Jumping the Shark: Why the MGoBoard is Unreadable

Submitted by CooperLily21 on November 4th, 2013 at 10:23 AM

Everyone has their own special moments.  You know, the moment the light bulb goes on and you say to yourself:  "Self, the Board is absolutely unreadable now."

My special moment occurred yesterday morning when I just couldn't stop myself from checking the Board (dumb, I know).  My instant reaction?


YEEEEEHAW!  Doom, death, despair, Ignorance, insults, opinions galore! 

(I know, I know.  Cool story bro.  But I'm getting there.)

Tell me, MGoPeoples, when was your "Jump the Shark" moment?  Did it happen back during the post-Carr coaching search days?  The Fire Rodriguez days?  The Fire Borges days?  After Akron?  After UConn?  After Penn State?  This weekend?


Disclaimer:  This is not to say that we will never visit the board.  Its simply an open discussion so people can see why some regulars stop visiting the Board and adjust accordingly.  And for those of you that say "Good, stop reading. You're a douche bag anyway," I say "Fine, I will!"



MGJS SuperKick Party

November 4th, 2013 at 10:29 AM ^

I think there are some super high quality posts on the site too, but we are seeing the really bad ones because of lack of user moderation.

I think all in all the quality of the posts has not changed, we just see the really bad, trolling, or just plain ignorant a lot more.

I am sick of one thing though, the board is so negative when we are losing, and a lot, not all, have trouble giving credit where credit is due. It's a lot of excuses to why we lost as opposed to the quality of the opposition.

I still post because it is still higher quality michigan only discussion than anything else out there. Reddit is good for general college football discussion, but you get hardcore trolls.

Ron Utah

November 4th, 2013 at 12:02 PM ^

Not fixing the point system has created a bigger issue than the MGoCreators counted on.  Not only do the idiots' posts show-up now, they are attracting more idiots, and making it okay to be an idiot.  

The failure to address this issue is at least as glaring as any failure of our football team this season.

For me, it's a series of moments more than just one single thing.  The commenters (and writers) that repeatedly post contradictory statements about what they want to see and how they want to see it are so chock full of ignorance that I no longer think of MGoBlog as a source of information, but rather an advertisement for a style of play.

I will not stop coming back to the site, but I'm less likely to post diaries and read comments.  I just check the site like I do all the Michigan news sites to see if there's information worth knowing.  It's sad how far the board has fallen.

We need negs back.

Wisconsin Wolverine

November 4th, 2013 at 12:42 PM ^

I agree wholeheartedly.  I know that the technical obstacles of getting the moderation system healthy again are undoubtedly more complex than I can imagine, but for me it's actually been a large enough detriment to my enjoyment of this community that I have allowed myself to become only tenuously attached to the discussions of the board.

I know people sometimes criticize the groupthink that the blog demonstrates and decry our moderation of contrary opinions as an infringement on thought diversity, but I believe this period of non-moderation is compelling evidence that such diversity is not as valuable as we would have liked to believe - instead, it's generally non-constructive negativity.  And it does indeed set a precedent where trolling becomes accepted, and trolls coalesce like wildfire on a parched California chaparral.

I still eat up the front page content, but it's no longer worth the time and effort that it takes to sift through +200 comments for thoughtful dialogue.  I'm not abandoning the blog, but I'm certainly distanced for the time being.  I'll be back later.

His Dudeness

November 4th, 2013 at 10:38 AM ^

Yea that was a pretty big "Fuck you" to the loyal readership for doing what they (we?) have always done. Namely : jokes.

If anything was a "well, that's lame" moment, it was that.

It's been markedly worse since that point as far as the commentor pool is concerned. I  still like the main board content though and the writing style of most of the dudes.

I don't know, man. This football team is just making it difficult to be a "die-hard" fan for me. I sit down to watch and we just can't play the game well, for lack of a better description. We just don't play football well. It's not easy to watch.


November 4th, 2013 at 10:49 AM ^

but yeah, the MGoPetulance incident made this place seem different.
Kind of like when your favorite indie band "sells out" for commercial success.
I think the user moderation system being broken/neglected has acted like an untreated infection.
We're all a bunch of unemplyed antibodies now.


November 4th, 2013 at 2:57 PM ^

While recent event have certainly brought up some old feelings and view for you, it has none of the flame-ability that it had for awhile there, so while  have waded into too much of it (somewhat for the reason I state above) I've read your stuff with interest.  I still don't think we'd agree on much, but yo'reu giving strong takes on your views without just throwing bombs. 

I mean, most of the posts lately are just as explosive as any of yours ever were, but without any of the creativity or panache'.


November 4th, 2013 at 10:46 AM ^

I've always liked the blog in part because of my perception - which may be totally off-base - that there is a (very large) group of us who have some ownership of what goes on here.    That moment made me think "Ah, this is in fact just Brian's blog, and he can and will do whatever he wants based solely on whether he likes something."   



November 4th, 2013 at 3:01 PM ^

But if it's "come see us in Chicago because we're an MGoCommunity" then we either have to be an MGoCommunity and treated like one, or it's just a business ploy (which is PERFECTLY fine) but then we should probably be treated a little more like customers. The "it's a personal playground but a business" is permissible with one's own property, but I'm not sure it's a great business model. But it's certainly worked so far.


November 4th, 2013 at 3:13 PM ^

There was an interview on the front page with a recruit (don't remember who, but I think he's a HS sophomore), and some commenters commented on the fact that he looks really young. The kid sees the "he looks really young" comments and makes mention of it on Twitter. Brian unleashes Old Testament-like judgment, banning a bunch of long-standing and respected posters.

That's about as neutral as I can sum it up from my memory of it.


November 4th, 2013 at 3:36 PM ^

I remember the thread that Brian started to chastize the board, in which a bunch of people started arguing back about the merits and/or creepiness of interviewing HS kids. That was a dark time.

I miss chitownblue2. And Darkblue. DavidfromWyoming...well, he was a poster at one time, too.


November 4th, 2013 at 5:39 PM ^

The tragedy is that the popularity of the blog used to be dependent on the board community; and a lot of the guys who were recently banned are the same guys who popularized this blog.

Some of those guys infamously tried out blogging on their own, but their blog sucked; the irony being that Brian created the forum that they couldn't create themselves, which in and of itself drew a lot of bellyaching. But it was really those guys with their scathing destruction ofMgoBlog's early uninformed posters that provided the tragic comedy that guys like me came back to over and over again.

The recipe was basically this: Michigan plays a game, Brian posts a UFR, and some poster comes to mgoblog to voice a not-very-well thought out opinion; then, someone like Chitownblue eviscerates said poster with scathing sarcasm, and likely a good dose of ethos. As a result, the MgoBoard was basically a forum for people who liked to see the goofus beaten out by the gallant, with the role of gallant played by a nerdy/witty curmudgeon. It was so Michigan.

Then, at some point Brian decided he wanted to be a little more professional, and draw readership with recruiting, more focus on front-page material, and so he hired people to write front-page material instead of bumping diaries, etc. Part of that was highlighting recruiting in greater detail; there was a TomVH era; and that's when the scathing posters who were so much fun kind of abandoned ship. I think they found the analysis to be a little overdone.

Which isn't to say the Heikos and Seths and Ace Anbenders of MgoBlog aren't appeciated. I enjoy their writing and their efforts are typically well-received. This blog is its owner's livelihood, so there was always going to be a necessary evolution towards journalistic integrity (or at least feigned journalistic integrity). But, apparently, with that comes a dose of censorship. And therein lies the rub. But I think that's the evolution of any blog that moves from hanky fan pet-project towards a money-making enterprise like Rivals, Scout or ESPN.

I think the fall-out among the MgoCommenters illustrates a deeper problem relating to the front-office strategy and goals for the blog. It rings a bit unprofessional. The issue is, will MgoBlog take the next step to respected fan website, or will it remain a pet project and fan-blog in the perception of its frequent visitors? How that question is answered is going to be a product of Brian's professionalism.

MGoBlog is ripe for a session with some serious design, content and marketing consultants so it can take a leap it's been ready for, for quite some time. Instead, it sticks to an amateur's playbook, which when the amateurism of it all comes to the fore, is quite off-putting. 


November 4th, 2013 at 6:46 PM ^

Brian's brand is the DIY aspect of the MGoBlog and his numbers are remarkable given this focus. For years he positioned MGoBlog analysis as, essentially, "not Mike Farrell".

This worked well when the community could police itself, when a neg bang killed donkeys, when the board was readable (it's a crapshoot now) and pre purge, sadly, while the content on the main page has improved the board gas trended to sub MLive levels.


November 4th, 2013 at 3:33 PM ^

1. Brian implied that he'd been contacted by the athletic department, which had seen or heard about the tweet. That no doubt changed the dynamic a bit.

2. Most of the "looks really young" comments were in the context of a discussion on the ethics of reporting on recruiting, especially younger recruits.

3. The recruit in question came onto the board to say that he'd re-read the thread  understood what was being said and wasn't offended. He just thought it funny that someone would think he looked especially young (as you might expect for a football recruit, he's not exactly small for his age).

4. You might have thought that would have ended it, but hardly anyone even took notice.

OK, #4 wasn't exactly neutral. Sorry. But it occurs to me that that might have been the precise shark-jumping moment for me.


November 4th, 2013 at 3:17 PM ^

MGoBrewMom posted an innocent comment about a potential recruit on one of Brandon Brown's threads (that's another issue all its own) saying that the kid looked young, comparing him to kids the age of her 12 year old daughter. Insanity ensued, people (Chitown) got banned for questioning the blogs' policy regarding contacting recruits, some other stuff happened. 

The end. 


November 4th, 2013 at 10:30 AM ^

The negativity, especially after the MSU game, was just unpleasant.  I hate to imagine what a pussy program we'd still be if Burke hadn't made that shot against KU.


November 4th, 2013 at 10:44 AM ^

That's probably a good one. I never got how dark things were on the board that season given our success. Sucked to lose to PSU and Wisky though.

And I had no expectation of beating Kansas, so everything after the Trey was pure gravy for me.


November 4th, 2013 at 10:55 AM ^

Eh, things got really nasty once the blog staff finally gave up on Rich Rod keeping his job (post Gator Bowl). Patience stopped being a virtue. I'm not saying turning against RR was a bad thing, just that up to that point there was pressure from above against being really nasty about the coaches.

Since then it's been open season. We got a brief respite the 11-2 year, but if you expect a sports blog to be calm after uncompetitive losses to rivals, you haven't spent much time on the internet.


November 4th, 2013 at 11:56 AM ^

when RR was fired, and we had a sudden invasion of "Hoke is so dreamy / Dick Rod only brought in shrimpy dreadlocked low discipline / academic recruits" types (which I swear was lead by the AD), then Brian went emo, the maleware board crashes removed the old positive and negative moderation system, for the confusing positives count only moderation system, and the board decended into full out sniping warfare. (A veiled, infighting sort of M-Live.)

I am sure Brian gets more clicks and comments now, but the content seems on balance, much less infromative, and man this place has been wearing on my soul (and others too, to the point that we need multiple drinking and snowflake threads).



November 4th, 2013 at 12:21 PM ^

I'd say the front page content is actually better - Seth and Ace are improving as writers, I like the Mathlete's additions, we have a presence at pressers, and we're getting a little of the recruiting interviews that we'd lost since TomVH left. Brian is also learning more about football and the "heart" of the site, the UFRs, are getting more sophisticated as a result. Nowhere else in the Michigan blogosphere can really offer all of that.

I'm not sure the comments have gotten much worse, but there do seem to be more people just posting without contributing - more "derpy" "Hoke is fat / DickRod" types, but also more people feeling the need to just bitch about how much they think the blog sucks. Also in the past Brian would shut things down for 24 hours after a loss, which seemed to help.

Louie C

November 4th, 2013 at 1:20 PM ^

Yes. What drew me in was the humor and wit that was prevalent on the board. Actually, I was a member of another site, and clicked on a thread that was linked to this site, and was so impressed that I created an account right away.
You're absolutely right, something happened around '11. IMO, it's not the negative nancies or trolls; we've always had those. In fact, some of them (KOB, Big House_500th) provided some memorable moments.

Perhaps the blog became too popular which isn't a bad thing, but it does increase
amount of potentially bad posters. We've also lost some pretty quality posters too, whether it was to life or professional obligations, or just stepping away. In spite of it all, this place is still leaps and bounds better than those hives of scum and villainy that shall remain unmentioned.

Wisconsin Wolverine

November 4th, 2013 at 1:57 PM ^

The moderation system is like mgoblog's prefrontal cortex - it allows us to surpress our base, animalistic motivations with logic and willpower to generate appropriate behavior in the pursuit of long-term goals.  Without it, we lose our impulse control and our behavior is emotional, unfiltered, and short-sighted.

Ball Hawk

November 4th, 2013 at 10:33 AM ^

Right after the negbomb old system went away. Now we have lots of posters with less than 50 points because they got the ban hammer with their other name.


November 4th, 2013 at 1:08 PM ^

It did help police the trolls, but for a while it seemed like nobody was willing to have any discussion either. The blog seemed to be nothing but gifs and pictures of cats and people saying whatever would get them upvotes instead of having honest discussions about football. Now that it doesn't matter what your opinion is the discussion has come back full force, but sadly the trolls have too.


November 4th, 2013 at 3:13 PM ^

someone else has the same memory of the "good old days" of up/downvoting as I do.  I'm not sure why so many people think the voting system magically brought about all sorts of insightful comments and stopped dumb people from posting dumb things.  At best, you could move more quickly past the downvoted posts, but then you'd have to agree with the masses about what deserved to be downvoted.

Newsflash:  it's brutal around here after a bad loss.  It has ever been thus . . . .

Space Coyote

November 4th, 2013 at 10:33 AM ^

But I think we all know when the boards "jumped the shark" for me. That said, still love the vast majority of the front page content. Think Brian writes a lot of great stuff. Think Seth is the most underrated poster here, as he gets into the X's and O's in depth, and does things that are extremely objective as far as stats go. I think Ace does a very good job covering the material he covers, and says exactly what he needs to say and relays the info that is important as far as recruiting, and Heiko does a great job with the press conference stuff (people saying that Heiko or other reporters need to grow some balls and ask hard hitting questions don't understand how those questions will lead to you getting zero access to the program, there is no upside there).

So all and all, great staff, great front page stuff, comments are sub-standard.

I Like Burgers

November 4th, 2013 at 10:42 AM ^

The reporters thing is the biggest thing the majority of fans don't understand.  Its not court.  No one is under oath.  So if you ask a good hard question, they don't have to answer it.  And the other reporters aren't going to give you some sort of "good question bro!" high-five after.  But what will happen, is the SID and coach will remember you being a dick and putting the coach and the program on the spot and either deny you credentials (they don't have to give them to you.  People get denied all the time) or deny you access/opportunities for interviews with players/coaches down the line.

The time for hard questions is in a one-on-one interview.  Not in a press conference.