Illustration: Angelica Alzona (GMG)

The Purge: Splinter Edition is upon us: Starting today, Splinter will be unfollowing every single commenter on the site. It’s a new era!

This decision is the result of multiple in-house discussions. It’s an attempt to foster and cultivate a more productive comments section; ours is currently ridden with trolls of every conceivable stripe.

How did it get so bad? First, a quick primer how the comments in Kinja (our publishing platform) work: All comments by non-Splinter staff on a post start out in the Pending tab (or as they’re known among frequent commenters, “The Grays,” since they are grayed out). Splinter staffers can bring comments out of Pending and into the Community tab by starring (aka “liking”) a comment. If we think a given commenter is leaving especially good comments, we can “follow” them, allowing their comments to immediately be seeded to the Community tab going forward. More crucially, followed commenters can star and follow other commenters for the site as well.

As you might be putting together, prematurely following a commenter can turn into a true hellscape of shit. So we’re starting over. We will be devoting more time to curating and moderating the comments in the hopes of making Splinter a better space for thoughtful (and useful) discussion.

So! From now on, The Grays will be the place where you can wallow in the bad-faith arguments and name-calling that plenty of folks love and hold dear. The Community section, however, will not look like what it has in the past. Instead of allowing this to be the Wild West, we will be following the lead of our sister sites Deadspin and Jezebel and start being more selective about which comments you see first.

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The days of allowing dumbasses to roam free in the comments are over. This does not mean we are just booting people who disagree with us; some of our best comments have been from readers who took an opposing stance and then followed through with a thoughtful argument. The problem is that the potential for good counter-arguments and hilarious jokes are being mucked up and lost in the wake of shameless star-chasers, folks who want simply to be Mad and Online and paid in what were formerly known as +1's. There are currently thousands of them. So we’re purging everybody.

To the biggest question on your minds: How do I get out of The Grays? The answer is pretty simple. All you have to do is make a comment that a writer or editor at Splinter deems funny, engaging, or as having added something of substance. Comments that invoke low-hanging fruit (dick jokes, hollow and obligatory Dem-humping, or the umpteenth version of “Fuck you, asshole”) will no longer be making it out of The Grays.

To those of you currently saying, “I leave amazing comments! Why are you punishing me?”: We sympathize. We know there are a lot of great commenters on Splinter who will be affected by this. But we’ll be working very hard to restore those great commenters to their rightful place—and, again, you don’t have to agree with everything, or even anything, we say to qualify.

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