Plain and simple. I've been reading this site daily for 2 years, finally got around to creating an account so I could post at the beginning of this year. And while some of the posts along the way had their fair share of idiotic comments, the ability to downvote/upvote mitigated a lot of the damage and kept this place from reading like MLive, ESPN (pre-Facebook requirements), RCMB, Bucknuts and the dumpster fire that is Michigan's 24/7 site. A lot of the discussion was pretty interesting and in some ways I found the boards to be equally as entertaining (if not more so) than the actual site content from Brian, Ace, Heiko, Seth, etc.
Once the ability to downvote/upvote posts went away, these message boards completely disintegrated. I was in a thread 8 or 9 months ago debating with a couple reasonable OSU posters about why I thought that MGoBlog was a much better, more reasonable site than 11W from a poster's perspective. I told those guys I would take the Pepsi Challenge and try 11W for a few months to see if they could prove me wrong.
For awhile, I saw a lot of similarities between the two sites. Some stupid delusional posters and threads, but a fair amount of respect for opposing fans as long as they didn't blatantly troll. But over the last few months, I've actually found more intelligent conversation about Michigan football on a friggin' OHIO STATE blog than on a site that set the standard for what a college football blog site should be. It's because the inmates are running the asylum in these forums now, and there's no way to maintain a level of intelligent posting without a few idiots disrupting the entire thread. Or worse, just starting a total thread that is a complete shit show from the beginning.
We like to claim that Michigan as a fan base is somehow more rational than the likes of Little Brother, Ohio and the SEC but the reality is we're not. Where MGoBlog used to be a reasonable safe haven for heated but (somewhat) intelligent discussion, the reality is that a bunch of these threads are now comprised of RCMB quality.
I was never known as much of a contributor or frequent poster anyway (pretty obvious from my point total) but my activity has diminished significantly over the past 3 months because the discussions in these threads have become so asinine. The main page content is still excellent as always and the mods and key contributors like Space Coyote and Magnus still churn out great posts. But in terms of good back and forth dialogue among the broader group, it's just not there.
The pulse of this site when you read through many of these threads feels like some kind of paranoid, Little Brother complex in relation to both Ohio and Staee, which is insane. If this is an indication of what our fan base as a whole is turning into, then I pity future iterations of the Michigan football team who have to play for such a fan base.
Sory if this sounds completely "holier than thou" but the reality is that this post isn't intended as a call to arms for a number of the idiots on here to settle down. It's a given that idiots are going to be idiots, so what I'm really hoping is that the good folks who run this site will take these words to heart and do what they can to reinstitute upvotes/downvotes and other moderation policies as quickly as possible. The absence of this kind of policing has really started to devalue the site, which is a shame because it's still the best source for UM sports content that you can find.