FanDuel - WFBC

January 11, 2012

Politics and Sports: Regarding this trainwreck, the Pantheon erred in not deleting the Obama vacation tangent the moment it appeared. It has nothing to do with the president greeting championship sports teams.

posted by rcade to navel gazing at 06:59 PM - 23 comments

There's some latitude here for letting a political discussion grow out of a sports topic. But if the association is thin, the discussion won't go anywhere good. I'm going to be quicker to kill tangents like that when they're a purely political argument.

Regarding another moderation issue, despite Debo270's kind words, I don't think we should have deleted the karma's a bitch sentiments from the Michael Philbin discussion. He had a serious criminal past. That's going to make some people view him unsympathetically.

(I didn't know about his past when I posted the link, because many media outlets weren't mentioning it. One paper even deleted those details from a story because of reader outrage.)

posted by rcade at 07:00 PM on January 11

the Pantheon erred in not deleting the Obama vacation tangent the moment it appeared

Of course, if you delete the tangent the moment it appeared, you'd feed the fanatical belief that you are stomping on his "First Amendment Rights" (however misguided and incorrect that may be), and "burying the truth about Nazi-Socialist-Liberal Obama" (however hilarious that may seem).

I prefer to see the stupidity out in the open, where it can be openly mocked and ridiculed. But then the thread devolves very quickly into a political/fact pissing match.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

posted by grum@work at 09:59 AM on January 12

Is there really a Pantheon now or just you rcade?

posted by scully at 10:19 AM on January 12

There's me, Gary and Kirk.

posted by rcade at 10:47 AM on January 12

Are all three of you making decisions?

posted by scully at 10:58 AM on January 12

Hey, hey, hey now! This is supposed to be a political discussion! Keep the thread on topic.

I don't think the political statements needed to be deleted from that thread. I also don't think that political statements crapping all over threads is a significant enough problem here that it really needs to be addressed (and/or quashed). Furthermore, in this particular case, it really did grow out of the actual discussion. As tron7 wrote:

Dyams, if you just would have stopped here:

The idea of pro sports teams going to the White House should be stopped anyways. It used to be cute decades ago, but now it's stupid.

I'd totally agree.

Of course, we know what followed, and it did get a bit carried away, but it's not like we're seeing that every day or even every week.

posted by bender at 11:12 AM on January 12

Are all three of you making decisions?

Sometimes. There isn't as much need to make decisions these days.

The reason I want to nip this stuff in the bud is to refute Dyams' premise that "posting White House/Obama crap as topics will often lead to this."

I agree with Beaverboard that "SpoFi members typically show a great deal of restraint when the discussion veers toward politics."

posted by rcade at 11:50 AM on January 12

Kirk and justgary, do you feel your voices are heard?

posted by scully at 12:26 PM on January 12

Sports and Politics often go hand in hand, so I'd hate to see all political comments banned.

But once a member states that he doesn't want to discuss the topic in a historical perspective, but only in regards to the current president, we've obviously crossed the line.

I think we just need to keep an eye on that line.

posted by justgary at 12:28 PM on January 12

Kirk and justgary, do you feel your voices are heard?

What are you getting at? Gary used to take the lead on moderation and Kirk on site design, but in recent years I've done more because I'm the guy running the server, paying the hosting bill and coding the site -- so that keeps me involved on a daily basis. I also post more links because my other gig at the Drudge Retort immerses me in news all day.

If there's some kind of coup you'd like to engineer, I keep a spare palace key in a fake rock by the front door.

posted by rcade at 12:42 PM on January 12

Kirk and justgary, do you feel your voices are heard?

Ever since Rogers was on the Today show he's been unreachable.

Honestly, I haven't been as active in spofi recently. One new years resolution is to change that.

In earlier years trolls were much more of a problem. That doesn't happen as much. So sportsfilter does tend to run itself, at least on the moderator side.

posted by justgary at 12:49 PM on January 12

To put it in clearer terms, and this is not kissing up, it's the truth: without Rogers Sportsfilter would have closed long ago, and any perceived takeover is due to the other owners own choice not to be as involved.

But I still love sportsfilter and hope to be more involved, even if that mostly means posting links and commentary (as any regular member can do).

posted by justgary at 12:57 PM on January 12

No coup, rcade. I emailed you some of my concerns before I saw your comment above. You're right. it's your site, you pay the bills. SpoFi is what one makes of it, but at the same time, what it has become is not what I recall joining.

If justgary and kirk have taken a back seat because they have been too busy to participate then fine, but perhaps you should find new moderators if that is the case. And if Kirk isn't available for site design, and you can't fix the bugs then perhaps it is time to find someone to help there. If they feel that their voices aren't being heard (like mine concerning bugs and archives) then perhaps that is something to discuss.

Angry responses like the one directed at me above don't help me in my opinion that this is a one-man show and if one doesn't like it they can leave.

posted by scully at 01:25 PM on January 12

I wasn't angry. I was just having some fun because you think I'm ignoring their voices, when I'd love to hear more from them and anyone else who feels strongly about the site.

If some longtime members are interesting in moderating the site, I'm open to that, but there isn't much need. Only 15 comments were deleted since Dec. 1. Where a new moderator could help is in deciding things like the subject of this post -- how much of a political tangent to allow in a sports discussion?

SportsFilter was once run by seven people who owned the site, but it wasn't seven people who did the work. People were busy. The three of us who did the work took it over.

Now I do almost all of the work -- which isn't a lot, except when coding is needed -- and most of the front-page posting. I've gotten a little punchy about questions regarding my style of posting, because I can't embody what everybody wants SportsFilter to be -- or remembers SportsFilter being -- as a single person. A community blog like this or MetaFilter requires a variety of strong and distinct voices sharing interesting and thought-provoking links.

I'm not going to knock people for not contributing more, because I think it's somewhat understandable. SportsFilter has stayed the same, while the web has changed. If you want to share sports links, there's now Twitter, Facebook and thousands of sports blogs. When we started, we were one of the only sports blogs -- and the first community sports blog. The excitement users had back then is in sharp contrast to the relaxed atmosphere here today.

One of my goals in the new year is to get back to coding the site, both to wipe out the last of the bugs and start adding new features again on a regular basis. As I do that, I'll look for ways to involve members who want to get involved.

I am aware that your bug reports are still open -- particularly the last few slash problems -- and I can't blame you for being bummed about that. If anyone here codes PHP and wants to be involved, let me know. The site is a Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP application. I would need some help figuring out source code repositories so I could share the scripts and incorporate outside submissions.

posted by rcade at 04:12 PM on January 12

If justgary and kirk have taken a back seat because they have been too busy to participate then fine, but perhaps you should find new moderators if that is the case.

I guess I don't see the need for more moderation. Just to avoid confusion, I visit sportsfilter multiple times every day, and read just about every thread. The days I haven't been to sportsfilter I can count on one hand. And when I receive emails about mistakes or complaints, I generally answer them (or correct the problem) that day. In that sense, I haven't taken a back seat. There just isn't that much to delete or users to ban these days, which I'm quite happy about.

I meant I had backed away in posting links and commenting on links, and since I helped start sportsfilter, and still love sportsfilter, I should take a more active part in being involved in the front page.

That would probably help Rogers with coding time.

And he's right, the web has changed. But I still think sportsfilter fills a niche that isn't represented very well elsewhere, and I'd like to see it continue. But I don't believe moderation is what's missing.

posted by justgary at 10:33 PM on January 12

While I have some very strong opinions about politics, I kept my fingers away from the keyboard in the Delonte West post until adding a tongue-in-cheek comment at the end. It was inevitable that this post should have devolved into a political commentary. Let's face it, Presidents are people, and people like to shmooze with famous people. Presidents also use their hosting of teams and athletes as opportunities to place themselves in a favorable light. Is it a good thing for them to do? If you are a conservative Republican like I am, and it is a Democrat president doing it, it's dead wrong and should be stopped. If you are more to the other side of the spectrum, then what the current President does is just fine.

The level of discussion in the United States has become increasingly partisan. To conservatives like me, the center has shifted so far to the left over the past few decades that things have to move back and there is little room for compromise. To those of the liberal stripe, there is still much to be done, and we must move further along that path. I do not wonder that some of the comments in the West thread were quite partisan, and as I said above, it was inevitable. The one thing I have found about SpoFi and its denizens is that heated discussion on a topic seldom leads to members taking permanent offense at another member. We all say things in haste, but somehow SpoFi seems to allow this, and even to forgive it - if that's the word that fits.

My advice to the pantheon would be to leave alone discussions that begin to go badly off topic and away from sports until such time as comments begin to become personal attacks. Then there is justification to terminate the thread, quietly and privately caution the offenders, and live to fight another day. We have some members whose comments are more caustic than others, but I do not believe it is from ill will. I do know that there is not one member who at one time has not told me something interesting or made me smile or steered me to some information I did not know. I liken us to a bunch of people in a sports bar, arguing, discussing, and having fun. Nobody walks out angry, and there are lots of beers bought for each other. This is a site with intelligent people making, for the most part, intelligent comments. Don't change a thing.

posted by Howard_T at 11:31 PM on January 12

Allow me to apologize for making this discussion necessary. It was merely due to my anger at rampant spending and possible waste during times when the country is struggling. My comment about Obama not being able to "control" his wife was off base and a poor choice of words and coming from annoyance about Mrs Obama having to sit with Gayle King to speak about her being seen as "a angry black woman.". I tire of the overexposure of the first lady.

My point of view just took off due to the timing of me reading that post. Didn't want to anger people, but I also don't think it rose to the level of having to be deleted. Hopefully there won't be times where that is necessary. I don't want this site to turn into one that's all sunshine and rainbows. Even when people strongly disagree on this site, they still generally remain respectful. And there's nothing forcing individuals to keep visiting and responding to a particular post/thread. I have avoided many over the years that contain discussion I just don't want to get involved in.

Again, sorry for angering and/or offending anyone.

posted by dyams at 07:25 PM on January 13

One thing I should have added to my comment above is this: We here in NH have just survived that quadrennial madness called The New Hampshire Primary. I usually read the on-line version of the right-wing Manchester Union Leader, balance that with the left-leaning Nashua Telegraph, and then get the real news and balanced opinion from The Christian Science Monitor, which despite its name does not feature religion in its news or opinion sections. Anytime you begin to despair of the level of invective here in SpoFi, read any of the political articles in the Union Leader, then take a look at the comments. My friends, we are angels in comparison.

posted by Howard_T at 09:56 PM on January 13

get the real news and balanced opinion from The Christian Science Monitor

Funny, ever since undergrad, this atheist has found the CSM to be one of the finest news sources out there. People who know my religious and political leanings normally think I'm being sarcastic when I say what a good paper it is.

posted by tahoemoj at 03:30 PM on January 14

I used to subscribe to the Monitor. It wasn't entirely free of religion, if I recall correctly. There was one Christian Science devotional article in each issue.

posted by rcade at 03:51 PM on January 14

I am frustrated by what seems like a lack of courtesy to even respond to bug posts, etc. I posted this on 19 November, and it took 6 days to receive a comment, and that was from justgary, and only after I had given up on getting a response. I mention the hard break bug in the NFL playoff pick'em thread and still no response. A few years back justgary and I were begging to have the wiki linked to the homepage, and it seemed to take months before it suddenly appeared. I don't recall ever being notified, and by the time it showed up I was so frustrated by the lack of response I stopped caring about updating or maintaining the wiki.

I have been asking for years now for my 2005 Locker Room interview to be revived. I was under the impression that was doable. If not, than I apologise.

Funny thing is the site could use all of our participation when it comes to posting; however in addition to my comments above I don't participate because I don't like the posts that are here. I know I should do something about it, but since I don't feel a part of the site because of what I outlined above, I am uninspired to do so.

If justgary has resolved to be more involved and rcade has resolved to work on the things he said above then I will do what I can to be less of a squeaky wheel and more of a participant.

I am not mad, I just hate feeling like everything falls on deaf (hearing impaired?) ears or that I am being ignored.

posted by scully at 06:07 PM on January 14

rcade: why did I have to add <br/> to force returns? When i didn't it all ran together. Same as in the previous round. WTF?

A comment in a discussion is not the best place to make a bug report. I didn't overlook it intentionally. The answer is that I don't know why the preview isn't matching the saved comment. I need to work on that code.

For now, I use this workaround (as I think you do):

Line 1</br>Line 2</br>Line 3</br>Line 4

I have been asking for years now for my 2005 Locker Room interview to be revived. I was under the impression that was doable. If not, than I apologise.

SportsFilter moved to this platform in an emergency. Our ColdFusion/Microsoft SQL Server app stopped working and I couldn't make it work no matter what I did. Our hosting service had major customer support failings at the time, too.

To save the site, I moved it to this platform -- after a few days when I borrowed my Drudge Retort code to get it online quicker. That was extremely unpopular. So I emulated the old site with new code and the existing site design to make it as seamless as I could.

Moving it to this platform required Microsoft SQL Server's XML export feature. There were bugs. Lots of line breaks disappeared. Some content appears to have been omitted.

Getting all of the archives fixed is doable, but it's a huge programming undertaking less likely to benefit the site than creating new features and fixing bugs. I can restore some specific things that are glaringly absent, if they exist in a backup, by hand.

... I don't participate because I don't like the posts that are here. I know I should do something about it, but since I don't feel a part of the site because of what I outlined above, I am uninspired to do so.

I hope that as you see improvements here you'll become more enthused. But there have been bugs fixed and minor issues addressed throughout the past year.

posted by rcade at 07:01 PM on January 14

I used to subscribe to the Monitor. It wasn't entirely free of religion, if I recall correctly. There was one Christian Science devotional article in each issue.

Correct, but the devotional article was kept separate from the news and opinion sections. Since CSM changed its on-line setup, the devotional articles are scattered throughout the pages, and are quite obvious. If they are in the national or international news sections, they are buried toward the bottom of the pages.

Lots of line breaks disappeared.

Some time ago there was a simple solution to the line break problem, which I have used successfully since. Once you have posted your comment and the line breaks are not there, simply hit the edit selection, and then without doing anything else hit 'save changes'. It has worked every time for me. It is one extra step, but think of how much coding this will save rcade. We wouldn't want to be responsible for his future carpal tunnel syndrome, would we?

posted by Howard_T at 03:39 PM on January 15

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