As you no doubt know, the Portland Trail Blazers' first-round playoff opponent is now set. The Blazers and the Houston Rockets will face off in a best-of-7 series beginning later this week. Over the next few days you'll get multiple posts about how the Blazers can prepare for their first trip to the post-season in three years. This post is a little bit different. Let's talk for a second about how we, as the Blazer's Edge community, can prepare.
One of the great joys of a playoff series is the chance to chat with fans of the opposing team. Over the next couple weeks we'll have visitors we've never welcomed before. But the post-season gets intense...quickly. Among those visitors will be a fair number of ill-wishers out to get a rise out of our community. Along with those will be righteous, well-meaning people who draw ire from our folks because of the color of uniform they root for. Distinguishing between the two can be hard in the heat of battle.
Let's affirm something right away: Blazer's Edge values good basketball discussion no matter the source. All people, all kinds of fans are welcome here. Novice or expert, first-post or tenured member, Rockets Rooter or Blazer Believer, we treat and respect you the same. We will never, ever become a "Blazer-Fan Only" zone, much less "Think Like Us Only". Differing perspectives help us grow. That's the joy of a community like this. We welcome fans of opposing teams. We value their unique contributions. We expect all community members to do the same. We uplift this virtue even, and especially, when folks disagree with the predominant view. We believe members of this community are astute enough to have great basketball conversation with anyone, anywhere. We ask all of you to help us in this regard over the next few weeks.
We also want to assure you that we're aware some opposing fans will try to troll the site hard. Our moderators are prepared. Comments that don't follow our site guidelines will be deleted. Comments delivered in particularly insensitive tones in particularly sensitive moments (e.g. folks from the other side engaging in overt, acidic gloating after tough losses) may also be moderated. We'll do what we can to keep the conversation poison-free. Trust our mods to have your back in this regard.
Our mods will not discriminate, however. If your response matches a troll's comment, it'll be deleted and you could well suffer the same fate as the troll. Guidelines apply to all of us. Please do not fan flame wars before our mods can wield their fire extinguishers, lest you be doused as well.
From time to time we see good, smart comments from opposing fans garner a vicious reaction from our folks. This doesn't reflect well on our site. Please take a moment to think before responding to someone you disagree with. That guy in the other jersey is just you, born in Houston.
As always, the best response if you see an inflammatory or out-of-bounds comment (as opposed to one you just disagree with) is to flag it. Flags alert our moderators to pay attention. If you flag a comment, there's no need to respond to it (in kind or not). Know that it'll be looked at as soon as possible and feel free to devote your time and energy to the comments that matter.
Please make sure you understand and follow our site guidelines even as the environment crackles with excitement during the playoffs. In a nutshell:
1. Don't attack people.
2. We're here to talk about the subject matter, not about each other. Stick to the topic of sports rather than critiquing each others' presentations. Counter sports opinions/facts with other sports opinions/facts, not declarations about how stupid/silly/wrong the other person is. If you want to claim they're wrong you have to construct the argument out of facts and reason, not just throw the accusation. Leave the accusations out entirely and let your arguments speak for themselves.
3. Blazer's Edge is a no-profanity zone. Yes, even when the refs are bad.
4. Tone matters, as does effect on community. Sarcasm can be humorous or a cutting, unfair dismissal. Arguments can be helpful and expanding or harmful and conversation-ending. Stay on the open, fair side of that line. Obvious things about racist, sexist, or poor-taste comments apply here.
5. One sentence or phrase is enough to pollute a comment. If a sandwich is 95% lunch meat and 5% bird poop you still have to throw away the whole sandwich. Don't get your otherwise-upstanding comment deleted because you can't help adding an accusatory, insulting sentence.
In all things, welcome other folks and make space for them as you've been welcomed. This applies especially to new visitors, which will soon include Rockets fans. Whether you look for the best in people or the worst in people, you're not likely to be disappointed. Look for the best, affirm everything and everyone helpful, and let us take care of the rest.
Thanks for your help! As always, we welcome questions about site policy at the e-mail address below. We're looking forward to this great, intense playoff experience with all our readers (and Rockets fans too)!
P.S. Can't wait for more Rockets-Blazers talk? Check out my weekly guest appearance on the Phil Naessens Show. Or visit the VideoCast on Joel Freeland's return and its potential ramifications.