I don't know where to say this, however there is no other way for me to post my concerns and I do not want to complain to Gawker Media and get the authors in trouble. I do not want it to appear that I'm insulting or attacking the authors, I respect all the author's opinions and viewpoints and do not want this to seem personal.
I feel that many of the authors are not pulling their own weight and doing their duty of approving the comment sections. Now this isn't to say all the authors are ignoring this, both Lauren Davis and Charlie Anders are both doing so which I applaud and thank, going through hundreds of comments and approving the good ones must not be the most exciting of tasks and risking finding one of those troll/hate posts must not be the most happiest of thoughts.
However, other Authors do not seem to be doing their jobs of making sure the good comments are getting through. Robbie Gonzalez seems to be the worst as it seems he is not doing this at all (If I'm wrong please inform me and I apologies) as I watched both the Chocolate lego thread and the Film Texting for over 1:30 hrs each and the only grey comments that are getting approved are ones done by the followed users (again please tell me if I'm wrong, I would really be happy to be wrong). Annalee and Meredith are approving some, but I feel many informative and witty comments are still getting missed out and I cannot make a judgment on Rob as I cannot tell if it's him or the users who are approving them but still a lot of the vast majority of good comments are getting ignored.
The reason I care so much about this is that though I wasn't on io9 when the last grey era was about, I was on Kotaku which its comment section was dreadful, only about 5% of the comments were approved and it was clear the authors were not bothering to go through the comments at all. Not helped was that there was this clear sense of elitism (sometimes incredibly extreme) from many of the followed users and a good chunk of the approved comments were incredibly trollish.
When I found io9, I instantly found the site a great haven of fun and information (basically the website equivalent to a Terry Deary book). However what drew me in the most was the sense of community that io9 had. The comment sections are rich with both witty and clever insight and were always there to help me with understanding the articles and personal advice. There was no elitism, no hate and nearly no trolling. You can't believe how handy io9 was when you're on a film set for 14 hours straight and you've heard the same scene over 57 times, it helps seeing great and informative comments to keep ones sanity and not go on a murder spree with the clapper.
However, since the pending system has been brought back I've felt that the sense of community, the wit, the insight has been diminished. On Observation Deck, many of the signs of the elitism that plagued Kotaku are beginning to emerge. Many of the most insightful commenters are now stuck in the grey where they are being ignored (I'm incredibly shocked in how and why so many of them were not being followed already) due to users being scared of seeing the trolls and haters when looking through the pending comments and a good chunk of them have disappeared entirely. There is also far less communication happening in the comments and less of the informative nature that drew me into the site in the first place.
I realize I may have unintentionally insulted many of the authors and guarantied my chances for ever being a followed user to 0%, this wasn't my intention and please correct me if I am wrong. I do plea to the authors though that you make sure all the comments that are not trolls and haters get through please. The comment section of io9 were some of the finest works of community I have ever seen on the internet and proves that comment sections can be great forms of expression. Io9 commenters were the shining stars of all of Gawker and shows that comment sections don't have to be pools of crime and villainy that many comedians say they are. However the longer this grey era lasts (which yes I know the reason for), the less and less I've seen of this great achievement. It's slowly fading away as users are scared to see comments and the site and the site I feel in love with fades away.