Blogging The Boys was started in 2005 and was always meant to be a community meeting place of online Cowboys fans; people who wanted to seriously discuss football and have some fun along the way. It was never intended to be a free-speech platform for any topic and from its inception it has followed a code of civil interaction between its members. We can argue over topics and disagree, but we always keep it above board and don't tolerate divisive or demeaning commentary. While it's impossible for personalities not to emerge, and just like in real-life sometimes personalities clash; we won't tolerate a small percentage of people who feel that belittling the other guy is the best they can do in a discussion.
I try to keep a light-hand on my general tendency to be heavy-handed, but I'm a firm believer in the concept of ‘nipping it in the bud' and will quickly move to curb abusive our un-welcomed behavior. I will delete comments that violate the guidelines and will eventually warn members or even ban them for repeated violations.
- No excessive profanity, especially the hard stuff. Occasionally using damn, hell, or similar is OK, outside of that, don't do it. Also, using barely-concealed profanity counts as violating the guidelines, too. Things such as f***, sh!t, FU, etc. Just avoid them all together to be sure.
- Stay away from religion, politics and other hot-button issues. If they intrude into the Cowboys world somehow, of course we can discuss it, but tread lightly. This blog is not here for discussion of those topics in general.
- Personal attacks are verboten. Name-calling, stalking people only to belittle them, overly harsh criticisms, and similar actions are not tolerated. The rule should always be - argue the message, not the messenger. If you argue the content of someone's post, you're giving us all a contrary view-point, perhaps dropping knowledge on us along the way. If you argue the messenger, then you're just trying to make yourself feel better by belittling your target or trying to get cheap laughs at their expense. It's counter-productive, self-indulgent and pathetic. Don't do it.
- Related - If you want to have a long conversation with another poster in a thread about a subject you two disagree on, go ahead. But the minute that thread starts turning personal and the participants are just trying to make the other look stupid, that ceases to be interesting to 98% of the blog. Most likely, it will get deleted.
- Related - If you're going to make a joke at someone's expense, try to make it so funny that not even the victim would take it negatively. It's one thing to dog on your friends, people you've known for a long time and have a history of back-and-forth. On the Net though, with people you don't know personally, with no voice cues or body-language cues to depend on, things can get misinterpreted. Now if you want to make jokes about other things, feel free. If you bomb on stage, you'll still be entertaining in that train-wreck American Idol audition kind of way.
- Plagiarism is no-no. If you quote someone else's work in any significant way, you need to note it and provide a link back to the source if possible. Use the blockquote to set off text from another source. It's the " icon. This is not only an ethical issue, it could be a legal issue for the blog. It will lead to a banning faster than almost anything.
- Related - Do not post full articles from other places without permission. Unless the article is a one or two-paragraph blurb, just select passages to quote and link back to the rest.
FanPosts are generally for anybody to write up a post about the Cowboys or something Cowboys-related. They can include quotes from other sources as the basis of the information but it is good form to add some of your own commentary. If it's an original piece, it should be at least 100 words or so in length. And please, resist the temptation to just put anything up there, please think it out for a little while because when you add a FanPost, someone else's gets knocked off the list. The other use of FanPosts is for breaking news situations. If someone has been cut, signed, arrested, hurt or whatever that is timely news, you can use FanPosts for that purpose. It helps me out too by keeping the blog up-to-date on news when I or one of the other front-pagers is not at the computer.
FanShots are for anything that doesn't fit above. Off-topic things, meaning other NFL or sports related stuff that might be of interest to Cowboys fans. Or short blurbs, links, videos, quotes, and similar stuff about the Cowboys. The complaint is that FanShots don't get as much attention as FanPosts, but that's kind of the point. FanPosts are designed to generate conversation and provoke commentary. FanShots are short, fun, oh-by-the-way things, they won't generate the kind of comments that well thought-out FanPosts will, but are just another fun way of posting more news on the blog.
FAQ - Some things that I've been asked more than once.
Q: Why do you delete comments?
A: Usually if they violate one of the rules listed at the top, they will be deleted. This isn't a free speech platform. This is a Cowboys blog with certain rules and etiquette that comes with joining the discussion. We want to always keep it that way; to be a place where people are comfortable chatting and a place where people can get good Cowboys knowledge. If I feel comments are violating the rules and hindering the blog's mission, I'll get rid of them.
Q: If my comments keep getting deleted, what should I do?
A: Check the rules above and see if you can figure where you're going astray. If that doesn't help, send me an email and we can discuss it. Eventually, if it keeps happening, you get a warning.
Q: What's a warning?
A: I can send a message to you through the platform that will detail the issues with the comments. You have to click that you read it to continue commenting.
Q: Why do you keep such a tight watch on the comments and what people post?
A: I had a vision for this blog that it would be a place where we could have serious discussion of the Cowboys, have some fun, cheer when we win and commiserate when we lose. But a place where flame-wars and the like don't exist. Most of us are not interested in Commenter A's opinion of Commenter B. Also, there a plenty of places to go that are free-for-alls and there are plenty of blogs that deal with topics like politics and religion. Use them for those purposes.
Q: Are you the judge, jury and executioner?
Q: How do I know what is considered a personal attack?
A: Mainly, just use common sense. I think it's easy to know. If you are responding to the content of the comment and sticking to the point, you'll be OK. When you start talking about the person who made the comment; questioning their knowledge, their fandom, their anything, or calling their argument stupid, ridiculous, nonsense or similar stuff - you're straying.
Q: Do you give some people a break but are stricter with others?
A: Yes. If someone slips up every once in awhile, I usually let it go if the rest of the time they are adding good commentary to the blog. If a person can't seem to stop doing things that unbalance the chemistry of the blog, then I am stricter about their comments.
Q: Are you a narcissist?
A: Well, I did start a blog! The only way I can continue to dedicate myself to the blog is to run it in a way that keeps me interested, that has commentary that I want to read. Flame-wars, name-calling; that kind of stuff doesn't interest me.