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Just Another Crowd (We Need a Gathering Instead!)

Hi folks.  Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. Just a few things I wanted to discuss this Monday morning.  Recently we've had a few people on the site take issue with our (and that's Tom and myself) responding to user comments in disagreement with the commenter.  We've even had some people advise us to stop responding to their opinions and instead, start stating our own. 

Now, I know what you must be thinking.  This has to be the first time in the history of the internet that (1) commenters have complained about the site author taking an interest in their opinions and responding to them (it's typically the opposite complaint, of course); and (2) commenters have complained that site authors don't state any opinions.   

Good people, the very purpose of this site is for us to express our opinions and for you to express yours.  The site only works if we respond to each others' comments and posts - otherwise we are just shouting past each other, two ships passing in the night, which I admit I sometimes feel is the case on here. But it shouldn't be that way.  This is a dialogue - if you want to state your views and not have them commented on or challenged, I encourage you to go ahead and start your own blog, and not allow comments.

Now, I must admit - when we get a fanpost that says

"the season is over!!111!!!!!    5th place team!!11!!!   jp is teh horrible!!!!11!!!   Vernon is a choking overpaid loser.  Rios is a bedwetter who doesn't hustle...dump them all and bring up Fabio Castro and Buck Coats right away!!!1111!!"

well, it's hard to know what to do in that situation.  We could delete the fanpost, since it, standing alone, really adds nothing to the site or the discussion.  We could ignore it, though the history of the internet suggests that doesn't really work for a site.  Or we could engage the person and try to draw out more and build a fruitful community discussion.  Typically, we choose that third option. I have often found that with many of the JP-haters, their arguments don't even stand up to basic logic and reasoning, let alone stats (or, as I like to call them, facts).  

One last point: we welcome everyone who wants to express an opinion on the site and I personally think everyone has something they can add, and whether they choose to do so is up to them.  No one is expected to back up every statement, fan post, or opinion with stats, evidence, or anything else (although I admit I am hard-wired to take arguments that do so somewhat more seriously).  But if you want to express an opinion or statement here, expect that opinion or contention to be held up against the facts (often, but not exclusively, stats) by the community, including us, to see whether that statement or opinion is supported by the evidentiary record.  If you are not comfortable seeing your opinions or statements held up against the facts, I gently suggest you are in the wrong place.  Of course, ad hominem attacks are, as they have always been, outside the bounds of what we want to see on the site.  But just as useless are lines of argument that cut off any meaningful discussion, such as "anyone who disagrees with me wants the team to finish in last place every season."

This corner of the internet doesn't belong to Tom and I - it belongs to anyone with a keyboard and a desire to express his or her opinion or share a story or fact.  But we have the responsibility to make it a fun and informative place where ideas are freely shared and then held up to the light of the community to see what's there.  I can't encourage you strongly enough to make your views heard and to challenge what you read.  And, of course, we are always interested in your views on how we can improve the site and make it a better experience for readers.

+10 to anyone who got the ridiculously appropriate reference.