Meta: A Call For Reason Re: How we Discuss the State of Affairs

Submitted by Space Coyote on October 16th, 2013 at 5:39 PM

Warning: this is long, tl;dr people can skip. It's also me on a soap box. People that don't want that can skip, but I'm up here and I'm going to start talking. I've grown a pretty mean mustache and can talk like Ron Swanson, so for the rest, it's time to be quiet and listen (or at least read until the end).

In many circles, mgoblog is well known for its fairly well documented herd mentality, which is understandable to a degree. But things that have happened on this board and in the comments the past few days have seemed more akin to mlive than they have to this board. I've often played devil's advocate throughout my life, not because I want to be against the grain necessarily, but because I find it helps me at least come closer to the truth of the topic. Others haven't, and they don't deserve the treatment they are getting from a lot of this board.

I haven't seen it directly, but I'm sure people have at least thought of me as a "Borges apologist". That's fine if you want to think that. I know for a fact that most others that have even sniffed at passive support or defense of Borges have been called it. That's the definition of a straw man. That's pointing out that someone has a different opinion than you and that it inherently makes them incorrect. I've seen numerous times people trying to bring relevant, only for the majority herd to group up on the person with the differing opinion. That’s weak. It’s stymies discussion. It stymies understanding. It stymies this blog.

On a different but related note…

“Fat arrogant fuck.” That’s about as tame as it’s been at times the past couple days. It’s not that my ears are sensitive to that language, because I was a kid once and thought I was cool and tough and said things much worse than that. But it’s just that, childish. These are puerile comments that have never been allowed on this blog, not about any coach, player, or coordinator, and suddenly being allowed en masse. Talk about an mlive culture. Talk about not only degrading to the staff that is working hard to make you happy, but degrading the blog that we’re using to vent. I get it, you’re angry, you want to vent. But do so with reason, with actual thought, not like a bunch of drunks. I’m sure there a drunk blogs for that sort of thing (seriously, I’m sure there are, but it’s probably easier to stay away from those). I’m getting tired of sifting through a ton of turd-burgling, shit-spewing, hot garbage comments like these, that contain nothing new, informative, and meaningful, just so I can try to have a meaningful discussion about something in between it.

This post really isn’t about me. I know I’m on the other side of the tidal force here, but I’ve build up enough blog credibility that my pseudonym is likely to stay intact. But to act this way to others that are putting some credibility, and likely some sort of enjoyment they can get out of being a Michigan fan and discussing with other fans and being a part of this community on the line only to get mobbed, well… that sucks.

I’ll probably get called a “Borges apologist” rather quickly in this thread. I, like Borges, will also probably fairly quickly get called some sort of insult as well (“why can’t we say it if it’s the truth?”). That’s fine, as defined by playground/man code, that’s deserved. But if it starts here with some of those comments and ends here with those types of comments, then at least the board will be somewhat more readable and hopefully much more enjoyable for the majority of people then what it’s become the past few days. It’s not going to be happy, because Michigan didn’t win, but it doesn’t have to be this.

\Steps off soap box, goes to buy a burrito.


Ron Utah

October 16th, 2013 at 6:23 PM ^

Great post.  I completely agree; I love well-founded criticism, but there has been far too much pure hatred.

You are a knowledgable poster--even for a coach--and I value your posts and hope you keep them up.

There are some valid criticisms of Borges--the biggest in my mind is his handling of the 2nd and 4th OTs--but there is far too much of personal insults.  We're not MSU, fergodsakes.


October 16th, 2013 at 6:30 PM ^

I'm not sure what measures you can use to mediate some of the vitriol excpet to let it pass. There are enough people here who eventually take things down a notch and let rational discussion emerge from the noise.  Not having downvotes may actually allow for the "other side" to be aired, assuming it exists.  One reason why chaos mitigation didn't exist post not so Happy Valley, is that Brian et al. are marching in lock step with many of us who share his view.  It is difficult to be hard on someone who agrees with oyou.

In spite of watching an awful lot of football, I am not terribly knowledgable as to the X's and O;s.  But I know enough about the game to realize that if something isn't working, like it wasn't against Penn State and Akron and Uconn, and against Ohio in the second half last year, that there is a problem.  It was stunningly obvious that Toussaint was totally and completely ineffective at Penn State and that plan B was needed.  That we have a plan B and it wasn't used, is where the problem starts.

My concern is more for the IU game Saturday than any aftermath of last week's game.  There has been an undercurrent about Borges that has been ready to erupt since last year;s Ohio game. If it's Fitz in a manball cloud of dust going nowhere next Saturday, and Borges has nothing up his sleeve to attempt to right the ship, it is going to get ugly quickly.


October 16th, 2013 at 6:36 PM ^

Also.....despite a damn near perfect look, is Uncle Fester out of the question? I mean he was a solid character on the Addams Family and I feel like that is more a positive than a negative.


October 16th, 2013 at 6:41 PM ^

Thanks SC. I think we've had some civil (and for me anyway, enlightening) conversations here, so hopefully you do to.

But one caveat - sometimes the "this place is an echo chamber and woe is me for disagreeing with the herd" can be its own straw man. This is definitely not you, far from it, but some posters try to use the armor of "everybody's gonna hate me for saying this..." to avoid engaging the legitimate points within the herd.

Let's be civil on both sides, and not begrudge Borges his donuts (just his zone stretches) ;)


October 17th, 2013 at 11:12 AM ^

This comment shows the echo chamber effect. "Lloydball", a term coined on this site, is used as if that is a debate-ender. As if no other comment is necessary. Its damning evidence.

But what is wrong with Lloydball? It won the only NC any of us have seen. It won 74% of the games it played.

This sort of criticism is akin to the people who said things like, "the spread can't win in the B1G", despite a lot of evidence to the contrary. It offers nothing. But we've heard it before. Even from people who's opinion we respect. So it must be OK.

Sorry for calling this particular comment out. I have no I'll will towards the poster. Its just tiring.


October 17th, 2013 at 6:06 PM ^

The tendency is to see offense or defense divorced from the game situation. SC's posts on his site do a good job of looking at Borges' playcalls in the 4th quarter and OT in the context of the game rather than just looking at the stat line at the end of the game.

Lloydball worked in '97 because he had a great defense and the best way to win was to play to the strengths of the offense, keep things simple and don't take unnecessary risks. Not too different than this team, minus a Woodson and a more mature team in general. Lloyd probably stuck with that strategy too long, but it certainly worked well in '97 and for most of his time here.

Arguably, when Borges needs to open up the offense, at times he has shown the ability to do that. Many of his calls can be questioned, and I for one think he's WAY too conservative on first and second down, particularly early in games. But like him or not, it isn't fair to criticize this offense without looking at the overall strengths of the team, the opponent, the tools at his disposal and game situation.


October 16th, 2013 at 9:13 PM ^

I called the place an echo chamber so I assume you're talking to me, but I have no inclination to set up any straw mans (your "woe is me" comment is more a straw man than anything I said).

My point was that you wouldn't know anyone had other opinions because everyone here echoes Brian's posts to a fault so it's great to have an informed opinion on play calls and such. As I am no guru, I appreciate Space Coyote's posts. For my own 2 cents, it would seem to me that at 5-1 and mid-season without anyone plausible to step in and call plays may not be the best time for a coordinator change.


October 16th, 2013 at 10:25 PM ^

Eh you're the one who said echo chamber on this thread but honestly everyone here has been pretty good. So I'm sorry if it came off as targeted at you.

I'm mostly recalling some past meltdowns where somebody would go off on a ridiculous rant and their defense to the blowback was "this is just an echo chamber and the only reason you could disagree with me is because you're all over Brian/Borges/Hoke/RichRod's junk".

Point is, a lot of the time "I know I'll get negged for saying this" is a preface for something really objectively ridiculous.


October 16th, 2013 at 10:45 PM ^

And I should make clear that I'm really appreciative of SC for posting this. Space Coyote is a great contrarian (though he's really not that contrarian, all things considered).

But there's another breed of contrarian, some of whom got banned in the banapalooza a few weeks ago, who just disagree for the sake of disagreeing, do so in a nasty manner, and think that disagreeing with Brian and calling everyone "sheep" for enjoying the content of the site is inherently virtuous.

So guys and gals: don't be nasty to those who disagree with you, whether you're with the mob or against it.


October 17th, 2013 at 11:08 AM ^

I think we can all agree with your last sentence.  And perhaps I was too sensitive in thinking your comment was directed at me.

To be clear also, I didn't call everyone sheep for enjoying the content of the site (and my point could have been better stated).  I actually think there are some of us who read this site regularly and think that while Borges is probably not the best, he is definitely not the worst OC out there, and firing him mid-season makes no sense, so it isn't full of sheep.

Having said that, this place does sound like an echo chamber in times of stress (new coach, 4OT loss, etc.) because everyone (A) thinks generally what Brian thinks because he watches the games more closely than anyone save SC and (B) even those who disagree don't bother to post because "let's let cooler heads prevail" can only be said so many ways.  I agree with Brian on 90% of issues (although I can't get as worked up about ads in the stadium) and I trust his judgement for obvious reasons when evaluating players (namely that I don't know sh*t). 

The point we call all agree on is it's nice to have SC providing another informed perspective on the games, players and coaches. 


October 16th, 2013 at 10:56 PM ^

You're not reading carefully enough, then. I'm not the only one who has offered contrasting opinions, but the language you've used in this thread has called me a "sheep," presumably meaning you are the only one thinking for yourself.

Which in itself would suggest that you are not a voice of "reason."

Now, I'm probably wrong about this, but I can only go by what you've written. Perhaps you could clarify a less condescending position?


October 16th, 2013 at 6:59 PM ^

I decided not to post anything here over the weekend for fear of my emotions getting in the way of my brain. I didn't spend much time reading this blog during that time because I knew that it would be ugly. If I were Brian, I would consider closing the blog for the weekend after UM loses.

Many comments refer to how classy and intellectual this blog is, while in reality, that is only true about the staff and maybe 20% of the posters. The rest of the posters appear more intent on venting their anger, putting down other posters or trying to be funny.

I try to avoid the bitching topics and skip over the post that don't offer any thoughtful opinions. It is a public forum and I don't have much hope for it ever being what some of us would like it to be, a place for us Michigan fans to discuss and debate our favorite team in a civil manner.

The Diag

October 16th, 2013 at 7:10 PM ^

I can understand your frustrations with the way people are venting their own, however, this is what fan(atics) do and this is a forum for fanatics. I am not sure what else you were expecting.We are all fans of one of the most storied programs in all of college athletics, and for the majority of us, we are tied to this university one way or another.

For most of us, the results we continue to witness are just not acceptable for a program like Michigan. This hasn't been a one game issue; this is a decade's worth of built up frustration. What we witnessed this past Saturday has become ubiquitous when discussing this team's performance. We understand the 'it takes time" excuse, but that begins to hold little merit when we continue to regression instead of progression.

For many of us, we can accept a 9-3 type season, especially if we deduce that the program is moving forward. Last season's record of 8-4 followed by this years performences does not resemble a program that is moving in the right direction. This is on the heels of suffering through a similar (results) period three years ago. At this point, wins are meaningless to me. If this team and program make tangible strides and improve as a team, then we all can accept the extra time it might take for us to be competing and winning B1G titles.



Brown Bear

October 16th, 2013 at 7:04 PM ^

Being semi-new here(Post RR) I can't imagine how this place was during the RR years. We are 5-1 and this place has been miserable and calling for half the staff to be fired and the name calling, I can go on but you summed it up well.
I've just been reading a lot during the past week and yikes, it no fun. Cheer up kids, it could always be worse.


October 16th, 2013 at 7:19 PM ^

I think the recent-ness (that's word, right?) of the RR years made a lot of us suffer particularly bad reactions when it became clear that Borges is going to keep doing things that we think are wacky (putting aside for a moment whether our beliefs are well-founded).  There was so much chasing of our own tails and gnashing of teeth during those three years that I dread the thought of going back to it.  I think a lot of people feel that way, and I think that's part of the reason you see so many people saying, "Fix this now!!!"  We feel like we've seen this movie before, and we don't want to wait for the part when the killer clown destroys our hopes with a sharp gardening tool before someone takes remedial action.


October 16th, 2013 at 9:21 PM ^

But e was a lot more liberal with the raised point total requirements to post and post threads. I think it finally took place Saturday night, but that was the first time in a long time, and it didn't continue till Monday as far as I can tell.


October 17th, 2013 at 10:17 AM ^

And I found it very interesting that Brian's public statement about raising the point total was that the mods requested it rather than simply saying it was being done because obviously.  IMO he unnecessarily threw the mods under the bus on that one, but maybe I just read more into that in an overly-sensitive way.


October 17th, 2013 at 11:31 AM ^

The two aren't mutually exclusive. You can have an influx of new people who basically register to flame (or troll), so raising the point totals stems that particular problem. In fact, that has happened even BEFORE games, especially MSU games; RCMB... uh... 'folks' will register a bunch of accounts just to troll before, during, and after games. A couple of years ago I think Brian shut down new registrations during Sparty week.

At the same time, after a game like PSU you'll have a buuuuuunch of established posters going bananas, and eventually Brian will just say, "you know what, don't spend the rest of this terrible evening patrolling the unpatrollable amount of stuff being posted right now."


October 17th, 2013 at 2:51 PM ^

Gotta say that I think there's a huge difference between "You know what, don't spend the rest of this terrible evening patrolling the unpatrollable amount of stuff being posted right now" and "Tonight is for anarchy."


October 16th, 2013 at 7:53 PM ^

There were plenty of meltdowns in the RR days and during the "Season of Infinite Sadness (2007)" and a lot of those meltdowns were pretty well deserved.

The problem is that the team has vastly improved and is nowhere near the awfulness of some of those seasons but the culture of MGoMelting down whenever we lose games (and sometimes even when we win) hasn't changed. We also meltdown with the same level of fervor as those days and it is in no way warranted.

To be frank, it's kind of embarrassing to watch.

Like I've said before, we don't have to act like every bad thing that happens is the end of the world, and doing so doesn't make you "care more" or a "better fan."

The man who says, "I love my girlfriend so much that if she left me I'd kill myself," doesn't love his girlfriend more than the guy who says, "I love my girlfriend so much, but if she left me I wouldn't kill myself." He has an emotional disorder.


October 16th, 2013 at 7:14 PM ^

I've avoided this place since Saturday because of how toxic it's been here lately. Some people take losses way too hard. I know we all love Michigan, but sense and reason leave this place if things don't go well.


October 16th, 2013 at 7:30 PM ^

Legitimate debates about football strategy, tactics, game theory, personnel, etc. are all tolerated, and in fact encouraged, especially after an ugly loss. And when it comes to coaches (as opposed to recruits/players), there is a little more leeway. But attacks of a personal nature will not be tolerated, and will be addressed by management.

If you see something, say something. That's what the Mod Action Sticky ( is for


October 16th, 2013 at 7:30 PM ^

imo, before people post, they should consider this baseball advice:  you can usually tell an umpire "hey, ump, that was a horsesh*t call".  or "that call was f*in bullsh*t"" and you likely won't get tossed.  however, if you tell an ump "hey, ump, you are an a-hole." or "you are f-ing horsesh*t", you are likely to get the heave ho.  so i suggest a similar tactic when posting:  avoid the personal name calling, but feel free to be critical of the playcalling all you want.  i mean, that's what this forum should be for; to discuss the events and not personally attack coaches, players or posters. 


October 16th, 2013 at 7:48 PM ^

Your point is well taken. I know when I created the historical snowflake thread earlier this week, I was expecting to be raked over the coals and cussed ad infinitum. The thing that got me to start commenting on this blog was its membership's ability to discuss our collective passion for Michigan sports in a rational, respectful (most of the time) manner. We can do without the full-on pitchfork and torches input. This is still MGoBlog, FERGODSAKES.


October 16th, 2013 at 7:49 PM ^

I really just wish people would take a second to think about whether what they post helps make this place better or worse. We have something special here, but it takes thought and care to make sure MGoBoard can stay special. I don't have any illusions about the number of fucks in the game threads decreasing, but if you're throwing insults at players or other posters, it's time to step back and realize that you're making things worse.

Please don't think that I'm trying to preach or lecture or any other bullshit like that, but who wakes up in the morning and says "Gee, I have this forum I really like, I think I'll be as negative and difficult as I can possibly be without getting banned today"?