Comments are Sacred!
I used to subscribe to the How-To Geek website newsletter. Used to until the site made a blunder yesterday that I could not forgive.
Let me explain.
Yesterday’s article on How-To Geek was about hacking up an extension cord to create an outlet box that you could mount into a desk or cabinet. Now being raised by an electrician I may not be an expert, but I and others commented that this was a stupid thing to do and that it was a fire hazard. I left a comment where I demanded that the article be removed or that I would no longer be a patron of the site in any way. I even tweeted about it asking others to demand the same.
There were several comments that were similar to mine in their sentiments. People who claimed to be actual electricians were stating that this was a bad idea. Hell, plain old common sense should have been enough to convince the staff not to have posted that article in the first place.
Eventually the article was pulled and a half-ass “to be fair it tested fine” excuse was put up in its place. Really? It tested fine? What agency did the testing? How exactly was it tested? Hate to break it to the How-To Geek staff but plugging in a lamp and getting power is not a very good test for safety purposes.
The fact that anyone could go out to buy and mount a certified power strip makes this seem even more ludicrous to me. The article was a bad one, and the site still has not just stated the obvious – they fucked up. They were irresponsible and they published bad advice that if someone were to follow would introduce the potential for disaster. When you make a mistake have the balls to admit to it and make things right as best you can How-To Geek.
But all of that was not the final reason why I decided to ditch the site and to unsubscribe from the newsletter. The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back was when I noticed that the number of comments from when I last visited the site had decreased, and I quickly discovered that comments (including my own) were now gone! Those of us who had criticized the site and the article with our comments must have had our comments deleted by the web site administrators. I have no proof of this, but that is what I suspect happened.
I understand that sometimes people make comments that are abusive or violate a site’s user agreement in some form, but even in those cases there is still a marker for where the comment was and an explanation of some sort such as a note from a moderator explaining why the comment was removed. In this case all of those negative comments just disappeared. Poof! They no longer exist because I suspect that the babies who run the How-To Geek web site could not deal with others calling them out on their foolish and stupid mistake.
That was why I left the site, because no matter how big or small your site’s following is you have to treat each user like a member of a community. You might have to deal with some harsh words now and then, but you can not simply sweep the comments that you do not like under the rug and act like those members of the community do not exist.
The irony being that the moment you do start sweeping comments under the rug those members of your community do cease to exist in a way. They have no voice, and they have no purpose in being a follower of your site.
So, yeah, fuck How-To Geek and comments are sacred. Keep that in mind if you have or plan to start a blog or other type of web site where people will be asked to give their input.
Tomorrow the RPG content returns, but for now feel free to comment on my rant. Unless you are spamming, proof of your comment existing will remain even if I have to moderate it (which I never had, and do not plan to start doing now).