Back To Its Roots: This Is AN

From Tyler Bleszinski, Nico, and baseballgirl

Blez, baseballgirl, and I have had some serious discussions over the past two weeks, and the following comes from all of us. However, since I, as Blogfather, am delivering the message I will speak in the first person.

It is time to clearly articulate what AN stands for and why, and to update the Community Guidelines ("CGs") in ways that clearly and consistently reflect this vision. In a perfect world, every member of AN would embrace this vision, but at least by clearly outlining what AN is and will be, each member of the community can self-select whether or not it is right for them, and from there AN can build a stronger and stronger community by adding members who have chosen AN because they were on board with this vision from the start.

AN was founded on some core principles that Blez, baseballgirl, and I all share, and they are "mutual respect and celebration of diversity". This requires that a premium be placed on respectful dialog and respect for the diverse ways a person might like to see, think about, or discuss the game. It also requires that even if there is an "inner sanctum" that has grown up together, and quarrels together, there also needs to be room to welcome newcomers who may want to share in the baseball or the banter, but not in the internal drama or the baggage.

Essentially, AN needs to be clearly defined as a place where all are equal, all are respected, and diversity is celebrated, and AN needs to be a place where these principles are enforced as if they were the very foundation of the site -- because they are.

After the jump, you will see what a clearly defined "This is AN" looks like and it will undoubtedly suit some and not others. I would just ask that you read it thoroughly and carefully so that you can make the choice that is right for you.

1. New CG (Effective Immediately): No "Inflammatory Meta"

Inflammatory comments, discussions, or complaints about AN's process, e.g., how a "strike" or "banning" or "policy" is/was fair or unfair, why AN sucks, whether there is free speech or oppressive censorship on AN, what "desperately needs to change around here," what user or administrator did what horrible thing, what really happened with (insert past internal drama here) -- are not allowed on AN.

AN's chief administrators, and many moderators, have their email addresses listed in their profiles and are always happy to hear from readers, or to discuss policy, in a constructive forum: offline and one-on-one, where we commit to being highly responsive.

2. CG Clarification: "Respect For All" Means Respect For All

Attacks on each other damage our whole community. Public mocking or insulting of any commenter, any front page writer, any administrator (or the job they do, the decisions they make, their motives, their character, etc.), or any segment of the community (e.g., aggressively mocking someone for their preferred way of enjoying, analyzing, or discussing baseball), is not allowed on AN. There is nothing that needs to be said that cannot be said respectfully, and on AN everyone is entitled to be treated with respect.

Note that this has absolutely no bearing on disagreeing with a commenter, a front page writer or chief administrator's opinions, challenging their analysis, or inadvertently upsetting them in any way. It has solely to do with comments whose clear intent is to speak disrespectfully towards, or about, another member of the community.

3. Clarification: AN Is a Moderated Community

Participating on AN means understanding that AN is intended to run under a leader (the "Blogfather"), a committee of moderators who handle adjudication of all conversation, and a community that flags comments which clearly violate the stated guidelines. Participating in discussion on AN requires that you acknowledge that:

  • Your comments are part of a broader community context; your words affect this community and reflect on this site.
  • If your comments do not meet respectful standards, if the moderators or chief administrators judge them to be detrimental to the community and its conversation, we will moderate them.

We commit to keeping our guidelines clear and prominent. We are also willing to clarify reasons for moderation with the parties involved through proper channels, as described above. With this in mind, if you have any questions, or seek clarification on any aspects of this post, please feel free to email any questions to us at blez@sbnation.com.

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