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A Word About Comments

So last night all this losing and poor play by the Tar Heels continued to drive us all nuts. You know why? Because the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. That is all of us. We keep watching UNC expecting them to play better, they don't so we all bay at the moon for a bit. Frustrations are running fairly high and needless to say I thought the general tone of comments during the liveblog were over the line so I ended it. Looking back I probably was a bit too abrupt with it and probably should have dropped a warning, plead for everyone to dial it back instead of yanking it. Nevertheless, the comments section was only slightly better and the ban hammer was used again.

Here is the deal and I want this made clear so everyone understands where I am coming from. I created this site so I could express my thoughts about UNC basketball and football.  I also wanted a place where people could comment and it would be different from Inside Carolina's message board which is replete with tons of crazy pessimism and Chicken Little proclamations.  Now fan compaints are commonplace.  It has not really even been the case here because I have always said THF readers are the smartest group of Tar Heel fans on the internet. UNC has also won at an incredible pace during the entire existence of this blog so the commentary has also risen above the noise you get on IC.

This season is a different animal. It is probably a little much to expect that give how bad this team has played, the frustration levels, even for a group of readers as smart as the ones here, are going to get a little crazy. Still, that should not mean we devolve into a mob and forget that these guys still wear North Carolina uniforms, represent the school quite well for the most part and have committed to practice and play which is a huge investment.  Roy Williams often brings this up and it is true.  None of us are as invested in this team's success or failure as the players or coaches.  Does that deny us the right to vent and gripe? Of course not but given our level of investment versus that of the players and coaches it probably means we ought to measure what we say.

Now I have heard from some of you last night and today. Some of you appreciate the "heavy hand" and efforts to shape the dialogue here.  Others think I am moving into communism.  And still others think the site sucks but for some reason still waste their time showing up here and emailing me to tell me as much.  To the latter group let me just say: "Thank you!" The ad revenue I get is based partly on web hits so by all means keep showing up, I will keep cashing the checks.

In terms of how comment moderation will be handled, I would draw your attention to the top of the page to a new link called "Comment Rules." I have set forth some basic rules for behavior so everyone knows where the line is so when I nail you to the wall, we all have a reference point.[Note: I have amended said rules since one of them was too broad] Also understand that this is still a privately owned blog and subject to my editorial discretion.  Why? Because I am ultimately responsible for what appears on this blog even if it is comments posted by other individuals. What happens in the comments section has just as much to do with the perception of THF as what Doc, C.Michael and I write in the main content area.  So, yes I am going to exercise some editorial power if I am not comfortable with the nature of the comments.  And please no one else trot out free speech stuff or compare this to communism.  If you have spent any time on other internet sites you know that some blogs make only limited registration windows available. Inside Carolina, for all the garbage that gets spewed there, exercises the right to ban posters for breaking the board rules.  Free speech is not an issue here since THF is not a government entity. As a matter of personal belief I think the more speech you have the better but I also believe that discussions get bogged down when the comments take on a nasty tone. If the comments cross certain lines or bring zero value to the discussion then I am doing everyone a favor when I remove them from the thread.  And if you want to see draconian comment moderation, pay a visit to Deadspin. At one point there was a policy of randomly subjective bans of readers, some of which who had been on there since its inception, for reason such as "not being funny enough."

Earlier today I shut off new comment registration while I mulled over how to handle the comments section going forward.  I will reopen it but any new accounts will be watched closely and subject to a quick trigger if they get out of line. Other than that, I ask that you try your level best to keep the discussions intellectually honest, respectful of everyone and as always reflective of the intelligence of the readers here.  Hopefully, UNC will get their act together and lower the tension but even if that does not happen, I personally believe you guys can be better than your run of the mill message board crowd. Almost four years of running this blog is evidence of that.