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A Field Gulls rules refresher: How to avoid getting punted off the site

It’s the most / wonderfootball time / of the year

NFL: NFC Divisional Round-Seattle Seahawks At Green Bay Packers
It’s 12:12 somewhere
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

This year hasn’t exactly gone according to script so far, unless it was the script for Apocalypse 2020: Everything Right The Hell Now. Sequels, man. So it will perhaps comfort Field Gulls regulars (and larger SBNation family members) that in terms of community guidelines and site rules, nothing has changed.

As far as FG membership and commenting is concerned, we’re still stuck in 2019. (And 2009, in some ways.) You’re all the way welcome.

What does that mean? Means all the good habits you’ve learned and all the bad ones you’ve almost gotten rid of — all of that pays off as football returns. Welcome back, even if you never left.

Now that Tedric has had his say, this post will recap the site rules and community guidelines as quickly as possible. And as painlessly, imho.

(That’s a funny chatspeak joke! Just to get it out of the way early.)


Link is here for those interested. The list of don’ts is long, but logical. None of the following are permitted:

  • Personal attacks: This includes name-calling, insults, threats, hurtful comments about someone’s appearance, voice, or style, and all other forms of attacks. We want our communities to be welcoming and fun. Personal attacks are the opposite of that.
  • Discriminatory or derogatory language: This includes racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, or other forms of discrimination.
  • Harassment: This includes, but is not limited to, intimidation; stalking; unwanted photography; inappropriate physical contact; use of sexual or discriminatory imagery, comments, or jokes; and unwelcome sexual attention.
  • Illegal activity: Don’t promote, encourage, or make light of any kind of illegal activity, including DUIs, domestic violence, or sexual assault.
  • NSFW images and comments: Keep it PG-13, or you will be removed. This includes language and images that are sexual, violent, or generally offensive in nature.
  • Excessive profanity: Fans get worked up on game days, and we’re fans, too. We understand that. As a general rule, keep profanity to a minimum. Some communities prohibit profanity, so be sure to review guidelines for the individual communities you participate in.
  • Multiple accounts and throwaway emails: These are a signal that you’re not interested in being a productive member of our communities, and we do not allow it.
  • Trolling: We know it when we see it, and we’ll remove it. Don’t go to a rival team’s community for the sole purpose of riling up their fans, either. Moreover, you should never publish any private or personally identifiable information. Doxxing is strictly prohibited.
  • The “first post” rule: If you break any of these guidelines with your very first post or interaction, it signals to our community managers you’re just here to be disruptive. Violators may be banned, blocked, or removed.
  • Spam: We have a zero-tolerance policy on spam, which includes sharing links to illegal game streams or downloads. Spam will be deleted and spammers may be banned, blocked, or removed.

In the past, I have found it useful to define all those negative rules in a positive way, so here’s the exact same stuff, only rephrased as a list of do’s instead.


  • Refrain from making it personal. That seldom ends well.
  • Avoid isms of any kind. Although a little fatalism is probably safe. This is a Seahawks site.
  • Interact with others like you would in public in real life. If a remark would get you in trouble with HR or the authorities, well, that’s gonna happen here too.
  • Sarcasm, not sex jokes. Sarcasm is the safest humor.
  • Swear — in moderation. No need to drop a caps lock FUCK THIS in every other paragraph.
  • Keep it to one account, since multiple accounts usually means mischief.
  • Troll in the same fashion you wouldn’t mind if people came here to do, the lighthearted kind. If you have a hard time keeping it loose, maybe pushing it is a bad idea.
  • Consider hitting “cancel” instead of “post” when you know the comment is borderline. One good way to keep from crossing the line is to avoid going all the way up to the edge all the time.

It’s a lot to remember, but comes down to “be a decent person” and “don’t take too many chances.” Protect the team, if only the team were you.


Our special site quirks work concurrently with SBNation’s network-wide guidelines, and indeed there is plenty of overlap. The link (from 2009, as I mentioned earlier) is here but I’ve helpfully distilled all the rules into a manageable list of 24 words.

  • no politics
  • no religion
  • no bigotry
  • no personal attacks
  • no trolling
  • no spam
  • no chatspeak
  • use subject line! (RIP since Coral)
  • stay on topic
  • follow language conventions

The last one means no chatspeak. It’s possible the criteria for what is and isn’t acceptable has evolved. But a really good rule of thumb is that a capitalized abbreviation (FYI, ASAP, AWOL, BYOB) or entity (NFLPA, FBI, LCB, FG) is usually fine, while a lower-case text shortcut invented in the last couple decades (lol, smh, brb, yw, ftfy, stfu, roflcopter) is usually not.

Nobody’s ever been banned for dropping a single lol into their comment. I mean, come on: it’s literally a referee signaling yet another D.K. Metcalf touchdown! Now, the remark might get deleted, and after enough offenses a warning is in order, but the Field Gulls ethos is to ban habitual offenders who challenge rules via personal attacks on community members, not punish accidental missteps.


Flag stuff. It helps. Don’t be too shy.

Secondly, people have often asked if they run the risk of getting banned for an innocuous comment or two. They’re nervous that saying the wrong thing once will land them on some sort of shit list, and then it’s over and they have no future at FG. Let me say: that type of situation is exceedingly rare. Moderators are trained to message first, warn second, give more warnings if the situation warrants, and ban only when necessary, never on a whim. They’re supposed to give people a chance. Many members who had a rocky start are now valued voices in the community!

A last cool thing to keep in mind is that your mods (Alaric and Matt) have been at their volunteer jobs for a long time, several years in fact, and they take their responsibilities seriously. They’re good dudes who don’t want to be mean but who will be firm and consistent, since that’s what the job demands. You don’t have to like them, but do consider respecting them. A) Because they deserve it, and B) because that’ll sure make your life here a lot easier. I’m no longer moderating, but feel free to ask me anything you wouldn’t feel comfortable asking a current mod.

Have a question that wasn’t answered above? Boy, do we have a comment section for you. Look! You found it.