For those of you who don't know, I usually cannot comment or even take a look at DTN until I get home from work. Today was one of those days where I was incredibly surprised with the amount of comments and content. I wanted to take this opportunity to ask everyone a favor, although I think everyone is pretty much on board.
When I first started DTN, I was pretty much by myself. If there were any comments on game day threads, it was usually me talking to myself. But that's how these things start. I've always been a very consistent on the content and I think the content pretty good (although I know I need an editor, most, if not all of the time) and best of all DTN is free. You can check the sitemeter at the bottom of the page (to the right) to check out how slowly DTN started and where it is today, which is close to 2,600 visitors a day.
With so many visitors and so many opinions, there's going to be differing thoughts and analysis on the game, a play, an entire series, coaching decisions, etc. I've always tried to maintain an open and honest channel through DTN at the program. I'm not perfect and I've surely made mistakes when dealing with certain users, it's going to happen and I'm human. I've tried to err on the side of letting you guys say your peace rather than be a censor because I disagree with your opinion.
The only thing I've ever asked from this blog is to as that you don't be mean. That's it. The only other minor rule is that you not call anyone a name. It doesn't matter how childish or silly the name you may call someone, and that includes a player, but when you have to result to name calling, that you're really doing yourself a disservice. I've always thought that calling someone a name is the easy way to try and make your point, which will fail miserably when you result to those types of tactics.
You're better than that.
I think you could also add to DTN's lone commandment, that what you say to your fellow DTN'ers in the comments be something that you would say to them in their face. If you're not willing to do that, then think twice before about posting. It's easy to hide behind the facade of a username, but keep in mind that we're all on the same team.
So when so many things happen, like they have over the past two weeks, we as a fan base will invariably all have different opinions about the direction of the program, the coaching decisions, the plays on the field, etc.
I think and I hope that DTN becomes and is a place where we can all have that bar conversation. Perhaps the unintended consequence about losing two games to two ranked teams is that we, as fans of Texas Tech, are a lot more passionate than we were two years ago. I think that's great. When I'm dead and gone, I hope that DTN is the same type of community where Texas Tech fans can gather where the community polices itself and lets others know that being passionate is completely within the rules, but being an ass-hat is not. I know, that probably means that I'll have to distinguish that gray line between passionate fan and ass-hat, but you guys are free to call a spade a spade. Let someone know that something is not tolerated here. We should have a higher standard than message boards. We should be accountable for what we say. I'm not looking for anyone to self-appoint themselves as DTN master-of-all, but let's all push each other to be as good as we can possibly be.
At the end of the day, I'm proud of you guys and gals and I think that 95% of the comments I've read today are exactly the type of comments that I'm okay with posting on DTN. There's always the delicate dance that college bloggers have to undertake because the athletes that are criticized aren't professional, and the likelihood that any more than a handful will play professionally is minimal. Most of these guys play the game because it's what they love to do and because they hope that a college degree is a door to a better life.
I'm not asking anyone to take it easy on the players, but what I am asking is that when you do criticize that you not attack the player personally and you be specific as to the play or series of events that you feel like need critiquing. Throwing out generalizations or half-truths make you look like a fan that doesn't know what you're talking about and merely repeating what you heard when you grabbed your lunch at Applebee's. I believe that when you make specific arguments about plays or players it does two things. It makes you be critical of the actual play, but perhaps more importantly, it also removes yourself a bit from the emotional side of a loss.
If you've stuck with me this far, I'd like to open up this post to your thoughts or questions.
As I've mentioned above, I think that when I hang up my keyboard, I'm sure that I'll be forgotten and replaced by a new, smarter and better Seth C, but I hope the type of community sticks around for in perpetuity.