House rules for posting comments – an update

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while but something has always gotten in the way. However, having seen and deleted the contents of yet another unacceptable comment posted on the site this morning, I think it’s well overdue that I provide an update on the house rules I’m applying for those who wish to comment here.

In doing so, it’s only fair to acknowledge at the outset that the vast majority of comments posted here are perfectly fine and that the site would be a hell of a lot poorer without them. I’m keen to encourage debate and interaction to the maximum extent possible and, by and large, this is, I think, working well. But it’s the age old problem of empty vessels making the most noise or, if you prefer another cliché, it’s the 1% who risk spoiling things for the other 99%. This message is, then, aimed squarely at this 1% and most of you know fine well who you are.

Two particular types of comments are causing problems of late and neither are going to be tolerated in any shape or form in the future. The first of these is the planting of rumours and “inside” stories about who said what to whom about whatever. I don’t care how impeccable you think your sources are, I’m not interested in how juicy the gossip is. All such comments will, from now on, be deleted in their entirety and those who post this kind of stuff will have to go through the full rigours of comment moderation before anything they have to say in future sees the light of day. Call it, if you will, the comment moderation naughty step.

The same goes for trash-talking players, of which a particularly nasty example was posted yesterday. As I’ve made clear repeatedly, it’s perfectly okay to critique specific aspects of a player’s performance on a given day but lazy-minded, generalised rubbishing of players isn’t.

While I’m in nanny mode, it would also be good, as a courtesy to other readers, to run your eyes (and, preferably, the spellchecker as well) over what you’ve just written before hitting the ‘reply’ button. Nothing posted here (including my own efforts) will ever count as literature but comprehensible English with at least some attempt at correct spelling and so forth would be a good start. Iz nt az ard as u mite tink – rite?

I first did a post on house rules back in June of last year so here, for the record, is the updated policy, one that I’d ask everyone to abide by. The vast majority of you already comply every time you post and all I’m asking is that the tiny minority who don’t fall into line. The only burden in doing so is to use some common sense.

Okay, here are the rules:

  1. Comments should not be of a kind that are likely to provoke, attack or offend others;
  2. Comments should obviously not be of a kind that break the law or encourage law-breaking of any sort;
  3. Generalised comments about particular players should be avoided, e.g. “he’s not/he never was any good”, “he’s not county standard”, “when did he last play well?” etc. When discussing a particular player, especially when critiquing a player’s performance, stick to specifics, e.g. “Player X is rubbish/no good/a big tub of lard” is out of order, “Player Y was bad the last day because he didn’t  [add specifics]” is okay providing you’re expressing an opinion based on what you saw (or thought you saw) during a particular game, which others can, if they wish, challenge you on;
  4. When expressing a contrary view, don’t presume you know or invent any motivation for what the other person has said or make any inferences about their knowledge of the game, IQ etc. For example, phrases such as “only an eejit would say that”, “you must be saying that because …”, “you clearly know nothing about football” etc. etc are not acceptable.
  5. Bad language is perfectly fine, up to and including the bad ‘f’ word, but context is everything, e.g. “for fuck’s sake” is grand, “fuck you and fuck your mother” most certainly isn’t.
  6. Comments based on hearsay or rumour, in particular about supposed incidents involving management or individual players, are completely out of bounds and will not be tolerated under any circumstances.
  7. Those who fail to abide by the above rules will be obliged to go through comment moderation before any further comments from them are allowed to go live on the site. Repeated offences will lead to blacklisting.
  8. I reserve the right to add to or amend this list at any time at my absolute discretion.

41 thoughts on “House rules for posting comments – an update

  1. Your website is a wonderful resource for Mayo fans all over the world.

    It is your “house rules” that have ensured the integrity of the comments, that have attracted the true Mayo fan who have a genuine and knowledgable contribution to make, and that continue to position your website miles above other blogs of its’ type.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Well said wj, long overdue! What really annoys me is not so much bad spelling ( am a culprit my self sometimes) it’s the txt spk, it annoys the hell out of me, Rant over 🙂

  3. Fair play WJ.

    Off subject, but an interesting article in the Examiner today about us.
    John Cuffe, I’m sure you will appreciate this comment!

    “But they will not win the only thing they crave until the real ambition to win an All-Ireland consumes those who run the county”

    Mayo lack winning mentality
    By Terry Reilly

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

    When Willie Joe Padden was interviewed before the All-Ireland final in 1989, he revealed he would die a happy man if Mayo won the decider against Cork.

    Mayo lost, and the Grim Reaper never had to test Willie Joe’s nerve.

    Four All-Ireland senior final appearances followed that defeat with no change to the storyline other than another chapter of ifs, buts and maybes.

    Contrast that with the market leader’s approach to an All-Ireland final. When Colm Cooper was preparing for last year’s game with Dublin, he said: “It’s like putting all your chips down in the casino again. If Mayo won an All-Ireland this year and did nothing for the next 30, those players would be living legends. The Freedom of Castlebar. I suppose it’s just the nature of how driven everyone is here when it comes to football.”

    And he’s right. 19 Mayo teams have lost All-Ireland minor, U21, senior and club finals since 1989. Only three sides have won. Of them, Ballina Stephenites and Crossmolina are no longer the traditional powerhouses of the club scene, while of the U21 side who defeated Cork in the 2006 final, only Keith Higgins and Seamus O’Shea nailed down regular senior places, Enda Varley on the verges.

    Therein lies the Mayo problem — not a psychological one, as has been often trotted out after every a big loss — it’s a lack of ambition.

    Mayo County Board has never created the structures to help a man in green and red walk up the Hogan Stand steps and claim Sam Maguire for the first time since 1951. Despite all the good work by James Horan, he will not lead them to that glory while those around him refuse to change.

    Take his last nine days, for instance. Defeat to a 14-man Donegal was followed by a series of player indiscipline issues that led to at least two of the squad being dropped for the Cork game. The U21s were beaten easily by Roscommon on Wednesday before those flames were doused and then he had to calm a divisive issue between his selectors to define each one’s role. Little wonder, then, that his side capitulated against the league champions.

    A rough week but his greatest problems are those he has inherited from the long malaise in the county. Since taking over last year, he had to gut the squad and start again (he has given 16 players debuts), introduce the modern concept of a defence-orientated game and deal with the constant shadow of mounting debt from the MacHale Park redevelopment.

    There has never been a plan to improve the county’s standards from boardroom level. And unfortunately the organisation which has stood over 61 years of repeated failure retains its laissez faire approach to winning All-Irelands.

    Mayo County Board has never sought to lead the way. It has always been happy following others’ example. If the desire to truly win an All-Ireland was in place it would have sought out help from people on its own doorstep.

    Had John McDonnell been a Cork, Kilkenny or Tyrone man, his advice on physical preparation would have been sought. The Crossmolina man won more national championships than any coach in any sport in the history of American college athletics in his role at Arkansas University.

    But long after Kerry, Cork and Dublin pillaged the sport for useful information, Mayo left an expert untapped.

    Instead they concentrated on the elements they believed they were being judged upon — the development of the county grounds. Now they must raise €10,000 a week to service the interest on loans for the €10.5m MacHale Park. The same pitch Marty Clarke described as “one of the worst grounds I’ve ever played at”.

    Mayo may, or may not be relegated. They may or may not win a Connacht title.

    But they will not win the only thing they crave until the real ambition to win an All-Ireland consumes those who run the county.

  4. Dan the man! We are gluttons for punishment! And yet all we both want, indeed us all is for us to take our place as real contenders free and unfettered from mediocrity. Looking forward to hitting the home patch, a walk on the strand and the smell of the turf this weekend Dan.

  5. Shag it, Edwin McGreal has a tasty piece on the U21s. Makes interesting reading. Have to get out into the sun!

  6. And yet at times the monumental cock-up’s make it appear that we’re not actually all rowing in the one direction. Maybe one day….

    Incidentally, is the journalist Terry Reilly one of our own? Not a regualr reader of the Examiner.

  7. It’s amazing saying someone is not county standard is somehow a personal attack.However,for our host to constantly demean a certain referee called Mr Duffy by calling him ‘Duffys circus’ and ‘Mother Superior’ is perfectly acceptable.Double standards I believe that’s called.

  8. I assume Terry Reilly is the journalist with the Examiner and probably is a Ballina man and possibly related to the great Terry Reilly ex sports editor Western People. Am open to correction here .

  9. I am a great fan of this site but I think Brighton811 might just have a point in relation to the Duffy brothers!
    That said I think you are perfectly right to stamp out the nasty stuff that is offensive to players and management and other contributors. Well done and keep up the good work.

  10. Well if a player is consistently useless, he gets dropped from a team. If a referee is consistently useless, they’re given an All-Ireland final to ref. The GAA needs to do far more to improve the standards of referees, who are charged after all with upholding the laws of our game.

  11. Again,slag the crap out of refs and players from other counties but don’t dare say anything about our lads football ability because willie will go home and take his ball with him and then none of us can play!

  12. Brighton – if you don’t like the rules, you know what to do. You could always set up a site of your own where you could do and say what you want, though I realise it’s less effort on your part to engage in a bit of sniping and carping here instead. It’s all a tad tiresome, though, don’t you think?

  13. Can I just say, I think that article in the Examiner (I read it earlier through Willie-Joe’s twitter post) is one of the most uninsightful, thoughtless and poorly referenced pieces of journalism I’ve seen in a long time. Must have been a slow news day!

  14. the absolute abuse some of our players have had to put up with in the past few days particularly on twitter and other media sites is just shocking they are there to represent the county not to take any crap that is directed at them…i no the last few weeks has been a trying time for all us die hards but stick in there everyone its still only march…

  15. Glad to see the renewal of vows WJ.
    Hopefully good sense will befall the few who think its OK to insult individuals using the walls of this site for protection.
    Mind you there are a few strong views around just now about players attitudes’ Rat Dempsy has a cut at U21’s in Mayo News allied to Terry Reillys piece. Is this supposed to be motivational?

  16. I have to commend Terry Casey for stating the obvious. I agree with every word he has written and its the plain unvarnished truth.

    Ed McGreals excellent piece with Ray Dempsey is a disturbing piece for a few reasons. Its been a long time since I saw a manager quoted as not sparing the players.Normally that takes place in the dressing room and a public fig leaf is thrown to the press.

    Ray Dempsey is wrong there. He picked those lads, the U21s are squashed between Sigerson, college and in some cases senior inter county. If he deemed them good enough to be picked then he should stand four square behind them. He too is culpable in that he selected them and if he saw from training that they were not up to it, do as any good mananger would do, replace them.

    However in a way his comments tie in with Terry Reillys article. There seems to be no coordinated structure in place within the county to identify and groom suitable talent from the age of 18-22. We leave it to chance. Dempsey says those lads haven’t kicked on to the next stage.Why have they not been told that by the county officals over the last two years.

    Its a bit like the school principle and teachers telling the guys on results day “ye didnt work hard enough for the Leaving” but having stayed silent for the two years leading up to the exam.

    A Mayo man who won two All Irelands said this and I paraphrase here. “What we won was not because of the county board but despite them. And looking back now nothing has changed”. He said that in the 1980s, his name was Eamon Mongey. Its a mantra I carry in my soul and I honestly see nothing that makes this old heart of mine tremor with excitement from watching the mechanations within the county.

    Getting to the top table in Mayo is an end in itself.There seems to be vision beyond that. Getting us properly ready for an All Ireland in any grade seems a step to far and an ambition not at the forefront.Its not the starting 15 that win the big one, its the bench, the manager, the backroom, the board, the supporters, the gods, the weather, the ref, the state of the economy. Pick out the ones we dont have but hey….maybe we got them all and its the gods that screw us up.

  17. I do think people are getting carried away at the moment. We will survive in Div 1, I believe by getting at least one win against Dublin or Kerry. If we achieve this will we suddenly by AI candidates again? Our tendancy to over react about Mayo football is quite funny really. We seem to be constantly looking for reasurance from others, like a child who isn’t shown enought love my their parents.
    A bit of friction is no harm in a dressing room, as it keeps everyone on their toes. Horan is making some mistakes, players are also. He is unsure about his best team. But as long as he has his act togeather by the Summer who really cares.
    Don’t panic lads.

  18. I agree with John Cuffe – I cringed when I read his interview with Ed McGreal and I wonder how the U21 lads feel now in the aftermath.
    Bad form!

  19. That was poor from Dempsey. Sounds like a parting shot before he leaves the job.
    He seems to lay all the blame with the players, what about his role and the general development of our young players in the county?
    They were lucky to beat Galway and got found out against Roscommon this year, but what about his whole 3 years in charge?
    To not even get to a Connacht final after 3 years can’t all be down to the players not performing. Dempsey’s tactics and bizarre team/positional selections have to also be taken into account. Time for him to take some responsibility.

  20. Rays views after losing the minor final in 2008 are interesting

    http://www.mayonews.ie/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5051&Itemid=39

    That was the best crop of youngsters we have had recently and we might just have wasted them.

    Where did it all go wrong? The problem is that fellas that are playing minor football have no contact with county teams/set-ups until they join under 21. We just seem to get the u21 set up together every January and take part for the sake of it.

  21. All the more ironic when we realize that he picked them at minor he had years too see whether they had the required appetite for the task, which in my view is the one attribute often missed by selectors
    Ok we need big men who are skillful but “its not the size of the dog in the fight…etc has to come into the the reckoning.

  22. Suley it’s part of any manager’s job to make sure the players have the right attitude, team spirit, etc. If he can’t do that then he should not be in the job.

  23. I fully agree with your House Rules Willie Joe, very well written and to the point. Now getting back to the League, we all knew as did the Team and Management that it would be a tough campaign, and so it has proven to be so far. Lets get behind the Team for Saturday, we have a very good League record in recent years against the Dubs, and Saturday should cement that record with a win.

  24. Terry Casey!!!….I am a plank! Terry Reilly…my apologies…Jesus. Terry Casey brother of the great Willie…another great Ballina man. Onset of Alzheimers I am afraid.

  25. Willy Joe,

    have you thought about adding a forum to the site? I know it is a time-consuming addition but once it has been set up you could get some regulars to help out with moderation. It would help keep the tone of the site at the level that we are all used to and this becomes a problem as you get more popular. In a sense you are becoming a victim of your own success.

  26. Richard – I guess it’s the obvious thing to do and I have been thinking about it in the context of a planned facelift to the site which, time permitting, I’m hoping to sort out between now and the start of the championship. I’m still not 100% sure on it (I’ve never really been attracted to contributing to forums myself though I accept that many others are) but it’s certainly an option. What do others think?

    What I probably have to do anyway is tighten the procedures around comments so that everyone has to register and in doing so provide email details (real ones, not the kind of made up ones that many provide now) which can be used for verification purposes. While that’s a bit of a once-off pain for everyone, the gain is that it should help to tip the balance further in favour of the 99%.

  27. In many ways this already operates like a forum – you post the initial thread and people post replies.

    The big difference would be that posters like us would be able to begin posting their own discussion threads. In ways this could take away from the main site, but in other ways could help take pressure off yourself in terms of facilitating discussions etc.

    I’m certain that there would be many regulars who would only be too delighted to help out with moderation – it’s a good thing you have going here.

    I’d say we’d all agree that we would want it to be somewhat different from HoganStand, but how would this be done?

    On another note, since there are many regular #MayoGaa tweets, might it be a suggestion to include a #MayoGaaTwitter Widget on the sidebar here? It could act as a sort of an onsite chat for those who are interested, and might bring more people from the Twittersphere here. They are here if you are interested –

    https://twitter.com/about/resources/widgets/widget_search

  28. Digits – thanks for that. Having thought about it a bit more since Richard brought it up this morning, I have to confess that I’m a bit in two minds about adding a forum to the site. One half of me thinks it’s a good idea, for the reasons you mention, but there are other forums out there – as well as Hogan Stand there’s gaaboard.com where a number of sensible, well-informed Mayo people post regularly. Then there was mayofans.com which was going great guns the time we got to the 2006 final but then seemed to die a slow death after that and is no longer online. Going the forum route would, for sure, need more moderators but, by the sounds of it, that’s wouldn’t be a problem to sort. It’s more a case of whether or not having a forum would detract from the discussions that already take place here, which tend to move along from one topic to another at a good old clip as things stand.

    In other words, I don’t really know what’s the best way to proceed.

    Your #mayogaa Twitter widget sounds like a no-brainer, though, and that’s something that should definitely be added. The Twitter widget I was using stopped working a while back (like the poll one before it) which is one of the reasons I want to get a proper overhaul done and I’m already in discussions with someone who will be doing this over the coming weeks. Twitter and Facebook buttons were already on the agenda in that context, as well as a number of other things, but any other bright ideas would be welcome too.

  29. Willie Joe
    The real attraction of this site for me is the tone it sets. It is working really well now and I would be very slow to mess with it too much.
    The other big issue with this (as with any project) is sustainability. You need to be able to do what you are doing without burning out or neglecting your other commitments. I think the idea of registering with a proper email address is the way to go. Anyone who is unwilling to be registered and to stand over their postings should not be allowed to post at all.
    I ran into this same problem a number of years ago and had to discontinue the forum because it was abused by anonymous posters and it took a huge amount of vigilance to interrupt their handywork. It eventually became too troublesome and I closed it down.
    Keep up the excellent work WJ – a lot of football people really appreciate this site!

  30. Thanks for that, diehard. I agree that sustainability is the other major issue; not at the moment for me but I know that the day will come when I can’t or won’t be able to keep the site going. That’s not an immediate concern for me but none of us knows what the future holds, I guess. That’s good advice on the forum issue, thanks.

  31. WJ,

    Congrats on a great site. As an exile, I use your site a lot to keep up to date.

    As per the forum – I thinkk this site works well as it is and that’s partly down to your articles providing focus for discussion. A quick look at any of the GAA fora will show that while there are some very well-informed and thought provoking discussions, there are just as many silly threads that offer no value.

    If, as digits suggests above, someone wants to discuss a topic, I’m sure you could pen a one-liner article to get things kicked off.

    One final thing – I think registration is a must – I am not tech-savvy enough to know if this would be an easy addition, but I think if the site owner is aware of people’s identities, it would make them think twice about what they say.

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