The Bleacher's Community: Drive-By Articles

Michael CollinsAnalyst IAugust 31, 2009

Most everyone here at Bleachers is civil, respectful of differences of opinion, and open to a little healthy debate. That’s the basis of the Community established at Bleachers. Gray Ghost put it best in describing his rules for his family’s dinner table discussions in an article that’s an all-time favorite here:

The rule at these table debates is simple: No yelling, no name calling, and no personal insults. Sort of like a verbal hockey game, if that rule is broken during our debates the offending party is exiled from the discussion until he, or she, cools their jets and is ready to talk civilly again. 

"It’s never good to run the mouth when the brain has been shut off!  That is a sure sign of someone who has been intellectually bested and now must resort to a verbal smokescreen in hopes of covering up their inability to contribute anything else of value.”

Each of us has something worthwhile to contribute, something we take time to work on and express to those who will take the time to read our articles.  Only occasionally will we experience what I call “drive-by” articles.

You know the type—the author spends his or her time venting, bashing, or insulting.   Most neighborhoods rarely see these articles in Bleachers.

We’re their second neighborhood. Without us, who would they pull the trigger on?

CommunityMembersArticles in the Last MonthDrive-by Articles in the Last Month
Ohio State710962
Notre Dame60711414

In the Notre Dame Community, to the tune of more than three articles per week, we hear Lou’s senile, Charlie’s fat, the Irish have never played anyone, etc.  Our independence can be a bulls eye.

Imagine reading only about preseason prospects, positional battles, and opponent analyses as in other Communities!!

They unfortunately have not lived at Gray Ghost’s table.  For my writing, I try to remember his advice—“If you want respect, then show respect. If you want to feel accepted here, be willing to accept others—regardless of how their opinion differs from yours.”

Football is inherently divisive since hubris and bragging rights come down to wins and losses. The media love to garner the pro-Irish and anti-Irish for an audience in a potion that draws in and divides too many.

Should the Irish have a more successful season than some think we deserve, we shall hear it.  We rarely change how such an author looks at Notre Dame with our comments, even if we remind him or her we are an alumni or fan like they are of their team. Our responsibility, though, is that we must accept that they and their teams are as equally important to college football and to all of us.

My father said frequently, “If you can’t say anything nice about someone, don’t say anything at all,”  to help me understand the importance of controlling an Irish temper.

Gray Ghost’s advice: “There is a difference between reacting and responding. Reaction requires no real thought process. You hit me, I hit you—we both deal with the consequences later. Graveyards are full of reactionaries.  Response, on the other hand, requires that we engage our gray matter—that we take the time to consider our next move.”

We can only control our responses. Which can include no response.

Bleachers does not exile someone from the dinner table for name-calling or personal insults.  An individual's Writer Rankings can actually increase if we pay too much attention to drive-bys.  It's up to us.

We have our Community. They will drive through. We'll leave it on the field. 

*Stats from Bleachers' Archives on August 30th.