I’m Going To Start Banning Some Commenters…

Nearly a half million (non-spam) comments have been posted on this blog. One of my favorite things about the blog is interacting with you guys, whether it’s in the comments, by email, or in person. I’ve long been a firm believer in not censoring comments — I appreciate even criticism, and in general I think the negative tone of certain commenters reflects more on them than it does on me. If those people want to make fools of themselves, then so be it.

However, lately I’ve received more and more comments from readers about how they’re not enjoying the comments section as much. There’s no doubt that there’s an increase in the number of people leaving comments that contribute nothing to the conversation, and comments that are racist, sexist, homophobic, hateful, etc. (which is perhaps generally reflective of the dialogue going on in the U.S. right now in general). So I want to do something about that.

I’m not at all interested in micro managing the comments section of the blog. If you’re someone who uses the comments section almost exclusively to be negative, you can continue to do that. That’s not what I’m trying to stop here.

Instead, going forward I’m going to be blacklisting commenters who are consistently hateful in the comments section. I’m talking primarily about people who are racist, religiously intolerant, sexist, homophobic, use bad language to label people, etc. So if you notice a few consistent blog trolls disappear, now you know why.

As we change our policy on this, please keep a few things in mind:

  • Just because your comment doesn’t show up right away doesn’t mean you’re being censored. When you post for the first time from an IP, your comment goes into a queue for manual approval.
  • As before, just because a comment is on the site, doesn’t mean we endorse it. Keep in mind that team-OMAAT isn’t checking the comments section 24/7, so it’s possible we miss something. Besides, our goal isn’t to analyze each individual comment, but rather to get rid of the people who have a record of doing the above.
  • This is all a slippery slope, so please understand we’re using our best judgment here. If you’re a reasonable human being, this won’t affect you, other than that you’ll perhaps enjoy the comments section more again.

Thanks, as always, for reading, and hopefully most of you can appreciate the comments section becoming a less hateful place. Again, this isn’t intended to stop criticism or dissenters, but rather to stop those who are incapable of participating in a civilized manner. Perhaps we’ll eventually publish guidelines on what is appropriate to comment, though I’m hoping “use common sense” is sufficient.

Comments

  1. Good to hear that. I don’t know why people want to be so negative. If they don’t like a certain blog post, just don’t read it. If they don’t like the blog in general then why are they here?

  2. I was going to be negative about censorship.. but if people are being offensive I completly agree and they should be removed.

  3. Another reason for a comment not to show up right away is including a link — I believe those go into a moderating queue even if posted from a known IP.

  4. Your blog your rules BUT

    “…religiously intolerant, sexist, homophobic…”

    describes Dubai, which you posted last week was your favorite city.

  5. Good to hear and a perfectly reasonable response to the situation. There is simply no justification for some of that behavior.

  6. I read your blog and comments to learn about travel, not to hear political, sexist or religious comments, thanks

  7. Totaly agree, Ben! Maybe if we tell some people the brain is an App, they’ll start using it! Thumbs up for your work and site!!!

  8. Not a bad idea Lucky and Co! Lets see how the reality of this will look like, fingers cross.

    @Hugh B – actually Credit recently calmed down when commenting. Either that, or I’m just used to his comments and kind of take his words as “oh, it’s just Credit”, and move on. Anyway, lets leave these kind of decisions (who to ban and who not) up to the OMAAT team.

  9. Pleased to hear. Was a daily reader of your blog and enjoyed the additional contribution from most commentators but recently have tuned out due to the overwhelming nasty comments that have gone unchecked. I appreciate your reluctance to censor previously but pleased you’ve decided to tackle the worst offenders.

  10. I think all of you who are just talking about Credit are forgetting Melissa. I am a republican but listening to her views… geez.

  11. Lucky – I agree with this decision. I just hope you apply it consistently and differentiate between people who criticize your content but who are not being racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.

    For example, a couple of weeks ago, I criticized your post on the Amex SPG card. In response to my comment (which I didn’t think contained any racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. remarks), I received the comment below. So, I hope you apply your decision consistency to your “defenders” as well.

    Andrew Custard says:
    February 19, 2017 at 5:58 pm
    @charlie

    DO you just go around the internet bitching about things?!? If you don’t like it don’t fucking read it retard.

    Grow the fuck up and get out of your fucking mom’s basement. Get a job, go to anger mgmt workshops, you know, get a real life…

    TIA

  12. While we are on the topic of comments, have you guys though about moving to a comment platform that supports threaded comments? The conversations here seem to naturally drift in that direction but the current ad hoc @reply convention can be quite hard to follow at times.

    Also, seconding @jmd001’s suggestion: a report comment/”alert moderator” button might be helpful and reduce you guys’ workload a bit.

    Keep up the good work!

  13. Good for you. I enjoy the blog. I called you out for the Cuba trip but I was professional in my opinions. If it was not for you I would not have a Chase sapphire card in my wallet and earning points.

  14. The greatest thing about the internet is it gives everyone a voice.

    The worst thing about the internet is it gives everyone a voice.

    -Unknown

  15. Thanks Lucky. Glad to hear the actions you are about to take. I appreciate all the information, tips, and help you’ve provided to readers like me on this blog. Keep up the good work.

  16. I do like reading the comments and I do find some posts to be inappropriate. I usually skip over those and move on.
    I would suggest a few things if you are going to start banning people.
    Be Consistent.
    Have a set number of restrictions ahead of time (It looks like you do)
    Have resolve (this may mean banning someone you don’t want to)
    Past offenders aside, think about deleting a comment and giving a final warning. I know this does not apply to those you are talking about now, but more thinking toward the future.
    Hope this works out the way you think it will.

  17. Freedom of speech is one of our most important recognized human rights. That being said, it doesn’t apply here. You own this blog and can regulate what is said via the website you control. I think you’re 100% right to delete comments (and ban the future comments) of people that do not add to the conversation in a meaningful way. Good on you!

  18. I’m glad you are taking an active part in getting rid of the hate speech. It’s your site and you should monitor it the way you want. I enjoy your articles and never read the comments anyway. Keep up the good work!!!

  19. I’ve been blocked from Elliott.org simply for vocally disagreeing with an article. Sounds like you’re only looking to block those who are being truly hateful. Makes sense to me.

    The first amendment does not apply to the comments section of a blog.

  20. I understand your reasoning, but please let’s not turn into Flyertalk.

    Their traffic is plummeting precisely because of moderation tyrrany. They behave like it’s 2003 and like people have nowhere else to go and it’s incredibly pathetic to watch. Have a negative opinion of an airline? Banned. Want to discuss related topics to the flying experience? Banned. Want to discuss moderation? Banned.

    We’re grown-ups and even we Americans should have learned that this world is a place of lots of different opinions, most of which have some sort of place in the debate.

    This is not a Trump v. The Left debate, it’s a natural consequence of the times we live in and what Ben is writing (so very eloquently) about: the world. In all its interesting nuances.

    It is not – or rather *should* not – be controversial to discuss hygiene standards after yet another bombed Egyptair toilet. It also shouldn’t be controversial to ponder upon women’s rights after another Kuwait Airways flight with female FAs clearly being seen as lesser people than the males in the crew.

    I hope these things are still within limits, Ben. You’ll do yourself a disservice if you bow down to the fascist SJWs. Most of us are adults who can deal with dissent, trust me on this one.

  21. So if my religious beliefs say it’s wrong to be a homosexual and I get banned for stating that….would that make banning me religiously intolerant?

  22. I don’t even go to this blog anymore because it sucks. It’s probably been a year and a half, and not surprisingly, the gay nazi is saying he is anti censorship while being a censor. The people probably complaining are the intolerant whiny Hillary supporters just like Lucky. It is a classic characteristic of liberals to shut down the conversation rather than offer any defense of their positions.

  23. please ban LR. this has nothing to do with our President Trump. and don’t you LIE about our President.
    unprovoked Trump bashing will always generate counter reactions which is never constructive.
    half the country hated obama’s gut but no conservative bashed him here. let’s keep it that way.

  24. Johnny Mac and others hide behind the anonymity of the Internet and frankly are cowards. They wouldn’t say such things in-person. It’s a private site. Ban who you wish and readers will respond by frequenring the site, or not.

  25. @DaninMCI I think if those are your genuine religious beliefs, thats fine. I dont share the same views but I dont think that’s necessarily religious intolerance. It’s a problem if you try to enforce those views on someone else in a hateful way and is unwilling to hear or try to understand someone else’s beliefs. THAT is religious intolerance.

  26. Thank you. Now you understand where trump is coming from. I will ask him to keep light on for you. Come home soon.

  27. This is s site which is owned and run by an out gay man. If someone comes with religious views and wants to use the site appropriately then that’s fine – if that individual starts to push religious bigotry then it is entirely appropriate for Ben to shut that down. Holding religious views does not give an individual the right to oppress others – just as those who hold religious views I am sure would not want to be oppressed for the holding of those views. It is called mutual tolerance.

  28. @jason Dubai religiously intolerant???in what aspect???dont christians,hindus,jews practice freely??do women have to cover???homophobic why???yes showing in public might still be not the norm even in cities like London and Paris,let a male kiss a male in London and see how people will be staring and i am gay so please keep your argument,i ve been countless time with my christian boyfriend to Dubai and all they ask is respect to their customs and culture,dont like it then stay away.

  29. @Jason Yeah cause it’s TOTALLY plausible for all 2.72 million residents of Dubai to be religiously intolerant, sexist and homophobic….

    @Lucky Maybe it’s time we ban the above mentioned idiot too.

  30. Thank you Ben and Team OMAAT for finally putting your foot down and showing many in the Miles and Points game/Blogosphere that intolerant, racist behavior (casual, unintended or otherwise) is ON THE OUTS. For far too long on many of these blogs, not only commenters but bloggers as well, have fanned the flames of racist/trolling commentary. Bloggers too often do it casually and subtly in order not to upset their revenue streams but infuriate readers and seldom if ever apologize for it, emboldening people who direct hate at others when all they want is to feel they (we) matter and to be understood.

    So GOOD ON YOU GUYS. This is a good step forward in making the world a slightly better place and in keeping this fun global hobby a positive one.

  31. I applaud your decision to ban those that are racist, religiously intolerant, sexist, homophobic, etc. Personally, I think you should also ban those that use the site the promote their political agenda. This site is about travel and is here to help us all travel better. I really don’t care to hear one’s political slams when I’m trying to learn the best travel ideas, etc. Bring up a political blast when the subject has nothing to do with politics – Ban them.

  32. Heck, if Donald Trump can banned half of the press from his news conferences, Lucky should be able to ban whomever he wants! In fact, I would love to see Lucky have the “power of the pen” in editing anyone’s comments in anyway he wants.

  33. It’s a good thing you’re doing lucky. Nobody prefers censorship but nobody wants a comments section full of hate either.
    @DaninMCI the religious right already makes it very clear loudly and time and time again that they are against gays. There is no need for anyone to repeat it in this blog as it is irrelevant to the topic which is flying and travel.

  34. Ben I haven’t commented in a long time. Your a business professional who is providing a view on Travel. This space has no room for hate speech. Keep up all of your good work it is appreciated by many. I enjoy you sharing a bit about your life on here it makes you human. For those that cannot accept this or accept some guidelines or guard posts to follow shame on them!

  35. Ben,
    “Common sense” will not work; that’s why we have rules and laws-to protect ourselves from those who are lacking the common sense gene.
    Many blogs have restrictions; publish a list and move on with your very helpful blog.

  36. Melissa’s comments are abhorrent and unacceptable, she should have been banned a long time ago. There have been a few other extremist, racist comments occasionally (sometimes they are subtle, yet not very subtle, like that commenter saying that “Obama is finally out of the WHITE house”). It makes the blog a truly unpleasant place to visit.
    Criticizing the President should be allowed, praising the President should be allowed. When people use offensive language (like Johnny Mac above — “gay nazi”, “intolerant whiny Hillary supporters” etc) then that goes too far, regardless of who the target is. Don’t use bad language against Trump either, there are plenty of factual arguments you can make against him. Just make your point in a civilized way, name calling is rude and weakens your argument.

  37. @Ben love the work that you do and this site is invaluable to me when it comes to credit cards and travel. Unfortunately, we live in a negative society where some have to bash others’ character – for them to feel better about themselves. Misery (as we all know) loves company even in the world of online blogging. I applaud this decision, and it is for the better ! If they can’t be respectful at least, be gone with them !

  38. Wouldn’t want to melt all these delicate snowflake liberals. Most intolerant are people who believe dissenting opinions are just xenophobic or racist and must silence them for all time. Lame

  39. Would love this to include some other notorious posters who take their opinion and post it as “fake news”, even though it lacks any basis in fact…we all know who this is

  40. Yeah, people like @Matt should be banned. You ‘wanna comment about Trump?…go to freakin Huff Post and stay away. Just bcoz some people don’t like Trump doesn’t mean they are high and almighty amen.

  41. Hi Ben, I read your blog because I want to learn about travel. In regards to banning some posters, I agree. You could take a chapter out of teaching essays, and apply it here. As an English language teacher, I am constantly giving feedback to students regarding their response to a topic:
    1)Your response does not address the topic.
    2) You started well, but wandered off topic.
    3) Some information is irrelevant to the topic.
    4) Be sure to remember your audience and use the correct register. Unless quoting or creating dialogue cuss words are not appropriate for this prompt.

  42. As you say, it is indeed a slippery slope …

    I’ve noted my own comments have been shut out of another blog that you share a lot of content with after I joined many others in commenting on the frequent click-baiting.

    Here’s hoping you guys handle it better, as I think you probably will.

  43. Agree 100%! Have followed OMAT since the beginning. Your blog is one of the best, if not the very best. You consistently provide the most valuable travel information whether it be on points and miles or travel experiences. Hateful posts are a distraction and not the purpose of OMAT.

  44. I enjoy some of the outrageous comments. I mean some people can bring Trump into every conversation. I don’t really know that I’ll go to a lounge in Dubai cause I don’t like 110 degree weather, but I actually read more often the comments than the article. Million Mile Secrets and the others don’t inspire conversation.

  45. …put the remark offenders in the first class shower corner with the fig newtons and cheap screw top wine and no free shower shoes or jellyfish hand lotion…..

    Stay on task and refine what you have.

  46. All for banning the hateful obscene comments. This is a blog about travel. I hate reading along only every now and then to encounter something vicious. There are plenty of other places on the internet where I assume people can be hateful as much as they please. When I first started reading travel blogs a few years ago I was surprised to encounter the racism about Chinese, In lauding Chinese Americans. I naively urged that blogger to push back against the racism. Was told by others about the policy of many bloggers to just letting people say whatever they want. I applaud your move. I don’t doubt that you will still allow disagreement about your travel views.

  47. I have really appreciated your blog. Keep up the work. If people don,t like what u say then let them go elsewhere.

  48. It is ironic that Dubai is a favorite city, I have family and friends who told me they have NO tolerance for homosexuals and little respect for woman. So, while most people readily admit it’s a beautiful city on the surface, the underbelly is homophobic and anti-feminist.

  49. Ben, out of curiosity, why not switch to Disqus for comments (which has great built-in tools for moderation and flagging potential problem commenters) or implement Alphabet’s Perspective API (https://www.perspectiveapi.com) to combat ill-willed commenters?

    Both options seem like more scalable, sustainable and effective approach to stopping this issue.

  50. Good for you! It’s your blog, so you’re welcome to censor or screen or not as you deem most appropriate. Getting rid of hateful trolls is a smart thing…for you and for everyone.

  51. Glad to hear it Lucky. Your blog, your rules. Too many people seem to use the comments to have overly personal and offensive digs, it’s not needed and it will not be missed.

  52. I love your blog. I very rarely read the comments. It seems mad that you have to spend so much time dealing with them. I think you are doing the right thing.

  53. If you have the same godless swine in mind as me, I say cull the vermin scum from the herd, like clearing screw worm or ridding the subtropics of parasitical disease. Sure, there’ll be shrieking and crying, the lowing and mooing, but bite the bullet and flush the foulness. We can take it if you can. Tweet Trump about it, too, which seems to work.

  54. When you write about how the comments section is mimicking the talk in America ” by saying it’s reflective of the dialouge going in in America” you just contributed to the decisive nature you continually put out there. I have never commented on this blog before. Ever. I love your blog and your stories but it’s not That hard to tell you lean left. No offense what so ever just saying you make innuendoes sometimes. Never the less I ageee that the trolls who contribute negativity should be banned. Good going for you. But remember…. some of us may be republican and proud. It has nothing to do with travel and the love for it that we ALL SHARE.

  55. Deleting the extremists is not a bad idea. If we had done that during the debates we wouldn’t be in this hateful mess we find ourselves.

  56. Just wanted to say thanks for your always interesting and enlightening articles. Your thoughtful and pleasant approach is an oasis of intelligent helpfulness in the ocean of confusing and self-serving yammering that is the travel information industry. Thanks again.

  57. I think this is overdue and the right thing to do. As a gay man I’ve been offended by some of the homophobic comments on more than one occasion. I enjoy reading the comments section, but sometimes have been hesitant to do so after reading some of the hateful remarks.

  58. Ban? , really yu think that will work, you in fact have a blog on how to mask yur I.P address to better ticket prices with other foreign currency , yu don’t think yur readers will do the same thing to post nonetheless?

    Will yu ban commentors who call you out on yur greedy ways of pumping credit cards and those who reveal better credit cards signup bonuses are available elsewhere other than yur blog?

  59. Yay. And people who thinks they are anonymous in comments are nuts. It doesn’t take much to expose the identity of a person hiding their hate online. Also, people sometimes get upset when they don’t see their comments online immediately. There are lots of technical reasons likely beyond your understanding because you really need to be a tech head to understand some of it. It can be your device, your service provider, your browser, the server intercepting the info from your isp etc etc. Bottom line don’t get upset and definitely don’t think conspiracy.

  60. More censorship shit from snowflakes. Unless it agrees with your thoughts, ban people. You need to fly into North Korea more as you will get along with them. What a fucking joke.

    Your blog has gone into the toilet in the last year and this this just another way to get it to disappear forever. Shame, but be careful what you wish for–you might just get it. No people who give a rats ass about your blog and homo ways.

  61. All these trolls need to get d*cked down and maybe they’d stop complaining about other people’s lives.

    To take the time and effort to be hateful on a blog is actually hillarious. I know at times people have felt offended by others comments here but take solace in knowing that your not wasting the same amount of time or emotion as these idiots who will do anything to have a voice online cause they couldn’t find one outside of a keyboard.

  62. Wholeheartedly embrace this change Lucky!

    People sometimes forget there’s a difference between freedom of speech and freedom to say whatever you want, wherever you want, and whenever you want. It’s your blog, your rules. Those who forget they’re visiting someone else’s house do so at their own peril.

  63. In a civilized society, people shouldn’t trample on other people’s rights/freedom just because someone doesn’t agree with your views in terms of how to practice religion/marriage/association/science etc . Typically “conservatives” has a “tendency” to do that bec they think they are morally/ethically superior or worst-case ideologically driven (few decades ago they used to think black/white can’t marry each other or women can’t vote or blacks can’t drink from the same water fountain or they have the right to own slaves etc.).
    Constitution guarantees “Life and Liberty” for everyone. Respect everyone’s rights and freedom and get-off the moral high-ground and lot of the bickering/conflicts will be resolved and we will be focus our energy on more pressing problems (doing more research and fighting disease, educating more people, creating more “sustaining” jobs, improvement of our infrastructure etc.).
    ..
    BTW, I love City of Austin (great -> weather, food, jobs, downtown, young crowd etc.)!

  64. @David C I was coming on here to say the exact same thing re: threaded comments. There’s no way to know if someone’s responded to a comment without scrolling through all of them (especially since not everyone uses the @ convention).

  65. Good move. Most of us do not want to read hateful comments.

    Although I do object when you remove posts that mention negative comments about a particular hotel – one that you are pushing and I believe is overrated.

  66. It takes time to comment, and only a moment to move on.

    Many blogs are being invaded with people imposing their ideas on others,

    50% like Trump, and they are in the majority, at the moment..

    A post is just another hit, and an IP address is easy to change..

    I mostly read, the rags, been playing the CC game more years than most have been alive..

  67. I have only commented a few times ever, I just want to say that I love the comment section, and even Credit can have his good moments, albeit rarely. I also like, no LOVE, that you don’t use Disqus. Thank you for that!

  68. It was time. Gods decision. It’s amazing how quickly the comments went from something often as valuable as your content to a major bummer.

    This is a good decision.

  69. DaninMCI yes you should be banned. It doesn’t matter if your homophobia is your “sincerely held religious belief.” This blog isn’t about religion or your sincere belief. You need to go bye, bye.

  70. I’ve always enjoyed reading your blog and there have been times when I disagreed on some of your opinions but I did so in a respectful and civil manner.
    My only concern about banning commenters is they may very well come back under a different name and continue posting useless/unrelated/hurtful comments. Either way, I do not envy your position and hope you are successful at weeding out these commenters.

  71. Thank you so much, Lucky. I have wanted to contribute to conversations in the past but reading some of the comments by the trolls made me just move on elsewhere. This is welcome news.

  72. Thank you, Lucky! I love how a few people are already lining up to be banned.

    @Nelson – Hahahaha! Good one. I love it.

  73. Bullies shouldn’t have a forum in this blog or anywhere else. While they may think otherwise, they have no “right” for their hate speech on the blog.

    I definitely support your banning bullies and think that previous comments about being transparent about the forum rules and then holding folks accountable for following them are right on.

    Thanks for deciding to do this.

    Chris

  74. Hey Lucky
    I want you to know I appreciate what you do. It’s hard in today’s world (and it’s not just a result of what is going in in the US…Trolls were here before President Trump sadly) to out yourself out there without some anonymous idiot stacking you. Keep up the good work. There are many like me who are small business owners who rely on your insight. Hope to see you out there in our big, beautiful, sometimes mean world!

  75. Thank you Lucky and Lucky’s team, I really appreciate this move. All those moaning about censorship and free speech need to realise it’s a blog created by individuals and it is for them to decide what comments do and don’t get posted. Those who think it’s okay to abide by racism, homophobia etc shouldn’t be given free reign to harass others.

    Love your blog and really enjoy it, and thankfully from hereon I won’t have to scroll past so many nasty and hurtful comments in the process.

  76. No, you shouldn’t censor or ban. Let the “hate” speak remain in place for all to see. Most people will recognise it for what it is and scroll past. One can’t imagine that people feel bullied by the pathetic drivel spewed out by the relatively few nutters and haters.

  77. Lucky you have one of the best blogs, keep up the informative posts. However, please don’t ban the comments, as I often find they add to your information by clarifying information or giving examples of where a deal works or may not work.

    For some reason I have not noticed the offensive and hateful comments. Either you delete them, or I must have ignored them anyhow.

    Keep writing, and please keep the comments too.

  78. @Chris:
    Definition of bully: a person who uses strength or influence to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.

    Are you saying those who push hate are the stronger and Lucky is the weaker? Really?
    Haters are not bullies but weak and ignorant.

    However, using your strength of moderating this blog and to ban the weaker who post comments would qualify under this definition.

  79. Great decision, Ben! I really enjoy reading your site and have used your tips effectively. Keep up the great content.

  80. Ben,

    I hope you might reconsider. To the extent your platform may be used by one person to defame another specific personwith objective mistatements, there is a true concern. Limiting racist, bigoted, mean comments involves some judgment about which x-ist comments justify limitation. Its your blog, of course, so you do get to choose that – until you are the government the 1st Amendment does not kick in.

    But I’d encourage you to consider that permitting such posts confirms to bigotry-deniers that bigots are out there, maybe not having the balls to articulate their thoughts in a way that would identify their identities, but, instead cowering behind the anonymity of the internet. I hope those who are personally slighted by awful comments can hold their heads high, saying “that poster does not get to dictate how I see myself”. But blocking bigoted comments confirms any perception that bigotry does not exist.

  81. Ben it’s your blog–started by you and run by you. You have 100% say in what the content is and how it is presented. You can also choose to edit or limit the comments in any way you see fit. I hate seeing the comment section littered with ad hominem attacks that do nothing to advance the discussion. It seems like Daniel was driven away after his Hong Kong hotel review post because his reviews are gone and his photo has not been posted among the contributors section for days now. Yet he’s still being attacked and his name is brought up in completely unrelated topics even today. Without some moderation this site will become a haven for bullys. It’s more work but I applaud you taking this step. It’s a shame it had to be taken

  82. DCS needs to get a BA-wide ban and all will be well. Outside of the credit card sales pimpin that goes on of course

  83. Lucky I agree with your decision. And to Matt regarding the Trump question do you not understand that this is a travel blog not a political forum. Neither I nor most people on this site really care about your political preference. So please post on another site.

  84. Wow… so much interest in this topic of banning some commentators. I would agree with @Ben. It is about time to take this action. I have always enjoyed OMAAT but lately I see a lot of hateful comments and tit-for-tat replies. I also agree with @jmd001 to have a “flag” with every comment that any reader can select to alert the moderator. And @DaninMCI, this is not a religious forum. Rather it is a travel blog kind of website. So we are not here to discuss religion. Of course we may encounter certain religious practices from different regions of the world. Lastly @Ben, thank you for providing us a truly global experience. Love for all.

  85. Your blog is a lot of fun to read (including some of the comments); your plan to censor some of the questionable, unnecessarily negative comments is perfectly reasonable response to the situation.

    I always enjoy your frank assessments of all your flights. Will you assess Rwandair or Bangkok Airways? For a short flight from Bangkok to Phnom Penh, I was impressed with Bangkok Airways – although Air Lao servea the perfectly chilled Beer Lao. As you had noted in your Air Serbia review, i like ti when carriers showcase their local brews and cuisines. your friend in Shanghai. Happy flying!

  86. Who would have thought that a blog on such a benign topic of travel would require such actions? I am a casual reader of the blog section and have noticed the problems you are addressing. Thank you

  87. I fully support lucky in doing this. No one is restricting anyone else’s freedom of speech here. If you don’t like it, then start your own blog!

  88. Was it Mae West who said that people who are easily shocked/offended should be shocked/offended more often?
    We all are way too thin-skinned, and as the result we’ll have sterile blogs, sterile yawn-inducing comment sections. Anything can offend someone.
    Your blog – your rules. But censorship is a slippery, pernicious slope. If something is not to your liking, why not just shrug it off, skip it over and move on.

  89. Yes, Yes, Yes………I wish more blogs and other forums would start blocking writers who offer nothing “on topic” and use the medium to simply bash and slander people, races, politics, etc.

    Your blog is on travel and points and miles and that is what your readers are interested in, both in the blog and the commentary.

  90. I totally support you on this.

    If people don’t like this blog …. why visit?

    There are a lot of people who are happy being miserable.

  91. Blocking hate is welcome. Blocking comments and posters who challenge your facts, highlight your hypocrisy and disagree with your conclusions is thin-skinned and obscurantist, and converts your comments section to a cheerleading festival.

    And threaded comments would be a horrible idea. This is a blog, not a discussion forum.

  92. Ben, it is about time. Your blog is fun to read, including most of the comments. But some commenters are just trolls trying to incite emotional distress. I totally agree that they should be warned and banned eventually. I think people like DCS although argumentative should not be banned because they just want to present different point of views.

  93. Ben you’re amazing, and I would stand by you 100%, even if you required everyone to exclusively comment in RHOA gifs. Thanks for being so great.

  94. I am quite new to posing here. One of the best things about the forum was the lack of censorship. Are we not all adults? Can we not ignore what we dislike? I understand that off-topic posts are a distraction but your own comment on US events shows a bias that troubles me. I love the blog. I follow some of your recommendations and even tell managers that I chose a hotel due to your blog (last week, Le Meridien Cairo, I had the exact same Executive Suite as you, for example, based in your review. Please just ask people to stay on topic. One person’s view of religious tolerance or intolerance may be the opposite of the next persons. If world events don’t scream that people are sick of censorship, nothing has been learned.

  95. Ben:

    Your blog, your rules. I support your decision to enforce comments as you see fit.

    I would also like to add to the suggestion to add threaded comments; I think that having threaded comments allows for more interaction between your readers in your comments section, as it allows for a direct reply to a comment etc. Just a thought…

  96. I’m so glad you’re doing this Lucky! I can’t stand reading comment sections when people are being hateful trolls.

  97. I absolutely support your decision. I find your blog to be informative and insightful, and I have gotten many inexpensive premium tickets and free award tickets because of your posts. Just want to acknowledge that I, and I imagine many others, appreciate your hard work here.

  98. Fake News . 90% of what you “report” is inaccurate.

    Nothing to do with anybody’s outlook being negative. Simple fact.

    You should preface everything by saying. I’m a guy who doesn’t even know where I live.

  99. 1 Tim 1:9-11: We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

    Lucky just banned God from posting on his blog.
    I am not a homosexual hater at all. I wish the bible never had this in it. But not my call. God said it. I stand with God and call it what God called it: sin.

    Ban me with God. If anyone has an argument against homosexuality being a sin show me bible verse. God is the only one who determines sin. I don’t and neither does any blogger or poster.
    I don’t say this with any malice. Just staing fact and quoting my source.

  100. Bravo @OMAAT!

    There are people who cannot tell the difference between comments that are personal attacks or at the border of acceptable social norms, and comments that are on topic or relevant to this discussion board but they disagree with. The former are banish-able while the latter are not. It is the very basis of freedom of speech or expression. Just because one has the freedom of speech does not make hateful, homophobic, racist, personal attacks, etc, acceptable or protected speech. On the other, to get all bent out of shape because of speech that is none of the preceding but one simply disagrees with is what the first amendment was designed to protect. That is why someone who believes the following is likely to step out of bound again and again and should monitored closely:

    “Would love this to include some other notorious posters who take their opinion and post it as “fake news”, even though it lacks any basis in fact…we all know who this is.”

    Regardless of what Trump says, even “fake news”, which is fake simply because he disagrees with it or it points out some inconvenient truths, is protected speech. Likewise, opinions, which EVERYONE has, if they are not at the border of acceptable norms, are protected speech. On the other hand, opinions that target others personally and could even harm them infringe upon other people’s rights and “turf” and are thus not protected speech.

    Thought of the day:
    “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

    The “what” above includes dissenting opinions/comments that are within normal bounds, but excludes that are “racist, religiously intolerant, sexist, homophobic, use bad language to label people, etc…”

    Well done, @Ben and @OMAAT, for deciding to address something that’s been happening at an alarmingly high frequency. It might reflect the status of America out there today, but there is no reason it should be tolerated here, especially since it is barely tolerable out there for most…

    Cheers!

  101. @Fathiss

    This may come as a shock to you but not everyone believes in a God or any other Supreme Being. Stick to religious websites and blogs if you’re not happy with Ben’s decision

  102. @ Alinsfca: ” I think people like DCS although argumentative should not be banned because they just want to present different point of views.”

    Seeming “argumentative” would be more accurate, precisely because the point of views are different, but I will say “amen” to that. However, I suspect that @Lucky and @OMAAT do know that I am not a troll, so I am think I am safe. This is a public forum for exchanging ideas and views and not a cult or an “amen chorus” that lets in only sycophants. Were the blog interested only in hearing from sycophants, it would have a subscription and a tight policy about what types of comments would be allowed.

    G’day!

  103. As far as I know, people are not forced to read anything on the OMAAT blog. I am able to pick and choose the articles I’m most interested in. If I start reading and find it doesn’t interest me, I move on without complaining. If Lucky or other OMAAT team members write about a topic you don’t like, agree with, or find boring, don’t read it.

    This blog is owned and run by Lucky so first amendment rights do not apply. He can do what he wants.

  104. I have very mixed feelings about it. I think most readers are smart enough to just ignore the hate comments but on the other hand you have family and a boyfriend and I am not sure how thick skinned all of them are. At the end of the day it is your blog but 50% of the value I get from your blog is in the comments section.

    It is a very slippery slope you are on and what stops you then from blocking people that show better deals (and therefore taking revenue away from you) or call you out to show more information (I for one would be interested how you get all the miles you are spending without manufactured spend, I assume a lot of them are purchased and it would be nice to know this for our own decision making).

    I would very much prefer if the moderation is done in a way to only call out the worst offenses but still stay ‘light’ on the moderation. I think your comment section is one of your competitive advantages compared to other bloggers that are a lot more ham-fisted and it gives more of an impression that you get real information here. I use the comments to make sure a credit card deal you show is really the best one and if I can’t be sure anymore because comments are censored you will loose trust.

  105. @Fathiss

    Not at all – just stating a truism. You’re the one claiming your God has been banned from Ben’s blog. It’s an aviation/travel blog, nothing to do with religion, hence my suggestion to post elsewhere if you’re not willing to stay on topic here with your posts

    PS Ben, agree 100% with your intent to moderate the blog

  106. @ J Dee,
    the facts don’t support your argument, but these days we know facts are irrelevant on both sides.
    I enjoy Ben’s blogs even though I am a casual reader. But not all he writes is about travel. For example, this one. I clicked on it because it is so out of the norm from most.
    My post is on topic with the subject. You just don’t like it, disagree and want me to go elsewhere.
    This is the problem we have today with such a divisive country. Everyone thinks they have the moral high ground.
    You only see what you want to see and you become the very thing you come across as opposing, a closed minded hater of others who disagree with you.

  107. I don’t ever read the comments. I do however agree with @jason. You adore Dubai, but overlook the fact that they stand for what you are trying to eradicate from your blog.

  108. All I can say is wow, people!
    Ben is just asking all of us to stick to the posted topics in ways that are non-hateful.
    OMAAT is a travel blog and comments should stay related to travel.
    Everyone, enjoy your week.

  109. Great! Free press does not mean lack of respect. Ben, keep the standard of your blog high but bringing up good content and interesting discussions. Negative and disrespectful comments have other places to go!!!!

  110. Thanks Lucky! I was on the verge of stopping reading this blog due to some of the statements posted by others. Great job!

  111. @Fathiss.

    Not everyone believes in your magic fairy tales so go to some website which caters to your ilk.
    The Bible also says woman are subservient to men so get your fat ass back in the kitchen and leave us men be.

  112. Hate comments are everywhere. I guess people just need to remember why they are even on the blog site in the first place. I’m sure most of us are here because we would like to learn about travel tips and tricks and more and read the interesting stories that are posted for our own enlightenment. I 100% support filtering the comments. Even on our blog which we just started there was a few of it as well and we’ve just only started! On a side note if you are an American and love to travel then do check out our blog as well. We might have something interesting for you to read 🙂 Cheers to more travels and peace.

    Qrovado

  113. It’s correct for you to “phrase” trolls out. Do they speak like this at their jobs, with their friends and families? Who could stomach it for long?
    My take: if a topic is (for example) politically oriented, by all means comment accordingly. But enough of the Clinton this and Trump that ad nauseum everyday all over the place. It’s boring.

  114. It makes sense and I only wonder why it took so long but like others I think it would be a good idea to switch to a recognised tool for handling comments, such as Disqus. This would allow comments to be threaded and flagged. It’s ironic that most other loyalty blogs generate far less comments than yours (usually single figures) yet they all seem to have threaded comment support.

  115. I’m only interested in airplane-related stuff, not attacks or garbage. I’m all for getting rid of the bad guys. I’ve stopped reading comments here entirely, frankly, but in my “defense” that’s partly because you’ve gotten a LOT more popular since I started following your antics. The closet years, in fact. 🙂 Don’t let anybody get you down. It’s your site.

  116. @DCS Said…

    Thought of the day:
    “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”…

    He is utterly full of it. Time and again people have countered his blindingly pro-Hilton fanboydom only to be talked down to as if a 3 year old and slapped with a “you’re just too stupid for me” that he won’t bother at all to disguise. I’m all for banning trolls like @Mark @me @Melissa. Too bad there’s no way to filter out @DCS’s page-long treatises on the merits of Hilton Honors whenever he gets a whiff of Starwood in the post. I suppose when Honors hits its next big deval, @DCS will just self-censor himself.

  117. While I don’t agree at all with blocking comments and censoring speech you don’t agree with, I applaud you for at least being upfront about it. Hopefully you stay consistent and don’t just randomly choose what to and not to block.

  118. How about banning political intolerance as well?

    The MSM is chock full of anti-Trump nonsense. People who voted for him, quite a few of whom are registered Democrats, and in some cases even long time Union members, are just sick of hearing it constantly.

    I know this is even true for quite a few people who didn’t vote for him. I’ve seen and heard “I didn’t vote for him, but he’s the POTUS now, and I hope for all of our sakes that he does a good job” in quite a few different places.

    I had to turn off the Oscars last night after only about 5 minutes because 3 minutes of that was unhumorous out and out Trump bashing. Hearing it constantly just gets very tedious. 🙁

    People like Matt who put in useless comments like:

    “I think people like you should be deported. I am calling ICE!”
    “Ya, ya, ya, Trumpsters are pendejos…ya, ya Trump is fascist Nazi….ya”

    do not add anything to any conversation. That would be true even if this was in fact a blog about politics, which it certainly isn’t. And using Spanish profanity instead of English doesn’t make it any better.

    And that goes for both sides:

    Vox Reasonus says:
    “Fake News . 90% of what you “report” is inaccurate.
    Nothing to do with anybody’s outlook being negative. Simple fact.
    You should preface everything by saying. I’m a guy who doesn’t even know where I live.”

    and of course anything by Melissa, are equally a waste of time spent scrolling past.

    There was a free and mostly fair election, Trump won, Hillary, Barry, Jill and Gary lost. As Obama said a few years ago “elections have consequences”. So at least on this blog let’s all just get over it and talk about travel, miles, points, credit cards, airline hard and soft products, hotels etc, And leave the pro and anti Trump blather to Huffington Post and Breitbart….

    So please, ban the trolls who constantly throw in political garbage, from either side. Because once they do that, someone from the other side is going to feel they need to denounce that, (I know I have felt that way), and the squabbling that ensues is not going to make anyone’s day any better…. 😉

  119. So occasional offender Johnny Mac scrolls through a hundred of so posts to inform us he doesn’t read these posts! Maybe he couldn’t resist just this once since he thought he would get a dishonorable mention? And couldn’t resist getting in a person homophobic jibe, and a bizzare tangental defence of the steaming pile that the republican party now is. Please add him to your banned list, and his inevitable Medusa-like attempts at reincarnation. Congrats, Ben, on finally taking this decision!

  120. @Chancer – couldn’t agree more. Seems like DCS is leading by a good margin for “most requested to be banned”…LOL.

    And it has nothing to do w/his “contrary opinion”, and everything to do with his lies, his turning every thread (no matter the topic) into a pro-Hilton / anti-SPG one, etc.

  121. @ glenn t Are you really so un-self-aware that you don’t realize your comment:
    “the steaming pile that the (fill in the blank) now is”…
    is exactly the type of comment most of us are hoping to have banned? 🙁

  122. I support that decision. Very smart. Your blog is supposed to be enjoyed by your readers and fans, who enjoy your travel experiences. Its not a place for nasty comments. I was actually going to comment back to someone yesterday about his “many wealthy jews in NY” comment, relating to UA’s 777-300 route, but decided not give his comment any further attention. Definitely agree with your wish to keep politics, color, race, religion, sexual preference, and others such stuff out of your blog. Thank You, Ben. Very considerate of you.

  123. Trying hard to decide if I should make a white supremacy joke or say that this is starting to look like the comment section on a YouTube video about 9/11.

  124. Censor away! I come to this site not to listen to politics or other crap. I come to learn about people’s travel experiences and how I may benefit from them (and maybe put my 2 cents occasionally). If I want to hear people’s hateful thoughts on religion/sex/animals/politics/environment/etc, we have the 2 political parties, CNN, Fox News, newspapers, and other anti-whatever groups for that.

    The only complaining I want to hear here is why I haven’t received my miles yet from American Airlines for flying Royal Jordanian last month to Amman? (grumble grumble… no wonder why I mainly fly Delta).

  125. Here are two posters who won’t relent and are basically thumbing their cyber-noses at @OMAAT, daring the site to ban them. I know because one of the posters actually dared @Gary Leff to delete a post of his disparaging me if he (@Gary) disagreed with it, and @Gary did delete it. He’s. In fact, VFTW has put its foot down and won’t let this poster get away with the unhinged comments and behavior. It’s worked so far…

    The Culprits, ladies and gents, who are so obsessed with DCS, threats of expulsion won’t deter them:

    @Chancer on February 27, 2017 at 11:15 am, who can’t certainly figure out how to skip over a post.
    @UA-NYC on February 27, 2017 at 1:39 pm

  126. @UA-NYC: “Seems like DCS is leading by a good margin for “most requested to be banned”…LOL.”

    What is funny is that I am going to wipe that smile off your mug, since the only way you survive is by constantly fantasizing that everyone is on your crusade against DCS (the old ad populi fallacy).

    Well, right now, there are 186 comments and only 4 have requested that DCS be banned and 2 of those are yours. One explicitly condemned talks of banning DCS, so there is just 1 net post requesting that DCS to be banned. Sorry 🙁

  127. LOL whatever you say old man…guy who posted in the Hyatt thread you hijacked agreed with me as well. I’ll continue to call you out whenever you post a lie (as I did after that VFTW post, and of course Gary left it as is). And congrats, it’s you and the racists who have been publicly named in this thread multiple times, great company you’re in.

  128. Kind of like you repeatedly lying about SPG/Starwood and thinking no one will call you out on it. Your list of lies and obfuscations is so long my fingers would get tired typing all of them.

  129. I think it’s some times difficult to create the balance of allowing comments that a critical, or of a different point of view to tolerating comments that are made just to stir the pot. Those comments tend to be of a political natural and both sides ( but likely the same commentor with using different names pretending to play both sides, but REALLY just trying to make trouble).

    The there are others who are just incredibly unnecessarily rude and hateful.

    I think you will be busy weeding some of the comments out.

  130. @ Robert Hanson

    I agree with you. While I don’t find political comments generally necessary on a travel blog in general with the exception of how safe it is to travel to certain regions, travel restrictions or things to be aware of ect, it seems like many of the overly political comments are done to troll and cause strife. I tend to ignore them but has it’s way of high hacking any fun or informative discussions .

  131. Overall i think this has been a long time coming. I think your perspective is right as well. Please ban people who show a blatant / offensive disrespect for others, but leave those who just offer dissenting opinions. Also, even though threaded comments on disqus are great, it sucks as a whole. Finally, for the record i think DCS is usually pretty articulate and for the most part makes valid points.

  132. I think this is a good move – thank you. While I agree with the principle of allowing dissenting opinions, ultimately the blog needs to be enjoyed by your readers. And in my opinion, the nastiness doesn’t add any value.

  133. I think the comments on this blog post answer your question. In fact many, including people like @Linda , didn’t even get the irony of my original statement above regarding religion. They assume what religion I mentioned would be Christianity when it could just as easily be Muslim.
    When you have a blog you are able to censor it of course. It’s like free speech. On the other hand Censorship is a tough subject. It’s like calling someone a terrorist or a racist because you don’t agree with them. Most of the readers of this blog won’t even know if there is censorship going on. Of course they don’t recognize censorship when they read USA Today either.

  134. I support your decision 100%. I don’t understand the hostile and vile comments. You are never that way so why should there be comments like that. You write about the travel industry. Vile comments have no place here. Move along if you feel otherwise.

  135. Yea! Am also in favor of an”alert the moderator” would save you a great deal of time!
    As a side note, I was simply amazed how many directions the comments above took!
    Seriously people, as the English teacher said, stay on topic!

  136. DaninMCI I don’t care what “religion” and I didn’t assume Christianity. Religion, or “sincerely held religious beliefs ” have NO place on this blog in my opinion. To me, it’s not about you and your homophobic beliefs or honestly any moral/religious/bigoted opinions. It’s about travel. Geez!!!!

  137. @Adam:” Finally, for the record i think DCS is usually pretty articulate and for the most part makes valid points.”

    Amen, mate, especially since it is very brave to say in this virtual “lion’s den”, since it is like drawing a target on yourself and inviting the unhinged elements of the forum to fire at will ;-). In fact, it deserves another ‘amen’.

    Cheers!

  138. Are you also going to stop posting intentionally inflammatory, clickbait-y content? I understand you not wanting to be attacked, but by attempting to wade into topics that create discontent, you kind of invite trolls.

  139. I support your decision to ban offensive comments. also please ban the trolls such as Credit, Debit, DCS and Melissa.

  140. @Marco – I totally agree!

    Let’s all focus on sharing opinions, feedback and thoughts on travel-related experiences. We can all learn a lot when keeping it focused and it’s great to share neutral, factual information about travel that we can all benefit from (or maybe need to avoid).

    Thanks for the insightful blog!

  141. @Robert Hanson

    Be careful what you wish for amigo. You fit the bill of a Trump-troll big time! Definitely low energy comments from you…

  142. @S93 is clueless, does not contribute to any discussion and must be banned. How do we know? Simple. He/she/it is clearly very stupid for believing that “Melissa” and DCS are in the same boat. Jest sayin…

  143. @Robert Hansen

    Don’t flatter yourself that you speak for most people on this blog. That is like Trump saying everyone loves him despite what “fake news” media says in their polls.

  144. I suggest you put post moderation to the comment who does not have relevancy at all with the subject of the thread.

  145. I love that the worst “troll” you guys are calling out is the one that’s blatantly in the Hilton camp instead of the Hyatt/SPG camp. Only in our world would these be “religions” much like the Apple/Android debate rages on tech blogs everywhere.

    FWIW, Points With A Crew recently had to ban some from his #Slack channel for generally being haters and trolls. The #general channel was full of Trump haters so much that everyone else was clamoring to #makegeneralgreatagain.

    Hate has no place on here, and that includes calling people “bigots and racists” who don’t agree with you. I was recently told on Facebook, “Figures that someone from Texas would say that. I bet you think the earth is flat too!” Of course the irony was that when they said that, I was in the process of boarding the CX ORD-HKG flight, over the North pole.
    Let’s all hope that all of this travel opens all of our hearts, minds, and beliefs, and stops us from trying to pass judgement on those we don’t know. But in the meantime – back to the points and miles people!!

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