Recently there has been some disagreements on the conduct policy on this website lately, so Bruce and I have agreed that we should create community guidelines. Also, I am going to start stealing Bruce's 4pm time slot to put up a daily open thread to accommodate some of the rules provided by the following guidelines. So without further ado, here they are (My thanks goes out to Camden Chat for the majority of this layout):
We love us some free speech, but the following behavior will not be tolerated on Baltimore Beat Down, and may be subject to a warning or in extreme cases, immediate banning (this has been freely adapted from Athletics Nation, the original SBN blog):
- Personal attacks on community members, either directly or through sarcastic belittling, e.g., "You're an asshole", "Climbed down from the trees recently, did you?" etc.
- Mocking someone's belief system or religion is a personal attack, even if you're not directing it to any one person. If a mature, rational, calm conversation begins in the OPEN THREAD about religion, then by all means feel free to participate. But derision of what someone else believes simply because you don't is unacceptable.
- Comments that are intolerant or prejudiced (sexist, racist, homophobic, etc.) in nature, e.g., "The ref has a vagina", "The Ravens shouldn't sign Black Players", "Doesn't Tom Brady look gay in this picture?", etc.;
- Relentless negativity will not be tolerated. What constitutes "relentless negativity"? It's simple: simply posting the Ravens suck 100 percent of the time without reasoning or proposing solutions. There is nothing helpful about someone who constantly says that their team "sucks" and complains. Baltimore Beat Down is aiming to be better than that. There's a difference between someone who aims to point out flaws and be constructive vs. someone who is destructive;
- Unless it is central to the article being commented on (if there were an article on how much Luke Scott supports President Obama, for example), politics are not permitted. The exception is in Open Threads.
- When discussing the Ravens, swearing and/or cursing is permitted, but try to keep it out of subject lines of FanPosts, FanShots, or Stories so it doesn't show up on the front page.
- Don't post images or gifs on Gameday Threads, as they tend to slow people on slow computers. Please keep these for Open Threads. But if there is that one knucklehead who posts a picture, you can always hide it by clicking on the subject line. Which oh yeah, brings me to my next point.
- When posting a picture or gif ALWAYS PROVIDE A SUBJECT LINE!!!
- And finally, don't SPAM. Duh.
FanPost/FanShot/Open Thread Guidelines
FanPosts are your outlet for providing your Ravens opinion and analysis. There is limited room for FanPosts, and they have prominent placement on the site, so it's important that they be great. Not just good, great. The FanPosts are the reason people keep coming back here-if they become crappy, the whole site suffers.
To make room for less-focused commentary on the site, we have also have FanShots and Open Threads. Anything that can't adhere to the guidelines below belongs in one of these two places.
FanShots are somewhat underused because they're a little further down the page, but they are the perfect place for quick hits from around the web: a link, picture, quote, or video that you think other members of the community would enjoy. Anything from "This website has cool Ravens shirts" to "The Sun reports that so-and-so will be missing from training camp this week" to video of this weeks' game. There is no need for analysis in FanShots, just use common sense to determine if the content is appropriate for a football blog.
Open Threads are a place to just hang out and chat, like you just entered a bar with a bunch of Ravens fans in it. It's okay to go off-topic, post pictures, whatever. Just follow the General Guidelines above, and use the Reply button to keep threads straight.
Getting back to FanPosts, if you have something larger to say, something you've thought about and want to discuss, by all means, write a FanPost! Here are some pointers:
1. Composition. FanPosts should have correct spelling, grammar and punctuation. We won't delete for an occasional typo, but there is a big difference between the hurried posts of a gamethread and a piece of work you have time to edit. Fanposts should also be formatted so as to be easy to read. Use paragraph breaks, bolding and italicizing, bullet points, etc. The point is to invite discussion, and if users click through and see a solid block of ranting text, chances are they aren't even going to finish even reading it, let alone comment. Don't write a fanpost saying, "sorry I didn't have time to spellcheck this". There's a spellcheck button on the banner right above you: USE IT!. If you don't have time to make a proper fanpost, then what you're saying belongs in an Open Thread.
2. Subjects. Subjects should be specific, well-thought out, and say something about the contents of the post. No more Fanposts with subjects like "I can't take it!" or "What do you think?" or even "Trade rumors". Strive to be specific.
3. Link Your Sources. Don't report an event/story without citing your source. Anything that is going to be cited must have links. And citing an aggregate site doesn't count. Cite the original author, as s/he should get credit for the journalism.
4. Offer Your Own Analysis. A Fanpost is a bit like an essay. If you want to discuss something, then think of what your take on it is, and put that in. Then think of the different ways it could be viewed by others and address those as well (e.g., "some might say Foxworth was a bad signing, but here's why they're wrong...") Endless polls asking basic unanswerable questions ("Who is better, A or B"?) are no more a contribution than asking whether Miller Lite tastes great or is less filling. It's just space-filler. In general, you shouldn't ask the question unless the answer is truly important to you.
5. When to Call Attention to News Items. It's okay to basically cut-and-paste and then link to someone else's basic news article (e.g., "FP analyzes the curse of 370", etc...) if you think it's a particularly insightful, or particularly stupid, piece of journalism. But again, ask yourself: does this merit discussion, or is it just something people would want to know? If it's the latter, put it in a FanShot. If it's more than that, and you think it should be a FanPost, then offer up some analysis-why do you think it's brilliant, or stupid, or whatever. It's also okay to make a FanPost if you see something that's MAJOR breaking news (an established player or heralded rookie getting injured or traded), and want to get the word out there. Minor stuff belongs in FanShots or the Open Threads.
6. One FanPost per Day. If you are posting four or five Fanposts in a day, you do not really understand what the FanPosts are for, and you're also not leaving room for hundreds of other contributors to the site. Obviously there may be exceptions to this when news is breaking. Choose your topics carefully.
Overall, think about what you want to say. Think about whether what you're writing is really a contribution that will engender a discussion, or if you're just posting for the sake of posting or because you're bored, or whatever. If you've got a bee in your bonnet and you want to write about it, take the time to compose your FanPost, edit it, and preview it, so that it will be interesting to the other members of the community.
If you find that you have been warned of banishment, do not try to argue your case. Collect your chips and leave the casino.
Also, support your fellow authors and recommend Fanposts you like by clicking the "Rec" button. It appears right under a FanPost after you've clicked through to read it. The more the community at large makes a habit of recommending the best FanPosts, the better the site's quality will be overall.
Lastly, everything written above was designed to help to explain the policies Baltimore Beat Down will begin to incorporate in their community. This is a private blog and it is entirely at Bruce's discretion how to interpret and implement these guidelines.