As you're all well aware, we have a very laissez-faire approach to what goes on in the Thunderdome that is the comments of most threads. But after seeing what's transpired in the comments for yesterday's wrap, I think the time has come for us once again to put you all back on track.
Yes, our writing is littered with pop culture references and in-jokes so we do invite that sort of thing, but ultimately this is a hockey blog (emphasis intended), not a general discussion message board, whether the Hawks had a week off during the buildup to Football Armageddon or not. While tangential discussions are fine, I've seen numerous complaints in the comments, and received several more in person from people who don't read and don't comment because of the way things escalate and deviate. And the fact of the matter is the conversation is dominated by a handful of posters, who make up a very small portion of our nearly 3700 members. This is not the first time we've received complaints of our commenter base being venomously exclusionary, bordering on mob mentality that far exceeds what could be considered a healthy sense of community.
Believe me, I'm the first to mock SERIOUS SPORTS discussion, but when the ancillary discussion begins to drive people away and ultimately affect the overall experience in coming to our site, then that's when measures need to be taken. If you absolutely HAVE to discuss politics, religion, and FOOOOOOTBALLLLLLLLLLL, then every person who has an account here is perfectly capable of starting a "General Discussion" fan post that will appear in the right margin of the page, and I suggest you use it. Or even better, get each other's IM names and talk directly or even go and meet the person you're having a back and forth with for a drink, proximity willing. The measure of having a seperate thread was taken yesterday in the form of a thread for the football game, and things still bled over into the wrap comments. In the future, they'll need to stay there. As far as the game threads, if you can keep up having a game discussion and talking about Rahm Emanuel at the same time given the pace those move at, then more power to you, but we'll still keep an eye on those. I've only ever had to warn one user ever, but I will begin to hand them out more generously if I don't start seeing a noticeable difference, and the upcoming All-Star break where it will be a slow Hawks news week should be a perfect proving ground. Now show us what you've got.