I’ve attempted to keep things to a dull roar over the past couple of weeks. Between health, non-blog commitments and the simple fact that the hockey season actually gets quite hectic in June and early July, I was hoping to take advantage of the quiet period to recharge my batteries and gear up for the draft.
That’s not how things have gone, and that’s because the comments section has taken on a life of its own. I would’ve liked to keep things private regarding policing the troublemakers and secondary troublemakers, but I believe that would be ineffective, so:
1. The comments section on this website is not yours. This website is not yours. You are guests of the proprietor–that’s me, I own this website–and and you are guests of the community.
2. This website and its comments section are not about you. You are not more important than the blog. In fact, I’m not more important than the blog. The most important thing is the Detroit Red Wings and the news about hockey. Then comes the person who is still paying the vast majority of the bills, then come the people who are paying the bills, then comes the community of readers.
3. This website’s proprietor expects his guests to conduct themselves with propriety, and to bring all concerns directly to me. I prefer to keep things private in terms of policing the comments section (so emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org, contacting me on Twitter or Facebook is preferred when problems arise), but I am the police, judge and executioner.
You are the jury, but as this is a benevolent dictatorship, the proprietor chooses to retain his ability to make executive decisions as necessary.
Among the community of readers (and this is a partial, rant-laden list at best):
- Attempting to transform every article into a personal narrative will no longer be welcome. Ken Holland is not going to come down from his office at Little Caesars Arena if every damn moment of blog content is catastrophized and turned into a critique of the front office, coaching staff or player personnel.
- Negativity is part of criticism, I get that, but pervasive negativity is simply unnecessary. It’s sports, and neither you nor I are in control of the management, coaching or player personnel of the Detroit Red Wings, which is frustrating from time to time. I get that. Part of commenting is venting, and I get that. But CALM the F*** DOWN if all you’re going to do is yell and scream–and DON’T. The Red Wings are not about pleasing you, and they’re not about pleasing me, either.
- Just as I do not expect the comments section to devolve into, “It’s all about me,” I will not accept harassment or haranguement of fellow commenters for any reason (even if their conduct might “deserve” it). If someone becomes an unpopular opinion-maker among the community, that doesn’t mean that they should become a punching bag. Grow up and treat each other like adults, even if you’re not best pals. That’s what a community ideally does–that’s what a community ideally IS, a community of dissenting but respectful individuals, who disagree but f***ing live with it.
- Along those lines, the comments section is not your to “win” or “lose.” If you’re going to go and nip at people’s heels by commenting after every comment to attempt to bully the comments section into agreeing with your and only your opinion, you’re wasting time…
- And there is nothing I hate more than people who waste each other’s time. I assume that you don’t have the time to waste being a dick to others for being a dick’s sake, and I assume that other people don’t have time to waste being a dick back. The news cycle is fast, there’s a lot of information to digest most days and if you have too much time on your hands, get another hobby.
- In fact, if you have too much time on your hands, and your plan is to get into as many arguments as possible and piss off as many people as possible, this is probably not the site for you. And you’re not going to be tolerated simply because you’re escaping boredom by being an asshole. You don’t get to be a bully for shits and giggles’ sake.
- Assholes who call other people names, use epithets, harass or harangue can find other people on other websites to annoy. Racism, sexism, absolutism, the vast majority of small-minded-call-people-names “isms” or rhetorical “isms” aren’t welcome here.
- Unpopular opinions are welcome within reason. This is a hockey blog, so if you’re not a fan of the Red Wings’ player personnel decisions, for example, you’ve probably got friends here…
- But at the same time, hammering an opinion into the ground and resuscitating it in every damn topic like you’re scraping the mush you’ve beaten off the floor to throw at people is NOT COOL. Make your point and get over it.
- Specifically, there’s one topic that is evident to everyone: the Red Wings have made terrible decisions regarding player personnel contracts over the last couple of years. If Gustav Nyquist wins the World Championship, and I post an entry about it, that’s probably not the place to bring up the fact that Frans Nielsen, Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm make too much money. We get it. In the words of Monty Python, make your point once and GET ON WITH IT. This specific topic is old to begin with, and everyone knows it. We don’t need to be reminded in EVERY TOPIC that the GM has been a dolt.
- However, and in general, it is EXPECTED that disagreement and dissent are part of the talking-about-sports discourse, and that means that you and I both have to live with and share the community with people with whom we disagree. In my universe, that’s part of being an adult.
- In other words, if you really, really can’t stand other people’s opinions, this whole comments section business really, really isn’t for you. You might want to get a Livejournal or Tumblr or something to vent to the universe instead if you don’t want to live with not everyone agreeing with you.
- And put bluntly:
- Your conduct and your comments determine whether you stay here or whether you will be asked to leave, and then banned. I can’t block you from viewing my website, and I don’t want to do that to begin with, but I can ban you from commenting, and if I have to do it, I will not hesitate.
- As you might imagine, as it stands this evening, there are a couple members of the community who, for various reasons regarding conduct and comments, are in severe danger of being banned.
- I have spoken with several people in private, both from the general community and from the those who’ve misbehaved, and I have tried to give second and even third chances to a couple of people, and they’re not working. That’s not going to happen any more.
- Along those lines, if you or anyone you know is interested in formalizing a code of conduct for this blog, the community of readers is small, but I feel that it might be a valuable use of time to create equitable ground rules beyond my, “Be a grown-up and get over yourself” theme here, and if you’ve got experience in that regard, I welcome suggestions to that end.
- The truth of the matter and the bottom line? I am currently working anywhere from 30-60 hours a week on this blog, with my workload depending on the day. June and its draft and development camp will yield some of the busiest work of the entire year, and I will not have time to read and respond to every comment, and it is with that acknowledgment that I have to effectively deputize the members of the commenting community to police themselves…
- Understanding that you are guests here, that you are expected to act like respectful adults in the face of disagreement and perhaps even dislike of the other person, and accepting that, from this moment forward, the person in charge of the blog will no longer be a “soft touch.”
- I answer to you because I choose to do so, but ultimately this blog is paid for by me and my supporters, and when the people who help pay the freight are telling me that the community is being dragged down–and that my earning potential as someone who is providing commercial-free content is being dragged down because the comments section is malfunctioning–it’s time to nip this shit in the bud and move on with trying to build the blog.
- As this blog awakens, I hope that the logo contest (still alive, still accepting submissions), blog design work and fundraising (haven’t asked for help in too long, methinks) will become more important, and hopefully with a little less time on your hands as hockey fans, things will work out.
- If they don’t, the nuclear option is sometimes the best one, because blog comment zones can be vicious places…And I hate to leave this for the last, but I do not want this to become a zoo. I used to work at a rhetorical zoo, and I didn’t have any control over the fact that it was a zoo. People behaved accordingly. This time, I’ve got a tranquilizer gun and the ability to kick people out, and if I have to do that, I will not hesitate.
Again, if you have comments, concerns or questions, email, Twitter and Facebook are quite useful methods by which to reach me privately, and if you need to publicly state something to me or the blog, you’re welcome to do so in the comments section (obviously).
In an ideal world, everybody gets along, but I understand that this world is not only not ideal, but in the case of this blog, involves some people that are doing a poor job of getting along with others. I challenge all of you to take heed of these remarks, to get involved in making the community a better place (who knows, at some point in the not-so-distant people, we could yell at each other in person or something), and to start maximizing your time by treating others as you would like to be treated.
If not, from now on, there will be consequences.
One more thing: There will be consequences not because one, two or three people are “on trial,” but because, on this blog, everybody weighs the same as a duck. No one is immune from being judged based upon the content of their behavior.