Six Zero here, with the triumphant return of…
This feature highlights some of the more famous personalities here at MGoBlog
and beyond. Without pulling back the infamous veil of blog anonymity, we’ll get
to know some of your favorite posters better and possibly shed some light on
their definition of why it’s so darn Great, To Be, A Michigan Wolverine.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW PREVIOUS EDITIONS OF MGOPROFILE
(Scroll down to the MGoProfile section of the User-Curated HOF).
SIX QUESTIONS WITH LSACLASSOF2000
If what they say about nice guys is true, it pretty much goes without saying that LSAClassOf2000 will pretty much finish last in everything ‘til the end of time. I can’t tell you the first time I’d interacted with LSA, but I can tell you it was several years ago, and I can tell you he’s always been an exceptionally consistent class act each and every time since then. Some of us here at MGoBlog are more anonymous than others, and some are more civil around here than others—but for those in search of a suitable online role model, someone who always treats everyone with equal respect while projecting a general vibe of lighthearted enthusiasm and positivity, look no further than our most recently anointed Mod, the ubiquitous LSAClassOf2000. He pulled away from his crusade to keep the boards respectable just long enough to deliver the goods in this exclusive MgoProfile:
1. First and foremost, let’s get this out of the way… Dude, what’s up with all the Rainbow Pegasuses and Unicorns?
For all of the time that I have had any avatar on MGoBlog, it has been some depiction of Rainbow Dash, the tomboyish cyan pegasus from the latest incarnation of “My Little Pony”, and while I will not name names, I do know there are a few fans on the board. Actually, someone got a little irritated when I changed it to the present one sometime in 2011, so while it may not mesh terribly well with a sports blog, the show is not unknown around here. Typically, I won’t talk about it unless prompted, for it is “Way OT” and not germane to Michigan athletics, but when I have, the response is generally positive from what I can recall. I am certainly not ashamed of it, as you can tell.
Why that avatar? It gives me something of a unique identity on the board, and the particular avatar that I chose comes from an episode of “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic” where Rainbow Dash is playing pranks on people, so it has a little of my irreverent side in it. It also looks pretty cool as part of a desktop background that I rotate in with some of the fine football-related ones that are made available by users here.
To tie that into my Michigan fandom, Rainbow Dash is also portrayed as loyal and always willing to be of service to her friends, and I feel like that towards my University and the MGoCommunity.
As for the unicorn, I actually tweeted out a photo of myself wearing a shirt with a unicorn with blue hair on it. That would be one of my other favorites – “Vinyl Scratch”, the village DJ basically. My love of music sort of drew me to that as being a pretty cool secondary character from the show.
<-- (LSA himself rockin' his My Little Pony style, used with permission)
Yes, my friends, you read that right—My Little Pony. And he’s far from the only one; male adult fans are such an established portion of the show’s fan base that they have their own web sites, conventions, even a descriptive meme-like name. So tell us, in your own words LSA, what exactly is a BRONY? Are there others in the sphere of Michigania, or are you the only one?
There actually is a pretty solid definition of “brony” out there – it is the blanket term for adult male fans of MLP (My Little Pony). The show’s creator, Lauren Faust, repeatedly says in interviews that the whole idea was to create a version of the franchise which wouldn’t drive adults up a wall - worked on me anyway. It's pretty hip really - it makes references to X-Man, Spiderman, even Benny Hill, and for a show aimed at kids, has a lot for adults to like as well in terms of humor. I suppose that’s what draws me to it – it is written by people my age in part for people my age.
2. I can respect that. So, moving on, can you tell us what exactly is an “LSAClass of 2000?” Explain how you came up with the name that goes with the instantly identifiable avatar.
When I decided to upgrade my MGoExistence from “lurker” to “extant poster” during the coaching search in January 2011, the first stumbling block was, of course, my username. In all the time I had been lurking going back to a game in 2007 which will not be mentioned, there had been so many great ones which made references to Michigan’s past and present. I thought about some variant on these, but then I wanted to make it something that would make people stop and think, “Who exactly is this guy anyway?”
The other consideration is that I finally decided to make it something personal regarding my time and experience at Michigan, and that’s when combining the college at Michigan from which my degrees come and the year of my graduation came to me. I toyed with a few combinations on paper that evening when I set up the account. It even took me a few tries to get onto the site because, at that time, thousands of people were glued to flight tracking sites and I wanted to be part of that.
Of course, in the end, I settled on the name I use you now see and not once have I thought about changing it. Some months ago, there was even a thread where someone asked about the origins of usernames and second accounts, and invented the secondary purpose of my name in that thread – it also represents the collective voice of an entire segment of a graduating class. Well, I like to think it does – it probably doesn’t, but I like to think that. Having said that, of course, a few people have since come forward and said that they are also “LSAClassOf2000”, so it is no longer a crime to have graduated from LS&A in 2000.
3. I assume we’re talking about the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, and not the rare genitalia skin condition Lichen Sclerosus et Atrophicus? Ahem. So here at MGoBlog, you are a Moderator. The Night’s Watch of MGoBlog, as it were. So few of us readers understand the demands and difficulties of this position. Define the unique responsibilities of this role.
Ah, yes. One of the things you may be surprised to know is that the MGoFAQ essentially defines the ground rules for moderating MGoBlog. In other words, there are not a lot of set rules – about 99.99% of it, in my admittedly brief experience to date, is done by precedent or subjective judgment based on our understanding of expectations more than anything. That’s part of why you will see a thread stay for a while one day and then, days later, when a similar thread appears, it will disappear quickly. We all approach these things differently.
It is that lack of set rules which makes scouring the board and its threads interesting, to say the least. In this role, you basically have to at least skim everything that passes into existence on MGoBlog. I am not a frequent presence in front page threads, for example, but whereas I could just read the articles before, now I read that and every response after it. I have even had occasion to delete the odd post from the front page threads as a result.
When I start seeing masses of greyed out posts – as I have my threshold set to +1 – I start getting curious, so I will open those posts and read them more carefully. On a site as active as this one, you have to create markers which may or may not lead you to potential trouble, and that’s sort of one. Beyond that, there is just quite a bit of reading involved, although I will say I feel like I could get to a point where, just based on style and content, I could guess at who posted what even without usernames. It is definitely a passive way to acquaint yourself with others.
You also have to step back and behave as a poster. You also sit there and read the title of every thread about ten times if it looks like it might be misleading. Quite a bit of the role is content monitoring, but that quickly leads into behavior monitoring. I like to think of it as essentially “background trolling”, only making an appearance when things have gotten out of hand, and something even then not saying anything. Sometimes, deleting and posting in the Action Sticky will do just fine.
Certainly doesn’t sound like a job for the casual reader. What’s the worst part of being a MOD? What’s the best?
I freely admit to this – the best part of this moderation thing is that I can delete my own double posts. After all, with power comes responsibility as well as mad ability to edit things.
That, and I can give back in a way to a blog that has enriched my MGoExistence. That’s the reason I really volunteered to do it, even in the full knowledge that it might change my relationship with the board and other users. I really felt that this was another way that I could make a positive contribution, and I like to believe that, so far, this has been the case.
The worst part about it is that you know that, down the line, you’ll anger someone because you’ll delete a post or thread that someone thought was going well or was within the rules. I am pretty sure that you pick up the wrath of an aggrieved blogger in this role, but I like to think that my record as a contributor is enough to overcome such pettiness. It’s a judgment call, and I would like to think that I am a fair person – indeed, I am willing to restore threads if people can come up with a good reason they should be restored. I’ve done it a few times actually.
4. See what I mean (Re: Nice Guy)? Now we’ve seen many fine men crumble under the weight of this thankless responsibility. Did you know what you were getting yourself into back in March? How have you endured it so far? Why do you think other mods get burned out so thoroughly and completely?
I approach modding a bit like my own job, which is in supervision. I manage people for a living, and I am finding that I can apply some of that philosophy to this blog. I try to be a professional about it, although admittedly the blog gives me an opportunity to be a little more playful about being in a supervisory role. If I approach it with a certain level of detachment, I don’t have a lot of issues with being “bad cop” from time to time. Like my job, in doing this, you will definitely get grieved, but if you’re able to explain yourself when asked, there shouldn’t be any problem after that.
Having talked some with other mods, I had some preparation for the position, but again, as it is basically done from precedent and there are many judgment calls and therefore many opinions – there are only really a few types of things that are non-starters right from the beginning. There is a level of collaboration among mods though, so sometimes we do talk about what we might do in a given situation or with certain threads or posts. Certain decisions are sometimes not made before a short consultation.
As for myself, I like to think I have done well so far – one of the reasons I have my Twitter handle in my signature line is so people can let me know if they do have an issue. I wanted the communication to be part of the moderation process. It really does get to me when I have to do the MGoEquivalent of “handing out discipline”, but I do so in the belief that I am making the board a better place. So, really, I have no problem saying that it is not exactly a democracy on the board, but it is someone’s property ultimately so it probably shouldn’t be.
Democracy’s so 1776 anyway. But-- seeing the blog from your unique vantage point-- if you could change anything about it to make it better, what would it be?
If I could change something about MGoBlog, and this will sound pretty nerdy, it would probably be the module that leads to the death of threads from mangled HTML. Even with the expanded powers of a moderator, those are a pain in the arse to fix and some are not fixable. I say that because, on a recent occasion, I was the reason that a thread had to be recreated twice after a postgame posbang. Yes, I did that, if you recall that night. If there could be a way to deal with HTML better, I would be all for that. Failing that, of course, I am probably going to just read the programming guide again and not make the mistake that I did, but that wouldn’t be the easy road.
Another thing that I would think would help a lot of people is a more detailed FAQ. The site has reached a level of maturity where I think that Brian, Seth and the mods could probably develop something a little more detailed in the way of ground rules. It actually would take some of the stress out of modding, and it would mitigate sidebar discussions in the Action Sticky about perceived borderline calls. More importantly, it would keep people focused on the topics at hand.
5. Before joining the ranks of the overworked and thankless, you were already a seasoned diarist known for fact-based commentary and a penchant for exceedingly professional pie charts, graphs, and other forms of tabular data. Tell us what it’s like to exist in this crossroads of sports and numbers. And what does the data tell you about the future of Michigan football?
I like to think that at the crossroads of sports and the data behind sports exists a better understanding of the story of sports. We love the wins and loathe the losses, but almost everything a team does produces data, and the data begins to provide an understanding of what is going well and what isn’t. I love football and basketball and other sports as much as the next MGoBlogger, but I am always looking for something more reliable than the “eye test”. What we see is important, but what we see or recall may not be the complete story.
Actually, when people say that someone doesn’t pass “the eye test” and they fail to provide data when data exists, I tend to get a little upset. In extreme scenarios, it leads people to say things about players unsupported by facts and that’s a situation in which no fan should ever be, in my opinion. MGoBlog is one of the most well-informed blogs when it comes to sports, and I want to add to that. When someone starts a sentence with “Anyone can see that…”, I will say that I get a small kick out of being able to post the data that asks the question, “OK, can you then explain this?”
In my mind, there should be a focused discussion on blogs like MGoBlog on the areas which your metrics are saying are deficient, and then a discussion on strategies to make it better. We aren’t the coaches, but using data, we can try to see if what they are doing makes sense. It has always been my belief that, armed with data, fans would be able to complain about the right things, if there was anything to complain about, and rather than calling into shows and sounding like they know nothing at all, they can call in to have a nice chat.
Especially during the season, I like to think that what I am helping us do is add to the narrative of the game or the season. We can look at the numbers and talk about what the adjustments should be, in our opinion. Same thing with personnel changes, plays, and so forth. It’s hard to get into that level of detail when many are being emotional, of course, but I think it would be refreshing. That isn’t to say that being emotional is bad – I get pretty upset sometimes too, but whether it is healthy or not, I am one of those people that tends to keep a cap on it.
If you look at the numbers and project it into 2013, the future for Michigan football is incredibly bright, in my estimation. We could easily have an offense that will be tough to stop in the air and on the ground and a defense that grinds people into a fine powder. I am totally OK with this.
Yes. I’m sure we all are. What do you do for a living?
Where I work is already fairly well-known, of course, but specifically, I am a Planning Supervisor at DTE Energy on the electric side of the business, which locals still know primarily as Detroit Edison. I started out as a service planner, designing overhead and underground distribution, and in December of 2011, took a position in management. Currently, I manage most of the administrative functions in one of our planning regions, providing services in Washtenaw County as well as parts of Oakland, Wayne and Monroe counties. I am also not averse to helping out MGoBloggers in the DTE service territory with their issues and I have in fact done this a few times for people.
And what do you like to do for fun?
I am a voracious reader, choosing to delve primarily into subjects like history, philosophy, physics, economics and a few others. I also keep up with my French and German, trying to maintain my skills in both languages. I am a lover of music and – for better or worse – a huge fan of the 1970s and 1980s in particular, but I also have a heavy interest in classical music. I also make my own music, primarily keyboards and drum programming, so I am in essence my own 1980s New Wave outfit. In addition to sports, I am a fan of the BBC comedies, with some of my all-time favorites being “Father Ted”, “The Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin”, “Yes, Minister”, “Dad’s Army”, “Fawlty Towers”, and of course “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”. Of course, I also collect my favorite American shows – I own “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, MacGyver”, “All In The Family” and numerous other TV series. I also own something in the neighborhood of 600 DVDs ranging from movies like “Network” and “Bridge On The River Kwai” to admittedly lowbrow stuff like “The Hollywood Knights” and “Kentucky Fried Movie”, so it would be totally fair to call me a movie buff. I also like to spend time with my wife and two wonderful kids here in suburban Detroit.
Sounds like a very fulfilling life! Describe the perfect meal.
Believe it or not, for all of my attempts at making things as diverse as Thai and French cuisine, I am a steak and potatoes person at heart. The perfect meal for me came from something in the subfamily Bovinae and was grilled just enough so that the veterinarian could revive it. It would be served with a root vegetable and something which had roots but grew mostly above the Earth. Of course, I do go for classier meals as well, and I am one of those people who is also greatly troubled by wine pairings with various meals too, so there is that.
6. Finally, let’s wrap it up with the staple questions. Can you explain why you are a Michigan fan?
Like a lot of kids in SE Michigan, being a Michigan fan was just a thing for me early on, but as I mentioned in a recent diary, I had a neighbor which gave me a three-dimensional perspective on Michigan, its sports and its history at a very early age, and I was hooked. From that point on, there was no question that Michigan would be part of my life. (http://mgoblog.com/diaries/recalling-my-first-experiences-mgoculture).
To quote myself, regarding my family’s former neighbor:
“I don’t think I ever told him, and maybe I should this season as I walk past Edgewood and Snyder, where he tailgates more often than not, but I credit him primarily with starting me down the path that made me not just a knowledgeable Michigan fan, but a proud alum and MGoFanatic. Indeed, there are times on MGoBlog when, in the middle of a post, I stop to ask myself how Lou would respond.”
And last but not least, who’s your all-time favorite Wolverine?
There are so many good choices, so I will split my answer, if that’s alright. I shall also confine it to football, as it is the sport I follow the closest in Michigan athletics. My favorite coach would be Bo, and the reason for that became evident to me only recently. With some modifications, some of the lessons from his teams have been useful in my own professional growth. Indeed, I keep a copy of “Bo’s Lasting Lessons” at my desk. My favorite players would probably be Denard Robinson, Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson in a very interesting tie. They all went out there and just did the most incredible things and were able to make something out of what would have been otherwise a mundane incompletion or kick return or rushing play or whatnot. They just seemed to be on another level. That’s not to say that there haven’t been many players like that at Michigan, but these three stand out to me in that regard.
So there you have it—MGoProfile is back, and it’s only fitting that we caught up with one of the unsung heroes behind the scene that helps make this site what it is. We’ll be turning a new page with the MGoProfile series as longtime regular M-Wolverine is joining the feature and will spend some time in the interviewer’s chair and put his unique spin on things. In the weeks to come I look forward to seeing the series thrive under our collaborative input and become something far greater than one man could have ever envisioned. And, throughout it all, I’m sure LSA will be there to keep it all running smoothly!