Is Athletics Nation a Sports Blog or an English Grammar Blog?


Is seems that there is a divide between some at Athletics Nation. 

Those who come to Athletics Nation to read and write about the A's, and Baseball are one half. They do not care if what they write/read is perfectly written. For a post-writer, it can feel like a form of harassment for someone to criticize their grammar and not even discuss the post at hand. And for the readers, having to read the grammar police threads get tiresome and old.

Then there is the half who polices other people's spelling and grammar. And also those who silently and anomalously thank them. It is important for them to have order with all the rules being followed. The misspelling or misuse of a word, a mispronounced phrase, lack of punctuation and generally bad writing are some of the things that can really irritate this type of person. Most grammar police do their best to help clean up the Nation. Sometimes gentle, sometimes forceful, they prod all post-writers to take more care and more time to edit and edify themselves. Athletics Nation seems to have some very high community standards in regard to this. Their are some very capable and creative people that help maintain these high standards and they should be mostly applauded. Reading other blog sites can be frustrating at times as every other post seems to be authored by a third grade dropout.

In my scenario, we assume the post-writer made an effort to spell check and edit. They made coherent sentences and paragraphs and tried for well written punctuation. They are not a professional writer. They do not have the time or knowledge to make it perfect. Nor do they want too. They want to write/read about the A's or baseball in general. They do not want to read/write about the grammar skills of the many amateur English professors who frequent this site.

However, it seems that some grammar police are not here for the sports side of it at all. They are not actually grammar police, but a wolf in sheep's clothing trying to run an English grammar blog. Even this might not be right as their true intention is at the very least to destroy good threads with banal intercourse. They will chase off new posters and harass old ones with their pompous rhetoric. Once vexed, some writers leave the site in voluntary exile. This seems to be the only reason these wolfs are here. 

When the writer/reader feels like his post has been taken over, he just might be a victim of a grammar troll. I will attempt to explain what a grammar troll is and how they operate. Since I do not want to type "grammar troll" fifty times, they are to be hereby known as a Groll. As we will soon see, there are at least four main types of Grolls.

The first type of grammar troll, or Groll, are usually very good at pointing out somewhat minor mistakes in newly posted threads. They get in quick, often in the first few responses, before the tread has a chance to break out into any interesting discussion. They do just enough to irritate you, much like a mosquito buzzing around your head but never biting you. Then they hang around and patiently wait. If someone, if anyone, responds to their often superfluous instruction in any way, the Groll will ramp it up a notch with a sentence or two worth of criticism, followed up by some righteous indignation and maybe an obscure word or two. 

Usually another grammar troll will sniff it out at this point and jump in. The second type of Groll is usually good at pointing out the flaws in the first Grolls account of the situation. They can do this by disagreeing with the first Grolls premises and therefore challenge them to a debate. Or they can point out some minuscule, inconsequential error in the grammar of the first Groll that 99% of the public wouldn’t know or care about.

Now the first Groll has two choices at this point.

1) They will either keep the criticism on the post-writer, badgering and tormenting them with enmity or 2) they may decide to accept the challenge of the second Groll. The second Groll, who is the first one to recognize and go after the first Groll, is the second type of Groll. These particular types of Grolls will be hereby known as aSroll. Again, Srolls are the first person to identify, respond and challenge a Groll.

When the Groll decides to choose #1, and continue to exasperate the post-writer, he makes some moves that a basketball analogy may help explain. Much like a flop in basketball, the Groll will put themselves in harms way to elicit some form of false contact that can be used against the post-writer. They then will protest their innocence and personal motives as they are taking the free throw shots. All the while they are looking for a way to get two more easy shots. This Groll is probably weak and starving and stays with the easy mark, unwilling or unable to compete with more savvy Grolls. 

However when the Groll decides on choose #2, accepting a challenge from a Sroll, now it can get fun. The Groll and the Sroll usually dance around each other for a few rounds by one-upping each other in a form of verbal smack talk that speech and debate teachers never even dreamed about pre-internet. Srolls are usually experienced Grolls who have grown tired of the easy kill of a new or sensitive writer.

The Groll and Sroll usually understand and honor the battle that is about to take place. No ill feelings or animosity is expressed as they start the opening moves of the chess match with a hopefully worthy opponent. Now the magic can happen as the Groll and Sroll really get a chance to show off.

They reach far into their copious vocabulary and access dormant debate skills with some jousting and confusing foreplay of words. With false umbrage and colloquy, they go back and forth eloquently showing off their sententious style. Some have described this faze of competition as the middle stages of a verbal circle jerk. They egg each other on in intelligible and astute discourse, enthralling themselves and others. Back and forth, at times gratuitous, at times ingenious, they feel sophisticated and wise as both debaters ascend to higher forms of ecstasy. While this may as well be Sanskrit to the rest of us, it does illicit a robust response.

At this time if the Groll and Scroll have proved to be profound and not platitudinous, other Srolls get worked up enough to jump in. Each trying to steal the attention away from the first Sroll. These secondary Srolls are the third kind of Groll. Hereby all Srolls after the first Sroll will be known as a Froll. Now that the Groll three-some is complete with a Groll, Sroll and at least one Froll, the threads quickly become paragraphs long rants. Innocent bystanders making comments in the sports thread are either highly entertained, simply run over, or both. Frolls are best at the endgame of a Groll hunting party and usually leave it to others to flush the game or start the challange.

Sometimes just a Sroll is all that's needed for a first-class discussion between him and the Groll at the writers expense. Usually the Groll and Sroll welcome all the Frolls as it adds to the frenzy of their manic self importance and lets them hone there skills for future battles.

I have tried to help fanpost writers and readers on how to spot a Groll and recognize the variations of them. Grolls are not inherently good or evil. Do not fear the Groll. They do their part in making sure articles are coherent enough to withstand a simple Groll attack. Just like in nature, they weed out the weakest links and make the overall herd stronger because of it.

Some of us readers really like to watch the fray and see how it develops. For those who enjoy a good Groll attack as I do, we experienced Groll watchers usually can get a handle on which Groll will emerge victorious within the first few verbal jousts. But Groll lovers everywhere are pleasantly surprised when a mystery contestant enters the ring and knocks down all comers.


I promised you four types of Grolls. This last type of Groll is extremely rare, often misunderstood, but is what all other Grolls aspire to. It is a rare treat, when someone is canny enough to write a fanpost, just to fish for a Groll with all the consequences that may entail. Let me explain. The Postwriter-Groll actually lays the trap for the initial attack with a mundane post used to bait unwitting Grolls. Then they feign a lame foot, letting the Groll come fully out of the forest and exposing the Groll to a Sroll challenge. Then the Postwriter-Groll will do just barley enough to keep the Groll and the Sroll challenge moving in the right direction. If done right, this leads to a full blown Froll invasion. When it is determined that the Froll attack can maintain itself we have the real fireworks.

Now and only now does the Postwriter-Groll suddenly go " Keyser Soza " on all the Grolls, Scrolls and Frolls. With all the Grolls confused, mindfcked and helpless, the Postwritter-Groll mentally slays, then dismembers them, feeding off them in a verbal orgy only understood by the most twisted and deviously intelligent of minds. This creature is a de facto enigmatic visionary. Once turgid and strong with the fat of weaker Grolls, the Postwriter-Groll will then prepare to disappear and hibernate for another winter. This completes the full cycle of Groll society.

This Postwriter-Groll surfaced from a remote and random blog somewhere around the internet to feed on the life force and creativity that is Athletics Nation. It is a Postwritergrammarpolicetrollcatcherextraordinar. They are known by hushed whispers and in secret circles as the immortal "Proll". Much like a Highlander, they have a need to kill each other to gain strength and power.

Ultimately the Prolls must slyly cultivate new Grolls who may someday become strong Prolls in their own right. Once the harvest has matured to the point of self-propagation, the Proll will have a rich feeding ground in the future to live off.

Hopefully I have helped to identify if anyone has been a victim of a Groll attack and why not to be fearful of one. Grolls, Srolls, Frolls and Prolls all have their place within the blog hierarchy and the rules are mostly understood between them. Don't hate the Groll, as they perform a natural, if somewhat unique, function in the nature of a blog. We at AN have a strong Groll society that should be studied with the utmost and delicate care. We seem to have reached the point that this renewable resource of entertainment has reached the full cycle of Groll life. This points to the hidden existence of a mighty Proll. With enough determination, examination and experimentation we may be able to titillate the Proll into exposing itself.


To recap: we have Grolls, Srolls, Frolls and Prolls. Grolls pick fights with post-writers, Srolls pick fights with Grolls, and Frolls keep the attack self-perpetuating by exasperating all three after the challenge has started. Finally, Prolls are post-writers fishing for Grolls.

I hope I have clarified what a Groll is, explaining each of the four types of Grolls and thus helping us understand if AN is a Sports blog or an English Grammar Blog.


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