CC and the Art of Commenting

Pop Sci comments

Commenting brings out the best in people as well as the worst. They can be the building blocks of a genuine community, or the bombs that destroy it. A deterioration in the quality and tone of comments can quickly metastasize, and soon the negatives chase away the positives. I’ve seen it happen over and over, but I will not let it happen here at CC.

The comments here are a key part of why we do this, because we’re all eager to learn from each other, and share our collective experiences. I’ve learned more from the comments over the years than from any other source. It’s what makes this effort worthwhile, but it only takes one or a few bad comments to ruin things. CC has an aggressive comment moderation policy; here’s why and how it works.

By far and away the biggest problem comment is one that disparages the owners/drivers of certain cars, or any car other then the commenter’s.  These are typically gross generalizations, and most often/typically involve cars like the Prius, Camry, Corolla, Hondas, etc., or certian types or classes of cars, but not not necessarily limited to them. Reading between the words, the real message is all too obvious, and often has a political/social/cultural thrust. That’s just off limits here, and will not be tolerated.

I realize all too well that we live in highly polarized social/political times, but we’re either going to transcend that here, or I’m going to pull the plug. I simply refuse to indulge that kind of thinking and attitude. There is nothing more demoralizing to me (never mind embarrassing, for the person making them) than to have to read comments that denigrate the owners of certain cars, based on gross stereotypes and personal biases, and making sweeping judgements on their life values and social status. Their own insecurities are all too obviously on display by doing so, and the effect is inevitably the exact opposite of what they’re trying to achieve.  No, you’re not going to win my respect for your choice of car by telling me (or anyone else) that my life is pathetic and I’m a low achiever because of the brand of car I drive. Or some other equally vapid negative generalization.

The whole purpose of CC is to celebrate ALL the old cars still in existence, and appreciate the owners that keep them going, regardless of whether that’s a rusty old pile or a pristine cream puff. And regardless of what brand, or country of origin. If you just can’t find a way to do that, please refrain from commenting. It’s quite possible to extol your own choice of car without putting down others.

And if you just can’t exercise the appropriate self control, I will have to do it for you. I will remove or edit any and all comments that are not in the spirit of CC. So please think before you hit the “Post Comment” button. And please keep in mind: the First Amendment does not apply here. It does on the sidewalk, or you’re free to start your own site. And I will readily admit that I can’t be a perfectly impartial judge either; I can only use my judgement, for better or for worse. That’s the unfortunate reality of having to police comments, my least favorite way to spend time here. And if a person is a repeat offender, they can expect to see more aggressive moderation.

It’s not just avoiding negativity in the comments either. Are you really adding something of value to the comment thread? As Plato said: wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.  Or in the words of my father, at the dinner table: Must you externalize every fleeting thought?

Now the last thing I want to do is discourage commenting in general, as our Contributors really appreciate response to the articles they’ve invested a lot of time and energy to post here. If nothing else, a “thanks” goes a long way when there’s no other compensation. And many of you have so much to add to our posts.

I know some of you are thinking “but when Niedermeyer writes a Deadly Sin or other negative article on my favorite car, he’s doing the same thing, trying to make me (or others) feel bad for owning or liking that particular car“. Well, no; there’s an important distinction. We’re not a fanboi site; we’re here to discuss cars in the light of history, and yes, we don’t pull our punches, sometimes.

But that’s all about the decisions that were made in designing and building the car back in the day, and has absolutely no judgement on the actual car itself today, or its owners. And if I write about how I felt about a car when I was seventeen, that’s to be taken with the proper perspective.  I celebrate every time I see a Deadly Sin still on the street! And my hat’s off to the owners of them.

Cars are like babies or puppy dogs; they’re completely innocent, flaws and all. They didn’t chose to be like they are, and they all deserve our love. They’re the products of their creators, and that’s who we sometimes poke at. So please discriminate between the two; there’s a huge difference. We love all old cars, Deadly Sins or not. And we’re here to celebrate their existence. But we’re not here to judge their owners, or the owners of any cars, old or new.