On the Game Threads

We have a problem in the game threads right now. Comments move too fast and there is too much bickering. When a game thread is going bad, people get cranky and that can cause them to harp on minor infractions more harshly. The person attacked can easily get defensive in response and then things spiral out from there, making the game thread even worse. It's an easy whirlpool to get drawn into, but we can break that cycle. We can make game threads enjoyable again.

We cannot go back to the game threads that we had in 2007 or 2008; there are vastly more people around now. That's not a bad thing though! Having more people commenting is a good thing. More people means more ideas. More people means more humor. More people means more styles. More people drives us all to be more informed, quicker-witted and better writers.

I don't want to lecture on the rules and guidelines of the site; I want to focus on the solution. The good news is these issues are almost exclusively confined to the game threads and those are the easiest to remedy. We have done it before. April is always a rough month integrating new people into our manner and style of commenting on games and we must all remember to be patient.

To the newer people: coming into Lookout Landing is a difficult endeavor, I know. Our standards are high when compared to the rest of the Internet and I do not blame you for not being 100% on board from the beginning. Do not get discouraged, but do take time to figure out how to better assimilate into our community. Ambrose counseled Augustine that, "if you are in Rome, live in the Roman way." Try reading game threads from the middle of last season to get a better feel for we prefer them to go.

Take advice from those that have walked the same path before. There's a very good post about our general principles from our of our most esteemed statesmen, pdb. Do not miss an extraordinary comment inside that post by CapSea who is also someone who has been around here for a long time and gone through some of the same growing pains that some of you are enduring right now. It takes time to get the hang of a new place, and you will be given that time, but you will also do yourself a great service if you observe first before jumping right in.

To the veteran posters: I remind you that if you go searching through the archives, you can assuredly find examples of yourself acting in ways that we collectively no longer deem acceptable here. I know I can. When someone breaks one of our rules remember your own past transgressions and strive to maintain patience. Before you rush to correct someone who posted without a subject line, exceeded the maximum image height or used chat speak, pause for a moment. Chances are, someone else is writing that same response and if we restrain ourselves, we avoid piling on and treating new posters - who just want to contribute - to a dozen replies highlighting their infraction.

To everyone: try to err on the side of not posting as much during game threads. We have a tragedy of the commons on our hands. Self-restraint is a useful skill in all facets of life and you can exercise it to great benefit here. Hundreds of people inhabit the game threads all at once. When a big event happens, you can count on many people to post something and try asking yourself if there's something original that you can contribute. When a small event happens, ask yourself if it's worth acting as if a single blown strike call is really on par with the Tartars demanding personal tribute from you in exchange for your sovereignty.

I understand; sometimes you want to express a hilarious new way that you want to pleasure Franklin Gutierrez after another terrific defensive play. Will people see your witty comment though? If 50 comments fly by after even minor developments in the game, good comments are missed; needles lost in a haystack. Without people willing to sacrifice a little of their desire to share every emotion for the greater good that is thread readability, everyone suffers. That's not to say you should completely neuter yourself. We don't want fewer needles. We want a smaller haystack.

That deluge of comments also drowns out the back and forth that is essential to building a community. That's where shared jokes are developed and personal interactions formed. It's where we get a sense of community and it's that sense of kinship that makes game threads so damn fun. It unites us and heightens our joys. It helps blunt our disappointments because we share them together. Let's keep that goal in mind as we go forward this season.

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