PSLS  •  Features  •  PSLS Originals

Editor’s Letter: On the Subject of Comment Moderation

Recently there has been some confusion surrounding PlayStation LifeStyle’s comment moderation, and I just wanted to clear some things up. Up front, our goal is to have a fun and friendly place where people can discuss the stories that they are commenting on. We want to have a community that may have a difference of opinion, but that can also get along. We want anybody to feel like they are able to come read PlayStation LifeStyle without feeling attacked based on things like what games they prefer to play or whether or not they support DLC and post-release updates.

We’ve also seen voices getting shut out. Positive people who just want to join in the discussion don’t even want to bother commenting for fear of a negative wave of comments and toxicity. We want you back! We want the community and conversation to get better. We want everyone to feel comfortable voicing their opinion and experiences.

With that, we’re setting a few ground rules guidelines that should be obvious, but apparently need to be spelled out for some people who remain confused as to why their comments may be getting deleted.

We will not tolerate personal attacks. This includes personal attacks on other PSLS readers, PSLS staff, or anyone else. Personal attacks don’t bolster your own opinion and they don’t lend themselves to conversation or discussion. At the point when conversation devolves into a back and forth, we’ll take action. If we can remove personal attacks without changing the meaning of the comment, we’ll take that route. For example, “You’re a moron, these PS Plus games suck!” may just become “These PS Plus games suck!” We have no problem with your own opinion, but there is no need to attack anyone else over it. If the comment cannot be edited to remove the attack, it will be removed altogether.

Hate speech isn’t allowed. Hate against any group of people isn’t allowed. If your comment would make someone feel unwelcome at the site, we don’t want it on our site. The only people who are unwelcome here are those who are unwelcoming of others.

Cultivate conversation, not argument. I celebrate everyone’s ability to have a unique opinion. It’s something I love about the staff here. We all have our own views on games and we have spirited discussions daily in our work chat about those different opinions. But we can always come together to understand why we’re all here, even if some people don’t love Destiny as much as I do. I want that same thing for the comments here.

Why Our Moderation May Appear to be Inconsistent

We’re a small staff, and we’ve got better things to do with our time than check back into the comment sections of old articles for every single new comment that comes in. Sometimes conversations on stories can persist for weeks after they publish, and we simply don’t have the time or manpower to be able to filter through all of that.

We rely on user reports/flags to catch comments that might be offensive or otherwise detract from the environment we’re trying to create here. If it doesn’t get reported or we don’t see it ourselves, we can’t moderate it. That’s why sometimes one comment may get deleted while another one might stay up. The other option is to turn on a really strict comment moderation approval process where everything goes through us before it even hits the site, but I’d like to trust our readers to have positive and nuanced discussions without the need for constant oversight. This means that we need your help in tracking down those things that make reading PSLS a less than positive experience.

I often see the word “censorship” thrown around, as well as citations of free speech rights being taken away. Let me be clear. PlayStation LifeStyle is our house and commenting here is a privilege, not a right. We, on the other hand, do have the right to edit or remove comments as we see fit in order to achieve our goals of building a community for friendly discussion. It’s not about censorship or limiting free speech. It’s about maintaining positivity and reducing toxicity.

Comment moderation is entirely up to the discretion of the PlayStation LifeStyle moderation team. In most cases, we’ll simply opt to delete comments rather than issue full bans, but particularly egregious instances of hate speech, trolling, or otherwise creating a hostile, toxic, and unfriendly environment can result in commenting privileges being taken away.

I mean, come on. Games are supposed to be fun right? I got into this because I absolutely love games. I love PlayStation. I love being a part of this community. In fact, this very community is what set me on the path to where I am today. So it saddens me to see comments constantly devolve into bickering, arguments, personal attacks, hate, toxicity, and a whole bunch of other negative and hostile things, losing the nuance of the discussion to calling someone names because they don’t think they way someone else wants them to.

Let’s get back to letting games be a passion and a hobby that we love. That doesn’t mean that we can’t be critical. That doesn’t mean that we can’t have differing opinions. But it does mean that we need to treat each other with civility and respect. That begins in our comments section.