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Editorial: GSoM Group Therapy Session

The Warrior fan experience has changed for the better. But also in a few less-than-great ways, too. Let's talk about our feelings.

As with everything that orbits the Golden State Warriors, the Warrior fan experience has dramatically changed in the Joe Lacob ownership era. Most notably, we became accustomed to the boys in yellow and blue scoring more points than the opposition as the final buzzer sounded. But success festers hatred and jealousy.

What was once a quaint past-time, something so arduous and joyless that other fanbases enjoying more on-court success could only bow their heads in respect, has now become an anathema to those same fanbases. Because Warrior fans were cute and harmless when the team was winning 17 games a year and generally tripping over themselves rushing to get to the offseason. That perception has changed now that the team is losing less than 17 games a year, and other fanbases' success is impeded by the Warriors team.

Now, the only thing cooler than the Golden State Warriors is hating the Golden State Warriors, and that entails throwing libel at Warriors fans every chance you can get. We've all seen the memes, the truisms of the internet if ever there were any, chastising the mere thought of supporting the Warriors.

Because, in today's interconnected and hyper-driven consumer society, things become cool, and then uncool, in the span of half a season's worth of basketball. The counterculture of hating the mainstream, successful entity becomes the cultural norm in the blink of an eye. Think of it like if those chic Che Guevara shirts began flying off the press a few days after the original photo was snapped.

And such a paradigm shift in how Warrior fans are received may not matter a lot to 90% of the populace of the so-called Dub Nation. But to those that actively peruse the interwebs, and contribute to a digital community of likeminded individuals, it matters. It especially matters to those who choose to inhabit a community like Golden State of Mind, which is itself a part of a larger conglomerate of sites in SB Nation, and sites for all 30 NBA teams.

It matters a whole lot.

Let's talk about our feelings

As a GSoM contributor and moderator, a lot of the dialogue on the site runs through my fingertips. Obviously, I have far from unilateral control. If I went off the deep end with illegitimate censorship, the mighty hammer of Parham would utterly smite me. As of late, my chief task has not been to keep fellow GSoMers away from each others' throats, but to mitigate interforum clutter from sweeping through the dusty doors of our digital saloon.

It's incredibly easy to create an SB Nation login, and easier still to join up on any given website, spend a day away from the computer while the timer ticks down to zero, and start "trolling" (even the term makes the skin crawl) a blog. It requires little actual time commitment, and even less brain power, to complete the task. It's vapid. It's annoying on a meta level of why someone would even commit as much time as they did to do so.

It's also best to let a moderator swiftly deal with it behind the scenes of the comment section; flagging and refusing to fire a volley back is the least satisfying response to trolls and thus the most likely way to ensure they do not come back on a secondary account (most of the time, bans only extend to the account, not the IP address).

In many ways, though, the change in the Warrior fan experience, on GSoM and elsewhere, is a lot more profound than an uptick in mindless trolls or indignant or trouble-making SB Nation visitors. There's been an equal uptick in regular GSoM posters searching other blogs for inflammatory comments about the Warriors, for the simple sake of reposting them here.

Ask yourself: What would Adonal do?

There's nothing inherently wrong with an isolated "command-c, command-v" raid. But I personally find it ultimately like shouting down an echo chamber, listening, hearing someone yelling at you, and shouting back at them angrily because they shouted at you. In other words: we're indulging ourselves in hateful dialogue, when it is completely avoidable. The internet is a vast wasteland inhabited by billions of faceless strangers. There are some profoundly deplorable comments you can find on just about any issue, if you dug deep enough.

Ultimately, though, this all cuts to a deeper issue: the fan experience itself, and what we largely want to take away from all these hours invested in a basketball team. If we want to hear that echo yell back at us, we surely can. We know that the average Dream Shaker doesn't like the Warriors. We could gather a posse to round up every hateful thing typed in the direction of the Warriors, or this website (for that matter). Do we really need that daily dosage of negativity, for the sake of reaffirming this known constant? With the Warriors' success, that hate is out there. We could engage every proverbial "hater" all day, devolve the site into engorging ourselves on the negative perceptions of the team and the fanbase.

Or we could filter it out. With so much real-world negativity, sports can serve us as well-needed escapism akin to classic Hollywood vicariousness. Competitiveness is inherent, of course, but it doesn't have to spill over into vitriol. We do not need to wallow in another fanbase's opinions, or pay them any heed at all.

As a community, each member is as much responsible for the direction the dialogue takes. It can be focused on the negatives of inter-fanbase hatred, jealousy, and foulness. Or it can be uplifting, satisfied with the glory of our team's victory without the vicious, unironic schadenfreude of another team or player's downfall. It can be about self-consciously peering over the internet hedges dividing SB Nation's NBA neighborhood, ears perked for whispered taunts or jeers. Or we can relish in the community, here. And block out the noise.

And stop yelling down that echo chamber.

Or maybe I'm just crazy. What do you think? Let's air things out.

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