I don't know, I don't think I've had anything pulled.

        I also find sometimes my upvotes and downvotes not being registered - can't be moderating these can you?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          We do not moderate upvotes or down votes. I suspect it is a page caching issue.

  28. Old Hand


    I'm very pleased to see the amount of care that goes into filtering your posts. Without it the trash level would clearly rise to become unacceptable.

    I am curious about the RATING system because I do not understand and cannot discover whether the Rating applies to the form or to the subject of the original article. Much of the reporting is good and some excellent; is THAT what I am rating ??

    Some of the proposals/ideas/policies being discussed in articles are rubbish and some are sound; is the raw subject matter of the article what I am rating ??

    Old Hand

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Moderating

      We have two rating systems - one for articles and one for comments.

      The slider is for articles; thumb up | thumb down is for comments.

      We are not going to tell you how you should rate comments or articles. It is your <B>SHOUT</b>!

  29. Solar

    Absolutely cannot wait

    to share my bigoted political commentary. Oblogatory XKCD ref:

  30. Sir Barry

    Excellent news, have a pint.

  31. Winkypop Silver badge

    I want frequent commenter points

    5 off for every dud post.

    It's only fair.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  32. mike 32
    Thumb Up

    I thought posting on this article was disabled...

    glad to see it isn't.

    The changes to policy don't really affect me (I hope), but I like the "make writer aware of correction required" feature, sometimes commentards correcting in the comments was a littel tedious. Other times, of course, it led to some of the better comment-threads here...

  33. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh I want to withdraw my last post because I missed the "joke alert" icon

      You can withdraw your own comments, thank-you very much.

      However, I got the irony. I am sure others will too.

      1. irish donkey

        Can we have a <SARC>

        Tag because certain visitors definitely need a sign post </sarc>

  34. Mr Young

    Hehe with the article

    Is that you Ms Bee? I feel scared and turned on at the same time now? No,no, I have to go out to the shops now - that's what it is!

  35. Sir Barry

    Aaw, I'm being pre-modded, can I have my pint back please?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      it's the five-three rule. As I said earlier - this is pretty arbitrary.

  36. Jim 59

    Font sizes

    Naughty Step 'tards should have their comments rendered in progessively smaller fonts.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Something Awful does something like that - transgressing commenters are infected with forum cancer - and their posts are greyed. I think you have to buy a cure.

  37. Old Hand

    ModeRATING again

    I failed to make clear enough that my questions were not about Thumbs but about the 'slider' and whether it should be applied to the >form< or the >content< of the article. I understand thumbs but don't know WHO or WHAT one is Dis/Approving with the slider; the reporting, or the subject of the report.

  38. Martin

    So let's see what happens...

    if I type some <b>bold</b> or <i>italics</i> - or even a <a href=>link</a>...

    hmmm....the preview is not promising...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not part of the magic 100 list then.

      They don't all seem to know either, by the by. How's <em>that</em> work, you have to <b>try</b>?

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not too sure about this

    Guideline number 7 seems a bit off. There are plenty of people who are paid to act on behalf of many organisations, in order to promote their goods, services, or act as online reputation managers. Not quite sure why it would be that this is something which is not permitted to be said.

    All that guideline number 11 needs is "and no Daily Mail readers" added to it, and it could be out of any sixth form college debating guide.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No 7

      7. earlier reply may be pertinent.

      11. We enable very robust debate. But we will not knowingly allow commentards to spew race hatred, for example, or anti-semitism, or extreme acts of violence. This is a fundamental point.

  40. James Micallef Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Great Job!

    Finally, a corporate policy that is written in English, rather than legalese

  41. Jedit Silver badge

    If trolling is forbidden...

    ... do we still need the icon for it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Trolling forbidden ...

      These are guidelines, not set in stone.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about...

    "don't pimp your own website," - linking to articles that you've written on your own blog, about the subject in hand?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Michelle, We have had this policy in place for a long time. It is meant to deter people who sign up to The Reg simply to promote their own blog. Or more usually to link to some spam site.

      I don't have a particular beef with people who link to articles that they have written elsewhere. But of course if this facility is abused we will send people to the naughty chair for a very long time.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That's cool. Thanks for clarifying! Getting sent to the naughty chair does sound a bit kinky and therefore nice, but the length of time is probably enough of a threat to keep me in my place :-)

        1. Bleu

          If they had a physical

          naughty chair, you may find great pleasure in being sat there!

          Unfortunately for you, ACs are not eligible for the deluxe bondage treatment.

  43. JDX Gold badge

    @drewc - thanks for the clarification. Definitely think if you're going to put someone "on probation" they should be told. Otherwise they might never even realise it's happening and figure pre-moderation is the norm.

  44. Anonymous Coward

    Staughty Nep

    Can we have automatic 'naughty step' placement for the following crimes against humanity:

    1: Using "your" instead of "you're" [UR should incur the death penalty]

    2: Using "their" or "there" instead of "they're"

    3: Any other grammatical howlers that they used to teach in primary school, when I was a nipper


    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      @madra - Hope this was meant in a light-hearted manner!

      So you're wanting to ban some of the non-English first language commentards, as well as those not as educated as yourself?

      Whilst I find it difficult to read some of the comments written in poor English, I have known many people with very valid technical information and comments who do not have English as their first language. I think I can put up with poor grammar so long as the comment has substance.

      I think that those who use bad grammar as a reason to shout down a comment they don't like is just as bad as gratuitous use of poor English.

      If your comment was tongue-in-cheek , then might I suggest that you use the Joke Alert! icon, rather than the Troll icon.

  45. RugbyGolferMad

    Naughty Chair or Naughty Step?

    ...could make a difference on content in comments

  46. Jonathan Richards 1

    Specifically, which legal code?

    [quote]If we suspect that your comment may be libellous, we will reject it. We err on the side of caution. Remember we are subject to *UK* libel laws.[/quote] (Emphasis added)

    But Scots law is different to that in England and Wales. Does El Reg operate as if regulated by *English* law?

    1. auburnman

      I would imagine they just punt anything that looks dodgy. If a comment sails close enough to the wind I would personally drop it long before I considered which legal domains would find it appropriate or not.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Of course we are regulated by the law of England and Wales. But equally if someone weirdly chose Scotland to pursue a defamation action against us, we could not ignore it. By the way, Pinsent Masons, a Scottish law firm, has a guide to defamation as it pertains under UK law.

  47. irish donkey
    Black Helicopters

    I can't change my handle

    I get tired of being a Donkey. Sometime I want to be a Irish Kangaroo. But I can't change my handle.

    What is the handle changing rules?

    it says I have changed my handle too many time. It this because I am being watched/pre moderated/Laughed at.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      I doubt

      changing your handle will make a difference for moderation. The mods will identify the account by the login name, not the handle.

      I don't know what their policy is on registering two accounts against different email addresses. I thought I read somewhere that it was either discouraged, or maybe that it was enough to get the accounts suspended.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The FT has a policy that when you change your handle - all your previous posts change along with that handle.

      Our policy is that you change your handle and all published non-anonymous posts after that have the new handle. But you lose your old handle - and no-one else can nab it. I think the FT policyh is sensible but I don't have a strong view on this.

      1. a33a

        Please enact this policy.

        On my previous handle (admittedly a name that was a bit childish) I had accrued a nice large number of posts (I think?), I would like my previous posts to be under my new a33a handle.


  48. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Articles and their Comments (or the lack thereof)

    It would be nice if ALL Articles allowed Comments.

    I'm looking at you Mr A O.

    As we are discussing comments here, it might be nice if you dropped by and explained once and for all why you don't like comments on your posta (well, a good % anyways)

  49. This post has been deleted by its author

  50. Anonymous Vulture

    This title is optional

    Test, test, one, one, two, three.....

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When you trust your readers... make a fool of yourself.

  52. Andy Taylor

    Unable to find a replacement Moderatrix?

    Obviously Sarah was a harder act to follow than you thought. This is the only rational solution.

  53. Irony Deficient

    HTML elements in comments

    I don’t know what the planned future direction is for HTML elements in comments — whether it will eventually be granted to all commenters in good standing, or whether it will remain the preserve of the Blessèd Hundred — but it would be nice if at least the style-oriented elements (or at bare minimum, a span element with only a style attribute) would be available to commenters in general.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They're coming!


  54. b166er

    Subject to UK libel laws, but not UK dictionaries it would appear!

    What if your USian dictionary corrects my UK spelling and creates a potentially libellous comment? Where would we be then I ask you?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Where indeed. A highly improbable set of circumstances.

  55. C. P. Cosgrove

    Polite AND nasty ?

    I have never had a problem being polite on any commentary or forum platform, indeed on occasion I have been positively helpful. But I am only an occasional contributor to any of my several interests, whether El Reg, simulation or computing fora. I enjoy 'The Register' and read it most days - when my internet connection (under discussion ) lets me - but I only comment occasionally. I don't think I have ever had any comment rejected, but I would need to start cranking them out much more frequently to get inside the 5 in 3 months rule.

    As my late Auntie put it - politeness costs nothing. Apart from anything else, it is not difficult to be really insulting and terribly polite at the same time, but life is too short.

    Chris Cosgrove

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Serial reportards here we come

    That really is going to appeal a certain sort of person, probably the sort of serial downvoter that sees red for every pro/anti apple/MS fanboi ejaculation. A kind of grumpy nerd version of the Neighbourhood Watch Whitehouseian curtain twitcher minus the blue rinse but probably still with the Daily Mail sub on their fondleslab. Nothing appeals to yer basic human instincts better than watching someone else get an 'official kicking' in the metaphorical gonads.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Serial reportard

      I am aware of one serial reportard. If this becomes an issue we will deal with it.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Serial reportard

        Out of curiosity, what about folks who decide to serial-down-vote a given handle, regardless of content of commentardary? I appear to have picked up one of same, and have received 50 down-votes in a short period of time (probably corresponding to the first page of my posting history) a couple of times now ... Personally, I don't give a rat's ass ... But this attempt at bullying can and does keep folks from commentarding over the long-haul, and tends to kill conversation.

  57. Bela Lubkin

    Now thoroughly confused. My last two posts suddenly both appeared at the same time in "my posts" page; but neither have yet shown up here?!?

  58. Bela Lubkin

    Perhaps... "accepted" but being held by the moderator while he comments on them? That's cheating, you know :)

    All three of my recent set of blather read "Accepted by moderator at [time stamp]" on my posts page. Plus my three from yesterday. It seems like the 6th, at least, should have qualified easily under the "5 happy posts in 3 months" rule.

    Therefore, apparently it prints "Accepted by moderator" whether it's referring to a human or an automated system.

    I'd prefer if it said "Accepted by automoderation" or something like that. Perhaps with a nice link to the guidelines anchored on "automoderation".

    1. Bela Lubkin

      Ah, I have now *earned* the "commentard" moniker. My Mysteriously Missing Missives were there all along -- waaay up higher in the discussion, threaded under what I was replying to. Duhhh.

      I think I'll go do something useful now, like load the dishwasher...

      1. jake Silver badge

        @Bela Lubkin

        "I think I'll go do something useful now, like load the dishwasher..."

        Hopefully the .sig-other appreciates your efforts ... Me, I have a Belted Galloway calving. Everybody needs a hobby in the wee hours ...

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A nonny nonny

    Just want to see what it'll look like in "my posts"

    ...then the dishwasher, really...

  60. G Olson

    Not Sir Postalot

    Can't you find a more mathematically rigorous concept for determining regular readers/commentards? That is a computer you are using and not a civil servant I assume. And, those of us on the other side of the big pond [which includes everyone not on your island] tend to post when the night crew is working.

    Here's hoping the moderator is working from the pub or home....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      We considered more rigorous formulae but that does not scoop for the otherwise sensible person who is drunk dialling in the middle of the night - or for the hate-filled rant.

      However, the five comments in three months was simply a stake in the ground while we assessed impact of automodding. The answer I think is to simply lower the limits - say five articles in six months or one year.

  61. JeffyPooh


    See title.

  62. Grikath

    good and plain english, but....

    The whole of the text, and especially specific sections, simply *BEG* to be BOFH'ed.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Complain! Complain!

    "Currently we allow posts of up to 2,000 characters, which is quite a bit longer than most forums, [...]."

    First, it used to be 4000 or so, which I'll buy might qualify for the "quite a bit longer" claim, but AFAIK 2000 is more or less what everybody else does, modulo the mainly old print gone web2.0 bunch that insist on playing Scrooge here. Worse, I tend to run into the limit and I'm certainly not the only one. So, at least stop making boisterous claims how doing the same as everybody else is somehow better than everybody else. But really I'd prefer to see the old limit reinstated. Why'd you feel the need to dial it down, anyway?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So - I only actually checked out the actual character allowance recently. We were running at 10,000 chars - not 2,000 as had been specified.

      We have been experimenting with 2K - we will re-introduce bigger limits soon.

  64. Schultz

    Required level of arbitrariness

    The Reg is making a big mistake in publishing explicit rules. Games (and fora) are addictive only if they contain a reasonable level of arbitrariness. Take that away and we'll quickly get bored!

    So please flag and ban whoever you want, but don't be dickheads and tell us why! (Dickhead, in the sense of 'Schwachkopf', is, of course, in no way meant to be insulting to monolinguists.)

  65. earl grey

    Tard me up, Captain.

    Page displays funny...

    Carry on.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I think I see how this works...

    Comments about stupid 'merkins are fine, but if I, a stupid 'merkin, refer to the time-honored English tradition of mating with sheep, it gets Yanked. "Yanked," get it?

  67. Sureo
    Thumb Down


    I have adblocked those badge images. I find them particularly annoying.

  68. Mips

    Don't be a racist arsehole, a homophobic wanker, a xenophobic idiot or a sexist pig.

    Ah hem!

    May I say you just broke your own rule. Just because you are a racist does not make you an arsehole. That is an opinion not a rule. And as for that porcine remark, are you Isl**ic or something? Sorry can't say that.

    As for giving me a bronze badge. Thank you, but it will not improve my performance.

  69. JassMan

    The Channel

    Since Channel items also appear on the main Reg front page when can't you just make a comment thru the usual forum? I am sure I am not alone in not wanting to sign up for more stuff arriving in my inbox, preferring instead just to browse thru the Reg when I have a spare moment.

    I mean come on :-



    share comments on

    so why can't other stories as well?

  70. DiViDeD

    Moderated! Oh the shame!

    Just wanted to mention that my post was rejected because I pointed out that 3.6 square kilometres is not 1,179 times the size of Belgium, as the Reg Hack had suggested.

    Is this the first step in a campaign of disinformation by El Reg? Will they, as the only remaining online source after the coming of the BT Filter, gradually persuade us that the whole of Europe will fit into the average garden shed, then use that misconception to get us all checking our sheds to see whether this fairisle land has been invaded by Johnny Foreigner, while crack teams of SPB operatives break into our homes while we're distracted and steal all our shiney?

    Or was it because of my gratuitous use of the word 'Belg**m'?

    Inquiring minds need to know.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    19. Calling an author out

    Will get your comment rejected. Because they can't handle criticism.

    I'm looking at you 0rlowski...

  72. BubbaGump

    I resent being censored when I object to specifics of the Gay agenda or Gay marriage. Gays are allowed to marginalize and even be derogatory to heteros, but any perceived opposition to gay rights is quickly rejected by the moderators.

    1. jake Silver badge

      @ BubbaGump

      Note that the anti-GLBT crowd ALWAYS derides GLBT.

      GLBT almost never derides the straight population (radicals are ... well, radical).

      The wife & I are het. The gay guys on the other side of our rose garden are ... uh, gay. And a couple of our best friends.

      Methinks that your "agenda" is in your mind, not reality. What are you afraid of?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "I resent being censored"

      Me too, but nobody's stopping you running a blog with your own comments guidelines and expressing your opinions. The difference is that you're in El Reg's virtual living room and they can decide who gets to sit on their sofa and bad mouth their neighbours, just like you can at your house. So good news, you're not being censored.

  73. chivo243 Silver badge

    How did I violate the rules?

    Under the Article:

    Google buys 'mood music' biz Songza (along with a window into your LIFE)

    Google dude. I’m about to get, er, intimate – which music should we play?

    My comment:

    That’s easy

    Poo Fighters!

  74. chivo243 Silver badge

    again? and this comment is nothing offensive at al

    Apple CEO Tim Cook: My well-known gayness is 'a gift from GOD'

    Bad form

    Bringing religion into the discussion about sexual orientation might just offend some people. Just sayin'

    Really? What part of the terms am I violating? Or is the moderator just having a bad day?

  75. Bleu

    SpaceX's signs off

    Was a direct quote from the original version of Iain whatsisname's article, it is more than a little cheap to delete my comment on it.

    Not that I am terribly upset, but it is a form of rewriting reality to pretend that it never happened, especially since the article had many more blunders, I truly enjoyed the idea of a capsule carrying a worm form from the ISS.

    It is a little cheap to delete a post that was only a direct quote from the original article. Not a problem with my language, problem was entirely with the reg. writer.

  76. Shannon Jacobs

    Bye-bye reg.

    Actually, I like the skeptical slant of the reg. Or rather I used to like the skeptical slant until I was censored for attempting to note in public that one of your staff members has ZERO credibility on a particular issue and that his tedious and repeated rants on that issue are a waste of time.

    You see, the problem is that once you have established you are a bunch of censorious bastards, then there is no reason to believe anything you say on such silly topics as free speech or the open exchange of ideas. Not even sure how many of my prior comments may have been disappeared, since I trusted the reg and wasn't looking over my shoulder to see if you were looking over my shoulder.

    Having broken that trust, I'd be a damn fool to spend more time on the website. It might make me want to say something, eh?

    Anyway, your financial model is already driving you into the ground, and I expect to hear about your collapse at some point, but at least I will get some schadenfreude out of it.

  77. This post has been deleted by its author

  78. This post has been deleted by its author

  79. jilocasin

    Reasons for rejection????

    I haven't posted that often, and I rarely check on 'My Posts', but I was puzzled to see that two of my posts (one in 2011 and another in 2012) were rejected. Rereading them, I can't see why they might have been.

    Is there any way, or plan, to find out why a post was rejected?

    As the saying goes;

    "If you don't tell me what I've done wrong, I'm liable to do it again, often and in public."


  80. Baldy50

    I agree!

    It's a wonderfully insightful forum and full of very useful, interesting articles and I bow to your judgement.

    Got everybody a bit you rattled this Brexit issue.

    BTW, Owned up, didn't cheat, not in my nature I guess and bought another round.

  81. patwary07

    ok,i understood

This topic is closed for new posts.