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A Few Words On Civility And Community At BCB

Let's have a conversation about conversations here.

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Bleed Cubbie Blue has, like the Cubs, grown tremendously in the last year. I'm really pleased with the writing staff I've put together here and they have produced lots of articles on the minor-league system and analysis that I couldn't have provided myself. Kudos to Josh, Tim, Russ, Erik, Rob, Danny and Eric, our newest addition who's going to be doing On The Horizon going forward.

In recent weeks and months, there have been some contentious moments here between various posters, myself included. Obviously, I don't want that. Through the course of discussing Cubs baseball, we aren't always going to agree on everything. But what I do want is for people to treat each other kindly and with civil discussion. Snark and humor have their place, but occasionally things are taken too far -- and I won't exclude myself from that, either. I'm sure many of you are aware that I have been frustrated by some individual posters here. That said, I want to assure you of two things: 1) This front-page post is absolutely not directed at any specific individuals. This is about trying to reset some of the tone at BCB, myself included. 2) I truly want to improve the rapport I have with all posters and want to improve those relationships. Here are a couple more points I wanted to make before I move on to how this site will be moderated going forward.

  • I wound up not participating in the the "bet" thread because, well, it just didn't strike me the right way and I didn't want to give up a front-page post on a bet. If you missed my response in that thread, here it is.
  • The ticket giveaway posted the other day had to be deleted due to SB Nation rules about contests -- Vox Media legal had a look at it at my request and asked me to take it down. If you are wondering why this differs from, say, Danny Rockett's request for crowdsourcing his song for the Tribune contest -- that's because he was not giving away anything and there wasn't any prize for the Trib contest. If you are interested in doing a giveaway like this one, please ask me first and I'll try to work something out with you.
  • I have made requests for people who have questions/comments/criticisms about the way I moderate BCB to email me about them rather than post them in the comments. I want BCB to be a place to discuss baseball and the Cubs, not to discuss the site itself. I'm pretty proactive about answering email so if you have those kinds of concerns and email me, I'll get back to you. This is something that's been in the BCB Community Guidelines for quite some time.

Speaking of which, one thing I'd like all of you to do -- and maybe some of you haven't done this in years, if ever -- is to read those Community Guidelines. There are some site rules here, and I am trying to not make them too tough or onerous on anyone, but I'd like everyone to follow them. As the Guidelines state:

When posting at this blog, please follow this one simple rule: Before hitting "post" to post your remarks, ask yourself: "Would I be embarrassed to say this in front of strangers who were physically present in the room with me and could respond to my face?" If the answer is "yes," then don't post.

I think at times, some forget that everyone's words on the screen you see are posted by real human beings with feelings, and yes, those feelings can be hurt. I'll state right now that I myself have been guilty at times of not following this simple rule, and for that, I apologize unconditionally.

With the season beginning anew, I thought now would be a good time to wipe the slate clean and start fresh, with everyone coming to BCB for the same purpose -- to discuss baseball and the Cubs, and yes, at times share a few jokes or funny photos, always taking into consideration that some might not be as knowledgeable about Cubs baseball as others, and to try to explain things you think you know well in a kind manner, without condescension or constant bickering.

Moderating this site is a huge task and something I haven't always succeeded in doing with an even hand. I'll own up to that, and pledge to do better going forward. In connection with that, I have asked Erik Peterson to become "Moderation Advisor" to me and to the site. When problems come up -- and I hope there aren't many! -- Erik will both help moderate (when he has time) and also advise me on whether I'm keeping to my pledge to be evenhanded. I know Erik is well-respected by everyone here and I hope his moderation assistance will help you all know that the staff here is doing its best to have a BCB that's welcoming to everyone.

Erik will have the same moderating powers that Josh and I have, though I hope he doesn't have to use them often. Erik and I have been discussing things like this via email for several weeks and that has made me realize the need for help and how I want the community to evolve. Having someone to assist me who everyone here respects, I think, will go a long way toward accomplishing those goals. Erik and I also discussed this post and its content before it was posted, as I wanted you all to know that he and I are on the same page.

You can see the roles of all the front-page writers on the BCB masthead page, which is also under "More>About" at the top of the front page.

I welcome your thoughts in the comments here. What are your thoughts/concerns/questions/hopes for BCB going forward? I want to start an honest, respectful, and clean dialogue here.

Now, on to the important business at hand: the Cubs winning baseball games!