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A friendly reminder from your CougCenter blog managers

With the beginning of football season, we've seen an influx of new community members, which is awesome. We're glad you're all here, and love the enthusiasm -- even if it's coming about because of the, ahem, subpar play of our football team.

However, judging from some of the comments, it appears that some of you didn't go the extra step and read our community guidelines before posting. Either that, or you forget stuff real fast.

I'm going to choose to believe that everyone just needs a gentle reminder of a couple of guidelines that need to start being followed by all of us:

Whenever you write, make sure you bring something to the table. Part of our stated mission for the blog is that "we aim to bring – and encourage – the kind of smart, thoughtful analysis about Cougar athletics you won't find anywhere else." That goes for you guys, too. When you leave a comment or write a FanPost, it should be done with the goal of enhancing the conversation. It's something that most of our members are generally excellent at, but every once in a while, we get some real stinkers. We'll be a little more strict about FanPosts than comments with regards to this. Make sure we don't feel dumber for having read your comment or post, and don't waste everyone's time.

We're getting a lot of "Paul Wulff sucks! Fire him now!" kind of stuff at the moment. I understand the sentiment; however, give us something to chew on. What led you to the conclusion? What do you expect Jim Sterk to do about it? What's a realistic solution? Those are the kinds of things that are going to keep the conversation moving forward.

Be coherent. This is starting to get out of control and needs to be cleaned up now. Use reasonable grammar and spelling, abstain from chatspeak ("lol," "ur," "brb," etc.), avoid the use of all caps (unless done for a specific purpose), and refrain from the phrase "in my opinion" (this is a discussion site; we know it's your opinion, silly!).

We don't expect everyone to be perfect, but let's be honest: Most of us are either college graduates or college students, so it's not unreasonable to expect comments to feature complete sentences (with proper capitalization) and FanPosts to utilize these things called paragraphs, which also come in handy on long comments to make them more readable. Take some care with what you write to make sure you're communicated your thought effectively. It usually only takes about 60 seconds to re-read your writing before clicking "post." The "preview" button can come in quite handy on this front.

Remember, this isn't the message board. We've got a lot higher standard. If you can't do these things -- and the other things in the community guidelines -- it might be best if you just lurk and read for a while. Be aware that we're going to start letting people know behind the scenes when they violate our guidelines.

This might seem draconian; I already e-mailed one person about a poor FanPost that violated our guidelines, which I subsequently removed from the site. He disagreed with my stance, implying some sort of First Amendment infringement, and I'm pretty sure he's never been back. While that's unfortunate, just remember that the goal of these guidelines is to elevate the level of discourse for all.

Some people might think that's going to leave us with like five people commenting at the end of the day, but I've seen too many other blogs -- California Golden Blogs, Lookout Landing, etc. -- where the exact opposite has happened. Readers are intelligent, and they will elevate their game.

And we know you guys will, too.

(Dancing Football edit @ 11:40 am)

Use the Reply Button! Have a disagreement with someone?  Want to add something to their point?  One of the many awesome things about SBN is the reply button.  It makes conversations easy to follow, and takes away the work of quoting a point in order to respond.  It is located right underneath each comment. Try it out, you will learn to love it.