The Annual Field Gulls Rules Refresher, 2021 Edition

Erin Bormett / Argus Leader via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Hey folks,

I missed the usual pre-season one, and almost all of you are very well-trained at this point and have survived warning-free through a couple frustrating losses, but it’s probably a good time for the annual rules refresher anyway!

SBNation has some blanket rules for all their blogs. They have their own detail for each one you can read at that link; the detail here is mine and a little more focused towards things that we see pop up here on Field Gulls. We do not allow any of the following:
  • Personal attacks: Attack the argument, not the person (and, really, consider not attacking the argument at all; let’s try and keep disagreements civil). Skip rhetoric which implies the other person has a mental illness or is on drugs.
  • Discriminatory or derogatory language: This includes nicknames for teams/players used in a derogative way (e.g. "Dallas Cowgirls").
  • Harassment: Don’t go out of your way to negatively reply to most or all of a particular other fan’s comments or an author’s work.
  • Misinformation and disinformation: Don’t rumormonger and keep it to sports, please and thank you.
  • Illegal activity: Be very careful if you choose to make jokes around DUI, domestic violence, etc.. Even if you are very careful about it, consider just… not.
  • NSFW images and comments: We’re not prudes, but keep overtly sexual stuff off the site.
  • Excessive profanity: Field Gulls does allow profanity including the occasional f, but please restrain yourself. Game thread emotion is a thing, but still, don’t push it.
  • Multiple accounts and throwaway emails: Attempted ban evasion? That's a banning. Suspected burner accounts may be moderated more strictly and not be given the assumption of good faith we give normal accounts with no history.
  • Trolling: Keep it off Field Gulls, and keep it off rival blogs too.
  • Spam: Don’t share streaming links, and please flag spambot posts to help us find them more quickly.
All pretty basic stuff. Field Gulls has its own site etiquette on top of that, but it’s really not that much more these days. SBNation has absorbed a lot of rules that at one time were more FG-specific.

  • No politics; no religion: We do relax this a tiny bit when there is a dedicated article on something politics -or religion-adjacent about a Seahawk, the Seahawks, the NFL, whatever, and the community has had some good discussions, but even though this is a discussion site and the comments have been left open, do consider just skipping it. There’s a whole wide Internet out there.
  • No chatspeak: Yes, this is a little gatekeepey. Yes, there are some things that really are communicated more accurately with a lol. But in general the restriction has kept the comments more thoughtful and easier to read. No one has ever gotten banned for a stray smdh. A good comment with a wtf isn’t going to get hidden, but a "Haha lol" probably will. FTR is always fine.
  • Follow language conventions: Please grammar good and spell good too. Really, like the chatspeak guideline, just take an extra moment before posting to make sure your comment is understandable. If you’re unsure about the spelling of a player’s name, look it up! Don’t fret too much if you’re a non-native English writer.
  • Don’t judge the fandom of others: Just because someone is (more positive/more negative) towards some aspect of the team doesn’t mean they’re not a real fan, or are a spoiled bandwagoner, etc.. That said, excessive or constant negativity can be a drag. Be sure you’re critiquing and not just complaining.
  • Stay on topic: General conversation goes in the daily Post-Snap Reads comment section. If there’s an article about, say, the defense, you can mention the offense but do trust that there will be another article coming about the offense and keep the discussion mostly on defense.
  • Keep your comment length reasonable: Field Gulls has long been known for particularly intelligent analysis in the comment section, but if you’re getting close to article length, please trim it down a little or submit it as a Fanpost.
Some extra tips:

Context matters. Jokes that may be fine in Post-Snap Reads may well be hidden in an article about an off-field incident. If a particular topic has been discussed a lot for 4 days in a row, consider not bringing it up for a 5th day. Gamethread Emotion™ can spill over a little into the post-game articles, but not a lot, and definitely not in the middle of a Wednesday analysis.

Use the flag feature to help bring stuff you feel is inappropriate to our attention. Keep in mind that we may not be refreshing the moderation queue all the time, and just because something has stayed up for a few hours doesn’t mean the commentor hasn’t been warned behind the scenes. If you have one of your own comments disappear that you don’t think was breaking any rules, try not to worry about it too much. We read hundreds of comments a day. Mistakes can happen. Even if you’re formally warned, we’re really not itching to ban anyone, try to think of it as a reminder of community guidelines instead of a penalty.

Consider using the Cancel button. Even if you’re technically within the rules and guidelines, are you frequently right up against the edge? As John Fraley said particularly well a few years ago, does your comment "illuminate discussion, or inflame tension"? There can be some value in being inflammatory, but if it’s most or all of what you do, are you contributing to the community, or just fulfilling your own ranting needs?

Thanks, folks. Go ‘Hawks!