Off Topic Rant: Man Up Or Shut Up

One of the best things about running a movie site is the commenters.

I love reading what people have to say about what we write - both the news itself and our opinions on the news of the day. It gives Screen Rant a sense of community that I and my writers work hard to maintain and grow.

To that end, I'm pretty strict on what is allowed and not allowed in the comments section.

The short version is: No profanity and no personal attacks. It makes people feel safe enough to express their opinions without fear of being "flamed" and I believe it's a big part of why we have so many "regulars" here on the site.

But of course everything isn't always sunshine and roses. 8-)

As Screen Rant has grown in popularity and is popping up on more radar screens, we've begun to attract some of what I consider to be the absolute bane of the internet:

The spineless and spiteful anonymous commenter.

You know the type: They arrive at a blog or social website and promptly begin spewing vile garbage. It can be a rant against another commenter's opinion or the point of view of the article itself. Generally there are a couple of hallmarks representative of these folks:

  • They can't seem to express themselves without using profanity.
  • Instead of arguing why their point of view is valid, they just attack the person expressing the opposing point of view.
  • They do it anonymously.

Now let me be clear: I have NO problem with people disagreeing with the opinions we express here at Screen Rant - in fact, we expect it. This is after all, an editorial movie news site/blog. (A point I have had to repeat more than once when we've been accused of a lack of objectivity.)

What I do have a problem with is people who can't express their point of view in a civil, intelligent manner. If you disagree with a movie review, I don't want to hear "You're a $%*%ing idiot! Why are you even allowed to review movies you @$@##$ %^@##$$ #$##@@%!!!!." On the other hand, please do feel free to tell us WHY you disagree - in your opinion the acting was better than we described, character so and so DID have motivation to do X, etc.

Recent examples include things like:

  • Calling us "gay" for doing so much Star Trek coverage.
  • Someone ripping me a new one for ONE typo in a review (nothing about the validity of the review itself).
  • Four sarcastic comments in a row about how we run the site.
  • Getting cussed out because I think that AVP:R was a terrible movie.
  • Calling other commenters "stupid," "idiotic" or worse.

The other thing that I find pathetic is that when someone does try to post an idiotic comment, 95% of the time they don't use a valid email address. They'll think they're being witty by using something like or some other brilliant address. Once in a great while we'll get a flaming comment and when someone actually includes their email address, I contact them offline and usually we sort things out (much to their surprise).

On the other hand, using a fake email address and dropping a trollish comment is to me the most pathetic form of online cowardice. This tells me that face to face you'd never have the balls to say to someone's face what you have no problem typing on your little keyboard. My rule is treat someone online the same as you would if you were sitting across from them in the same room, and you thought they might be able to kick your ass. Be. Polite.

If you notice all of us who write for Screen Rant use our real names as a byline. We have our opinions and we are secure enough to stand by them.

But if you're such a spineless little wuss that you're not even man enough to leave a real email address when you leave your flame bomb, you're not welcome here. Rest assured that I can see your IP address - act like a jerk and your comments will automatically be circular-filed. Cross way over the line and you'll be banned from even seeing the site at all.

Want to disagree and debate intelligently? Come on in and join us, we'd love to have you! Just looking to vent to compensate for your lack of manhood? There are plenty of other sites out there where you can have a party with other like minds. You won't be missed here.


Vic Holtreman, Owner/Editor-in-Chief:

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