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A Note on Trolls, Opposing Fans and the Difference Between the Two



[Note by Mike Lisboa, 05/11/10 7:52 AM PDT ]

A special note for Laker fans (and whatever other fans take advantage of our hospitality): Don't "take advantage" of our hospitality.  This is first and foremost a PHOENIX SUNS blog.  We are here to discuss the PHOENIX SUNS.  If you've had a little too much of the Purple and Orange and think we need a little more Laker Pride... well, we don't.  That's what Silver Screen and Roll is for.  We'll play plenty nice as long as you don't grind your feet on our couch.  Cool?  Cool.

As someone who has by and large taken a sabbatical from the main page and dwells largely in the comments, the level and tone of conversation there is something that is near and dear to my heart, just like lil' Goran Dragic.  As such, I'd like to take a moment to try and delineate the difference between opposing fans, trolls and the really not-so-fine line separating the two.

The playoffs are contentious times for fans of both the Suns (whom no one seems to believe in) and their opponents (whom everyone seems to believe in).  Things can get out of hand quickly.  

Everyone rallies around their teams and believes -- has to believe, in fact -- that their team is the best and is destined to go all the way.

No one wants to hear about his or her team's weaknesses.

No one wants to hear about his or her team's shortcomings.

No one wants to hear about his or her team's cleverly (or not so cleverly) derogatory nicknames.

Except, all of those things exist and there's no avoiding them due to the blog cross-pollination that the intense focus and fandom of the playoffs breeds.  Things get heated.  Guidelines vary from site to site.  As we saw, The Trailblazer Insurgency was the unfortunate and unintended consequence of an ill-advised invitation to trash talk. I'd like to think we've learned from that and grown as the very special human beings that we all are.  But as examples like that demonstrate, the line between civil and uncivil blurs, distorts and disappears entirely if you don't keep your head about you.

Allow me to re-draw that line for you.


* Contrary to popular belief, opposing fans are welcome at Bright Side of the Sun.

* Opposing fans are likely to disagree with you, me, Seth and anyone else affiliated with this site.  This does not make them trolls.

* Opposing fans should be given the same respect and treatment as fellow Bright Siders.  Just because they're Lakers fan does not make them an automatic target for your vitriol.

* When you attack someone simply for being an opposing fan, you are managing the rare and completely un-awesome feat of trolling your own site.  Mad anti-props.  You've just made everyone else who calls BSOTS home look like an unconscionable douche.

* Just as not all opposing fans are trolls, not all of them are fine upstanding netizens with their papers in order (this is an Arizona sports site after all).  Some of them are trolls.

* Unless your name is on the masthead (or you're a ghost editor like me and a couple others), trolls aren't so much your problem.  We read the comments.  We make the call.  We act accordingly.

* When you bait and flame trolls, you make things worse and invite the banhammer upon yourself.  You know that old saying, "Never argue with an idiot... the people watching might not know the difference?"  Totally applies here.  If you want to dress down a troll, do it cleverly and without resorting to tired cliches about Faker fans, LA shallowness, and Kobe's troubles in Colorado, or whatever other lame jokes about whatever team the Suns are facing apply.  (Seriously, as an LA resident, that shallow stuff hurts.) Or, do the smart thing, let one of the mods know and watch the poster and comments disappear with a quickness.

* None of this is to say you can't run whatever smack you want about that team in this house.  That, in part, is what BSOTS provides a forum for.  What good is a playoff series if you can't mock your opponent?  Feel free to let loose on the team or its players.  Just not the good and respectful fans that choose to join the conversation here.  

* Keep the mocking at home.  When you go to another team's blog solely to talk trash, be smug, rub their noses in it or otherwise engage in decidedly uncivil discourse, you're on your own.  They will ban you, it will be swift and you will have gained nothing (besides, you know, that whole thing about making the rest of this community look like unconscionable douches.  Good on you, sir or madam.)  And you will almost certainly be called out or banned on this site.  That's just how we roll.

And in case you're wondering, none of these guidelines are new.  Check the "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly" link on the left side of the main page.  It's all there.  Now, get out there and spread the Suns love (with intelligence, humor and respect, of course)!

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