A few brief words here about what's been dominating the discussion in the fanposts the past few days. A couple of folks have emailed me the last few days to express their opinions about things. The details aren't what's important, but the big picture item is the administration of the very few but simple 'rules' I have made clear in the past. It's a short list, but basically they are:
1) No racism period (several things have toed the line lately. I didn't say anything but don't push your luck), no blatantly cruel and mean spirited homophobic or sexist comments.
2) No politics.
3) No religion
4) Limit the profanity whenever possible, and definitely don't sling it at others.
No. 1 isn't at all negotiable. There's a few of us who might want to consider that not every new visitor understands each of our own distinct styles and senses of humor. For the most part though, this is a non-issue amongst us thank goodness.
No. 3 is also not that big of an issue because quite simply, talk of religion doesn't really belong anywhere in a conversation about football -- the economics of football, the strategy of football, even the morality of the players that we cheer for on Sundays. That said, this isn't necessarily a closed topic. Just as one example off the top of my head, if someone wants to write something about the role of religion in football players' lives, by all means. That's football related and great stuff. Moving on.
Ahh, No. 2. That's where I apologize to those of you who would have preferred that I just stick to the few, very laissez faire rules that I set for the site, one of them being no politics. We have a great, great community here. It's cohesion, nice mix of witty goofballs, hardcore nuts-and-bolts analysts, and great story tellers make for a fun conversation, 'level headed' thinking, and 'thoughtful discussion'. You all make it very easy to just sit back and let adults and be adults, and I can't count the number of emails I've gotten from folks saying that we have what seems like one of the very few civil and interesting communities and dialogues out there on the internet.
That's primarily because y'all are cool. But it's also because we keep politics out of the equation. However, I just felt that a group that's gotten to 'know' each other so well over the course of months if not years deserved to have the chance to speak about the topics dominating the headlines this week. And they were big ones. As an American history major at Penn, I can't in good conscious prohibit the incredible community we've gradually build up together to not speak about something so important, even at the risk of upsetting one another a touch or losing a bit of respect for someone we might have previously perceived differently. That's fine. I don't like it, but I made a decision and I'm living with it, and it's partly beacuse I know we'll move on and not let lingering opinions fester in future conversations about the Steelers and other topics wholly unrelated to this past few days' political discussions.
But to be real clear, we're back to no politics. Unless Rashard Mendenhall or some other Steelers player goes off about anything political related in the future, we're done with that here for the time being. The news cycle has passed. I'm pleased we had a conversation, but it was a unique situation in my opinion.
The other thing worth mentioning though in regards to this is the plain and simple fact that I've been tired this week. Coverage of the draft was crazy. And actually, the work I did on BTSC was a tiny fraction of what I did elsewhere around the SB Nation network. So in other words, you might have thought the site's draft coverage was solid (thanks Frank Mineo and others for the help!), but it was a fraction of the grind from last weekend. By the time I noticed a heated discussion was evening happening, we were 200 comments deep. And once I shut that one down a few hundred comments later, the next hing I know a new spirited debate is in flames. It's impossible for me to keep up in other words.
This site is my baby, and doing my best to serve you all is my top priority. But the fact of the matter is that this gig pays me less than any other endeavor I am involved with. That includes two gigs with SB Nation + two part time jobs teaching kids technology in Seattle. It's my favorite project and the one I'll never, ever give up, but survival is survival. I have a hot girlfriend who's itching to travel, I've got a city-wide digital literacy initiative I'm 'all in' on trying to make work, and I have hourly paying wage jobs with the sickest independent sports/media company on the planet. That's all before what I'm even thinking about what the hell I'm going to say about the Steelers from thousands of miles away for a demanding audience that's come to expect a high standard of quantity and quality year round.
All of that is a long way of saying that I can't get to every thing I would like to, and that includes moderating the site myself and keeping clearer boundaries and rules in place. But if I'm forced to choose between providing content for you and administering rules to grownups, I'm going to choose the former every time. Always been that way, and thankfully, you all have been supportive and never given me any reason to act otherwise.
I know some folks might shake their heads at me for this approach. Wiser and more principled men and women have told me my approach pisses them off at times. It makes me upset with myself when I hear that, because a part of me knows they are right. But like I said, let this note be an example of how and why I care. I don't ever want to just throw down rules and say adhere to them or peace out, even if the conversation continues to grow exponentially. Maybe I'm naive, but I think I can continue to make my approach work with your help.
Don't let me down though. We have 70 year olds who love the site, and though I won't reveal who, there was a 12-year old who participated in our community mock draft. He just wanted to be a part of what we had going on. Let's not lose that, it's a slippery slope across all ages, demographics, political leanings, etc.
So in real quick conclusion:
1) Good discussion for the most part -- if you want to continue, take it to the BTSC page on FB. One of you all who's active there please elaborate in the comments how to join that group. I actually didn't start it. Anyway, if you want back in with the politics, get at it there.
2) Don't drop F-bombs at each other; save it for gamedays during our open threads and for verbal lashings towards Roger Goodell.
3) Contact me whenever with your thoughts and concerns. They are taken into detailed consideration and much appreciated.
4) Try to fit in where you can. We have lots more we agree about than vice versa. Trying to prove a point while pissing people off ain't fun for anyone. Rise up, share your point of view, and don't be a tyrant to those who aren't convinced.
5) As always, thank you a million times over for your support and patience. I don't do a perfect job, but I try my best and it's almost exclusively because of the satisfaction you all bring me with your dialogue with one another and about the NFL's most decorated franchise.