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"positive" Answered

Today was the first time i wanted to comment, but found myself confronted with this:
"We have a "be nice" comment policy. Please be positive and constructive with your comments or risk being banned from our site."

In my personal opinion, constructive comments are rarely positive and positive comments tend to be rather useless. Who thought the statment quoted above is a good idea and can it be changed?


Statement has been the successful core of this site's community feeling for several years now...

If you don't think what you want to say fits the "be nice" policy, then maybe you shouldn't be saying it? Or maybe you should be saying it via PM?

The Community Team do a lot of work behind the scenes, helping with constructive criticism via PM.

If constructive criticism is nice or not depends on the recipients way of handling criticism, but the fact that it clearly states "constructive AND positive", (which to me still is some sort of an oxymoron) makes me worry a little. Why not let people choose if they are open to criticism? It would be the logical thing to do in my opinion.

"Positive" is a word with many facets.

Here, think "civil".

I think maybe you're suggesting that people can choose to allow comments on their projects, but if you don't want the public to have a reaction to your work, then you should not make your work public.

Because authors cannot close comments, we have the "be nice" policy, coupled with a team of vigorously vigilant volunteers clearing up the garbage, to stop the comments descending into the same sort of flaming spam they get on YouTube.

I mostly agree with you, however, this wasn't exactly what i was thinking of in my last post. A example for what i've meant would be worth1000.com. There the users can choose if they are open to criticism or not; if they choose that they don't want any criticism then people can still comment on their entry, but will see a message a bit like the one here, asking them not to criticize, which is okay by my standards, but generally assuming nobody is able to deal with criticism or just doesn't want it, is rather harsh and slightly insulting, but looking at the other comments in this threat i see where it's coming from. Maybe that's just me but being called a troll is borderline offensive.

A member who's very first visible contribution to the site is to invite criticism of a core rule of the site, that has been in place since the site began... you can see how it's easy to come to the conclusion that the person posting has been in trouble recently for breaking that core rule under another username...

Anyway, the rule in no way assumes that members cannot deal with criticism. It simply emphasises the fact that nobody is helped by unhelpfully negative comments, and that we should, as a community, be working to improve each other's work, rather than just knocking it.

For instance, a recent project I helped the author with was riddled with spelling mistakes. I didn't just say "this is full of spelling mistakes", or even ask them to spell-check it. Instead, I talked them through how they could more easily correct the spellings by installing different (free) software.

Valid argument. I am aware that people that are more active here obviously have no issue with the formulation of that note, probably you don't even notice it anymore, but a community isn't only about old member, but also about the new ones. As i mentioned before i was mostly lurking, but today i was about to take the next step and become active myself, but i found this to be so blunt that i wasn't willing anymore to do this, thinking about it that "ban" part makes it also quite threatening and aggressive sounding. I'm a administrator of a community myself and i'm always happy to hear about first impressions and criticism by new users so i can tweak and improve. As i posted this i also didn't thought about getting into a lengthy argument with a user, even though i enjoyed it so far, even though i suspected someone else may feel the same. Well, i wish you a very pleasant day / night, it is rather late here.

"Not noticing" is kind of the point - if you keep to civilised patterns of behaviour long enough, it becomes habit to act in a civilised manner.

Personally, I have never seen the rule as a threat, but that is because I never planned on breaking it. The implied threat that you see another point of the message - somebody who feels actively threatened by the rule will be inclined to actively obey it.

You know, you're the first person I know to complain about this rule? I find it is more usually mentioned by people trying to [ab]use the rule to avoid being called out on their behaviour.

In truth, I know of very few people ever banned for breaking this rule, maybe half a dozen in all the time I've been here. That's because the rule works.

Anyhoo, I agree, there is really no point in arguing about the rule because there is a vanishly-small chance of it ever being changed.

Why do you keep going on about the rule? It's the way it is expressed. Why not just say "Don't be offensive" or something similar? It's short, to the point, nobody could ever disagree with it, and it does what it apparently should do - remind people not to be offensive. What it tells me in it's current state is: Try not to have an opinion or get banned, even thought it apparently isn't meant that way. This is getting a bit frustrating to be honest.

"Be nice" is shorter and even more to the point. As Kiteman pointed out, yours is, in the ~ six years of the site's existence, the first objection to the policy's statement.

No one told you not to have an opinion. The policy says to be polite. If you are unable or unwilling to do so, then you can go express yourself somewhere else, like YouTube.

What is the issue with youtube? Besides, if this topic is an issue for you just don't reply, if nobody would reply it would just die. Besides: Have i insulted anyone so far or showed any intent to do so? I really don't see how my simple objection to the formulation of this note is such a big issue to the users. It's just feedback. I wouldn't even have posted it in public, but i thought other newbies may have a similar opinion. Maybe it really is time to let this go, or at least i feel this topic is far far away from what i intended it to be.

This isn't "just feedback", though. It was a call to change it.

It's a big issue because you're wanting a change to a core value of the site.

As for YouTube, we hold that up as an example of what we do not want this site to become. Ever.

OK, so YouTube is enormous, but it is a horrible place to be - spam, flames, plagiarism, copyright rip-offs, commercialism, exploitation, and I don't recall ever seeing constructive criticism on any video.

OK, "Be Nice" is an important part of the site, but Xaromir raises a valid point about the meaning of "positive." We have _all_ made plenty of comments which certainly weren't "nice" or "positive" without running afoul of the policy - or at least without being noticed - and in this sense the rule is quite unevenly enforced.

@ Xaromir - Essentially, if you take it at face value, it does pretty much say "no negativity." Which is obviously a brain-dead policy. The way it works in practice is to generally allow a certain level of negativity, but at some arbitrary point it's no longer tolerated (I'm sure you can use your imagination here as to what admins might censor...). So it's not quite as bad as it looks - you can certainly say things which are not "positive" in the sense you'd generally think of - but, as with any site, take on the brass at your own risk. ;)

The thing is, we have (on the whole) a very positive attitude here, and are (on the whole) grown-up enough to be able to contextually interpret the "be nice" policy in such a way that (on the whole) other folk don't feel got-at, put down or excluded.

It's because folk (like everybody who have joined in with topic) care about the policy that the policy works.

Because the author doesn't get to choose whether or not some troll decides to post comments. Therefore, the Terms of Service for this site (to which you agreed when you created your account) make it the responsibility of the commenter (that is, you) to engage in civil discourse.

If you are unable or unwilling to be civil, then you may choose not to comment. If you violate the terms of service sufficiently, your comments may be deleted or your account terminated without warning.

Did you post your comment then?


Actually i did not post that comment, since i feared criticism may be unwanted, and decided to post some "feedback" here instead.

If you understand the "be nice" to mean "use your brain, don't flame stuff, we don't like idiot-comments" I should go back and post your contribution.


Er, um, how can this be difficult for an adult to grasp? It's a "Golden Rule" kind of thing. This is a site for "instructing"... not for opinions involving judgments, right vs wrong, politics, religion, etc. If someone puts out an Instructable and you have 2-cents to add, why in the world would you have a hard time being nice about it? All I can say is: practice makes perfect. It is not difficult, I'm sure you can do it if you try. Read around on this site and you'll see thousands of examples of comments that itself, can serve as an instructable for you on "how to comment positively and constructively". (If you see comments that you think are useless, then by all means don't submit any like those. The request is for comments to be nice... maybe you don't think a comment you've read is useful, but it might be to the author or to others.)

An example of positive feedback.: "I am positive you are a troll and the topic is such."

An example of nice constructive comments: "This is a nice trolling topic. Can you please elaborate on what you want changed?"

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