I know we're all geared up for the Return of Basketball here at Golden State of Mind. If all goes according to plan, we'll have a lot to cheer for this season — we'll all be agreeing with each other and landing top-notch high fives. Good times.
In sports, things rarely go according to plan. And in internet communities, plans are little more than desperate attempts to keep total anarchy at bay.
But we've gotta try to do it. We're a community, one that wants to grow and prosper. We aren't going to get there without some modicum of order.
Be Cool, Honey Bunny.
Guess what: people on the internet have strong opinions and they aren't afraid to use them. Compared to other places on the web (like YouTube comments — good lord), GSOM often exhibits saint-like civility, i.e. we're typically Unstoppable Baby. But every so often we're tempted to walk down that dark path. Don't go down that path!
No personal insults.
I shouldn't have to expound on this, but let's be clear anyway: Don't call anyone nasty names. Don't call anyone's mama a nasty name. Keep your argument talking points germane to the basketball-related conversation if at all possible. If you need to point out what you see as an error in someone's way of thinking, do not do so in a dismissive way that demeans or belittles — just argue that point as you would any other, with concise evidence to back it up.
Webster's Dictionary defines "trolling" as: "to fish by trailing a lure or baited hook from a moving boat". Yeah don't do that. Go fly fishing or ice fishing or — ok I don't know much about fishing.
But also, don't do internet-style trolling! Short, repetitive comments or posts devoid of supporting data that either serve to beat a dead horse or get somebody's goat, those have no place at GSOM. Nobody wants to hear your I Told You Sos or Just You Wait And Sees, whether they're delivered straight or through a thick layer of sarcasm. Trolling doesn't serve the community, so don't do it.
Also, stop spamming that thing you think everyone should see but clearly they must not have seen because if they had seen it they should be fawning over you for blessing them with that thing.
Just be respectful.
We're mostly talking about basketball around these parts, so sensitive societal topics don't come up often. When they do, though, either be respectful, hold your tongue, or take a hike. We're talking about race, religion, politics, ageism, classism, gender issues, you name it. We don't want to outlaw these topics under the guise of "off topic", because they're often very important topics that we can all learn from each other on. But we have to be civil about it. Just — well, just be cool, honey bunny.
Let me offer a rule of thumb to take away from this guideline, something to keep in mind. When tempted to set fire to the town hall, ask yourself: What Would Adonal Do? You should probably do that. Unless you are holding the ball on offense.
What Would Adonal Do? Probably something dignified.
Spoken Like A True Prodigy.
While the last set of rules address how to not be a jerk, it also helps the community if you are providing some meat for everyone else to chew on. Now, you're unlikely to feel a moderator's wrath if you keep it cordial — we're not expecting every comment to be revelatory. But it's worth keeping in mind: what are your comments or posts providing, and how are they presented?
Provide some substance.
You know how at least half of my comments are wise-cracked one-liners, and my game posts have very little insight into the game of basketball? So, I'm not a great example of achievement in this guideline.
Ignoring the messenger for a moment, here's the deal: if your posts or comments show that you've considered multiple sides of the argument you're making, follow some nominally salient logic, contain some data that supports your grand proclamations, and/or are served up in a way that people might find compelling, then you're likely to be better received by the community. We all have opinions that we want to spout out, and we should — this is a public forum on the internet. But if you support those opinions with something of substance, it raises the standard of discourse for the entire community. We all benefit that much more if we push each other to up our games.
Structure your writing appropriately.
Not to be all middle-school teacher, but the details matter: spelling, grammar, proper capitalization, using paragraphs, using block quotes and applying attribution properly, using the Reply button — all of those things help keep the machine well oiled. People will take you more seriously and respect your contributions, which is probably something you at least partially care about, considering you're still reading this screed.
Only the most egregious of offenders are likely to be called out or warned by moderators. Still, it doesn't hurt to just put a touch of effort into your presentation.
Keep your language clean.
Golden State of Mind has had a long standing policy of being curse-free. Myself an avid curser, I used to think this policy was overly censorial and maybe kinda silly.
But you know what? Head on over to any other SB Nation blog where cursing is the norm, and ask yourself whether the quality of discourse is at the level of GSOM. Of course not. We rule and are unquestionably the best at everything. If we started casually dropping f-bombs all over the place, I honestly think the level of quality would quickly erode. If you let one slip every so often, it's not the end of the world — if it's noticed it might get hidden, and if you keep it up you might get warned.
So again, do the community a favor by providing well-considered and well-structured commentary, without using bad language as a crutch.
Now, you've got a corpse in a car, minus a head, in a garage. Take me to it.
None of this stuff seems controversial, and GSOM has always been relatively tight in these regards. Still, sometimes we slip up, and other times we get emotional, and even other times we just want to exercise free speech. And that's fine, but y'know, there are consequences to these things. So, on to the icky business.
How we determine when to hide comments.
All things being equal in active moderator participation, comments with the following will be hidden with consistency:
- Personal insults
- Egregious cursing
- Little to no legibility or sense — run-on sentences with seemingly no purpose, e.g.
- Incorrectly cited content (e.g. a published article copied in its entirety as a comment, rather than a snippet and a link)
- Otherwise inappropriate, inflammatory, or disrespectful content, often with the intent to incite a negative reaction.
Determining what all falls under these categories is often subject to moderator interpretation. In those instances we will shoot you a message through the SB Nation interface explaining why we took those actions.
There may be instances where we fail to give an explanation. This could be because an explanation was already given at an earlier time and you're a repeat offender, or because the reason just seemed obvious, or simply because we forgot (we'll try not to do that). If you want more of an explanation — we'll get to that below.
When and why we ban people.
I think this is pretty simple: people are banned when they repeatedly and purposely ignore moderator advice. That's it. We will always warn individuals of offensive behavior before hitting them with a ban.
If problems arise, let moderators know about it.
Understandably, you may not understand or agree with moderator actions. It's healthy to question authority.
But if your comment gets hidden, refrain from posting another comment with, "Why are my comments being hidden?" You have the right to know, and others do too, but those sorts of comments only serve to derail a thread (which is what the moderator was likely trying to avoid in the first place), and may not be seen by the moderator who took action.
Just send us an email at gsom-mods @ gmail dotcom and we'll offer an explanation and give you a chance to give your counterpoint.
That said, we as moderators need to be transparent in our actions, and should not censor public dissatisfaction with authority. If you want to bring to question these actions, make a fanpost — following all of the above criteria for acceptable community participation — and we'll do our best to reasonably respond to criticism. My hope is that the comments section of this post here will serve as a chance to clear the air if at all needed, so please, have at it — though again, following the above guidelines.
Lastly but not leastly: Moderators should be held to the same standards, and held equally accountable for failing to do so.
This is important. What we're trying to do here is create a cohesive, open, mature community of Warriors fans. That's the goal. We're not here to impose our will and flaunt our "power". If writers or moderators are breaking our own rules, it's doubly hurting the community we're trying to create.
If you think a moderator is working against these guidelines, and taking advantage of a double standard (because their own comments aren't being moderated), email Nate Parham with concrete examples. We need to keep our own house in order, and we need to set a good example of how to comport oneself at GSOM. So, tell Nate directly, and we'll deal with it.
Thanks for listening. If you have any thoughts, take it to the comments. And then let's get back to basketball.