Weekend meta: new user registrations

DMZ · November 14, 2009 at 1:48 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

During the Griffey days this week, we had an average of 20 new user registrations a day. Of these: ~3 were Russian comment spammers, ~5 did nothing at all, and ~10 took a run at immediately getting banned (that is, first comment is “You’re all a bunch of stathead whiners in moms basement waaaaaah waaaaaaaaah go cry to mom whois basebment you live in!” and then either: second comment is the same one repeated because they don’t read the little explanatory note, followed by 3-10 repeat comments/complaints about censorship oorrr they ignore the moderation and post more bannable comments until their enthusiasm wanes). And then sometimes, as you probably saw, their first comment’s argumentative but reasonable, so it’s waved in, and then they descend quickly into telling us how gay we all are*.

10 abusive people a day doesn’t seem so bad. But consider we have six people who go through comments as they can, including the three volunteer mods, and through Thursday I could log in at any time during the day and see in the comment queue a sea of yellow to-be-moderated abuse. When someone decides they want to sign up for USSM and be a jerk, there’s no way to expect someone’s going to be by to police a thread for an hour or even really four hours, much as we might try. That’s a long time, and new-user moderation this week was the only thing between us and insanity.

But we’re the only people who see this, I wanted to offer it up as some kind of explanation. If we seemed (and I certainly was) exasperated and curt with some of the more pointed pro-Griffey and anti-Griffey commentary, sorry. It’s because whenever these things happen, we end up coping with a wave of abuse that we all as unpaid volunteers have a hard time dealing with.

And again — we don’t have any problem with discussing this stuff. But no one gets to call Griffey signing-supporters brainless ass-kissers (to pick one) and no one gets to call Griffey signing-detractors heartless robots who’ve never played team sports.

Thanks to everyone who conducted themselves well through this. We really do appreciate it.

* presumably practicing to call people gay over Xbox Live while playing Modern Warfare 2


56 Responses to “Weekend meta: new user registrations”

  1. Dennisss on November 14th, 2009 2:36 pm


    Thanks for the insight. As someone who will tell people that this is my favorite website, I do perceive that you and/or Dave can be a little harsh on people. For the most part, the discourse on this site seems to run between very intelligent and innocuous, with the occasional real knucklehead who gets kicked in the teeth pretty quickly. Overall I think the quality of comments is very high given the forum, so I’m sometimes surprised at your reactions.

    I really don’t think about the crap you have to deal with behind the scenes that we never see. I’ll remember that next time.

  2. Mike G. on November 14th, 2009 2:38 pm

    Which is why I don’t play on Xbox Live with strangers. Thanks to you and everyone else here for keeping that sea of putridness from spilling over in to the comments.

  3. Hassleberry on November 14th, 2009 2:39 pm

    I was one of the people who signed up I think. I hope I haven’t been too bad! Interesting read, thanks.

  4. beastwarking on November 14th, 2009 2:52 pm

    Just wanted to say that given the limited number of moderators and staff, you guys do a Hell of job keeping this place civil.

    I definitely forget how much work goes into running a website of this magnitude and really this post serves as a reminder that it isn’t all fun and robots.

    Keep up all of the good work.

  5. jjenson on November 14th, 2009 3:25 pm

    I understand people need to be civil. I have been reading on this site for a while now and just decided to register cause of this post.

    While I don’t always agree with your views I think there is defiantly a way to go about presenting this information. Sadly most people have very little tact and even less self control so I hate to see you guys have to deal with that.

    I am sure the Griffey issue brings lots of fire. The reason I love baseball so much is because of Griffey so I can understand the emotion behind all of this.

    Anyways sorry you guys have to moderate and deal with this you guys overall do a good job I think so hopefully people can learn to be cordial.

  6. fiftyone on November 14th, 2009 3:29 pm

    Thanks for the site.
    Thanks for the moderation.

  7. GarForever on November 14th, 2009 3:44 pm

    Hi Dave, Derek, and Company,

    It’s easy to forget how much work this site is because you guys make it look pretty easy. So let me second fiftyone, and add how much I appreciate it given that I don’t live near Seattle anymore and it isn’t always easy to keep up (here in Chicagoville, about one in three people who see the “S” on my hat say, “What’s up with the S? You a Sox fan?” which pretty much explains why I think the Cubs are fine but can’t stand their fans). At least it wouldn’t be easy to keep up without youz guys, so, yeah, many thanks for all the hard work and insight.

  8. Breadbaker on November 14th, 2009 3:50 pm

    I’ve recently been blogging on a totally different topic, which gets nothing like the excitement of this site, but I see commments just like you describe. I couldn’t imagine making the time commitment any of you do just to keep this place somewhere where civil discourse is the norm and I really appreciate it, particularly the volunteer mods.

    MLB-TV has Randy’s 19 K game against Oakland tonight. The one with the McGwire bomb. Memories of when we played in a stadium that didn’t discourage a righthanded power hitter. Enjoy. It’s at 8:30 (they’re featuring 18+ K games today).

  9. Colm on November 14th, 2009 4:13 pm

    Thank you gentlemen.

    I’ve only been glancing at the site since the end of the season, so I’m not aware of any recent unpleasantness, but I’d like to second the comments above. Your excellent work here is always appreciated in my house.

    Keep on keepin’ on.

  10. ex tacoma in mendo on November 14th, 2009 4:16 pm

    I love this site! being hundreds of miles from Safeco I rely on your geeky stats to keep me going–STAT ON!

    Griffey- I hated seeing and hearing the oakland fans yelling at him to retire during the last series in oakland ( all 40 of them) but if he would have hit the ball maybe they would had a reason to shut up

    would be tough to lose langer–the future (the kids) are always more exciting than the past ( the legends)

  11. gsquared on November 14th, 2009 4:27 pm

    Thanks to you. I’m sure the comments section provides way more frustration than enjoyment you, Dave and the other mods, but your efforts with that and with everything else are much appreciated.

  12. IwearMsHats on November 14th, 2009 4:55 pm

    I’ve been a lurker ever since I came across this site and decided to register now to say “you are welcome!” I conducted myself admirably and I appreciate your thanks.

    I play Xbox Live MW2 and haven’t had any heterosexist slurs thrown my way yet, and only on rare occasions do I come in to contact with a yahoo-smack-talker.

    Just sayin…

  13. hailcom on November 14th, 2009 4:59 pm

    To in some small way balance the scales a bit for the recent onslaught of baseball dullards, this lurker wants to speak up to say Thank You. This is an amazing site and has both informed and amused me for months. Dave and DMZ and the other volunteers have enriched my baseball experience and understanding considerably. I don’t always agree, but I’m always impressed with the thought and research that has gone into the posts. Kudos.

  14. jjenson on November 14th, 2009 5:12 pm

    MLB-TV has Randy’s 19 K game against Oakland tonight. The one with the McGwire bomb. Memories of when we played in a stadium that didn’t discourage a righthanded power hitter. Enjoy. It’s at 8:30 (they’re featuring 18+ K games today).

    I actually attended that game loved it so much fun.

  15. hab1353 on November 14th, 2009 5:12 pm

    Damn… I have been reading and learning for two years now. I never commented, but after reading this, I not only felt compelled to register, but promise to be good. Nice site, good job!
    Hows that for a start ? :-)

  16. joser on November 14th, 2009 5:17 pm

    I do perceive that you and/or Dave can be a little harsh on people.

    The other thing is that the stats-oriented baseball conversation, both here and elsewhere, has been developing for years completely outside of the awareness of a lot of observers of the game (including people like Joe Morgan who should know better). When one of those people arrives and wants to question a bunch of things that were decisively settled long ago (ERA for evaluating pitchers, RBI for hitters, the existence of defensive stats, etc), it can be hard to patiently bring them up to speed — especially when they aren’t willing to go and do a little reading first. I don’t know how many times Dave and Derek have stopped to explain one of these things but that always surprises me more than the times they just snap off a curt/insulting response. Nevertheless, I know that can make USSM seem less than welcoming if you arrive at the wrong time or ask the wrong question. Oh well, it’s not like the server is going to die from the lack of new readers….

    it isn’t all fun and robots.

    Alas, it never is. Life would be so much better with more of both.

  17. TerryMc on November 14th, 2009 5:18 pm

    I think it is important to see what we can learn from this and judge the overall effectiveness of site moderation of the new commenters against the value of replacement level commenters. It’s also important to keep in mind the thread adjusted CAR (Comments Above Replacement) as threads discussing individual players typically have a CAR of +3 or higher while threads that contain the phrase “team chemistry” often have a CAR of -.05 or lower. It should come as no suprise that rookie commenters often struggle at first and average a CAR slightly under +1. This is attributed to the fact the rookie commenters have not been exposed to as many threads and analysis as veteran commenters and often rehash arguments that have previously been disproven or thoroughly discussed. Therefore overall site CAR must take into account thread content, experience level of commenters and comment moderation before it can be determined if site moderation is having a positive affect on CAR.

    Conclusion: The argument can be made that the current sample size is just too low to make an accurate appraisal of comment moderation but really I’m just waiting for the Griffey news to fade into the background noise.

  18. coreyjro on November 14th, 2009 5:29 pm

    I hope that everyone here can understand that calling people gay over XBox Live is our constitutional right. That said, add me on XBox Live “Artanis492″ or “CurtEatsNoobs”.

  19. jdrio on November 14th, 2009 5:33 pm

    I never say anything, I’m just here to be informed and educated. But I’m here every day, so as my first comment let me say you do a fine job keeping this from being like most sports sites, filled with loudmouthed luddites. Huzzah.

  20. joser on November 14th, 2009 5:35 pm

    I’m always amused by the people who scream censorship or, even more amusingly, try to invoke the First Amendment when submitting comments to private websites. While it’s an alluring fantasy to imagine otherwise, free markets need regulation to function, and the free market of ideas is no different. Otherwise, we end up in a hall-of-mirrors populated entirely by the denizens of the GIDT (and in the real world, we end up in the Bakaara Market in Mogadishu). It’s free and trivially easy to set up a blog to enable you to express your inner idiot asshole in whatever fashion you choose, but if you want to borrow somebody else’s audience you have to play by their rules.

    Speaking of which, maybe the offseason is a good time to put a call out for additional mods — either to augment the existing ones, or to give some of the current cadre a bit of a break?

  21. Breadbaker on November 14th, 2009 5:35 pm

    TerryMc, a commenter with a seriously positive CAR ;-)

  22. Akimbo on November 14th, 2009 5:58 pm

    Chemistry is not so easy.
    Maybe a kangaroo court – anyone who mentions catcher ERA is fined $5.

  23. diderot on November 14th, 2009 6:26 pm

    Derek and Dave,
    Within this post, is there also the sub-message that overall visits are picking up? If so, is this a good thing?

    Speaking of which, maybe the offseason is a good time to put a call out for additional mods

    Joser,I nominate you.

  24. Mike G. on November 14th, 2009 6:40 pm

    @coreyjro- No, it really isn’t. But I appreciate when people choose to express themselves in this way. I immediately know who to avoid.

  25. Merrill on November 14th, 2009 6:54 pm

    I nearly never comment here, and I rarely have time to read the comments, although I registered long ago. I often don’t agree with you guys, especially you, Derek (nothing personal, eh?), but I read you every day, first thing along with Geoff Baker/Larry Stone, Larry LaRue/Ryan Divish, and Shannon Drayer, with the occasional dose of Kirby Arnold thrown in. I especially appreciate the fairly extensive minor-league reports by Jay (sorry if I remember inaccurately), which I unfortunately rarely have time to read. I’ve learned a huge amount in the past year and a half I’ve been reading here, and I appreciate the links to Fangraphs so I can periodically learn more (and fuel my dissenting arguments!), when I have time.

    Thanks for all your hard work and passion!

  26. coreyjro on November 14th, 2009 7:10 pm

    @Mike G. I was being facetious, and those are my roommates. But seriously add them on Xbox360, it will amuse me to no end.

  27. trbloomer on November 14th, 2009 7:47 pm

    First I want to say thank you for putting up with us.

    Second I want to say I’ve learned an incredible amount about using statistics to increase my enjoyment of sports in general and baseball in particular. Which is a huge compliment to you guys since I started learning the whole stathead thing with James’ Abstracts in the eighties.

    So again Thanks

  28. Mike G. on November 14th, 2009 7:48 pm

    @coreyjro- Thank God. I sensed snark but it’s so hard to tell these days.

  29. nvn8vbryce on November 14th, 2009 8:42 pm

    I think that some type of user-flagged moderation system may be in order as well. I have seen this done both well and poorly, and I think that if we can have some type of system to put things into a different mod cue, this may help with some of the backload…

  30. Rboyle0628 on November 14th, 2009 9:29 pm

    I’ve played baseball my entire life and still play in college. I never had a clue about all the stat’s and different view points till I started reading this site. I do comment on other baseball sites also, but by far, USSM has the most intelligent and analytical minds of any baseball forum I’ve ever read.

    Most forums and comment sections are full of Joe Schmo idiot baseball fans. I love USSM, I enjoy that if you make a realistic and intelligent suggestion its thought over and debated regardless, usually, of what the reader’s opinions may be. It’s nice to be able to read great suggestions by people that love the sport and are able to cover deeper aspects of it involving the statistic aspects of it. Again, I am new to all the statistics and everything and sometimes USSM makes my head spin. But, I absolutely love it and am very thankful for the sanctuary that Dave, Derek and the other mod’s provide.

    Thank You!

  31. dsmiley on November 14th, 2009 10:10 pm

    Thanks for the inside information.

    To Dave, Derek, the volunteer mods, and everyone else responsible for keeping the USSMariner afloat:

    Thank you. So freaking much.

    This site is wonderful and it has become one of the few websites I check daily. Part of the reason is the excellent posting, and part of it is the (usually) excellent discussion in the comments. Now that I have a slightly better idea of what it takes to keep this site’s quality so high, I wanted to extend my thanks and gratitude one more time.

    You rule.

  32. Greeff on November 14th, 2009 11:08 pm

    I don’t comment a lot, but i love reading USSM.

    Thanks for all the work!

    And as we would say in The Netherlands “petje af voor alles wat jullie doen!”

  33. scott19 on November 15th, 2009 12:31 am

    Dave, Derek & Co. –

    I guess I just wanted throw my $0.02 in as well and say thanks for all the great work you guys do on this site. It’s always a shame when a few idiots think it’s funny to try to wreck something for everyone else…but I know in the past couple of years that I’ve been reading and posting on here that my knowledge of the game has increased tremendously. Though I may not always agree 100% with everything that’s said here, you’ve encouraged us to challenge common assumptions by looking “outside the box” (no pun intended) for the answers to what makes this game tick.

    It is that which makes USSM so enjoyable — and, again, I say thanks you guys.

  34. Jeff Nye on November 15th, 2009 5:47 am

    Even though some of you drive me nuts sometimes, we all appreciate you guys too.

    Overall, the discussion here is really good, mostly because this site attracts quality commenters.

    We’re more than happy to deal with the few bad apples that get into the barrel, so we can all have more fun.

    So kudos to all of you commenters, also, for (mostly) making donating time to this site a pleasure.

  35. marcwolf on November 15th, 2009 8:53 am

    I have been readng uss mariner for several years and have found it refreshing compared to other sites. People actually have constructive idea’s even though they may disagree with others. Keep on the great work, especially the screeners who make all this work. Also, Dave without you this couldn’t have happened. Your part of my day, again thanks…

  36. Evan on November 15th, 2009 11:38 am

    Some of us are proud to be heartless robots.

  37. dchappelle on November 15th, 2009 11:54 am

    Yeah, thanks tremendously for all the effort. You’ve made us better fans, and probably the team better too.

    It would be neat to see a user rating/feedback on comments, even if just for display purposes like fangraphs. So we could just filter out or mod the lower quality posts. Ah.. but having the time/money/energy to implement.

  38. terry on November 15th, 2009 12:19 pm

    To Derek and Dave and those that help out with moderation, I’d buy you all beers but I know you value my respect more so i’ll buy myself a beer in your honor… :-)

    Keep up the good work!

  39. Chris_From_Bothell on November 15th, 2009 2:12 pm

    This post was a fantastic reminder to me that, for all that I may occasionally think you do not suffer fools gladly, you guys do an awful lot more suffering quietly in the background to make this possible.

    I don’t agree with you some of the time, but the knowledge, insight and dedication on display here is amazing. Thanks, guys.

    Maybe it’s time in the offseason to specifically point new folks to the FAQs and background reading? I don’t know if you can take it as a given anymore that people understand how players are evaluated around here…

  40. Kazinski on November 15th, 2009 6:44 pm

    Other than that how did they do?

  41. Catherwood on November 15th, 2009 11:14 pm

    Count me as another appreciative mostly-lurker. I moderate a newsgroup myself (on a completely different subject – evolutionary biology! So I’m used to dealing with whack jobs!) and I know how irritating it can be. Good on yer for putting up with it.

    And I too have learned much — the other day I heard somebody on KJR reporting that Felix was “at least a plus six WAR pitcher, whatever the hell THAT is”, and I had to roll my eyes, all thanks to you guys. (I think it was Mitch in the morning, but not sure)

  42. scott19 on November 16th, 2009 12:12 am

    Wow…if USSM is starting to actually contribute to the elevation of densoids like Mitch Levy, then I know we must be hitting the Age of Aquarius, baby…WOOHOO! :)

  43. Osfan on November 16th, 2009 4:41 am

    To echo the sentiments here, I love the site, guys. Every time I accidently look at the comment section of a poorly moderated site, I appreciate what you guys do here that much more.

  44. tgf on November 16th, 2009 9:13 am

    I don’t know if this has been discussed, but would instituting a delay on commenting for new users help? If say, someone wanted to sign up to tell you how you are all Mariners-hating stat-nerd losers, would they follow through if they had to wait 48-72 hours before posting? I’m sure some would, but maybe it would cut down on the trolling a bit.

  45. Graham on November 16th, 2009 9:20 am

    I don’t know if this has been discussed, but would instituting a delay on commenting for new users help?

    New users’ comments go into the mod queue for approval anyway, so a delaying mechanism is already in place. This also leads to some amusing ‘You deleted my comment you Nazis!!!’ posts in said queue.

  46. JerBear on November 16th, 2009 9:20 am

    I don’t know what I would do without USSM – you guys have dropped a metric shitonne of knowledge on me in the last couple years that I’ve been reading…so thanks for putting up with all the crap behind the scenes as well.

  47. tgf on November 16th, 2009 9:41 am

    New users’ comments go into the mod queue for approval anyway, so a delaying mechanism is already in place. This also leads to some amusing ‘You deleted my comment you Nazis!!!’ posts in said queue.

    Ah, I see. I guess the only thing an automatic delay would have over the mod queue is that it would cut down on the garbage you guys have to sift through by automatically suppressing the new trolls for a few days, but the downside would be suppression of legit comments for that time as well.

    Well in any case, thanks (both authors and mods) for all the good work.

  48. jld on November 16th, 2009 10:56 am

    I know I don’t have a ton of street cred here, but I’d be more than happy to help with the moderation queue.

    Love the site, and I’m happy to give you guys a few minutes when I need a break at work.

    Also, any thoughts into introducing a crowd sourced moderation system? These systems have their own issues, but it would probably allow moderation to take care of itself.

  49. MKT on November 16th, 2009 12:44 pm

    This site actually has some of the best comments of any website that I’ve seen, thanks I imagine to the moderators’ weeding out of the trolls and spam. There are only four websites that I visit every day, and this is one of them. LL, e.g. has articles which are almost as good as the ones here, but the comments are so inane that not only do I never read the comments, I rarely go to the site, because of the lack of good dialog.

  50. Steve T on November 16th, 2009 1:21 pm

    For the record, I don’t have a problem with “heartless robot”. Though I would like to point out that I post from MY OWN basement, thank you very much. My mom doesn’t have a basement, not since I sent her to the disassembly plant in Bangladesh where naked eight-year-olds dissolved the solder off her circuit boards over an open fire on the ground.

  51. Ralph_Malph on November 16th, 2009 5:42 pm

    To Derek and Dave and those that help out with moderation, I’d buy you all beers but I know you value my respect more so i’ll buy myself a beer in your honor…

    Would it seem like I was sucking up if I pointed out the “Donate” button on the upper left?

  52. Chris_From_Bothell on November 16th, 2009 6:45 pm


  53. Alex on November 16th, 2009 7:10 pm

    the other day I heard somebody on KJR reporting that Felix was “at least a plus six WAR pitcher, whatever the hell THAT is”, and I had to roll my eyes, all thanks to you guys. (I think it was Mitch in the morning, but not sure)

    It was Mitch. He was reading a quote from someone else that said Fexlis was a 5.9 WAR player, and interjected that he had no idea what that meant.

    It simultaneously made me think that it was cool that some other reporter had mentioned WAR, and also that Mitch doesnt know much about baseball analysis.

  54. Alex on November 16th, 2009 7:11 pm


  55. scott19 on November 16th, 2009 9:17 pm

    and also that Mitch doesnt know much about baseball analysis

    Well, we all know his real expertise as a “professional” sports broadcaster is in judging his stupid “Bigger Dance” competition every year.

  56. joser on November 18th, 2009 11:39 am
    Speaking of which, maybe the offseason is a good time to put a call out for additional mods

    Joser,I nominate you.

    Heh. Well, I certainly would have no problem deleting people out of the mod queue, but I might be a little too heavy handed. On the positive side, since I never contribute anything of significance here — it’s all fundamentally humorous, though not always intentionally — I wouldn’t be taking any of the comments personally. But unless the current mods are feeling overwhelmed (though obviously news about Felix will generate a lot of comments, we aren’t likely to have anything else this offseason that brings out the non-regulars to the extent Griffey does, are we?) I don’t see any way adding me to the mix would result in an improvement.

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