A Brief Aside on Community Standards Here at Dawg Sports

Earlier this evening, I did something I never expected that I would have to do here at Dawg Sports: I banned a user.

On August 18, an Oklahoma State fan calling himself "ORANGE" posted a diary, in which he wrote:

September 2nd: Georgia Newspapers Report:

Well it is a sad start to 2007 Georgia Bulldog Football. What began with lofty expectations has taken a huge setback with early season loss. OSU's Head Gunslinger Coach Mike Gundy brought his Posse to town and handed the Dawgs an early season Pavlovian training session. Cowboys Stun Dawgs in this SEC-Big 12 match up. 42-24. Before the game began, tell me if you knew who Bobby Reid (QB) and Adarius Bowman (WR) were? I am sure they are now imprinted into your brain. Surely we know that SEC football is a step ahead of the Big 12 top to bottom, but in this early season example, OSU continues to deny that stance. They finished off Alabama in a mediocre bowl last year and now they come to town and put choke collars on the Dawgs. If anyone is missing their pet, please call the city Dog Pound at 1-800-got-beat!

To this, I replied: I can only assure ORANGE that we will treat our guests from the Sooner State to our usual display of Southern hospitality and root for our team with vigor and passion. We wish you the best of luck in your efforts to become the first current Big 12 team to claim victory between the hedges since Bear Bryant's Texas A&M Aggies beat the Bulldogs in Athens in 1954. May the better team win.
Another Oklahoma State fan, texoky, who understandably was embarrassed by ORANGE's behavior, was thoughtful enough to post a diary of his own, in which he wrote: AS a diehard OSU Cowboy fan (all sports)I would like to say that Cowboy fans for the most part are fun loving, friendly, and gracious regardless of the outcome (University of Oklahoma Sooners excepted). Please don't judge all Cowboy fans by one who wants to get our hosts upset before the game. The Cowboys should be pretty good this year (if we can find a defense) and I for one am looking forward to an exciting game. I will root for the Dawgs in every game except the opening one.
To this, I responded: I have every confidence that "the worst elements of the Cowboy fan base"---and every fan base has its share of yahoos---are a "vocal minority represent[ing] a fraction of the O.S.U. family that is as small as it is small-minded."

In short, I know some Oklahoma State fans and some Oklahoma State fans are friends of mine---in fact, it is likely that I will be attending the September 1 season opener with an Oklahoma State alumnus who will be rooting for his alma mater---and I do not judge the whole bunch by a few bad apples, just as I hope Bulldog Nation is not judged by its lowest common denominator.

I, for one, am greatly looking forward to Labor Day weekend's contest. It has been a long time since Georgia opened the season with a non-conference opponent of the Cowboys' caliber and, since both offenses are liable to be a bit ahead of both defenses at first, I wouldn't be surprised to see a thrilling shootout. There is a genuine excitement in Bulldog Nation at the prospect of taking on an unfamiliar foe of Oklahoma State's quality.

I thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts and I assure you that I will be rooting for the Pokes in every game after their first one. As we say around these parts (and, perhaps, in your neck of the woods, as well), you're good people, texoky.

Unable or unwilling to leave well enough alone, ORANGE felt moved to retort: First of all, I am not a Bad Apple! I would consider myself real! I see 80% of respondents to the "who will win" poll are voting for Georgia. This is a completely narrow minded poll. It is what is expected from any fan base from any school And for you guys to get all mushy about "my friend is from OSU"...please. Any loyal fan would not give up a ticket to the opponent unless they had to for some odd reason. So please keep your niceties to yourself and let's get on with some smash mouth football!!! From ORANGE!!!!
I then explained: [T]here is a difference between voting in an internet poll and classlessly running your mouth while gutlessly hiding behind a cloak of anonymity.

Texoky and I are as "real" as you are and I suspect we're both anxious to "get on with some smash mouth football," but we managed not to be rude jerks in the process.

Despite my high regard for your facile assessment of whether I am a "loyal fan" (by the way, ORANGE, that was sarcasm, in case you couldn't tell), I am not "giv[ing] up a ticket to the opponent." For the record, here is the relevant sequence of events:

I am a Georgia football season ticket holder and have been since receiving the most recent of my two degrees from the University of Georgia. I purchase two season tickets each year and, since the birth of our son, my wife has attended fewer games than she once did, preferring to remain at home rather than leave the boy with a sitter. Consequently, my second season ticket often is used by a friend or a family member.

For the season opener, the second ticket will be used by Travis Rice, an old friend whom I have known since he was nine years old. Trav and I both attended the University of Georgia, we co-hosted "The Dawg Show" on local cable television for six years, and his wife is my wife's older sister. (They met at my wife's and my wedding rehearsal.) He is a loyal 'Dawg fan.

However, Travis's family originally hails from Oklahoma, where many of his family members still live. His father, Brad, grew up in Oklahoma and attended Oklahoma State University, but a job opportunity brought him to Georgia in 1976. He has made his home here ever since, although he has returned to Oklahoma for extended periods in the interim.

When Brad heard that Travis was going with me to the Georgia-Oklahoma State game, he expressed interest in going with us to Athens, seeing if he could find a ticket, and going to the game. When asked if that was all right, I said I thought it was perfectly appropriate for Brad, who has been a friend of my father's for roughly 25 years and whose son is a close friend of mine, to ride over and go to the game with us.

If that makes me a bad fan in your eyes, ORANGE, well, I'll just have to live with the stigma of being a good person who's loyal to friends and family, and who tries to respect other fans' reasonable rooting interests while supporting my own team with a modicum of class. Upon this point, as upon many others, we simply shall have to agree to disagree.

Not to be outdone, ORANGE also left the first comment following his own diary: Is ORANGE Crazy? Or is he on to something here...The OSU offense is prolific. Does Georgia have an offensive line to protect their quarterback? 42-24 sounds reasonable and possible.
I then concluded my remarks thusly: It is reasonable and possible

That doesn't change the fact that you're rude and obnoxious.

Your lack of class, not my disagreement with your prognostication, was the source of my objection.

I then banned him.

Here at SB Nation, we try to foster a sense of community, through comment threads, poll questions, and diaries such as the one ProfDawg posted earlier today. In order to facilitate discussion and create an open forum for civil exchange, some of my colleagues post community standards so that expectations will be known from the outset.

I understand and appreciate why such standards are stated at some sites, but I have elected not to set forth a list of rules governing conversation here at Dawg Sports because, quite frankly, I don't think I ought to have to do so.

As an attorney, I see every day the ways in which laws affect people's lives and, while many of these rules are reasonable and desirable, there is much to be said for a civilization whose conduct is guided more by folkways and manners than by statutes and regulations.

By and large, Georgians are raised right and I believe it goes without saying that my fellow denizens of Bulldog Nation ought to act here at Dawg Sports the way their mothers raised them to behave.

To its credit, the Dawg Sports community consistently has lived up to that unspoken expectation. Exchanges here generally have been respectful even when heated and I have felt the need to delete only a very few comments (including a couple or three of my own).

As an alumnus of one of the University of Georgia's historic literary societies, I welcome discussion, disagreement, and debate, and I am grateful to such regular commenters as the Blogger who came in from the cold, fotodog, LD, MaconDawg (who was a regular commenter before he became one of the authors of this site), NCT, and others who take the time to write thoughtful replies which always offer worthwhile observations, irrespective of whether I agree with them.

ORANGE, however, came around to talk trash, not to engage in an intelligent exchange. Fans of all affiliations, backgrounds, perspectives, and locales are welcome here, but, like Woodrow Call, I won't tolerate rude behavior in a man. Not in my house.

Go 'Dawgs!

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