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Community Suggestions And Reminders As The “Real Games” Begin

Oakland Athletics v Chicago Cubs Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Baseball season is about to begin for realsies! Along with games that count come high emotions as well as increased traffic, so perhaps it is a good time for some hopefully helpful reminders before the first blown save is cast…

- On one hand, if you’re in game threads while things are not going so swimmingly it would be great to remember that not everyone wants to be inundated with vitriol and negativity – especially complaints that have been repeated before so many times that even blind hockey fans living in Denmark who speak no English know how you feel about a certain pitcher, player, or coach. “Constant negativity” really does drive away quite a few readers from the game threads and it seems a shame because when the team is disappointing us, all we have is each other.

- On the other hand, if you’re in game threads while things are not going so swimmingly it helps to have some tolerance for the fact that frustrated fans are inherently petulant and snarky, and you can dismiss 93% of it as being “in the moment ranting” and not actually the basis for a restraining order by the families of each reliever who sports an ERA over 6.00. “A family that snarks together embarks together.” Or something like that.

- Somewhat organically this off-season, for better or worse, AN kind of relaxed some of the rules on “bringing politics onto the site”. It wasn’t an intentional decision, just one borne out of an off-season that put issues of guns, race, criminal proceedings, and cries of collusion, at the forefront of the baseball conversation, combined with slower baseball news and a smaller audience that, quite frankly, handled the fine line pretty darn well.

However I include myself amongst those who, at times, walked the line so close as to probably cross it and as the regular season begins it’s a good time to reaffirm the community norms which ask for the site to be a place readers can go to escape politics.

So that readers, commenters, and moderators alike are on the same page, comments that directly relate to baseball, even if political in context, are still always going to be ok. For example, an opinion on whether the A’s should add another catcher in case Maxwell’s trial is not settled would be fine because it is about the A’s catching situation. Your personal views on gun control, however, do not belong here and if you offer them we will shoot you. (I mean we’ll shoot you an email, of course.)

Ultimately, the common goal here is “inclusivity,” which is to say that we want AN to be a place where everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the site. And in order to be inclusive a community has to be mindful that not everyone enjoys the same things. In particular, many fans are turned off by an abundance of negativity, many fans need to vent to their fellow fans when times are tough, and many fans come to AN to escape politics and the “real world,” and we want AN to be a place that is friendly to each contingent (as well as to many others). That’s a tough balance to maintain, but a worthy goal nonetheless.

There will be dozens of exhilarating wins and dozens of excruciating losses in the coming months, and apparently also dozens of Tommy John surgeries. Hopefully we can all laugh and cry together, drink and pass out together, and enjoy the unique tapestry that the 2018 season will weave. It’s baseball, and no matter how it goes it is better than no baseball. Let the games begin!