The Beer's On Menno: A Moderator's Call for Moderation

The pub in my hometown, A Constant Spring, is fantastic. Built inside a mid-America turn-of-the-century row building, the owner has kept it smoke-free since it opened several years ago. It specializes in local and regional craft brews. It brings in Americana and bluegrass bands. It serves organic food. The clientele ranges from 20-something hipsters drinking PBR, to Republican business leaders networking or unwinding in their suits, to guys wearing soccer jerseys coming to watch the big game, to Mennonite grandmothers in their 60s holding book clubs and knitting circles. You're much less likely to end up hugging someone (and not in a I'm-so-drunk-I-love-you-bro way) than getting into a fistfight. Those people all head down the street to the Dew Drop Inn where they wallow in their own self-pity and occasionally fall through the sidewalk.

All of them show up to drink a good beer (in moderation, if you're a 60-something Mennonite grandmother), socialize, participate in weekly trivia, and have a good time (HAVE A REAL GOOD TIME). Sure, on occasion you run into that asshole who stuffed you in a garbage can and rolled you down the hallway in high school, but even so, it's all good. Raise a pint -- they're tapping a keg of Bell's The Oracle DIPA this week!

In a lot of ways, I think of the community we have at Cartilage Free Captain in the same terms as I do that bar. I come here for comfort, for conversation, for intelligent discourse, for Voltron Spider .gifs humor. There isn't a single person here for whom I wouldn't go out of my way to sit in a pub and have a beer. (Well, maybe not Mechanick, but only if he wears that stupid calculator watch.)

Monday in the post-game thread we had a textual bust-up involving several of our regular Commentariat members. I'm not going to name any names, although I'm sure everyone can figure out what happened and where. I'm not going to castigate anyone specifically, as there's plenty of blame to go around. Suffice it to say that, so to speak, bombastic comments were made and other people didn't like it. It got personal.

We try not to take ourselves very seriously here. The subtitle of CFC is "A Ridiculous Tottenham Hotspur Blog" and I think I would speak for the staff in saying that while we all take our duties -- from writing to moderation -- seriously, we don't aim for pretension. That said, this community has rules. We expect those rules to be followed. There are consequences for breaking those rules, though as moderator I and the others really tend to err on the side of leniency. I hate jack-booted thug moderators, and in fact I kinda dislike moderation to begin with. Maybe that's why I was selected as moderator, I dunno. That the disagreement got to the point it did yesterday is the result of my failure as a moderator. For that, I apologize to everyone.

But the flip side of it is that while everyone here is quasi-anonymous, it is up to all of us to help foster positive community in our little corner of the web. It's easy to be a bomb-thrower in the comments of a sports blog. It's just as easy, if not easier, to try and catch those bombs and fling them back at the originator. Neither is productive.

Look, we've all been to other blogs -- football, sports, or other -- where the comments are the absolute worst, where people post with little regard to decorum, content, or the Queen's English. Where it looks like the whole of the readership is comprised of 12-year old boys. I started out on various English football boards like that, and I quickly left them because it's not the kind of atmosphere I enjoy. It's why I landed here, and ended up staying here. I assume that others are here for the same reason -- we dislike cretinous behavior and really like talking about footy with others of the same ilk. We enjoy the irreverent community that we have fostered here at CFC. Sure, we can come across as a bit cliquish at times, but we're welcoming, we're intelligent, and we foster excellent discourse on our team and on football in general.

We've seen in the past that negative events such as losses, transfers, and lack of transfers can filter down into the comments and can lead to a grumpy Commentariat. That's fine. It's not always puppies & sunshine following Spurs, and I think we wouldn't have it any other way. But in our discourse, let's all put in some effort to always be courteous when posting, to remember that there are ACTUAL PEOPLE posting, and to respond to the ideas, not the people.

So this goes for everyone: think before you post. Think before you respond. Be respectful. Be nuanced. Assume that the person posting didn't mean it exactly the way it came across. And if you have concerns about something that's happening here, please feel free to contact me or another member of the staff via the e-mails by our handles in the masthead. We listen. We discuss things as a group. We have a lot invested in this place, as you all do as well.

We're all in the same pub. It's a pretty damned nice pub. So let's lift a glass together rather than trying to kick each other's teeth in. It's a lot more pleasant, and you don't end up looking like a Millwall Bushwhacker.

Before you write a FanPost: Lurk! Comment! Talk with your fellow members! If you've been here for more than a couple of days and you know what's up, write away!

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