The Field Guide to Commenting

Over the past two months, we've seen a great increase in readers and commenters on At the Hive. Conversation here has been, for the most part, smart and well-mannered. As more and more users access the site, now's as good a time as any to establish some site ground rules. 


1. NO POLITICS

Any posts engaging in political partisanship will earn the commenter a warning. Obviously, with the sale of the team to Gary Chouest, the Hornets are inherently tied to politics to some degree. However, we can still discuss the team and ownership without turning At the Hive into the set of Crossfire. 

2. NO RELIGION

Thou shalt not talk about religion.

3. NO PROFANITY

This will be enforced more leniently than rules one and two, but at the same time, we don't want one word comments in a game thread, for example. I understand that the average conversation, especially among sports fans, tends to be profane. That said, I think we can achieve better and more nuanced discussion by using the full capacity of the English language, rather than resorting to profanity. 

Read about other, equallly fantastic restrictions after the jump!

4. USE SENTENCES

Points are more easily made and understood when they are placed in readable sentences. Again, we're not talking Kierkegaardian level prose, but more like what you learned in 3rd grade: capitalize the first letter in a sentence, include a subject and a verb, and end with a punctuation mark. Try to avoid run-on sentences; if you've gone more than two lines without a punctuation mark, trouble is afoot. 

5. USE THE REPLY BUTTON

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If you want to respond to somebody else's comment, make sure you hit the reply button underneath their post (and not the Post New Comment that's crossed out above). This makes conversation much easier to follow. 

6. BE REASONABLE

We'll have a healthy amount of debate about various topics over the course of the year. But debate can devolve rather rapidly. I can't put it any better than Dave at Blazers Edge: "It's fine for people to disagree.  In fact debate makes the best conversations.  If you don't want anybody to disagree with what you've written, go to Hallmark, buy a journal, and write your thoughts there.  If you write them here, give people some space to reply with good, solid points of their own."

By the same token, be reasonable in your criticisms of players or others in the spotlight. As fans, it's sometimes easy to lose sight of the fact that these are all real people we're talking about, with lives, with families, with their own problems and issues. There's a difference between making fun of a guy (for being fat, for example) and calling out a guy for being mediocre, based on statistics and quantifiable evidence. 

And one more thing that came up this week: if you make a point, make it once and move on. Don't copy-paste yourself in ten different threads. If you sincerely feel you weren't addressed the first time around and really want people's takes on your original comment, ask for it. Baiting for responses is infinitely less productive than simply being direct.

Finally, let's keep the negativity in check. If you think Quincy Pondexter was a terrible pick, don't tell people about it in a "should we bring back Sean Marks?" thread. If you think the Hornets are doomed, we don't need to hear it in your every comment. Again, (and I'll make this rule 6a) make your point and move on. If it's a good one, people will talk about it; that's the way the internet works. 

7. THE 9/11 RULE

As Dwyane Wade/FanHouse found this week, making ridiculous comparisons can get you in hot water. Nothing that happens on a basketball court can or should ever be compared to 9/11, the Holocaust, etc. This should be pretty self explanatory. Making the comparison just weakens your argument.

 

8. REC COMMENTS 

One of the great things about the SBN platform is the community's ability to provide instantaneous feedback  to comments. Stealing from Liberty Ballers' rec how-to-guide:

 

Click 'actions'.

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Then click either 'rec' or 'flag'.

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Witness the magic as the comment turns green!

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On At the Hive, a comment will turn green after it has been recommended two times. If you think a comment is clever, funny, smart, or awesome, let the author of the comment know by reccing it. It's visually more appealing than writing "+1" or similar.

9. FLAG COMMENTS

On the flip side, the community can also flag bad comments. It works the same way as reccing; however, you need to provide a reason for the flag (spam, inappropriate, etc). The moderators can then track down the offending comments. 

 

10. NO DIRECT PERSONAL ATTACKS

No name calling, no insults based on race, gender, creed, orientation... you get the picture. Again, this should be a self explanatory rule. Offenders will be warned on the first offense, and banned for later offenses.

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If you see a well-intentioned commenter breaking a rule, kindly point them in the right direction. Anybody that follows these ten rules is probably a great commenter, and overall awesome human being. And propositions for new rules are always accepted, because hey, who doesn't love to follow rules. That's it for now. I'm out like LBJ. 

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