As a member of Bleacher Report I was always under the impression that we were all in this together.
We voluntarily joined the site for the love of sport and chose to let it be known to the world through our individual voices.
Each of us came to the table with our unique observations and writing styles. B/R provided each of us with an even playing field, not a one of us any better than the next. It was up to each of us to choose how we expressed ourselves through words.
Regardless of what worked best for our own idiosyncrasies, one thing remained clear, we were all in this together.
Here in the NASCAR Community we have honed in on what we love, stock car racing.
We are crazy enough to write about stock car racing!!
Don’t we, as NASCAR fans, get enough flack already for simply admitting our fandom?
How many times during the season must we defend our beloved from scurrilous hecklers?
How many times have we heard things like, “NASCAR isn’t a real sport, anyone can drive fast and turn left!” or “my grandmother can drive a car, does that make her an athlete?”
There is a certain amount of risk involved in claiming to be a NASCAR fan in some circles, one must be prepared to fight for what they believe in.
Heck, we even get defensive in our own house!
Each of us can quickly answer the infamous question of “who’s yer driver?” We bicker and debate our fellow NASCAR fans as to why “our” driver is the best.
In the end, there is no right or wrong answer, we have our reasons and no one will ever change that. Regardless of who we cheer for, we come together every Sunday for the love of the sport. Why? Because we are all in this together.
Only a true NASCAR fan knows just what I am talking about. We are fighters, we are strong, and we are a community of individuals who are joined together through a common bond.
We are all in this together!
Or are we?
What is going on within the walls of the B/R NASCAR Community?
We’ve gone from supporting one another to literally eating our own. We are destroying the very thing that we so painstakingly built from the ground up.
Once we were a community who took great pride in our individual articles while looking out for our fellow writers at the same time.
Now we only look out for Number One.
Has success spoiled us?
We have become so preoccupied with the number of reads and comments or how many “Likes” we are or aren’t getting that we've become bitter and jaded.
We've gotten pretty damn good at knocking each other down by personally attacking our comrades.
How could we possibly feel better about ourselves by hurting others this way?
Some have accused the site of becoming a social network much like Facebook, suggesting that the only reason certain people get ahead on B/R is because they are well-liked across the site.
It's a fact, people are going to naturally surround themselves with people who are supportive, but being part of the popular clique only goes so far, you’ve got to have the chops to back it up.
Many of us have now been here for over a year. We have grown up together, we are family. It would be remiss to say that there isn’t an element of social networking going on.
As a Community Leader I am taken to task on a weekly basis over these issues and more. Yes I may have a “title” but we are a community and we are adults here!
It's time to start acting accordingly.
It may sound harsh, but there are some things that should never reach the level of having to get a Community Leader involved. Messes are being made and it is expected that the standard of practice is for the Community Leader to clean it all up.
We are the people and we are in desperate need of forming a more perfect union!
I live proudly in a glass house and I am not opposed to throwing stones. Have I always done the right thing? Absolutely not!
Despite the giant-sized head that sits atop my shoulders, I am in no way perfect and I don’t always have the answers that will satisfy everyone all of the time.
We all have lives outside of B/R that demand our attention. I've gotten caught up in the "everyday," so if you have not gotten a satisfactory response from me, ask again, demand it, whatever it takes. I am not opposed to that at all, we all get caught up in things, I am no different. Reminders are greatly appreciated and will never be seen as a nuisance.
My door, as they say, is always open; sorry if I'm away from my desk at times.
I’ve been criticized behind the scenes and to my face. As I have previously stated, there ain’t nothing you can say to me here on B/R that is going to get me down. My “real” life and job does that just fine, thank you!
Everything that each member of this community has faced, I have to. So please, before you assume that everything is rosy on the other side, take a walk in another's shoes.
I have been on all sides of the spectrum. I’ve written articles that have gained high numbers, plenty of comments and “likes.” I have also written articles that barely got noticed. Articles that I have put my heart and soul into. It is a blow to one's ego and it hurts like hell, but you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back in the game.
It has been a learning process, to say the least. I have learned that it is okay not to read every article on the site, maybe it was a topic that wasn’t of interest to one of your peers. It’s okay not to leave a comment, if you’ve got nothing to say. And for freak’s sake, if you don’t like an article, it's okay not to click the “Like” button!
But what is happening is so far beyond any of that. Collectively, we have gotten away from our grassroots. With the introduction of the Featured Columnists, many of us went corporate.
Some churn out articles about hot topics and titles to increase their read count. Some "cut and paste." If you are okay with that, who am I to say whether it's right or wrong.
Some are linking their own articles within B/R and even beyond to other sites in the comments of others' articles, which is unfair to the author and is incredibly unprofessional.
Some take personal pot shots at other writers in public comments, which in turn makes we as writers look like a bunch of third graders and is quite frankly unacceptable.
You get what you give.
I’m not saying that you have to leave saccharine-filled musings for another writer, it is okay to disagree. Just please leave the personal element out of it and don't take away from their moment by promoting your own agenda within the comment section.
By leaving comments such as those, it paints the commenter in a very bad light. Why would you want to take the time to read an author’s work when they notoriously have a reputation of slamming others. I don’t know about you, but that is a can of worms that I gravitate away from.
I hate stumbling across or being directed to comments that are hateful and cruel from our own community members. It is a constant reminder that we are only as strong as our weakest link, we are putting the noose around our own necks.
In this new age of Citizen Journalism, establishing a reputation based on professionalism, quality writing, and strong community is key.
I'm not saying that we always need to be the wind beneath eachother's wings, but we can straighten up and fly right together.
I would like to open it up for discussion. A NASCAR community round-table. What can we do as individuals and community to make things better?
Here is your chance to get it all off your chest, hit me with you best shot or forever hold your peace.
We are all in this together folks, together we stand, divided we fall.
-If I have offended you in any way by writing this or if you agree with anything that I've said, then yeah, I'm talking about you!