Tonight I found myself about to fire off a chastising response to a comment I read in the sidebar. I don't mind admitting, I was a little hot. The reason I didn't was that the issue bothering me was bigger than one person with one comment and the weight of it would have come down unfairly on that comment-maker. Also I realized I'd probably have to repeat the same thing a half-dozen times under different comments and this seemed more efficient.
So here's the deal.
Moderators are coming Monday. I have talked to a few of you about filling those posts and I'll be contacting the rest over the next couple of days. The hold-up so far has been me quantifying how this is going to operate in a way others can pick up easily. It's simple to envision any plan or philosophy. It takes much more time to make it comprehensible to everyone else. I've been researching and writing other things and haven't been able to finish the mod stuff. No longer. It will be finished tonight. The only other post you'll see from me tonight is a simple yet critical question for you to fill in the blanks with. I'll also put in an hour tomorrow doing the usual podcast. Other than that, my time today is reserved for the mods.
I will tell you quite clearly that the moderators will not only be in charge of deletions, warnings, and bans, they will also be the shepherds of the conversation in the sidebar. They will make sure new folks hear a friendly voice. You are always invited to join them in that friendly welcome. If somebody's post needs adjustment or mild correction they will be tasked with communicating that. But in that field they will be the ONLY ones active. Period. As of Monday morning you will not be welcome to comment negatively on the style or site-appropriateness of another person's post. That is the job of the moderators alone. Any comment by anyone else to that effect will be considered an ad hominem attack. And the other major development which will begin Monday morning is that anyone making an ad hominem attack is going to be banned on the spot. Those kind of comments are going to receive swifter and harsher penalty than swearing. That will be spelled out prominently in the moderator guidelines and enforced.
If you call someone a moron or uninformed you will be banned.
If you say a post is a waste of space or time you will be banned.
If your post includes the words, "You must not watch much basketball" you will be banned.
If you say, "This should be a fanshot" you will be banned.
If you snidely correct someone's grammar you will be banned.
You are free as always to disagree and debate to your heart's content as long as it's on the topic presented. If you have a problem with a post you are more than welcome (in fact encouraged) to flag it so we can take a look at it. The flag button also has a space for explanations so you can tell us privately in excruciating detail what you find off-key. But flagging it is your only option for complaint. If you're not going to flag, you have to let it be.
If this seems draconian, remember a couple things:
1. We've covered this topic multiple times before and it's only gotten marginally better. We cannot keep spending time, space, and energy going over it.
2. The model for this place has always been your neighborhood sports bar. Topics and sidebar posts are like individual tables where you're free to sit and join the conversation. You would never, ever in your life sit down at somebody's table, listen to the conversation for a couple minutes, and then chime in with, "Your conversation stinks!" or some variation thereof. Not only would that make you a first-degree ass, it would get you beat up or kicked out in short order...maybe both.
The site does need guidelines and they do need to be enforced, but designated people are going to take care of that so you don't have to. My hope is that this will be a major relief to 99% of you, freeing you up to actually discuss things instead of having to guide and correct people.
Though the mods don't officially start until Monday, it wouldn't hurt to practice kosher posting early.