To report violations of this policy against your or other BSD community members, please send us an email to:
BlackShoeDiaries.Staff @ gmail dot com
Please be sure to include links to the comment (right-click the comment's time stamp and "copy") in your email. We ask that you notify us about these situations because the SBNation system does not tell us when a comment it flagged or anything like that. So you can flag a comment to your heart's desire, but we may never see it.
It really is a shame that this post even had to be written, but if you take a second to think about it, it was likely inevitable. The scandal that is about to consume the non-sports related Penn State news over the next who-knows-how-long is one wrought with emotion and intrigue, so it's not surprising that we've seen certain behaviors, both publicly by the "players" involved and semi-privately, on message boards across the internet.
Here at BSD, we strive to ensure an enjoyable internet experience for members of our community and those who may be stopping by. Now on its third generation of leadership, this website has continually grown and has become a great place for Penn Staters to congregate. As such, we have allowed all those who wish to post responses to fan posts, stories, etc. a lot of room to make whatever point they wished. Freedom of speech and the ability to post your thoughts, opinions, and feelings on any number of Penn State topics has been priority number one, provided you adhere to our relatively simple code of conduct.
However, there are those who have taken our kindness as a sign of weakness and, as a result, ad hominem, personal attacks, from multiple persons, have gotten out of hand and have, generally, resulted in a less than welcoming internet experience. This generally wasn't the case prior to 8 months ago. Sure, there were minor spats here and there, and a Blog War or two for good measure. But the tone, readability, and general sense of community around here has taken a turn for the worse as the Sandusky scandal developed, and it's time we take some measured actions. The last thing that anyone on staff at BSD wants is to hear people say the site has become something they no longer want to read.
Stories written and FanPosts published about anything even tangentially related to the Sandusky scandal have gotten to the point where the mods, upon seeing a new post, will have to warn every other staff member to keep an eye on things. Given that--contrary to popular opinion, we all aren't sitting in our parents' basements monitoring this site 24/7--keeping up with the threads is difficult. It is a sad state of affairs when we have to tell you how to behave yourself like normal adults, but this is where we're at. Unfortunately, the following has to be said: if you don't like these new policies/rules (which aren't really that new), feel free to take your act elsewhere. We'd love to be able to keep everyone, but with each passing thread, it that's an unlikely outcome.
First and foremost, this is not targeted at any one person, or any group of people. It may be easy to read this post and think that we're referring to one individual. But there have been a large group of people that have behaved in an outlandish manner. But that ends now.
Second, please do not read this as the staff trying to restrict your speech in any way. There is no reason that people should feel scared to debate or that they feel like they should hold back a differing opinion. The staff is the same way; we don't all see eye-to-eye on the same things (save maybe this post), but we manage to discuss things in a civil way and have rational debates.
So what does all of this meta-rambling mean to you, the commenter?
What that means is you may comment on the substance of a post, article, etc., but you MUST NOT conduct ANY personal attacks on any member of our community, period. Whether a comment is deemed a personal attack will be up to the sole discretion of the editorial staff. Yes, the staff will decide when you have crossed the line. That may not make it easy, but think of it like Potter Stewart's view of pornography. There are certain comments, when used one way may be seen as silly and not worthy of punishment, when the same comment in another context may be subject to automatic bannishment.
Penalties for violations of this policy are as follows:
1st Offense: A private, written warning to the offender
2nd Offense: A 7 day ban
3rd Offense: A 30 day ban
4th Offense: A ban of at least 30 days up to, and including, a lifetime ban.
Also, these penalties do not represent a strict, hard-and-fast rule on commenting. If something so egregious and unbelievable is said, there is no reason a banhammer won't be dropped on the first violation. We will no longer stand for the petty bickering, back-and-forth crap that has filled the comment threads and forced good conversation to the fringes while childish behavior runs rampant.
This policy will be applied evenly, across the board. We will not entertain any argument/plea of "So and So started it." You are all, presumably, adults who are capable of making your arguments, without denigrating your fellow community members. As such, we are hopeful that this policy will not need to be enforced. However, make no mistake, that this policy WILL be enforced.
This site is capable of quality debate on any number of topics, including the Sandusky scandal/trial. Mr. Collyer has been our point man and has done a phenomenal job bringing you some updates on the legal aspects of the case. We're committed to keeping these updates coming, but not at the risk of having every one turn into a flaming bus thread.
Don't make us ban people; we don't want to but we will. Don't make us ban FanPosts and/or FanShots on certain content; we don't want to but we will. Be civil, be adults, be courteous.