I think the group War said it best: Why can't we be friends?
Or to quote Rodney King: Can't we all just get along?
Over the past few weeks, I've noticed a troubling tendency on Bleacher Report. There have been a number of writers who have penned pieces that do nothing more than belittle and degrade someone with whom they have a beef.
These "articles" border on slander, and certainly don't represent what B/R claims to be all about. At worst, these pieces embarrass B/R and everyone associated with it.
At worst, it makes the author look incredibly childish and silly.
Inevitably, the guy who is being slammed will get wind of this article, and he'll feel the need to comment and defend himself.
Then the author will respond with a comment filled with so much venom and anger that it elicits a strong response for the guy being dissed.
Before too long, it degenerates into a pissing contest, filled with obscenities and nonsensical rantings.
Not only does this add nothing to the site whatsoever, it causes B/R to lose credibility. That in itself doesn't really bother me (I think everyone pretty much knows how I feel about the "little minion"), but there are a lot of good people who have a lot invested (time, money, etc.) into this site. Their efforts should not be cheapened by someone who doesn't know how to resolve a conflict.
Every time I stumble upon one of these articles, my response is the same.
Handle your beef in private. We, the members of the B/R community, don't want to read this petty crap.
There's a reason the bulletin board was created. There's a reason that you can send private messages to people (and no, it's not to flirt with the lovely ladies on this site without your girlfriend knowing).
If you've got a problem with someone here on B/R, take it to his or her doorstep. Send them a message. Leave a post on their BB.
But enough with the ranting and raving in B/R's public forum already.
It's amazing what you can do if you just TALK to people before you blast them.
My most recent article, the one with the picture of Samuel L. Jackson from "Pulp Fiction," was received pretty well.
But there was one guy who, for whatever reason, didn't like what I had wrote. We then engaged in a pretty heated back-and-forth on the comment thread.
Once things had cooled down, he actually extended the olive branch to me. Since then, he has been very good about giving me advice about the journalism field and life in general.
Now if I had just read his comments and thought, "Screw this guy. I'm coming out swinging," and written an article bashing him, what good would that have done?
I wouldn't have gained the counsel of a guy who's been in the journalism field for about as long as I've been alive.
Rather, I would have come off looking like a petty, immature a-hole.
Which is how a lot of you look when you play out your personal conflicts in public.
So I'm pleading to the B/R writers out there, especially the young ones. Think before you write an article disparaging someone.
Try to understand the other person's point of view. Make an effort to "sit down" (digitally, I guess) with the person and express your concerns.
Who knows? The guy you hated might just turn into a good friend.