Keep it clean

Photo: Freepik.com

The issue about comments posted here on the blog bubbled up – appropriately enough – in the comments last night. When I caught up on what had been posted I said I’d come back to the issue again and so here I am.

As I’ve said here repeatedly, the generally civil nature of exchanges amongst contributors here on the blog is due to two factors. The first is that, unlike almost any other online destination I’m aware of, comment moderation is taken seriously here and is enforced as fairly and consistently as I’m able to. But also, crucially, debate works here because the vast majority of contributors make it work, by ensuring that the comments they post are fair-minded and reasonable in nature and content.

Both of these factors are necessary to ensure that, by and large, the standard of debate remains clean. On their own, neither are sufficient but in tandem they make sure that this happens, at least most of the time.

Two things concern me right now, one at a more general level and the other specifically relating to the next few days in the run-up to our meeting with Dublin. Let’s take them one at a time.

Looking at the trend in the comments in recent months, I don’t think I’m the only one to notice that standards are slipping somewhat. Too many people – some newcomers but, disappointingly, some long-standing contributors as well – seem to think that it’s okay to (a) post baiting, abusive comments aimed at all manner of targets ranging from opposing counties, to specific players, managers or others and (b) engage in similar ad hominem attacks on other people who comment here. Others appear to think it’s perfectly okay to applaud, chime in, LOL or whatever in support of this kind of behaviour.

While such commentary is still very much in the minority, there’s an increasing amount of it. More worryingly from my perspective, a number of those who do transgress and get pulled up on what they’re doing then go on to abuse the comments facility in the same way again. While I don’t want to stifle debate, there is a limit to my patience and more than one contributor is testing what this limit is.

Which leads me onto my second concern, which relates specifically to comments posted in the run-up to the match against Dublin on Saturday. Traffic to the site is already surging ahead of the game and, as we get closer to Saturday, the levels of excitement and tension will rise. Some will inevitably head online to let off steam and that’s where the trouble starts.

I got a ringside seat in both 2016 and again in 2017 to where all this can lead. While the debate here on the blog remained restrained, comment moderation was close to a 24/7 job leading up to and after both finals. On other platforms, a tsunami of online bile washed over both deciders, echoes of which reverberate to this day.

I’ve no doubt too that the usual suspects will be on the usual platforms spreading the same toxic, hate-filled rubbish over the coming days. They’ll try to do the same here on the blog as well but their contributions won’t get published. If a few slip through by mistake, they’ll be quickly dealt with.

In light of all this, I’d make a simple appeal to everyone to keep a cool head and a fair mind when commenting here over the coming few days. The vast majority of you do this anyway – and I remain hugely grateful to you for this – but it’s that growing troublesome minority that concerns me.

Those of you who value this place and all it stands for should be equally concerned. Please do what you can over the coming days to keep the blog what you have helped to make it become. Together we can ensure that this happens.

Comment moderation on the blog is carried out in accordance with a set of house rules, details of which are here. If you’re not fully familiar with them or, indeed, if you’ve never seen them then please take the time to read the house rules and make sure what you post is in compliance with them. Thanks.

33 thoughts on “Keep it clean

  1. You’ll be kept busy on moderation the next few days despite your warning Willie Joe.
    I don’t envy you that task. You’re dead right to set out your stall on this as there will be no doubt a huge amount of new interest in this site looking to stir the shite.
    There is a toxic element to the interactions when these teams meet and the Banter and various Army pages are in my view the place where this has all begun, though the drawn meeting in 2015 and various things that came about from that match really seemed to have increased the level of nastiness in the commentary between the so called “fans”. It’s most unpleasant, to say the least.

  2. It’s very appropriate that this is emphasized at this time, we love this county and emotion can carry us away. I sometimes post on this site but always read it and the comments following and for the most part find it a source of information solace and the odd laugh. I am an ardent, go to all matches supporter ( is there any other kind ?? } and appreciate this place and thank you for it. Maigheo abú

  3. The referee could play a major role on Saturday next.
    Will it be Cork man Lane or maybe Neilan from Ros?
    Deegan from Laois refereed Mayo v Dubs game before.
    Some Dubs don’t want Lane or Neilan
    My bet is Joe Mac Cavan / Dublin.
    Mayo the heavens open over Croker on Friday and Saturday.

  4. Hi Willie Joe and everyone. Thanks for the post on keeping it clean and for all the incredible work you do for us lucky enough to support our Mayo team…teams. It’s surely a blessing to so many.
    I’ve been reading the comments as well as everyone else and to be fair I’ve noticed the personal jibes which I do agree lowers the tone for genuine supporters. I’ve always been an admirer of Aidan O’Shea and I think we could all take a leaf out of his book. Play the ball, not the man or woman. It’s an admirable quality and one I’d like to see being fostered on your site. It’s hard on you having to monitor some of the stuff and try to be fair.
    One thing I have noticed, since RTE took down their comments the nastiness has crept in here. I often used the comment page on RTE sports page and it is astounding how cynical, disrespectful and nasty people can be.
    Part of the problem for me is finding a platform to make genuine complaints and to feel or believe that they are actually being heard. I have complained about articles and referee ineptitude among other things but honestly I don’t think my comments add up to much for the powers that be. I appreciate it’s not your role or your fault but it’s a gaping hole which perhaps entices contributors to vent their spleen on this site.
    For the record I think some of the reaction to comments is also a bit touchy and I hope that people will feel this is a safe place to get excited and even bullish about our chances.
    We’re so lucky to have such fantastic teams to support but truth be told we are envious of the dubs and kerries and other winners and I for one want our men to be counted among the greats.
    I’m hoping that we find another gear for Saturday but it’s a big ask. How I love Mayo.
    Kind regards
    Axle the hub!!
    PS come on back Martin the Dub and outta the blue… I miss you!!

  5. Well said & sad that it had to be said. Let’s concentrate on our fantastic team and kno this, whatever happens Sat, they will bring their raw aggression to the party. I for one cannot wait.
    In this together lads : )

  6. Willie joe. I’m glad you said that because I for one was getting a bit cheesed off with some of the vulgar language and personal abuse creeping into this blog recently Our boys did well last Saturday but should have won by more. I would start d coen again next Saturday. In fact if Clarke is still injured I’d start the same starting 15 as the last day. Hopefully we will be even more aggressive in our tackling and will get a fair amount of split decisions from Conor lane I feel sorry for the ladies whose game is also on the same afternoon. Could that not be changed even at this late stage. I see the bookies have the dubs at 1to5 Surely mayo at evens plus 5 points is the value bet. We live in hope Up mayo

  7. Well said Willie Joe and thank you for this excellent blog and brilliant podcasts I thoroughly enjoy them Rob Murphy and yourself and contributors are to be commended. It’s important that we all keep cool heads and not let our emotions run away with ourselves on this blog something I’m guilty of myself in the past. I’d like to see Martin the Dub, outta the blue and Gamechanger from Kerry continue to contribute here and feel
    Welcome to do so.

  8. – Wj good timely piece which might make your unpaid moderator job a bit easier over the next week. The service you are proving to Mayo GAA is unreal and it is really appreciated.
    – I like having all the non Mayo heads posting on this site as it gives all of us Mayo heads some much needed perspective at times.
    – The booing of Michael Murphy while taking frees last Sat night by a tiny minority of Mayo supporters was disgraceful. I was on the Terrace and the booing came from the stand, this has no place in GAA full stop.
    – Keep it clean online and in the stands/terraces

  9. Fair play WJ. No doubt the intensity will increase over the next few days and so to will the emotions and the comments that go along with that. I must say, I do like to hear from other posters in other counties, their perspective can be insightful, so long as its respectful of the rules. For example, I myself do frequent the Kerry Forum, to see what they are up to and what they are thinking, but never took the bother to comment.
    I agree with Fearbolg and his rationale as to why the nastiness and tone is happening online, in work and in the stands. I’ve been going to matches for a long time, and because of their involvement in their parish and clubs, supporters would be ashamed of their life to cause any hassle because they were with their fellow parishioners and club members. It was all very local and as far back as I can remember, it was always good banter, lots of bad language for sure, but for the most part, harmless stuff.
    Anyway, as you’d say yourself, lets try to keep it between the ditches.

  10. Wj, you must have some job keeping all the trash out. People are talking about nastiness? I haven’t read any nastiness on your blog tbh. Just opinions. Maybe I’m wrong. Anyway good piece.

  11. Willie Joe, thank you again for this forum and for all of the work you do in running it. It’s a wonderful space for fans to interact and where we can share our footballing journey.

  12. It IS interesting to have a peak at thoughts on some other sites. Interesting to see non -dub contributors from Mayo and elsewhere on the resevoirdubs site. There is a sense of real nervousness from some of the Dub fans for next Saturday, particularly with weather that is supposed to be bad. More than 2 called Mayo the “monkey on their back” and would, it seem, rather a team they could bole over, any other than MAyo who won’t lie down! Well marshalled WJ, fair play

  13. Btw that was a reference to a 1967 Paul Newman movie called Cool Hand Luke, for all you non-pensioners .

  14. Ha haaa! I’m in good company tonight! Strangely enough, after I posted, it occurred to me that, without being too philosophical or analytical, Luke had all the hallmarks of a Mayoman.

  15. Let there be no posters coming on here later in the week looking or complaining if theres no tickets left and the game sells out.Tickets go on sale tomorrow morning at 9am on tickets.ie and in Centra and Supervalu stores or else book through your local Gaa club.

  16. “I never meet a ragged boy in the street without feeling that I may owe him a salute, for I know not what possibilities may be buttoned up under his coat.”
    James A. Garfield

    Respect is a small enough word but it carries alot of weight.

    We all respect our footballers and I hope we will always behave in a manner where we will always have their respect.

    This week should be all about excitement, fun, expectations, dreams, nerves and the strive to succeed.

    Their is an onus on everyone to earn their own respect. Take responsibility for your own doing and saying and the sum of the lot should be an army of supporters that our footballers will be truly proud of, an army of supporters we can be truly proud of ourselves.

    We have great supporters with a few wayward calves thrown in. Not unlike any other County.

    The great majority of Dublin supporters are great supporters and like us they have some wayward calves thrown in too.

    I think if Dublin were a mediocre team most of the negativity shown towards them would not exist.

    Their team and supporters should be shown respect. Yes respect them, and then go out and beat them. Respect them before we play them and after we beat them or as is unlikely to happen, after they somehow manage to beat us. This will define us as truly great supporters.

    Our team deserves all this, as do we ourselves and so does this blog.

  17. The high standards of this forum is in keeping with the high standards of Mayo football and Mayo people. All decent people to be proud of. We can hold our heads high regardless of the results.

  18. Well said and put together Willie Joe. One of the more difficult things to do is not react to baiting and let it die out on its feet for what it is or let it be moderated by your good self…. out of respect for you and this wonderful blog it’s something we need to get better at especially as of late. Sometimes it’s difficult to determine if a post is intentionally crafted to rise ire with others for the authors own amusement or decipher whether it’s an attempt at amusement; sarcasm which we all should pick up on straight away. What is written as opposed to what is said can be taken up in so many different ways which is confused even further by the fact that we haven’t a scooby doo who each other is. I suppose the bottom line and what unites us is that we all want the same thing and we have to be satisfied in the knowledge that everyone is trying their best to deliver on that

  19. That’s fair enough WJ. This is a wonderful blog – contributors are passionate and knowledgable.
    Participants from other counties can also feel comfortable in contributing.

    I have no doubt that the huge support and passion, generated for Mayo football, stems from this site.

    You will always get the bit of banter between counties, and I suppose we can all be guilty of getting over excited when the chips are down. People just need to re-read material before posting..

  20. Thanks again WJ for this incredible site and all you do to keep it excellent! Missed you on Saturday => a dream come true for my first game at MacHale. I will take a rain check on that pint in Dublin on Saturday and save it for September! Since we’ve had so many games in rainy, windy conditions this year, I wouldn’t mind a wet nasty field on Saturday. It has nothing to do with I’ll be watching from the US!

  21. My Teams and Matchups for Saturday

    Robbie Hennelly/ Stephen Cluxton

    Stephen Coen on Con O’Callaghan both in Ucd
    Brendan Harrison on Paul Mannion
    Chris Barrett on Dean Rock
    Colm Boyle on Brian Howard
    Lee Keegan on Ciaran Kilkenny
    Keith Higgins on Niall Scully

    Matty Ruane on Brian Fenton
    Seamie O’Shea on James McCarthy or MDMA

    Fionn McDonagh/ John Small
    Aidan O’Shea/ Cian O’Sullivan
    Paddy Durcan/ Jack McCaffrey
    James Carr/ Philly McMahon
    Andy Moran/ Michael Fitzsimons
    Cillian O’ Connor/ Davy Byrne or Jonny Cooper

    Dublin main Scoring threats
    Paul Mannion
    Total 0-15
    Roscommon 0-3
    Cork 0-2
    Meath 0-3
    Kildare 0-7

    Con O’Callaghan
    Total 1-9
    Roscommon 0-2
    Cork 0-4
    Meath 1-0
    Kildare 0-3

    Ciaran Kilkenny
    Total 1-8
    Roscommon 0-2
    Cork 1-2
    Meath 0-1
    Kildare 0-3

    Dean Rock
    Total 1-20 (14 frees) 1 ,45
    Roscommon 1-11 (10 frees)
    Cork 0-5 (3 frees)(1,45)
    Meath 0-4 (1 free)

  22. No body thinks we are going to win on Saturday so what this team has given us so much over the years let’s get to the game fill it with green and red take it over we have to play out part I for one think we can upset the odds

  23. Tickets not on sale yet, I have a feeling this could be like the 2006 semi where tickets were bought expensively from a tour.
    There will be an overload on the Internet at 8.55 am this morning.

  24. Well said Willie Joe! I’m sure you put long hours in here and could do without the baloobas causing you additional hassle and worry. Your editorial standards would do well to be replicated on a lot of GAA discussion pages, including Hogan Stand, on which a lot of bile is being poured these days. But I digress…

    Let’s ignore the inevitable baiting that comes our way this week and focus on getting behind our team. We need to match the Dubs support in terms of volume and I have no doubt that we will.

    Hon Mayo!!!

  25. Well said WJ. Was contemplating not going on the site recently due to negative comments and attitude of a lot of contributors.
    Referees. The day a referee will not make a mistake, will be the same day all 30 players wont make a mistake. some people expect referees to be perfect all the time. Not possible. Fair and unbiased yes. Most supporters have a biased view of their team and that’s fair. Referees are not there to give any team favours. they all have their little quirks; eg one may be always looking for picking the ball off the ground (we benefited from this not being seen last Sat), other refs may look at jersey pulling. If managers are cute, this should be relayed to the players prior to each game.
    Concentrate on supporting the lads in both minor and senior games and leave the daft comments to Trump.

  26. In fairness the majority of people posting on this blog generally know what they are talking about but there will always be people who jump on the bandwagon at this time of the year.
    The biggest thing that frustrates me about going to Mayo games is that there is always people shouting some aul shite when actually they know very little about what they are talking about. Abusing our own players for example. These players have given everything for us and I think our support when it’s at its best is worth a couple of scores to Mayo. But it can go the other way too. I remember against Roscommon listening to the groans from the crowd as Robbie Hennelly came forward to take the long range frees and they definitely impacted on his confidence resulting in misses so we need get behind them again on Saturday. Up Mayo

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