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Lookout Landing: 2017 Community Guidelines

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How to get the most out of your Lookout Landing experience

As the 2017 season begins, we expect to have an influx of new users. That’s great! Lots of us are new, too. Part of what sets Lookout Landing apart is its strong community of engaged, thoughtful users. As a community, it’s important that we all follow the same set of standards to make Lookout a place everyone can enjoy and learn from. There are general SB Nation guidelines that must be followed here, but Lookout is its own community with its own rules. You can find previous versions of this document here and here, but this is what’s currently governing the site:

Welcome to Lookout Landing!

We are pleased you would like to join our community to talk about Mariners baseball, and we’re sure you’re eager to get started.

The internet can feel anonymous, but it isn’t here. LL is a community that’s been built with love and care over time, and it’s therefore the one place on the internet where the caveat “don’t read the comments” not only doesn’t apply, but to do so would result in missing out on an integral part of the site.

As you can imagine, LL users are vigilant about maintaining the standard that’s been set in order to maintain this quiet preserve in the wilds of the internet. Sometimes this will come off as harsh, or cliquishness, or snobbery. Take all criticism in the spirit in which it is intended: to inform you of the expectations of the community.

If you read nothing else:

  • Lurk for some time to get a sense of the room. In fact, you can likely stop reading right here, just go back and read the comments for a few days or more, and get the idea. Read, read, read before you start commenting with any degree of frequency.
  • No politics, no religion, be respectful in the comments.
  • Back up assertions with data, especially when it comes to old traditional v. sabermetrics arguments.

The basics:

The simplest place to start is to follow the practice of the “gates of speech”; before you comment, ask yourself:

  • Is it true?
  • Is it necessary?
  • Is it kind?

“Is it true?” - If you say something like “Pitcher X has looked terrible all month!” be prepared to cite sources, provide evidence, etc., to back up your idea. If you’re posting about a trade rumor, make sure you have a reputable source (and double-check to make sure that source isn’t a fake account). And bear in mind that some topics, even if there’s evidence or data, are going to be contentious (e.g. PEDs) and possibly not add much to discussion anyway. Which brings us to...

Is it necessary?” - If what you want to say has been said, rec the comment and move on. No need to add “THIS”, “+1”, etc.. Make comments that move conversations forward. If there’s been a long debate or a heated argument, read the whole thing and think carefully before adding comments that might seem like piling on or restarting a closed thread. If it’s about the guidelines themselves, see what the reguLLars are replying with, and/or flag the comment and send a message to moderators that way. And sometimes - even if you’re right, even if you don’t feel you’re being heard - the best idea is just to let a thread end.

Is it kind?” - If you disagree with someone, that’s fine. Provide evidence for your point without being snarky, and definitely without engaging in any kind of ad hominem attack. As far as the players go, if a pitcher blows a save or a batter has a game-ending strikeout, refrain from saddling them with death wishes and the like. Critique the player, not the person. (But see note below about gamethread emotions…)

Stats:

LL is a sabermetrics-friendly community. If you don’t know stats, that’s fine, but comments like “ugh statheads are ruining the fun in baseball” or “I don’t think a stat can capture the important parts of the game” won’t go over well here. Same for analysis based on pitcher wins, ERA, or RBI.

You may want to learn the basics of looking up a player’s stats in Fangraphs or Baseball Reference, and be aware that they calculate some advanced stats slightly differently. If you can only spare 5 minutes, look up wRC+ and WAR.

Other topics to be familiar with include sample size, when various stats stabilize for a player in a season / their career, projection systems, gambler’s fallacy, and how to use minor league stats. Fangraphs has great resources about these.

On Commenting:

  • Lurk. The waiting period is there for a reason. Take that time to read the comments and learn the community culture--what kinds of things people respond well to, find funny, etc. Learn some names and observe how people interact with each other. Integrate yourself into the community: start by responding to people. Don’t over-comment right out of the gate or people will get annoyed. Act like you’ve been invited along to a party at a friend of a friend’s house.
  • No politics, no religion in the comments. You can go to almost literally anywhere else on the internet for that.
  • Be a human. We have a diverse community here; sexist, racist, homophobic or transphobic language is not tolerated. Don’t use the word “retarded” to mean “stupid.” Don’t use “gay” to mean “bad”. Don’t make fat jokes, which are as tasteless as they are unfunny. Don’t objectify women (Justin Verlander isn’t “a winner anyway” because he’s married to Kate Upton). Don’t assume others necessarily share your worldview when making jokes.
  • Use the subject line. This makes it easier for the mods to moderate and improves readability, especially for mobile users.
  • Use standard grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Avoid chatspeak like “lol” and “IMO.” (If you’re an English language learner, don’t worry about making mistakes, but also know there are lots of people here who would be happy to help you.)
  • Stay on topic. Comments should stick relatively closely to the topic of the article. If major news breaks, expect there will promptly be an article about it; don’t hijack the comments section of a different article to talk about the news (if you can’t wait, discuss in the daily links article.) The exception to this is the recurring off-topic thread, where you can talk about anything except politics and religion. You can find this in the Fanposts section, usually at the top of it.
  • Use gifs sparingly, when they relate to the topic at hand. This goes double for non-Mariners memes, which are almost never necessary. If you need to include images in your comment, make sure they’re appropriately sized. You can shrink them down by setting the height of your image: just add height=”250” at the end of the code. Basically, be respectful of other people’s bandwidths.

Gamethreads:

Simply put, the gamethread is like getting together with a bunch of your friends (or if you’re new, at a friend of a friend’s house) to watch the game. Lurk in a few gamethreads to get the sense of the room, but some of the basics:

  • No politics, no religion, just like any other comments section.
  • Make meaningful contributions. Everyone is watching the game, so no need to narrate the game action; instead, focus on analysis/commentary. Refrain from asking factual questions easily answered by checking an app/Googling.
  • Avoid posting images or gifs. They kill low-bandwidth and/or mobile usage, and gamethreads tend to get pretty long, leading to lag for those users. Be thoughtful.
  • On positivity: Sometimes it’s fun to do the equivalent of the roar of the crowd by seeing a whole series of e.g. SEAGER!!!!! after Kyle hits one out. Sometimes it’s excessive and unnecessary. Use your best judgment, especially if it’s a 500-comment thread.
  • On negativity: Sometimes a player, game or season has kinda gone pear-shaped. Some grim or wry acknowledgement of that is to be expected. Sometimes GTE (gamethread emotion) kicks in and people get exaggerated in their doom, frustration or even exuberance and joy. That’s ok, sometimes. Frequent pessimism, commenting with nothing but negativity, overreacting to one early inning, etc. is not ok, and developing a reputation for such is a good way to get boxed or banned.
  • Conversation: Side conversations about non-baseball things are welcome (and to some folks, is the entire point). Think about how you’d chat at a ballgame about most anything.
  • Use the recs and especially the flags.

Reminders for reguLLars:

  • Be welcoming. Remember, you were also new once.
  • Don’t pile on. Especially if you’re coming in late.
  • Use best judgement in posting under the influence, or excessive reference to controlled substances. Remember that we have a wide readership, including people who may be in recovery or have struggled with addiction issues.
  • When offering criticism (especially on FanPosts), be specific about what kind of research, writing or formatting was needed to make the piece better. Don’t criticize just to criticize. Consider the PQP strategy: Praise, Question, Polish (Lead with something the writer did well, question something that didn’t work for you, end on an overall suggestion for improvement).
  • Google overall is probably going to help you find ancient posts much better than SBN.
  • Many of us have spilled all kinds of things about our lives here over the years; some of us have met in person. Remember that all of us are people on the other ends of these internets here, and this is a public forum. Be discreet in revealing personal information about other users or yourself.
  • We all know what topics, debates, points of view and philosophies about LL have come up over the years. Think before rehashing these. Use flags to help mods head them off when they come up if the same old stuff is coming up again. Try not to shut people down instantly if they just want to make one respectful point about something, even an old topic, before moving on. Remember not everyone has been here as long as you, and their points of view might change and evolve just as yours have, but way to ensure that doesn’t happen is to be excessively harsh and drive them away forever.
  • Be welcoming. I mean it.