Dave · May 12, 2005 at 8:33 am · Filed Under Site information 

Probably the most prominant new feature on the blog this year have been the Game Threads that we’ve been posting, and judging by the hundreds of comments each one receives, they’ve been pretty popular. We’re happy to provide a place for everyone to discuss the game as its going on, something of a virtual sportsbar, and we intend to continue posting game threads for the forseeable future.

However, as you’ve probably noticed, the last two days, we have felt the need to close down the threads after some of the commentary got out of hand. The tone of the threads has gotten progressively worse as the team has hit its slide, and multiple posts have had to be removed. Unfortunately, as the game threads have degenerated, it’s meant significantly more work for us in trying to keep an eye on all the comments and eliminating those that fall outside the lines of the comment guidelines.

So, consider this a preemptive strike and a call to raise the level of commentary in the game threads. This blog is not, for better or worse, a message board where you are free to say what you will. There are a ton of places you can go if you really feel the need to attack people and act like a 5 year old, but the USSM comments aren’t one of them. The point of the comments, even in the more laid back game threads, is the exchange of ideas and commentary about the subject of the post.

So, in the spirit of making the threads both more enjoyable to read and easier for us to monitor, here are some things we’re going to ask of you guys that we will enforce to the best of our abilities:

1. Punctuation and some semblance of grammar aren’t optional. Writing four sentences without a period is just painful to read. Don’t use all capital letters. Don’t omit capital letters when necessary, either. This is pretty basic grammer, and while it may seem pedantric, it’s a basic fundamental of communication. You are posting for thousands of other people to read. Make it easy on them. Punctuation isn’t exactly time consuming to add to your comments.

2. Personal attacks will get your posts deleted. It doesn’t matter who they are aimed at. Whether it be someone in comments who said something you don’t like, one of us, someone on the team, you don’t have the right to impugn anyone else’s character. You can disagree with their point, but when it crosses the line to discussing their qualities as a person, your posts will be removed.

3. This is more of a suggestion, but when responding to a comment from a previous post, it is often a good idea to quote a portion of the thought you’re responding to. I prefer the italics method personally, but your mileage may vary. If you’d like to make it easier to people to see what you’re responding to, use the html tag of emphasis, which is “em” followed by “/em” offset by <> on each line. So, it’d look like < .em>quoted material here< ./em> (without the ., which I used just to get the actual tags to show on the site). This isn’t required, but I figure some of you guys may find it helpful.

Basically, what we’re asking is that you make our job easier and improve the quality of the comments in the threads. Don’t inflame others, don’t attack people, and make your comments easy for other people to read.

Edited to add a primer on a few html tags that work in wordpress, as requested in comments

All of these have the same < ...>text< ./...> format.

Bold: strong-/strong
Italics: em-/em
Block quote: blockquote-/blockquote

To link to another webpage, use the following: < .a href="">description of page< ./a>. As before, omit the periods.


75 Responses to “Commenting”

  1. km on May 12th, 2005 1:55 pm

    Derek’s comments in 441 from yesterday should not be appropriate to this site. In 440, World Series asked several valid questions. To which Derek replied “I see your mind is closed and you’re being a jerk.”

    It’s too bad Derek closed the thread because we could have had a good discussion about PBP metrics.

    And I suspect, he, like me sometimes, let his emotions get the best of him. THe larger point is that this communication medium is not the best one for discussion (for various reasons).

  2. DoesntCompute on May 12th, 2005 1:57 pm

    Dave – #25
    For example…
    Race could be on topic when discussing the role race plays in the game today.

    Religion could be on topic when discussing Shawn Green and his not playing games because of religious beliefs.

    Sexual orientation could be on topic when discussing how modern athletes would react to someone coming out of the closet.

    Politics could be on topic… Well there is a theoretical possibility that politics could be on topic.

    My point for bringing these items up was so that you could discuss what is and is not allowed for ‘controversial’ topics so that people are not surprised when their posts are deleted or threads are shut down. Token Chick seemed genuinely surprised that the discussion of broadcaster’s use of words and race was closed.

    I have been around this blog for a long time and have a good idea what is allowed and what is not. I am not trying to stir the pot or be difficult. I was just hoping for some comment guidelines regarding this subject so that others can be made aware.

  3. B. David on May 12th, 2005 3:19 pm

    I just hope that I’m not missing game summaries from DMZ, Dave and others because I choose not to wait through 400 some comments.

  4. Laurie on May 12th, 2005 3:38 pm

    Ditto what other people have said about how much at least some of us appreciate the standards on this blog. I was recently accused of being a “Seattle spelling snob” because I complained about how my brain just doesn’t process “u” as “you” and “ur” as either “your” or “you’re” and apostrophes in general seem to have disappeared from use.

    And when I took offense at being called a snob, the response I got back was: “im olny kiding”

    That’s when I decided I’m only reading USSMariner from now on.

  5. msb on May 12th, 2005 3:41 pm

    #25–Dave said: “You can talk about steroids”

    you mean like reporting that “The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball today announced that the following 11 Minor League players have been suspended for 15 games, effective today, for violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.”

    and none of them were from the Mariner organization!

  6. David J Corcoran on May 12th, 2005 4:05 pm

    Way to keep it on topic, 54.

  7. DMZ on May 12th, 2005 4:22 pm

    That was skillful.

    w/r/t guidelines: the comment guidelines should be helpful in this respect, but to some extent innocent comments that lead to huge, nasty fights skirt a border. I’ll all for controversy and freedom of expression, and am generally inclined to allow (say) discussion of whether Rick Rizzs making fun of Japanese is offensive, or the “sneaky Korean” thing.

    But this isn’t our job, and we can’t spend the kind of time or energy required to gently nurse along discussions and always watch tone. So sometimes I’m overly (and unfairly) aggressive about shutting down something that’s getting out of hand, and that denies people a full and complete discussion. I know that sucks, but that’s where it is.

  8. supermariner on May 12th, 2005 4:33 pm

    Finally you recognize that sometimes you are unfair. That is a sure sign of growth.

    Now if only Dave could recognize it when he is unfair, USSM would be that much better.

    Nevertheless, you have a hard job balancing fruitfull, enjoyable dialogue without stifling the dialogue by shutting down people like Backlasher.

  9. Brian Rust on May 12th, 2005 4:36 pm

    Thanks, USSM crew, for keeping things orderly. Somebody’s gotta be the umpire, and when he calls you out, yer out.

    So let’s see if I got this right. It’s an interesting (and certainly non-statistical) theory on the M’s woes at the

    Oregonian‘s site.

  10. DoesntCompute on May 12th, 2005 4:59 pm

    Thanks guys. You do a great job with this site. I have never seen you delete posts, stop threads, etc and disagreed with you doing it. It makes me sad and amuses me at the same time when someone accuses you guys of deleting posts that disagree with you (#3). You guys call a fair game. You state what the rules are and enforce them consistantly.

    Keep up the good work.

  11. Evan on May 12th, 2005 5:47 pm

    DMZ – Your house. Your rules. You shouldn’t have to apologise for them.

    I remember some years ago (1998 or so) on a message board run by Interplay, some of the posters got it in their head that board moderation amounted to some sort of infringement of their rights, so they banded together to form the Anti-Oppression Federation (AOF) and did nothing but flame those of us who didn’t run afoul of the mods. The mods tried to ban the AOF guys, but they were mostly AOL users with dynamic IP addresses.

    So Interplay banned all AOL users from their message boards. It was a great day, and it proved Interplay’s point. Their house. Their rules.

  12. DMZ on May 12th, 2005 6:27 pm

    Derek’s comments in 441 from yesterday should not be appropriate to this site. In 440, World Series asked several valid questions. To which Derek replied “I see your mind is closed and you’re being a jerk.”

    I’m not going to rehash that thread, but I’ll say this — having re-read that thread (yes) I still think s/he was being a jerk. I could quote those comments here to support that, but I’ll let that be.

    In particular, the last one that caused me to snap reads almost like Homer Simpson trying to taunt someone (“Oooooh, there must be some magical stat you’ve invented out in Candyland where you measure the radius of gumdrops against candy canes….”)

    At some point, having to take on moderation duties means that we have to make those kind of judgements. In that way, we can either offer no information, making value judgements about tone in silence, or we can offer some information about what the issue was. As you can see elsewhere in this thread (and many other places) the push has generally been for more information.

    It’s going to be a flawed and unfair system. I recognize this, and do my best to try and be as least unfair as I can, given the restraints we run under.

    That’s what it’s going to be.

  13. Jonathan on May 12th, 2005 6:50 pm

    Right on, DMZ. You folks have always been clear and (impressively) consistent about telling us why something is being shut down. You also allow things to get mighty lively before invoking that tactic. Folks who don’t dig it don’t get to call the shots. When my dad taught me to drive, he pointed at the rearview mirror and said, “Don’t let a**holes do your driving for you.” You’re in control, and from where I sit, doing a damn fine job.

  14. TypicalIdiotFan on May 12th, 2005 7:02 pm

    The only complaint I have about the thread being closed yesterday at 441 comments is that I was making comment 442 when it was closed. Ah well.

    As for the comment rules; if they’re in place, follow them. Simple as that. Someone mentioned that this was Derek/Dave/et al’s house, so their rules. That’s very much true, and they could yoink the commentaries down at any time if they want.

    Oh, and thanks for the HTML tag info. I wasn’t sure what format these commentaries used, so I was avoiding using any code. Now that I know, it’ll be easier to make effective replies.

  15. Ty on May 12th, 2005 7:21 pm

    “why? This is such a northwesterly attitude. Why have comment guidelines? Why not just give me four check boxes:

    [] you’re absolutely right, Dave
    [] that’s a good point, Dave
    [] I think I see what you’re saying, Dave
    [] right on, Dave, only I would have chosen a different adjective

    Loosen up. Make it a party, not a politess zone.

    You know you’re going to delete this.”

    (I know this was a post a while back, but oh well.)

    I don’t know about your parties, but in really good parties, you can have people having fun, and paying respect for eachother at the same time. I haven’t really been around the comments enough to really know if Dave does do the things that you say he does, but from what I’ve seen, it doesn’t look like it. Plus, the guidelines look pretty fair to me…

  16. roger tang on May 12th, 2005 7:33 pm

    As for the comment rules; if they’re in place, follow them. Simple as that. Someone mentioned that this was Derek/Dave/et al’s house, so their rules. That’s very much true

    Well, I suppose that this is so basic, that it’d take an idiot not to realize that.

    Then again, lots of idiots in the world…

  17. David J Corcoran on May 12th, 2005 7:47 pm

    I am a proud idiot, and even I am willing to acknowledge the presence of comment guidelines and that DMZ/Dave/JMB/Jeff/Peter have the right to ban us at any time without complaint (although I do complain).

  18. TypicalIdiotFan on May 12th, 2005 9:25 pm

    Well, I suppose that this is so basic, that it’d take an idiot not to realize that.

    I am a proud idiot, and even I am willing to acknowledge the presence of comment guidelines and that DMZ/Dave/JMB/Jeff/Peter have the right to ban us at any time without complaint (although I do complain).

    I just want to point out that the community is just as important to the success of this blog as anything else. Dave has mentioned before that he doesn’t just do this for his own benefit. So it isn’t as if they would try to alienate the readership on purpose. People are people.

  19. The Unknown Comic II on May 12th, 2005 9:48 pm

    Is it alright to say that Rick Rizz looks like Neil Diamond? I didn’t come up with that one, can’t remember who did but I got to admit it was funny.

  20. ray on May 13th, 2005 8:22 am

    Sorry to be picky, but when you say personal attacks against players doesn’t that include:

    “Sele sucks”
    “Nelson is a prick”

  21. Patrick Meighan on May 13th, 2005 2:41 pm

    Like everyone else, I’m a big fan of USSM, and the folks who’re running it. This blog was my first experience with reasoned, rational sports discussion (i.e., minus much of the machisimo bullcrap) on the internet, and I’ll always be grateful for it.

  22. Roger on May 13th, 2005 3:09 pm

    Patrick, you suck. (I kid, I kid!) I agree, that “oh yeah, my team is better than yours, let’s meet under the viaduct to fight about this, wimp!” stuff is amazingly lame.

    Another thing I’m extremely grateful for here is the lack of politics and religion. We all have views, no one is going to change anyone else’s mind, and yet people still get into it with a passion that is scary. Even a hint of a viewpoint brings out the smug (there was a thread the other day where someone wanted patting on the back for sharing the philosophy of one of the site’s authors), and from there it’s a short journey to Godwin’s Rule.

    Re, #70, I would think the first example could accurately describe his on-field performance, while the second is clearly just a comment on his character. First one certainly doesn’t add any insight to the conversation, though…hard not to utter it sometimes in the game threads.

  23. Todd in Phoenix on June 2nd, 2005 7:21 am

    [deleted, annoying test post]

  24. Sojourner on July 23rd, 2005 11:28 pm

    Grammar. Forbidden. Bad grammar is forbidden here.

  25. tede on October 5th, 2005 9:36 pm

    Test Post of an USSM archive link. Please Delete

    DMZ Post of July 15, 2004 4AM – see bottom