Chad’s Comment-worthiness Ranking Scale

I try to be fair to commenters and give them a say, even if they’re belligerent and obnoxious as long as their making good points or otherwise contributing to the thread (even if they’re disagreeing with me).

However, every now and then a comment comes along that just screams out DELETE ME. In the past, my criteria was somewhat arbitrary or loosely self-consistent. 

What prompted me to write this was the supreme idiocy of the anonymous/pseudonymous  poster ‘Philip’ over on Jeremy’s lighthearted “I thought this was funny” post.

This post is for other bloggers who struggle, like I do, in determining when to cut someone off.

I’m going to start with the Celsius model of measuring comment-worthiness. That is, 0 is minimal acceptance of a comment. Anything below 0 is delete-worthy.  As things approach –500, that might constitute a permanent IP-ban site-wide.  As things approach –1000, it might be prudent to notify other sites to block this IP address and ones like it.  As things approach positive 500, they definitely call for a thoughtful reply, or even another post.  As things approach positive 1,000, it might be prudent to write a series of posts or to elicit the response from higher authorities and the larger community of bloggers.

NOTE: This list will probably be changing as the days and weeks go on. I may update it again in the future as people suggest things. If you have a noteworthy suggestion, leave a comment or send me an email and I’ll add it with credits to you (and a link if you give me a URL)

So here’s the start of my grading scale:

Positive Effects

+100 Full, real life name used (not just last or first name)

+100 Public contact information left (the commenter’s web site, maybe an obfuscated email address, etc

+50 Private email left (for the blog author and site admins to be able to contact this person if necessary)

+50 for being a registered user on the site, possibly with a real avatar (showing that this person is interested in being a real part of the community)

+50 More than 50 meaningful words

+25 for good humor that is relevant to the post or other commenters

+25 for replying to another commenter in a polite way that contributes (answering a question, furthering the discussion, etc)

+25 per legitimate point made

+25 per significant, legitimate correction made to the original blog post (more than just spelling/grammar mistakes)

+25 for having the gumption to comment in the first place

+10 per legitimate minor correction made

+5 per incorrect correction made, but made politely with good intent


Negative Effects

-1000 (instant ban + warning to other sites) posting links to or direct embeds of pornography, shock links, images, or videos, etc especially extra vulgar ones

-500 (instant ban) for extreme profanity (gratuitous use greater profanity, excessive vulgarity, racism, sexism, or other extremely offensive bile)

-250 per use of greater profanity (the 7 deadly words, vulgar descriptions, or gratuitous use of the lesser profanities)

-250 for personal attacks on the blog author or other legitimate commenters

-150 for personal attacks on a bogus commenter (one who’s significantly in the negative range, but hasn’t yet been deleted)

-100 for use of lesser profanity (not one of the ‘7 deadly words’ except for maybe ”b.s.’ or just the ‘s’ word used without extra flare)

-50 No last name left

-50 No first name left (or a bogus name)

-25 general rudeness and uncharitably interacting with the blog author or other commenters

-25 per incorrect correction, or a correct suggestion made rudely

-10 per bogus or nit-picky correction made, made rudely, or with snark/sarcasm

About Chad Myers

Chad Myers is the Director of Development for Dovetail Software, in Austin, TX, where he leads a premiere software team building complex enterprise software products. Chad is a .NET software developer specializing in enterprise software designs and architectures. He has over 12 years of software development experience and a proven track record of Agile, test-driven project leadership using both Microsoft and open source tools. He is a community leader who speaks at the Austin .NET User's Group, the ADNUG Code Camp, and participates in various development communities and open source projects.
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  • +10 BILLION for a comment from yours truly!

  • lol.. I wonder how I’ll rate…

    Great idea on posting this, Chad. There should some way of automating some of that rating scheme.

    I would like to point out though about the posting of both first and last name. While I don’t go to any length to conceal my identity, I would not like to make it TOO obvious to spam bots and other nasties where I post, what I read, etc.

    Is that a fair criticism for the +50 / -50 rating on BOTH the first and last name inclusion?



  • Nolan Egly

    Personally I wish blog engines came with a way for registered users to “rate” comments, like Slashdot, and a default anonymous view that filters anything less than 0.

  • Nolan,

    I want the same for twitter followers… I’m tired of cleaning out the spamsters everyday.


  • Chad

    I just don’t like throwing my full name out there. There’s something that just doesn’t sit right with me. So I only ever leave a first name, and almost never leave an email address. I’ll come back to the blog to check for updates to the comments at a later date.

    I think however that I should get at least + 1 million for having the same awesome first name.

  • Nice rating scale. I have a similar one for code quality but can’t be bothered to do the math for my blog.

    I *rarely* delete comments. I say rarely because I have. If the user attacks me, that’s fine. It stays (unless it’s entirely personal and has nothing to do with the post). I let people burn their own bridges and the rest of my readers will generally either lambaste someone or support them. I’m cool with either.

    The comments I do delete are ones that a) have no name or some made up name without a link and b) say completely assinine comments like “SharePoint sucks” or “Agile blows”. If they say SharePoint sucks and then go onto state why they say it does (hopefully its related to the post and not just a random statement) then all the power to them.

    However it’s a tough line but we do have to cross it sometimes. I wonder how posts and people that post so often (think Oren or Gu) are able to manage posts where there are dozens (or hundreds) of comments. I can’t imagine how many “NHibernate sux” or “DotNet is crap” those might get?

    This post rated about +325 on the ChadScale.

  • Since absolute zero is about -273 on the Celsius scale, no one can ever be banned.

    (-10 for me)

  • I think the scale might good for yuo, but most of your points are lost on me. On the blog I appreciate any comment that is on topic. If need calls, the users can swear all they want, either me or some concept of the post. Some people post off topic comments that are maybe prompted by my failure to make obvious contact details. While I like associating a real person with a comment, I am not much for publishing my real life information so I would be a hypocrite to ask of my users. And the term “meaningful words” is as vague as it gets. Counting them also feels useless, as one better word may be better than 10 good ones.

    I would rate high first the on-topic-ness (speaking of meaningful words), then the value added to the blog post (like answering some other comment or doing additional research or linking to a relevant site) and then for how it makes me feel.

    Yeah, that’s about it. Some objective value of the comment being on topic, a more or less subjective rating of the value added for all readers and then a real subjective rating of the value added for me personally, either emotionally or technically (like providing extra effort that I would have done).


    There should also be some kind of negative rating for useless/pointless posts as well. (Thus rendering this post well below -100)

  • No comment.

  • “+50 Private email left (for the blog author and site admins to be able to contact this person if necessary)”

    The comment form for Los Techies doesn’t have a spot for e-mail addresses

  • mendicant

    So…. does this mean that if Oren signed a comment ‘Ayende’ that he’d be at -100 off the bat? :D

  • Reminds me a little bit of John Baez’ crackpot index –

  • I never know what to do with the comments that are, in essence, “I have read the title of your post, and I have things to say about this theme. I will expound upon them. La, la, la.” Y’know, the cocktail-party equivalent of “Enough about you, let’s talk about me.” Sure, they’re on-topic, _technically_, but they aren’t really germane, and they certainly aren’t part of a conversation. Do you have any advice on handling those?

  • @Sharon:

    If it has a point, even if it may be slightly or even way off topic, I’d let it be.

  • Hey Chad,

    Well I guess since your next post has gone out, you’ll have had time to review the comments posted here, and I’ve got a sneaky feeling my last one isn’t going to see the light of day. I began to wonder why that was so… I wondered if this Chad guy even had a sense of humour, and then thought, well of course he must – he’s been advocating TDD for ages now…(seriously kidding there man!)

    I don’t have a copy of what I posted but I must’ve been in one of *those moods* that day and crossed a line (or two) – OK OK…I admit I used a fair few “naughty” words, and in my defense I was merely trying to test out your system and hopefully poke some holes in it. Either way, I apologise if you feel it was over the top…

    Anyways, all jokes aside, I didn’t want you to think I was just some troll on a fly-by comment spree. From what I recall, I was actually quite serious about some of the points I made, mainly because I think censorship in general is becoming a bit of a joke these days and the last thing I need is another nanny looking after my feelings.

    But I digress…I’m pretty sure I can put up with your comment filter if it means I can keep coming back for the quality content you post here! Keep up the good work man.

    All the best,
    Rob G

  • @Rob: I didn’t do the final tally, but the repeated use of the ‘F’ word tanked your comment, There was no call for it and I didn’t appreciate it.