Some intensely competitive elections are coming up in Iowa, and naturally, Bleeding Heartland readers will have different preferences regarding the best Democratic candidate for governor, first Congressional district, or other races. I noticed some problems with comment ratings on this post about the Des Moines City Council at-large election, which pits two well-liked Democrats against each other.
It's time for another reminder about the rules for rating comments at Bleeding Heartland, so I've posted them after the jump. "Zero" ratings can lead to comments being hidden from view and should not be used to signal your disagreement with the commenter. Doing so is ratings abuse. A "2" is sufficient to show that you strongly disagree with the person. If you have applied a 1 or zero rating to a comment based solely on your opinion, please go back to that diary and remove your rating from the comment.
You don't have to rate comments, but if you do, you can give five possible ratings.
"4" is for excellent. That means the comment has valuable insight, original information or analysis, and makes a strong contribution to dialogue at Bleeding Heartland.
"3" is for good. You might use this if you largely agree with someone's comment, but not with every point he or she makes.
"2" is for marginal. You might use this if you strongly disagree with the content of someone's comment. Also, a 2 rating could be a "shot across the bow" to warn someone that the line of argument in the comment didn't do much to advance dialogue here, or comes close to crossing a line.
"1" is for unproductive. If you not only strongly disagree with a comment, but feel that it detracts from the atmosphere here (for instance, because it is disrespectful or contains ad hominem attacks), you might give it a 1.
"0" is for troll. If more than one user gives a comment a zero or 1, it will be hidden so that some Bleeding Heartland readers cannot see it.
Never use a zero rating to express disagreement with the argument someone is making. That is ratings abuse, and if you do it repeatedly, the Bleeding Heartland administrator may either take away your ability to rate comments or ban you from posting here.
A zero rating should be reserved for extreme circumstances, when the comment deserves to be hidden. For instance, if someone is impersonating someone else by choosing a real person's name as a screen name (for instance, posting ridiculous comments pretending to come from "Jack Hatch" or "Tyler Olson" or "Monica Vernon" or "Pat Murphy").
Comments that use racist or bigoted language or expose personal information about a Bleeding Heartland user also would merit a zero.