I’m not even sure what to say here, folks, to be honest with you. Last night Gabe and I pulled more than 25 comments from the MINI Super Bowl commercial post before just closing comments all together. I’ve seen some sniping and name calling on MotoringFile before (and been on the receiving end of it), but I’ve never seen anything quite like what I read through last night. So, I have a few things to say this morning.

First, an apology for not moderating that thread more closely. It got out of hand and Gabe and I didn’t have our eye on it until it got so bad that people were actually writing in on the Contact page. You would think that on a site full of MINI fans, we wouldn’t have to moderate every single comment moment by moment, but it looks like sometimes that’s the case. Either way, I pulled more nasty comments last night on this one post than the whole time I’ve been Managing Editor here at MotoringFile and I really wish I would have gotten to them sooner.

Second, let’s clarify once and for all what is and isn’t acceptable in the comments.

We want to see more of this:

  • Please have an opinion about MINI stuff
  • Please disagree with Gabe, and me
  • Please disagree with each other
  • Like things
  • Dislike things
  • Be passionate
  • Be ornery
  • Be skeptical
  • Be enthusiastic enthusiasts
  • Defend the automatic transmission
  • Love your clutch
  • Hate the very idea of the Countryman
  • Passionately endorse your R56 Cooper

All of these things aren’t just acceptable, they’re encouraged. I didn’t delete any comments just because the commenter didn’t like the ad. Hell, I didn’t like it either.

However, we don’t want any of this:

  • Trolling (leaving comments with the sole purpose of pushing people’s buttons)
  • Thread hijacking (the R53 is great, but that has nothing to do with this post about the Countryman)
  • Name calling
  • Ad hominem — This is the big one. Disagree with ideas and even specific people all you like, but let’s stop attacking the author his or herself just because we disagree with them.
  • Defamation — This includes race, orientation, geography, automatic transmission preferences, politics, pizza toppings, etc.

We’re all on the same team here, folks. We’re better than this. We’re MINI enthusiasts. This is not YouTube. This isn’t a free-for-all message board. This is MotoringFile. This site is one of the reasons I bought a MINI in the first place and I’m thrilled to be a part of it now in the Managing Editor role. MF wouldn’t be what it is without our readers and yes, our commenters. What I read in the comments for that post is nothing new, but it certainly hit a new low. We’re better than this.

Let’s make that the last time people are nasty to each other on MotoringFile. Let’s be kind to each other, even when we don’t agree. Let’s remember that we’re not truly anonymous. Let’s remember that we’re all fans, we’re all people and we all deserve respect. Let’s love our cars and this brand. Let’s motor.