Editor’s Note: The following is the letter from the editors from the April newsletter, it’s worth repeating.

This isn’t a warning and our policies aren’t changing. This is a plea, a plea for a bit more consideration.

We pride ourselves on running a website that can present two sides to a conservation. We do not believe that every cigar is great, or even good. We try to champion this sort of open dialogue that is oftentimes absent from the conversation about cigars and that extends directly into our comments section. We are also proud that of the fact that we have commenters who aren’t afraid to speak their minds, even when it’s in complete disagreement with us.

However, over the past few weeks, we have noticed an uptick in the antagonist comments. We don’t remove very many comments and we haven’t removed anymore lately than in the past, but we are spending a lot of times dealing with the comments. For a website that deals with a product that is not at all for children, it’s disheartening that some of our comments are becoming increasingly childish.

Criticism is fine, we like it. Disagreeing is fine, we also like that. However, trolling and deliberately antagonistic comments—when done with repetition—have become problematic lately. We get complaints from manufacturers and retailers over what is in the comments section, and we stand up for you, but some times it’s difficult.

When the comment is just critical, our defense of you—and what you say—is really easy. When it’s clear someone was taking a shot, and just for the sake of some name-calling, we can’t really defend what you say—only that we think you have the right to say it—which we do. However, some self-moderation would be helpful as lately the problem has begun to eat up hours of our weeks dealing with the complaints and it’s not fun. It’s not every comment, or event the majority of them, but it is becoming a noticeable portion of them.

It’s the internet, we get it. However, we feel like we have something special with halfwheel. Numerous industry people partake in our comments section on a regular basis, and that’s not the norm in most other industries or websites. There’s a direct interaction that this industry fosters and one that we have asked others to embrace. But, the space is a lot less appealing when it looks like fourth grade recess.

The cigar industry as a whole has not embraced the idea of criticism. There is a sense, albeit not universal, that the people who make the product are the only ones capable of truly understanding the product. For some, it’s not just the consumers that don’t know anything about cigars, but it’s also the retailers and even their own reps. Real criticism is not something these people have had to deal with in the past and it’s not something they are taking kindly too. We are trying to change that, not just from our standpoint, but also by allowing our readers voices to be heard with as little interference as possible.

It would help our cause if the criticisms in the comment sections were a bit more mature and a bit more tactful. But, it will also help your own causes a lot more. This sort of constructive dialogue between manufacturer and consumer is something that needs to happen and we think we are a space for it to take place.

We aren’t changing our policies, we don’t think there’s anything wrong with them. All we are asking for is a bit more sensible behavior on the internet.

We know, it’s a lot to ask for.

brooks/charlie

 

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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.