Lately there have been several MGoBoard spats regarding Freep article threads. OPs have started topics on Freep articles and either provided a link or left the link out. Predictably the Freep boycotters and Freep non-boycotters have then engaged in thread wars over the presence or non-presence of said links. When the non-boycotters have provided links they've been neg-bombed. When the boycotters have vented their spleen about the Freep, they've been taken to task for their perceived silliness.
I for one believe that all of this is tiresome and detracts from the enjoyability of the board. Thankfully, we can actually look to Brian for guidance on this topic. In his Jihad the Second: Tentative Results front pager, he said the following:
Until such time as Drew Sharp, Michael Rosenberg, and Mark Snyder are no longer at the paper, if you are a Michigan fan with a Free Press subscription you should terminate it immediately. If you link to a Free Press article it should be the print page and it should be nofollowed. If you visit the Free Press website, you should have adblock on. If you write for Michigan's Rivals site you should not write for the Free Press. It's not because they took a swing at Michigan's program. It's because they were blatantly dishonest in doing so.
Most of those shoulds are recommendations because they refer to behaviors entirely outside of the realm of MGoBlog. All except the bolded, italicized portion which refers explicitly to behavior that Brian desires on MGoBlog. Brian's guidance serves several purposes: 1) It reduces the ad revenue earned by the freep.com; 2) It provides a convenient way to discuss Freep stories that may have some relevance (sometimes there's actual news content to digest and share, sometimes there are examples of "Freepiness" or jihadi-like behavior to rail against (at least in the eye of the poster)); and 3) It serves to tamp down the frequency of MGoBoard spats.
Now, following this policy requires some discipline on the part of the MGoBlogerati and it requires that the Freepers (boycotters) and the anti-Freepers (non-boycotters) each give a little. The Freepers have to not reflexively react negatively when a thread is started about a Freep story and the anti-Freepers have to not go off on the Freepers about how stupid the boycott is. The bottom line is that both factions need to refrain from poking the other faction in the eye every time one of these threads appears.
Now let's say someone starts a thread and posts a direct Freep link. What's the appropriate response?
Post a comment deriding the OP for his support of the Freep.
Post a comment lauding the OP for not buying a Freeper tin foil hat
Post a comment gently reminding the OP that the guidance is that we use print links for Freep articles and cheerfully provide him with that link
Ok, I'm sure that in this thread there will be some witty alternate responses and I'm looking forward to reading them, but I submit that the right answer is number 3. Number 3 preserves board civility and encourages MGoBlogerati unity.
Now, I'm certainly aware that the passions of the Freeper and anti-Freeper factions are driven by much more than whether or not an MGoBlog Freep boycott is effective. I know there has been some over the top language used on both sides and personal attacks mustered against various MGoUsers on both sides and as a result there are legitimate hurt feelings and abused sensibilities all around. I submit that if we follow this third or middle way, we will avoid much of the divisiveness we've experienced lately.