Inspired by my fellow scribe Daniel Barber, with this article.
Bleacher Report is the most incredible Web site I have ever frequented.
I have tried message boards, newspapers, online dating sites (met my wife on one, in fact), and chat rooms of every possible variety. I have lurked, I have participated, I have advocated. I have been involved in just about any type of interactive Web-based endeavor known to mankind.
Bleacher Report tops them all.
Because B/R is whatever the individual wants it to be.
Do you just want to read breaking news about the NCAA Tournament? You can find it here in abundance.
Do you just want to read breaking news about the NCAA Tournament, with a Big East slant? Check, we’ve got that covered, too.
Would you like to try your hand at reporting or commenting on sports news? Hey, this is the perfect place to indulge your hobby.
Or perhaps you harbor a desire to break into professional journalism and you need to hone your skills? You can do that here, as well.
How about this angle: You are a good writer, but that’s not your true gift. Reading and refining other people’s work is your forte, you would love to be an editor someday, but you haven’t the first clue how to pull it off.
Welcome home, editor-in-waiting, Bleacher Report has you covered.
Might I make some requests?
First of all, let me say this: I was a member for over two months before I published my first piece. However, even though I would read articles from time to time, I restricted myself from leaving comments.
I used B/R as if it were ESPN or the like: for informational purposes only.
However, far too many hecklers—also known as “Internet trolls”—take perverse delight in stopping by an article that they know little or nothing about (even though they are experts in their own tiny, warped minds) and hurl insults at the author simply because he or she happens to have opinions that the troll dislikes.
I have one simple question: Why?
If an author has spent time conceptualizing, researching, and writing a column on Bleacher Report, no matter how arrogant, ill-conceived, or poorly written you might find it, what gives you the right to insult the author?
Remember, some of us here harbor professional aspirations. This is how we are polishing our craft, in the hopes of someday feeding ourselves and our families. So, why do you think it would be a good idea to call us names, denigrate our intellect, and call into question our parentage?
It is disrespectful; it is rude; it is wrong.
If you disagree, please, whip out your keyboard and head for the “Comments” section. Voice your opinion, recite some facts. Stay on topic and argue your case.
Then, after an exchange or two, just move along and read something else. Don’t consume the writer’s time by constantly barraging him or her with disparaging comments.
Did you realize that every single time we receive a comment, an e-mail lands in our personal “Inbox?”
Do you have any idea how irritating it is to get notification of a new reply, rush excitedly over to B/R to anxiously read our comments, and find ourselves called “idiot,” “homer,” “moron,” or worse, for the entire world to see?
If this happens to you, there is always the option of reporting the insulting person by clicking on the word "Offensive" underneath the person's profile picture (which will probably be blank). They do not have to be using foul language; as long as they are flaming and/or off-topic, the comments will be dealt with.
I would love it if the Bleacher Report engineering team found a way to restrict new users from making comments until they write at least one article of their own. Once you walk in my shoes, you can throw rocks at me; until then, it's look but don’t touch, buddy.
Next, to other writers here on B/R...
This is, in every sense of the word, a community. Virtually everything that you do is recorded and/or passed along for everyone on the site to dissect.
Therefore, if you think someone is a pain somewhere between your lower lumbar and hamstring, and you would like to let your fellow scribe know about the dust-up that you just had, please, out of respect for other members who are uninvolved, send it to their personal e-mail.
Don’t put it on their Bulletin Board.
Some of us just don’t like seeing this type of ugliness. That is precisely what brought us to Bleacher Report in the first place: We got tired of all the senseless sniping and we wanted to try a community where a free exchange of thoughts and a healthy opportunity to debate is encouraged.
Take the idiocy somewhere else.
Another request: If a writer has his or her e-mail addy on their profile, please do not take this as an invitation to engage in a protracted exchange of ideas via the Inbox.
We are not going to magically rescind our carefully crafted position simply because you e-mail us your wisdom multiple times an hour. I know, I know—you feel very strongly about what you believe or what team you root for.
Did you ever stop to think that we do, too?
Some of our articles are literally weeks, months, or even years in the making. Appreciate our right to have an opinion, and respect the courage it takes to pour our hearts into an idea, pound it out, and publish it for anyone with Internet access to see and criticize.
I have enjoyed the two weeks that I have been active here on Bleacher Report. There are dozens of my peers that I have selected as favorites. It seems that I have a fair amount of fans, as well, which is both humbling and invigorating.
I take my responsibility seriously, and I know so many others do, too.
If we all follow a few basic rules of etiquette and common sense, it will be much more fun for us all, no matter what it may be that keeps drawing us back for more.