A Brief Note on Comments and Community

Martin Rose

Something a little meta, as we try to keep the comment threads a nice place to spend your day.

I know there are many Sounder at Heart readers who don't involve themselves in or even read the comments. If that's you, then you don't have to bother reading this post, since it'll be irrelevant to you.

For everyone else, I want to address what I see as the worsening tone of the comment threads. Tempers are a little heated across Sounders-land, no doubt due to the unhappy way the season ended followed by the contentious question of whether Sigi should stay on as manager. And because of that, we've given a little leeway in how heated the threads could get. But I think we gave too much leeway and that was a mistake and it's going to end.

In particular, if you want to comment negatively about the team, any of its players, the fans, the owners, the front office, or the coach, you will have to tread lightly. And by that I mean you will have to make an effort to be polite about it and if you make statements as fact you should make an effort to provide evidence for them. Because as I'm sure you're aware, everyone here loves the Sounders. It's what glues this community together. And if you're going to walk into a community and start flaming something that everyone in it loves, you are going to cause problems and you're going to be a problem. This is essentially a refinement of the community standards which you committed to when you joined. The very first thing mentioned in the standards is community.

By joining the blog you are part of a community. You will likely be judged by your words, so I suggest you choose them carefully. Try to keep the conversation PG-13. It is sports, so of course we understand that tempers flare, especially in game threads.

Some things are clearly out-of-bounds
- racism/sexism
- religious statements
- attacks on members of the community
- political statements
- attacks on members of groups for being members of said group

So we're going to be more vigilant about it and we encourage you to use the flag tool if you feel a comment is out of line. And that includes flagging staff members if you think we're out of line. We're human (except for Eric) and we make mistakes (except for Zach).

And that doesn't mean there can't be criticism, obviously. I have my criticisms of tactical approaches, player selection, effort on the field, and so on. But I try to be thoughtful about it, I don't make it personal, I don't cast aspersions on the character of anyone involved with the team, and I recommend you don't either. Look at it this way: if some fan of some other team (Portland, if you need a specific example) came into a comment thread here and personally insulted a player or bad-mouthed the team, how long would they last? That's right, they would last 0 seconds because that's canonical trolling. So ask yourself exactly how much of the same material we should tolerate from someone who is (or claims to be... it's not like it's something that can be proven) a Sounders fan?

This isn't the dumping ground for your id. This isn't the place for you to vent (though it can occasionally be that in small doses). What sets this apart from the comments on MLSSoccer.com or on SoundersFC.com is that this is a community. If you want to be a part of that community (and you do, because it's awesome) the entry fee is a willingness to treat each other and the team that brings us together with a basic level of respect. If you can do that, welcome. If not, we're going to be deleting your comments and, if they don't improve, ban you. Let's try to avoid that.

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