Over the past two weeks, I’ve received a growing number of comments from folks, all along the lines of, “I love your blog, but if Georgia loses to Florida, I’m going to stop reading it for a while because the comments section has become too toxic for me to read.”
That’s a problem for me. Nor can I argue about it too much. I’ve cringed over some of the stuff I’ve seen lately.
I get that Mark Richt’s career is polarizing. I understand that for some of you, whether he stays or goes is of paramount importance and that fuels your passion on the subject. What I think some of you have lost sight of is that many of us don’t share your passion. Including me.
Get The Picture is a blog primarily about Georgia football. Mark Richt is obviously a major component of that, but he’s not the be all and end all. This isn’t a blog about Mark Richt’s career. Unlike some of you, I’m not emotionally invested in whether he stays or goes, because no matter where Richt is at, Georgia football will still go on.
An occasional bout of self-righteousness on a topic you feel strongly about is certainly understandable. (Hell, I’ve been guilty of that sin as much as anybody.) But on a non-stop basis, it’s a real turnoff. And I can’t have readership feeling alienated because in your heart, you know you’re righteous.
So, a few reminders of what goes here follow.
- Be respectful of other commeters. It’s one thing to argue an opposing position. It’s okay to mock another’s argument. But getting personal with someone who disagrees with you isn’t. If you can’t think of a way to disagree without personal invective or threats, perhaps you need to step away from the keyboard for a while.
- Be respectful of others. If you think Mark Richt is doing an awful job, just say so. Personal slurs on his character, or the character of other coaches or players simply aren’t acceptable. And before any of you race to play the Ben Carson politically correct or the ludicrous “some of my best friends…” cards, realize that if I tell someone they’re out of line with that garbage, I don’t care about your defense. Anyone who comments here does so as my guest. Freedom of expression isn’t the same thing as freedom to be an unmitigated ass.
- Quit grinding things into the ground. I don’t know how many times I have to say this, but repeating the exact same thing ad nauseam doesn’t win you any converts. People aren’t growing tired of coming here because they’re intimidated by your towering intellect. It’s because they know what’s coming and don’t want to see it again. And again. If you can’t find an original way to express yourself – and Gawd knows, it’s not like I don’t give you plenty of opportunities to find new angles to analyze the issues – hold your tongue. Trust me, we won’t forget where you stand.
- Li’l ol’ me. It bears repeating that I am not emotionally invested in the concept of Mark Richt, Georgia head coach. That ship sailed a while back. If you think that reflects badly on my credibility, buddy, that’s your problem, not mine. This blog is coming up on its ninth anniversary. In that time I’ve literally written thousands of posts about Georgia and Richt. Anyone who thinks my position on the subject can be boiled down to three words, two of which are “a Richt…” isn’t trying. If you’re too lazy to make the effort to understand why I write what I do, or simply find it more convenient to mischaracterize that, don’t expect me to take what you have to say in response with any seriousness.
I’ve written before about how one of the great pleasures of blogging is that it’s plugged me into a virtual community of folks who share my passion. Some of you don’t realize a far larger part of that community reads GTP faithfully but doesn’t comment. However, I do. I can honestly say that there isn’t a comment made here that’s worth jeopardizing that readership.
I don’t write that to insult or belittle any of you who comment. I say it because I want some of you to understand that what I’m about to write isn’t an idle threat.
This blog is a labor of love. It isn’t all-encompassing, though. I have a career. I have a family. I have a life. What I don’t have is any more time to baby sit some of you who can’t control your emotions like grown ups. I could sit here and say I’ll just start banning people who can’t respect the ground rules, but honestly, I’m getting tired of that (trolling excepted, that is).
Instead, what I’ll do if things don’t clean up is shut down comments entirely for a while to let things cool off, with the understanding that when I open commenting back up, it’ll be on a restricted basis, with full registration and moderation of those of you who have been least inclined to control your vitriol.
It’s not what I want to do. I love having a freewheeling comments section. At it’s best, it’s a lot of fun. But right now, it’s not at its best. One way or another, if some of you can’t figure out how to make your point without getting personal, it’s getting dialed down. It’s only a question of who’s going to handle the controls. Please don’t make it me.