Calmer than you are.
Mike Lantry, 1972
MGoBlog's community is like a bear crossed with a piranha crossed with, naturally, a wolverine: noble, powerful, mean, vicious, and capable of turning an unwise traveler into bone within 15 seconds. Perhaps the most common interaction on the message board is this:
n00b: I say something n00by. Maybe I've been infected by Rome or Bayless or whatever and I have a "take" which I "bring strong", i.e. overreact to something.
Old Guard: You are wrong in these seven ways, which I will explain to you in a fashion 150% as condescending as you deserve.
At this point there's a fork. Some people take it personally and resolve to hate the "cool kids" or whatever. Other demonstrate coachability.
Examples of this process often concern recruiting, because recruiting is something you can get really worked up about without having any information whatsoever. The latest came in the aftermath of LA WR Drew Dileo's commitment, about which I was lukewarm. Others were somewhere between lukewarm and hysterical, which annoyed people less prone to questioning, which caused arguments to erupt, which caused everyone slightly on one side to become very much on one side or the other for purposes of the argument, which led to this diary from ShockFX…
Question 1: How do I deal with Michigan recruits dropping places in the rankings?
A) Bitch about them dropping for being already committed.
B) Fret about not having any top 100 recruits in May.
C) Get enraged that Rivals sucks at ranking players and isn't fair, then shamefully realize my last post was demeaning Rich Rod for offering 'middle of road' WRs, where middle of the road is determined using rankings like Rivals. Oops.
D) Point out RR track record in excelling with recruits that are low ranked, and hell, it's only fucking May, these kids are juniors in high school and this addiction is borderline pedophilia even to the greeks/spartans (the ancient ones, not the rollerbladin' brahs in the EL).
E) Just D.
…which led to this message board thread…
so I wonder, in light of the diary that is the self test, what is okay for us fans to pay attention to recruiting wise that isnt crossing "The Line?" What do you consider crossing the line?
But how much is too much? Because when I read things like this, a WLA post from our friend ShockFX, and others like it, it's clear that people think a line exists. This is a recent mgoblog thread about recruiting and "the line."
…which led to this post you are reading right now. Here we are. I liked the bear/piranha/wolverine metaphor. Did you?
There are two separate lines of questioning I'd like to address and will do so separately. Line one:
A hilariously/awfully outdated post on the general ethics of following recruiting still holds true even if it chose literally the worst possible example:
2. Do not disparage recruits except in extraordinary circumstances.
This goes quadruple for uncommitted recruits--a recent flagrant example on Rivals occurred when someone posted some idiocy about how he doubted Justin Boren's "love for Michigan" because he hadn't committed yet. Boren committed soon after and then expressed his love for Michigan. How do you feel now, anonymous internet moron?
Except for that, though, the post stands up remarkably well for something I wrote four years ago. Just don't do anything that you wouldn't do if the 300 pound heaving mass of mobile death was standing in front of you. I don't think many people come anywhere near that, but there are some.
Speaking of Facebook: whenever a recruit or player post something that seems newsworthy as his status, people immediately report it on message boards across the internet. This is followed by a round of recriminations by people who don't like the idea because it's a violation of privacy or something*. The above-cited thread has an example of this:
I refuse to look up recruits on facebook/myspace because that is just over the top, i do wonder sometimes why we are allowing for so many wr recruits to commit, and i do pay attention to the stars on rivals but i dont complain about it here at mgoblog.
Which… uh. Either you're the kind of person who has 2000 friends because you're a football player (or blogger) and auto-approves anyone who adds you, or you're the kind of person who has 200 friends because you add that guy you met at that party one time. Either way, you don't have an expectation of privacy when you post "GOING TO COMMIT TO MICHIGAN WOO" as your status, or when you trash talk a goat.
If it's on the internet, it's public. There is undoubtedly someone employed by the Michigan athletic department right now whose main task is to beat this fact into athlete's heads.
What you absolutely should not do is annoy someone. Back to Maize 'n' Brew:
Some people obviously think it's not crossing any line to post on a recruit's facebook page. A recent post on Anthony Lalota's page says "Good luck tomorrow - from Tony in Columbus - Go Blue." Does this seemingly innocent wall-post cross this mythical line? What if that wall post had said "Yer gonna suck for 4 years, go blow - ha. buckeyes4lyfe"?
Wall Post A: No. I think it's a little weird that you're seeking out the ability to toss meaningless yay go yay words at someone you don't know, but whatever. That's probably the kind of interaction you'd have with LaLota if you met him IRL. Wall Post B: Yes. Obviously.
From a media standpoint, I regard anything directly relevant to a player's football career as fair game but won't report on irrelevant things unless they're harmlessly awesome like the above goat trash-talk. I like Facebook's ability to humanize football players like that. Johnny's posts at RBUAS were greatly improved by the addition of various slice-of-life photos gathered from Facebook. It's a delicate balance best undertaken with a sense of respect for the subject, and I'm sure there will be various incidents that make it seem like a bad thing. It can be a powerfully good one, too.
*(This is mostly a feature of premium message boards, since people on those message boards take their cues from the moderators and the moderators want to discourage people getting information straight from the source for obvious reasons.)
Because you're annoying. (Not you, specifically, guy who posted the thread.) In an information surplus economy people want things that are clear, to the point, informative, original, and/or entertaining. If you're posting in a near-illiterate pidgin or continually overreacting to minor news events people are going to get their dander up. You're wasting their time, and on the internet that time could be spent watching keyboard cat play someone off.
This is valuable time.
I get the frustration when someone posts something that has none of the above positive qualities, but I also get the frustration of the n00b when everything that does not meet exacting standards of netiquette gets the piranha treatment.
The answer is probably for everyone to just take it easy, man. This will probably not happen.
Calmer than you are.
The dude abides
If I was going to find out I had AIDS, I'd want it to be from Chuck Norris.
Joe Tiller was in Walker, Texas Ranger? Good for him.
I thought he was going to tell the kid he had 'diabeetus'
Haley had verbally agreed to go find out about his AIDS from Tiller but instead chose Walker instead. a tirade soon ensued after this revelation.
i would not have it any other way that 3 of the first 4 comments were about keyboard cat with the remaining a Big Lebowski. i feel like mgoblog should institute a fairness doctrine where if someone posts something so stupid that people feel their mind might explode unless they tear the guy a new one, they instead can just put
as a response and feel satisfied they've made their point.
I was pretty surprised that there wasn't an Idiocracy reference in this post. It seems like there's been one in the last 5 or 6, and the subject matter at hand was just begging for one.
Also, Keyboard Cat has what plants crave.
Finally, someone has made good use of the internet with the invention of "Keyboard Cat". Just think, America's Funniest Home videos might have ACTUALLY been funny if they had Keyboard Cat instead of Bob Saget.
I discovered MGoBlog a few years ago. A friend told me about this Michigan fan on the internet who breaks down EVERY SINGLE PLAY of EVERY SINGLE GAME and posts his analysis. The next day I typed "mgoblog" into google and away I went.
Before that day, I spent my time at work checking ESPN, CFN, anything I could get my hands on that might mention Michigan football and provide some analysis. Thinking back on these days it seems so archaic, so inefficient. Yet my ignorance permitted me to accept the status quo and be happy with what I had.
All this changed the day of that google search. I digested each UFR quickly yet carefully, revisiting the play in my mind while reading one man's opinion as to why it was successful or doomed. And charts? Charts.
Haloscan, it had charm didn't it? I wore out my F5 key refreshing that tiny little Haloscan window, perfect for reading incognito at work. Sure there was lots of nonsense going on even back then... who can forget all the namejacking and the ensuing tomfoolery. But it always seemed in good fun. And despite the nonsense, there was always good conversation and content in those comment threads. I miss Haloscan.
And now here we are today, and Brian is asking people to chill out. Nostalgia definitely skews our memory, but dammit I would give my virtual left nut to have those Haloscan days back. I still love the meat and potatoes of MGoBlog as much as I did before, but my affinity for the community has declined drastically.
Hell, maybe once the season is here things will be better. The offseason does crazy things to people.
A version of Haloscan is still out there for those that miss it. wink wink.
what is Haloscan?
Haloscan is the old commenting system that was used at MGoBlog when it was still residing at blogspot.com (pre-June '08). If you go to mgoblog.blogspot.com I think you can still browse the old Haloscan comments, but closed to new comments.
miss haloscan. Mgoboard(or bored-- depending on the day) is ok, from the perspective "Hey, I'm on the internet and need everything categrorized" type of way, but it certainly does lessen the sense of an interactive community -- at least to me. Others may prefer the directory appraoch used by Brian (and I assume that Brian has far greater control, and unique visitor stats this way, thus contributing to his financial well being -- and after all, this is a FREE site).
As to the Post, in the words of our fear-loathing, infantismal leader: "Chill Out, Walter"
is a real-time conversation, which certainly had its benefits.
But to understand the current conversation, you usually had to read the preceding comments, often back a couple of hours (for me, sometime a couple of decades). But if there was something along the thread that you really want to comment on; bringing it up hours after it is posted, after several other topics were discussed, and inserting it in a current, unrelated discussion, was awkward to say the least.
And the people that were discussing that topic may not be currently on-line (for example, the comment that you are responding to is 5 hours old, and that person is not online); thus your point would never reach its intended audience.
I much prefer this current set-up here over haloscan.
I agree in concept. But I think that the overall quality has degraded since the move away from blogger. Granted, I never commented during the haloscan days because for some reason I could never register, thus, I lurked. I also missed most of the earlier posts, since I only started reading during the coaching search. IDK, six of one I guess.
You're joking about not being able to register to comment on Haloscan, right?
Am I misreading this?
Seriously, I know there was no registration like there is now, but I could not comment. I tried many times, and unless I did something wrong (and even if I didn't), I could not comment. Strange right?
I think that the overall quality has degraded since the move away from blogger. Granted, I never commented during the haloscan days...
I do assume that these two things are unrelated.
I agree with you that Haloscan certainly had its downfalls and limitations, which you summed up nicely. And perhaps I was being too literal when I said I would give my left nut or whatever to get Haloscan back... what I was really trying to convey is that I wanted the community of the Haloscan days back.
I don't know exactly how to say it other than this: it was different back then.
And just so I'm clear, this is in no way Brian's fault. His content is still A++ as far as I'm concerned. I think the root of the problem is the site got way more popular, and with it more riff raff showed up, leading to the perfect storm of cynicism and tempers we see today.
MGoBoard is not the problem, nor is Haloscan the solution.
That is all.
I don't know exactly how to say it other than this: it was different back then.
For a lack of a better term, camaraderie? [I could have used comradeship, but that might be perceived as too WLA-ish, and we're talking pre-WLA anyway]
Regarding Brian's point that what you should absolutely not do is annoy someone, instead of referencing the Maize n' Brew example he should have referenced this thread from MGoBoard...
MGoBoard user hears Anthony Fera, after decommitting from U-M and committing to PSU, is "talking shit" to Anthony Lalota, so he decides to add Fera as a friend on Facebook for the sole purpose of talking shit at him. Fera then apparently comments to this guy that he now sees how unclassy U-M fans are.
For all I know, since I don't believe it was clarified, Fera and Lalota are friends in real life, they are now attending rival schools, and since Michigan was having a bad season Fera was just "talking shit" as in "poking fun" and having fun with Lalota, not "talking shit" in a bad, personal way. I still don't know what the whole intent of the poster talking shit at Fera was. Yeah, lets insult a... 17 year old high school senior. Ooookaaay....
I think this would qualify under the don't "annoy someone" policy.
is motivated by one of these:
1- Low self-esteem. Thus the false pride of having a famous "friend"
2- Hero worship. Which may be fine, if you're in high school or at Michigan right now. But if any football player in college is younger than you, and they are your hero, uh, do a self-assessment. And see #1.
3- Creepiness. See those 40 year old Dad's at the spring game who asked Denard for an autograph. Enough said.
4- A genuine desire to wish a player well.
If only one of four possibilities for anything is really healthy, do you want to engage in it?
As eloquent and well thought out this post is, my years of trolling the internet shows that nothing will change. A bunch of geeks with marginal social skills who spend an enormous amount of time in the internet commenting on threads can only handle so much before they lose their mind. By 'so much' I mean almost nothing at all.
Thanks for the effort though...maybe this time it will work.
Sadly, if it isn't from the TOM tab of MGoBoard it is most likely not worth the time.
PWN NOOBS PY-RAH-NA STYLZ
This blog is Brian's business. It seems to me he sticks his neck waaay out there to allow the community so much power over what happens on this blog. That's awesome, but he's really putting himself at risk by allowing the "old guard" to police the blog. When people freak out and react "150%" over how they should on a newbie, it's possibly driving away earnings and future earnings potential from Brian.
Let idiots be idiots, that what they do. Take the privilege of a certain amount of control over this blog's content with a bit of responsibility. Remember that our actions can, at times, have an effect on Brian's pocket book, as small as an effect as that may be.
It seems to me he sticks his neck waaay out there to allow the community so much power over what happens on this blog. That's awesome, but he's really putting himself at risk by allowing the "old guard" to police the blog. Not really; if you haven't noticed, much of the "old guard" have been absent for the past 3 months. I suspect some things have been going on behind the scenes regarding the "policing" of the blog since the introduction of the new format last June.
When people freak out and react "150%" over how they should on a newbie, it's possibly driving away earnings and future earnings potential from Brian. Let idiots be idiots, that what they do. Perhaps, but Brian is walking a thin line in keeping this blog from becoming M-Live. That is why people get banned, and why Brian reacted so strongly when he finally read up on McFarlin's body of work. It really doesn't pay to let "idiots be idiots" it only results in a dumbing down of this blog. And that is not in Brian's best interest, financial or otherwise.
Remember that our actions can, at times, have an effect on Brian's pocket book, as small as an effect as that may be. No doubt about that. And we all can help in encouraging the quality of the posts and comments (both with praise of good, quality posts as well as criticism of poor posts). Brian has more pressing things to concern himself with.
I agree with you. There are tons of idiot-ridden blog/message boards out there, if that's what you want. Letting MGoBlog become one of them makes this place less original and less desirable. Perhaps people overreact, but allowing the self-policing to go one has, so far, kept the blog from becoming just like everywhere else, which is why we come here and not there. The civility here is what attracts a lot of us, take that away and people will bolt.
Bottom line, this is the best source for M football info on the web. If someone gets yelled at on the message board, I doubt they stop coming. If the message boards turn to chaos, people will stop coming.
If someone gets yelled at on the message board, I doubt they stop coming. If the message boards turn to chaos, people will stop coming.
I think that is dead-on as we seem to have abundant proof of that.
praise of good
"The civility here is what attracts a lot of us, take that away and people will bolt."
The problem is that when the self-policing was at its peak, it wasn't really civil. I got tired of people getting insulted for saying things that really weren't that big a deal ... unless you belonged to the self-policing clique. It really wasn't far from the extreme opposite of MLive.
Agreed. God forbid your opinion was disagreed with by one of the self-policing posse members.
It was that weak arguments and crap writing were not going to be allowed to slide. Some of the most critical posters were involved in an enormous Uniscorn disagreement over a topic a lot more incendiary than the relative star ratings of various recruits with very little agreement and yet, life goes on. The Internet has not exploded. Why? People involved realized that they needed to make a good argument and everyone still might not agree with them.
If you were the sort of poster who needed everyone to agree with you, or if you couldn't be bothered to articulate and back up your argument, yeah, you were going to get slammed back in the day.
However, most of "that crowd" don't bother with MGoBoard anymore, especially during the off-season. So go on, Callahan, do your worst, knowing that no one is going to bother to make your day!
And if he lets the blog get over run by idiots he'll lose readership from people who actually want intelligent discourse. It's a balancing act and both extremes are bad.
So... no carte blanche to lambaste new commenters for no reason other than my own enjoyment?
Thanks a lot for Mlive flashbacks...That was the board I read (I know, right?) before MGoBlog. I remember some guy on there literally wrote "GO BLUE!!!!!!!!!" after EVERY post. It was a little over the top.
Stop talking shit about me, asshole.
so let me get this straight...i CANT invite will campell to my OMG JELLO SHOT party friday night, then poke him afterwards?
I'd suggest you keep your poker in your pants.
I don't understand why people try talikng to recruits in general on facebook. I mean don't you think that if you constantly went on their page and said GO BLUE pick Michigan that it would annoy them, hurting your teams chances of landing that guy.
Someone needs to keyboard cat Weis getting his knee broken.
Edit: Nevermind. You guys suck: http://mgoblog.com/content/play-him-keyboard-cat-charlie-weis
Ok, I am confused now--which means I know what is going on.
I believe we should continuously make rules that can be easily dismissed and ignored to support a frail but well intentioned standard of behavior that theoretically sounds great but can't pass the smell test. Trying to bring order to the Interwebs is like trying to catch a fart and paint it blue. But, Brian, you are very Don Key-oat-tee in your attempts. Me, fock it, I say we just burn that damn wind mill to the ground. Because, much like Homer Simpson, I am usually the guy who takes things too far. (obscure reference to the Manatee saving episode after Marge leaves Homer over the porno flick caused by the gambling debt to the mafia guy.)