Dezeen debate: should we block
negative comments?



In the first of what we hope will become a regular series of debates, we want our readers to tell us if, and how, we should clamp down on the types of comments we allow people post on our stories.


We're proud that Dezeen hosts the most vibrant and passionate debate about architecture and design on the internet but some people like to make critical, negative or even rude statements about designers' work (or even designers themselves). Which isn't much fun for those being criticised.


We're all for freedom of expression and we don't want our comments sections to become as bland as those on other sites. But we set up Dezeen to support designers, not undermine them, so should we allow readers to slag off designs and designers they don't like? Or should we be more selective in the comments we allow to appear on the site? Should readers have to register before then can comment, or should we make them publish their real names? Should we block comments that don't contribute to a meaningful debate, or should we operate an "anything goes" policy?


Some of our readers certainly think the negativity has gone too far: the quotations in the graphics here are from recent discussions on Dezeen. Click on the graphics to see the stories they relate to.


We welcome your opinions and we hope to come up with a stated policy on acceptable comments soon. Please use the comments section below to tell us what you think - just don't be abusive!


Posted on Wednesday October 15th 2008 at 5:55 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • haloloop

    Censorship is always a bad thing. Remove all the posts or leave them as they come.

  • amsam

    I love the argumentative comments.

    It would deepen the conversation to have commenters register, with a link to their other comments. Lousy comments should be user-flagged a la YouTube. The community is wiser than a single adjudicator.


  • mvb

    I think everybody can express opinions with respect. If a comment is deliberately offensive it should be blocked.

  • xtiaan


  • bokem

    why do you need debate for that ? do it !

  • Név*

    Although, I havent read the comments above (sorry but I just dont have that time now), I’d welcome to moderate the comments in most cases.

    For example, when a new design by Zaha cames out and published on the site there will be a shitload of comments saying nothing (not just negative!), like: “booooring”, “the same old curves”, and “this is not architecture”, as some of you said the designers have to be criticised as to become better, but who the hell will came out with better designs due to these comments even if he reads dezeen, not like Zaha.

    Some of you have also mentioned the free speech, and yeah I do believe, that it’s a good thing, but not on dezeen, where if I would like to read the comments it takes at least 10-20 minutes (in posts with lots of comments (in most cases Zaha is behind that too:D)) to read them, and most of these comments say really nothing and repeating themselves or just incredibly stupid, so it’s a waste of time, and becouse of them I tend not to read them at all, although there could be interesting arguments if everyone would try to SAY SOMETHING.

  • Tellsitlikeitis

    Without negative and sarcastic comments i would not visit Dezeen anymore. They spice things up and nobody is forced to read them. Designers who want to publish their work and dont mind having their stuff on Dezeen should in return grow a pair. What whining whiners they are. Jeezus.

  • hun

    I think it is quite awkward this discussion. I found that your own writer in her private block describes how she enjoys going to Zaha designed bar and drink, but at the same time finds her design so boooring… In my opinion design should be considered seriously and if you want to write or speak about first you should have information.
    I am sure it is difficult to filter the comments. However yesterday I visited your website and the comments that I came across were all positive. Then I felt like I begin to loose my trust towards your website. The best thing is cutting the offensive and rude criticism and be selective, more professional and real.

  • Jonass

    The worst criticism is no criticism at all!!

  • Q


  • dc

    Just an introductory note to say that I haven’t read most of the comments above.

    That said, I would like to address the issue: should Dezeen block negative comments?
    Most of us would assume in good faith that open blogs are a form of democratic space. And therefore, in principle, they establish a positive contribution to the exchange of ideas. But is it, really?
    Maybe we should confront ourselves with the facts of this virtual reality. In many cases, this openness promotes the degradation of the debate, favouring the expression of many forms of intellectual and moral mediocrity.
    Many commentators express some sort of scandal towards moderated blogs. So here’s a new kind of pseudo-democrat. Someone who jumps into somebody else’s space – because this is a space that someone else has opened to them – and claims the right to launch the most bitter and aggressive words. So how do we ignore the fact that, under the puritan claim of defending democracy, small dictatorial minds are proliferating that have lost the most plain – and enjoyable – pleasure of thinking?
    Many seem to forget that the exercise of any right contains the responsibility, individual and collective, towards others. So what’s at stake here isn’t the right to express diversified points of view, the right to disagree. The issue is, paraphrasing Rebecca Blood, that there’s a big difference between stating that “this project fails for this and that reason” and saying that “this project sucks”, or even worse, “this architect/designer sucks”.

  • Sam

    they’re all negative…

  • jdirt

    this site seems to suffer from too many art critics and not enough artists.

    for those of us that design or create art for a living…would you verbally attack a client if they didn’t like the work you were submitting? no.

    would your client attack your character or personality if they didn’t like your work? no.

    would you try to sway their opinion to align with your vision though intelligent discussion? yes.

    it’s called professionalism.

    criticism is an everyday part of any professional designer/architect/artists world. it’s 100% acceptable to express your opinion as to why you like or dislike something. don’t just post “booooring” or “this is terrible”…try to express your distaste with meaningful relevant thought. it’s pretty easy to say “that’s crap”. it takes a brain to express why you don’t like it and make a valid point.

  • freedom of speech, but with accountability…

    if you feel compelled to drop a flaming bag of shit on the doorstep of a designer you disagree with, man up and stand there until they answer the door instead of running away like a little child and hiding behind a bush!

    I would like to see registered feedback and a rating scheme would add additional interest…

  • This is not a question which you should be asking your readers. It is a simple matter of how you like to position your blog or Ezine. With every policy you make or don’t make you determine the crowd you will attract.

  • I liked the way you comment on projects. Simple, brief and clear… and interesting.
    Really we were bored of common comments, either making the designers big stars of success of making them the biggest losers… Then, where was the reality?

  • Jynn

    I’d say to leave the comments. There are the few that do offer insightful critiques that I find it is worth having than not to see it at all. If anything, remove the comments that are directly harmful and do not promote encouraging/constructive criticism. Maybe you could also have registered users for comments, if they continue to be detrimental to the designer’s work then after a given amount of chances, ban him from commenting.

  • jóse jones

    as the bubble say: “did you even bother to read the description?”

  • kle

    Noooo, don’t make it with log-in for members..!!
    One of the reasons I come here is because I can quickly react and I am free to do that.

    By the other hand, I find negative comments really useful ! I was reading articles here all day, and to be honest, most of the negative comments helped me have a better judgement over the qualities of the projects. weird ? Not all of them are fair, but I can judge about them on my own…I do not need censorship to remove them for me…

  • On many occasions negative comments can seem completely in just to the designers they are making the statement too. What I do like about them is addressing them in a positive manner. Designer are going to read them and are not going to like or agree with them but even if they are not constructive for the designers I think it lets the designer learn how to determine which ones are productive comments.

    These are things all professional designer are going to face through the course of their careers. That is not say the readers of Dezeen should not be more responsible when making comments and do their best to be constructive and not negative; for ultimately it’s that the point of design no matter what field one is practicing in. Try to expand the minds of everyone and teach people to be more excepting of new and different concepts that could be better for society.

    So far my experience with Dezeen has been nothing but positive and I believe I have provided great support to some designers that will surely be well known in the near future. Thank you Dezeen for expanding minds. Please, leave the comments the way they are and hopefully we will learn for ourselves how to deal with them and each other in a positive manner.