In my opinion, recent diaries have shown some of the ugly side of this community. The best example is the number of personal attacks on Iggy in recent diaries. He's been called a "numbskull". He's been accused of slinging BS, called a joke. He's been told to stop talking because he keeps getting shut down.
And honestly, the sad part is that most of those comments came from highly regular, respected members of this community.
This community should value attacking the argument, not the person. That's the only thing that makes this place different from an ESPN board.
I'm not sure what can be done, besides a general plea for people to explain why the other person's argument is wrong, rather than calling them out personally. I also think that regular contributors need to build that mentality by never making ad-hom arguments themselves. This is not purely an issue of moderation, but really, an issue of commitment from regular community members to help create a stigma against ad-hom arguments. The next time you hear someone insult another community member, ask them to debate the argument, not the person.
Although this issue has to be self regulated by the community, there are couple things I think we should try to do in terms of site policy/organization:
Finally, there are some institutional things that could be done to help this situation.
- Have a coherent set of community guidelines, beyond the warning to not be racist, homophobic etc. Right now, most of our diary guidelines are about content quality, not guidelines.
- Some sort of recommended diaries feature. This is 100% an issue of self-interest for the site. Everyone would benefit. I understand that we've been trying to get this for a while, but I think that it's gotten to the point where more needs to be done. The coding for recommended diaries has already been done, on other SB Nation sites. This is a relatively high-traffic SB Nation site...why aren't we pushing for technology to meet the demands of that traffic? Email SBNation people to let them know this matters.
- Perhaps some sort of system of evaluating Community guideline violations? Beyond simplistic banning by site managers, I think there should be a procedure for bringing a comment under scrutiny and perhaps some sort of three-strikes system.
A lot of improvements have to come from the community itself. We need to politely ask others to not make ad-hom attacks, and we need to let SBNation know that we need a recommended diaries feature.