Often when a company hires a new CEO, that CEO takes a "let's overhaul everything" approach to leadership. They don’t analyze what's working and what isn't. They come in and make immediate changes because for some reason they're under the impression that change is good, when often it's not.
LL has a new Chief Blogging Officer and a staff of new names, old names, and some dingus named JY. By default, LL is going through some changes, and those changes may have an effect on Lookout Landing culture.
It's not the writers and CBO that are necessarily going to make changes. In fact, as far as I can tell they're going to all be respectful of what Jeff, Matthew, and some other dingi created. The worry is that different writing and analysis attracts different types of people, and when you combine those changes with a Seattle Times pay wall and a season that may actually be passable, you get a very high likelihood of an influx of commenters named "letsg0ms1231." That's a problem.
So in an effort to have the basics of Lookout Landing culture centralized in one place – and because Decatur asked me and I am a sucker for a pretty face – I'm going to break out what I consider to be LL culture, in terms of rules, commenting styles, and whatever else I can think of or plagiarize.
Researching this thoroughly is smack dab at the top of my to-don't list, but I figure in the comments you can let me know if there's anything else that you think is a part of LL culture and I can either add it to this list or link to you or pretend that I wrote it if it's funny and get credit.
Here goes something:
On the Community
Perhaps the best place to start is a basic understanding of why this post is necessary. This post is necessary because the Internet is a terrible place. People assume that because of the anonymity of the internet - or perhaps because of internet culture - they are free to type like children, interact like toddlers, and whine like infants.
Somehow, Lookout Landing became something different. We managed to create a community that is above all that. It's a community of generally intelligent people (and those that at least respect that intelligence) that try to engage in fun, funny, interesting, and brilliant discourse on a regular basis.
These "rules" have helped make this community something that other internet communities dream of being. Those that don't like it tend to leave. Those that do tend to consistently find this place their favorite website on the entire internet, and some of those people aren't even Mariner fans.
This is one of the only places where "don't read the comments" doesn't usually apply, and it's one of the only places that someone can go and interact with those that actually care about how they answer. The culture of Lookout Landing is the ideal culture of the internet, and not something that anyone here wants changed anytime soon.
Do this. Lurk. Be a lurker. Read the comments. Many people claim they've been reading the LL community for years only to come on here and write "LOL i should of wanted you to fart SMH" as their first comment. It's clear that they have not been here long.
If you've come to the community and want to actually be a part of it, rather than drive-by commenting, then take the time to read how other people write and interact here. Notice that we capitalize the first words of a sentence, and we tend to use punctuation and spacing. The more you read the comments before you join, the more likely you'll make a positive first impression.
Lookout Landing requires subject lines for all comments. Subject lines make it easier for mods to moderate. If someone flags a comment, the moderator can simply click on the subject line in the moderation queue and find the post. If there is no subject line, the moderator has to find the post themselves. Even if you know for certain your comment is acceptable, the purpose of making everyone use subject lines is that we want any new poster that may come to LL to notice that people use subject lines and act accordingly. We do not want them to point to posts where users did not use subject lines as evidence for why it is okay they do what they do.
But that is not the only reason, nor in my opinion the most important. Subject lines also make comments easier to read and follow. Bold text is darker and draws the eye, so when a new comment is posted, we can see that it is a new comment rather than one that blends with other comments. In addition, if we want to hide your comment, we cannot do so if there is no subject line. Subject lines are simply easier and better.
Chatspeak, Abbreviations, Etc.
LOL, OMG, and other shortcuts are useless for writing and add nothing to the conversation.
"The writer who neglects spelling and punctuation is quite arrogantly dumping a lot of avoidable work onto the reader, who deserves to be treated with more respect." – Lynne Truss
The fact that chatspeak, poor grammar, poor spelling and poor punctuation are generally acceptable on the Internet is a problem with the Internet, and one that LL chooses not to encourage. You should be proud that we do our best to make our comments readable to you, not upset that we expect you to do the same.
Piling on is when a commenter comes into LL and says something stupid, trolls, etc., and the entire community jumps in to tell them what a dingnoramous they are. Sometimes it's difficult to avoid piling on in gamethreads and places with a lot of comments because yours may be one of 17 comments that show up all at once, but in general it should be avoided, because piling on is never considered acceptable.
However, if you're the person piled on, you should take the time to ask yourself why. Chances are the pile on was for a reason, even though it still should not have occurred. If you feel you were piled on for no good reason, flag a comment or write the mods directly. Or ask me, and I will kindly let you know why and/or if you suck.
Recs are awesome and the person with the most recs wins in life. Recs should be used whenever you agree with a comment and have nothing to add, think a comment is funny, or are supporting something they said. They can even be used to thank someone that answered your question. They replace other popular ways of saying nothing, such as:
Despite rec-inflation problems, recs themselves are useful and let people know that you appreciate their comment and contributions. They save comment space and provide a helpful and easy way to show someone you agree. But try to only rec when that's actually your opinion. Avoid reccing lame "that's what she said" type jokes, or potty humor. It's not something that should be supported, and it causes the person that made the comment to think that their comment was valuable.
You Don’t Need to Try So Hard
This is more of a life note, but one that plays a role on Lookout Landing as well. You do not need to try to fit into LL beyond any of the rules or culture listed today. Don't force humor. Don't try to match the LL demographic. Be yourself. Your best spelling self, but yourself nonetheless. If it's obvious you're trying too hard to fit into LL, it's unlikely to be appreciated.
On vs. Off Topic
One of the other many things that makes this community great besides our facial hair is that sometimes amazing discussions happen - discussions so amazing that people link to them and talk about them years later. Often these discussions are not related to baseball, because let's be honest - baseball is boring. That's why I don't watch it or follow it myself. I am all about curling.
But at the same time, going off topic can derail what might be an important post. It's also someway disrespectful to the authors, who often view the comments in their articles to answer relevant questions, spot errors, or learn themselves. So when is veering off the topic of the post acceptable and when is it not?
- Article on Baseball Topic - Don't go off topic unless it comes naturally in the subthread, and even then consider limiting it. Off topic includes baseball related discussions if they're not about the post/game on hand. If news breaks or you want to talk about something you've found in data, FanShots/FanPosts are the place to go.
- Game Threads - Game threads are actually better when they're not related to the game. Everyone's watching the game, and no one needs you to narrate it. Off topic is great here, but obviously don't make a habit of trying to start discussions constantly if no one's responding to you.
- Off Topic Threads - These can be about anything - on topic, off topic, Mariners, or platypi. Go ahead and talk about anything that will generate a discussion. No livejournaling though.
Ideally, you don't try to go off topic in any baseball related thread that isn't a gamethread. But if it happens to go off topic because of an amazing conversation, that's fine. Just try to limit it as best you can to show respect to the authors. Don't forget the off topic threads are available to discuss something further.
Timing isn't Everything, But It's Something
It's always a little bit unfortunate when you step away for a while, come back to Lookout Landing, catch up, and there's a thread you want to participate in that ended anywhere from 2 to 5 days ago. There's a tendency to want to comment very badly.
So go ahead. No one's going to stop you from contributing. But pause first. Really make sure that what you're saying is something that someone else will want to go back in time and read. If it's "I agree! That was great!" 5 days later, you're making a lot of people with LL OCD go back to see what you wrote for no real benefit. If you're yelling at a stupid commenter that's already been yelled at by 5 other people several hours previously and the subthread has since been completed, just don't do it at all.
Kyle Seager is Boss
Also, Montero is QWOP, Saunders is Condor, and I don't really care about the Saunders one because I didn't make it up like I did the other two. Figgins was Figlet. That was the best one I came up with, but then he went and was terrible. It also caused Jay Buhner's son to think it was a racial slur, and when he laughed he got chased out of the community. This is a true story.
Don't try to make up nicknames because they're usually bad. They'll come naturally.
Many of you have had a friend before. Some of you have had several. At some point in your life, you've probably been in a group where some annoying dude or dudette felt like they had to jump in on every conversation in a way that didn't improve the conversation at all.
This happens a lot on Lookout Landing, and when I first got here I was somewhat guilty of it. Try to make sure that you're not "over-commenting." Over-commenting is when you seem to pop up in every subthread and the stuff you say isn't that interesting, funny, or useful. If you comment too much, you're going to rub people the wrong way.
A good rule of pinky finger is to go to your user page and see if you've been replied to often with your posts. Replies are generally a good sign that your comments are engaging others in conversation. If you don't seem to have a lot of replies, chances are your contributions weren't up to par and you should take a break and try to read the comments more.
Nobody Cares About Your Fantasy Team
...Like, not even a little bit. No one cares. The moves you make and the things you do on your fantasy team matter no one. Zero. "Should I draft Michael Saunders in my keeper league?" Zero people care. "I just traded Felix for Bryce Harper straight up in my 5 x 5 Roto Origami." Good for you. Fantasy related discussions are a go-nowhere space filler. We're glad you like Fantasy - there are lots of ads on LL you should click on - but any and all fantasy baseball related discussion should be limited to the rare threads that talk about it specifically, and in no way should be placed in any thread about real baseball.
Ideally, try to avoid playing psychic during game threads. "Justin Smoak is going to ground out to first..." Rarely did you ever "call it." It's something that can be fun once in a while, but far too often it becomes a thing that people try to do with an accuracy rate not unlike picking a random play out of a hat.
There have been some really good ones, and since I'm guilty of them it'd be hypocritical to claim they're useless, but if you're "calling it" a lot, especially if you're never right, give it a break.
"Gay" Does Not Mean Lame
And you are not 12, so shut up.
People on LL are not easily offended. Maybe it is a Seattle thing, maybe it is simply this community. Who knows. It's my opinion that political correctness can actually have a negative effect on tolerance and change, because if you're always offended by every little thing then you're giving those things more negative importance than they deserve. If a joke is objectively funny but happens to make light of a group or situation, then people are going to laugh.
That said, you should not try to be offensive. Instead, if you have some hilarious joke that may be seen as offensive but is otherwise hilarious, go for it. But also be sure that your joke will be seen as a joke. Usually that means you should be a member of the community in good standing – someone people trust not to be racist. If you are brand new, it’s probably a good idea to keep the joke on the shelf until we know you’re not actually an insensitive bigot.
Also, as soon as an offensive joke becomes unfunny, stop posting it.
You know who you are. I don’t think I need to call you out. But dude, if someone says something that’s clearly not true, it’s probably a joke or sarcasm. No need to comment and correct them.
These are always hilarious and the people who make them are brilliant. Here's a joke that was woefully underappreciated at the time:
So a Mexican and a 12th century Prostitute walked into a bar.
They tell the bartender they would love a drink, but they had no money to pay for it. The bartender said "tell you what, if you have something somewhat sugary and bland, I’ll give you the drinks for free." The prostitute fiddled around in her pockets and came out with this tiny rectangular shaped candy. She then muttered something to the bartender. The bartender asked "What did she say?" The Mexican responded: "Ho say, ‘lo PEZ.’"
Thank you, thank you, I've somehow managed to not get banned for 6 years.
Grammar Policing (Parts 1 and 2)
First of all:
- It’s = It is
- Its = Belonging to it
- Your = Belonging to you
- You’re = You Are
- Would Of, Could Of, Should Of = These are not correct
- Would’ve, Should’ve, Could’ve = These are correct
Secondly, grammar policing is not okay either. However, if you MUST grammar police (perhaps the offender continues to make the same unreadable errors), you should always be a member in good standing. If you are new, don’t do it. If you are not new, still don’t do it unless you have damn good reason.
Lookout Landing hates the easy joke. It hates it. That's what she said is terrible. The FUUUUUUUU guy isn't FUUUUUUUUUUNNY. Once an internet meme becomes a meme it's already dead. These are easy and terrible things and you shouldn't use them.
This happens on Lookout Landing a lot, and in general you should really watch out for it. We're already seeing it with the Get a Brain Moran joke, and pretty soon we'll be getting it with something else.
Other SBNation Sites
LL and other SBNation sites tend to not get along. That said, some websites (Lone Star Ball, McCovey Chronicles, Royals Review… others?) are great sites that you should feel free and visit. When you visit, never be a jerk, ever. Also, make sure you understand the community before you comment. Bleed Cubbie Blue, for example, is (was?) run by someone that believes ERA is a good way to evaluate pitchers. If you go there and try to discuss Silva’s tRA, you are instantly trolling, because they don’t believe in tRA. So be careful. Also, never go to Halos Heaven. It’s awful. Just stay away from it. I’m serious.
In the past if you trolled any other SBNation site you were instantly banned from here. I support keeping that tradition intact.
Rosterbation is the act of making some ridiculous roster move that will never happen that generally benefits your team. For example, "let's trade Justin Smoak and Carlos Peguero for Mike Stanton. I'm even willing to toss in Blake Beavan to seal the deal."
This is bad. Try to avoid doing things like this.
Often times the members of the community will request (nicely or less nicely) that you prove beliefs that disagree with the general feeling of the community. This often draws some ire, as many people believe that the LL community acts like lemmings, following our fearless leaders to our death.
First of all, that’s not true. I loved Griffey no matter how much he sucked. I thought Beltre was overrated by the community. I disagreed with the Silva projections back in 2008. It’s not as though people can’t disagree. But there are rules with disagreements:
- Don’t be a jerk.
- Explain your thoughts and be willing to accept the thoughts of others, especially when your thoughts go against popular opinion..
- Know that lots of these theories are based on actual mathematics.
That latter point is important. If I ask the community "What is 5+5" and everyone says "10," and you say "12," and then you get all uppity because everyone disagrees with you, there is a mathematical reason we disagree. To use a baseball example, if you say Great Player X sucks this year because of his .585 OPS, and the community goes "NAY!" and points to his .100 BABIP and 25% LD%, every single person on this site is going to say "Aha! He’s been unlucky!" If you don’t agree, that’s fine, but we're not acting with hive mind. We're using logic and math to justify our opinions, and logic and math are generally right.
Keep that in mind when you disagree with popular opinion. You may even be right, but if the numbers point otherwise, chances are the entire community is going to disagree with you, and quite frankly we have more proof on our side. Proof is on you.
Numbers in Your Screenname
The vast majority of "bad" commenters tend to have numbers in their screennames. It doesn't matter where the number is. "L0veGriffey" seems to be just as bad as "LoveGriffey10." It's weird. So if you join and have numbers in your screenname, expect us to be skeptical of you for a long, long time.
When In Doubt, Flag Things
Use the flag button. Flagging is far more helpful to the community than telling someone they suck. Ideally, the moderators will be quick to action, and the person will be dealt with as needed.
"What's the score?" is something that people say. "What did I miss?" and wanting someone to go out of their way and waste their own time to recap a game for you is even worse. "Mariners Score" is fewer letters, and by typing it into Google, you can receive what's known as a "search result" immediately and not request others do easy work for you. "I'm too lazy to look it up" is not an acceptable response and should result in a banning, but will probably result in nothing more than a group of people intensely disliking your presence in the community.
Because the Lookout Landing community holds itself to such high standards, we also want to make sure that others see only the best of LL at all times. There are two ways that users can contribute beyond commenting. These include the FanPosts section, which is easy to see on the right side of the page (where this currently is!) and the FanShots section (which is not easy to see and is probably somewhere below).
FanPosts are a place for thoughtful, intelligent analysis. FanPosts are one of the first things someone sees when they come to LL. Some people take the time to write incredible FanPosts, and we want these to be seen, read, and rewarded, not flooded out by a bunch of crap and thoughtlessness.
FanShots are one offs that aren't going to generate a lot of discussion. For example, links to other sites, or a funny quote by Felix Hernandez. Anything that is short or isn't that important or is just a link somewhere else (including a huge trade) should be there, so it's out of the way.
So try to use FanPosts sparingly, and only create one if it's something you're proud of. If you just have a quick question, we have Off Topic threads that can help. If it's a link to something or you want to ramble about something stupid, you can post it in a FanShot (or not post it at all! How about that?!). If it's something you took hours on and you know this community is going to be impressed, then it would make a great FanPost.
The Mariners have a tendency to be on the wrong side of good, and that means that it's easy breezy to become negative about the team. But sharing that negativity often makes you somewhat of an irritating little de-boned chicken stuffed into a de-boned duck, which is in turn stuffed into a de-boned turkey. Don't be that guy. Nobody likes that guy.
Gifs are fun, but they need to be used in moderation. First, they slow down threads. Second, they're not a replacement for humor or commenting. Does your gif add something to the discussion? If it does, GREAT! If it doesn’t, NOT GREAT! You'll get a little leeway with this because gifs are pretty but really try to make sure you're using them when they're actually worthwhile.
Like gifs, use these sparingly. Does your image actually add to the conversation? Or are you taking up a lot of space with something that isn't valuable? Do you think it's worth making others scroll down past your image and breaking up the comment flow so that you can post it? If it's not, then don't do it.
Try to keep all images below 250 pixels tall, and ideally smaller than that. You can resize images easily by adding "height=250" to the end of the code, right before the slash/right arrow. Really stop to make sure that your image is valued. One of my pet peeves is how often someone jokingly says "Playoffs?!" when the Mariners do something great, and then someone follows that up almost always with an image of Jim Mora's stupid hand gesture. We get it, he said that once. It's not funny anymore.
If you're one of the people that did this, don't be upset. I didn't mean to offend you. Let's hug it out
No Politics, No Religion, No Live Journaling
They're somewhat self-explanatory. Don't get into politics. Don't talk about religions. Don't use Lookout Landing as your own personal live journal. Make sure that you're contributing to a discussion, not randomly commenting "is tired" as if this is your Facebook status and you don’t care what your friends think of you.
Note: If someone else has useful links related to commenting and contributing to LL, please place them in the comments so that I can add them to the post.
General Commenting Thoughts
The goal is to make great comments to create a fun and interesting community. Easy jokes, explaining a joke, expanding on a joke in a way that isn’t more funny or as funny, narrating a game, internet memes, complementing a funny joke with a needless photo, expressing your general distaste for a player, ignoring stats, typing poorly … these don’t make comments people want to read, now or ever.
Many people consider themselves positive members of the community. Many are. But everyone should always ask themselves "am I sure I'm contributing?" Doubt every comment you make. Second guess yourself. The more you work towards being the best commenter you can be, rather than trying only to change others, the better this community will remain.
So these are the basics of Lookout Landing. WELCOME!
This list is by no means comprehensive, and in reality I think I only scratched the surface. So: People of Lookout Landing, do share what you also think is a part of LL culture, along with any questions you have or items you'd like me to add.