Yes, I'm sure you might be thinking, "This 17-year-old knows who Aretha Franklin is?"
Of course I do.
She was on American Idol, after all.
And, the Inauguration of President Obama. (Notice which one I listed first.)
He touched on several key points and I thought I could make a few more that will hopefully help B/R to be the friendly, sports-oriented community that we would like to be. And yes, I am aware that I just put "friendly" and "sports" in the same sentence. But it'll be all right...we'll just follow Jordan Sparks' advice and take it "One Step At A Time."
To begin with, I love B/R. Since joining at the beginning of the 2009 season, I have enjoyed every minute of being here. This site has really allowed me to explore new writing styles, come into my own writing style, meet other fans that are as crazy as I am, and do it all in a respectable way.
Unfortunately, I think that has changed somewhat and I am sure that I might even be guilty of some of the things I am about to mention:
1. Treat others how you want to be treated
I'm sure you've heard this a million times. There's a reason for this—it's a good rule to go by! However, it doesn't do any good if you don't remember it and keep it in mind when posting responses to people's articles.
Criticism is fine, but make sure it is constructive. Otherwise, you are just making yourself look like a troll—as mentioned in M's article. When posting a reply, remember to post things that can help the writer become better and to help them grow.
2. Heated debate and arguments are fine, but there is a line
Passion, obsession, and love for our team, drivers, or wrestlers is something that everyone on this site has in common. Hopefully. With that being said, we as fans tend to want to attack the person attacking our team or favorite player.
Sure, he may have died a while back, but Paul "Bear" Bryant is still very important to Alabama Fans. Just because you are an LSU fan and don't think so doesn't mean you have to attack me. Why not mentioning someone that is important to you and giving some feedback that contributes?
Respect a person's view and opinion. Also, remember that people are going to have a different view of your own. And, don't mistake someone for being rude when they might just get over zealous in protecting their baby...I mean, team.
3. Get to know a person and their writing before making comments about them and their character
There is nothing more annoying and irksome than when a person starts talking trash about someone's character when they don't know the person and have only read one of their articles.
Chances are, when a writer has 20 or so articles, there is going to be an off article. Read more than one article from a writer. Read three or four. Then form an opinion.
And before attacking a person's character, get to know them. Before you ask, posting one message on their BB that reads, "Hey. What's up?" does not constitute as "knowing the person."
4. Don't judge a book by its cover
I know it is hard to not judge someone based on their looks, gender, age, or even race. (Although hopefully the last one isn't an issue on this site.) Kristin, Lisa, Mary Jo...There are amazing writers that happen to be female.
But there are also some amazing male writers. (SportMonk, Larry, or Franklin anyone?) There are also some young writers like Isaac that seem to always have good articles, but then there are more "seasoned" writers like GrayGhost that also put out some of the best articles on B/R, in my opinion.
There are some attractive people on this site, but there are also some...well, you get my point. Before judging a writer based on their profile picture, read their work.
5. Think before you "speak"
If an article makes you mad and ready to throw the keyboard out the window, take a breather before posting something. Chances are, once you take time to cool down and think things through rationally, you'll be able to post a comment, reply, or article that is a lot more suitable and constructive and not so demeaning.
Once again, it's okay to disagree. It's not OK to attack.
6. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all
I know, I know...you've heard this a million times. Well, that's because it's a good rule to follow. If you can't find something to compliment, chances are you either aren't looking at it the right way or you are too biased while reading the article. Even if it's something like, "Nice style in the article although I disagree with your point."
Those things, while stating that you disagree, at least compliment the writer's style. If the writing needs work, try to give some ideas on what you think would have made it better.
Now. with all this being said, I am going to post this and get ready for the constructive criticism that might follow.
If y'all have any ideas or comments, please feel free to post below.