Sometimes on a Saturday or weekend article, it is nice to contemplate where we are as Duck fans! Especially in this off-season, as I am working to create something special with this site. I’ve been pondering some components of what makes great discussion about Our Beloved Ducks. In order to serve you better this football season, I need some feedback and that will also require each of us to look inward a bit as Oregon fans. Which flock is each of us in?
This might seem silly to many of you, but it is quite serious and one of national magnitude. Huge publishing websites such as USA Today, CNN and ESPN have eliminated comments below their articles entirely. The advice given to sites of all subjects is to remove them, since the nastiness can diminish the appearance of the site and actually downgrade their SEO ranking with Google. The result is that thousands of websites are removing their comment sections.
By contrast, we are going the opposite direction.
We will not only have comments below articles, but will have our own forum the Our Beloved Ducks Board up by the fourth of July. We will be able to discuss everything about Oregon without ads annoying us, and while being in a protected “GUARANTEED TROLL-FREE” environment. The monitoring, deleting and outright blacklisting of comment offenders has been a hassle from a management standpoint, but this extra work and time has created a wonderful place to vigorously debate Duck topics without people taking personal shots at each other. There is truly no place like it on the web.
Are you Part of the Crowd, of GROUP-THINK?
There are many aspects to create rules around, and some have evolved such as “no politics at all.” But a phenomenon never discussed is how crowd behavior can take place on-line, and how we have all been a part of it at times. It is a real concern of mine, of how to diminish the effects of Group-Think on the site. Let me give you an example…
After the San Jose State game last fall, I came out publicly on this site and the other two large subscription sites declaring that massive changes needed to be made on offense if we were ever to make the National Playoffs again. At the time, that was a minority view everywhere as most people were drinking the entire glass of Cristobal Kool-Aid. I was truly annihilated by the majority on the other sites, and received energetic push-back on this site — although everyone followed the rules here at FishDuck.com.
As one who has been in the minority opinion tons of times on these other sites over the last 20 years — it can be tough. What happens is that others on the site shout you down, imply your intelligence is lacking or your football knowledge so low that you are not qualified to even offer an opinion. The Group-Think is so strong that people are intimidated from even making a single comment that is considered outside of the majority opinion.
Why would anyone invite scorn and put-downs from others?
I do not want that at FishDuck.com, and I need your help in coming up with solutions. In fact the view I expressed on the subject above is now the majority view on this site; most recognize the need for further change on offense and we all hope it will happen. Have you noted how I continuously invite everyone to comment, and how I do not want to discourage those who are in the minority opinion — who disagree with me? It is vital that those who are in the minority opinion of any topic do not feel intimidated to comment. How do we do that?
This is a crucial part of running a truly honest, open and protected commenting environment and nobody has ever addressed it anywhere. Sociologists study crowd behavior and how people will not behave individually as they do in crowds, and we certainly see that online — especially when most hide behind a “handle” and have no consequences to their personal attacks on others. I feel we have eliminated most of the nastiness witnessed elsewhere, but this Group-Think component is not as obvious to many, and it can be a massive inhibitor to readership involvement in comments below articles now, and in the new forum later.
I really want to solve this and have no model to turn to, as no one credible in this area has openly addressed this issue, let alone provide solutions to it. Instead the national trend is the opposite: eliminate the problem by removing the opportunity to make comments entirely.
Help me out my friends! What suggestions do you have to encourage those in the minority to voice their opinions? For that matter … what would you like to see in the new forum? What features and rules would you like? Keep in mind that this is your forum, for those who want a high-brow discussion among thoughtful adults. What else can I add to these rules to make it the best place to discuss Oregon sports topics?
Could you be a Hall-Monitor for FishDuck.com?
Can you spare some time during the week to help keep in eye on the comments in our upcoming forum? I work during the day, but want to preserve this precious community that we have created. Let me know if you have some time to simply monitor things; it is easy work, but does take some time during the weekday. Email me at email@example.com.
Do offer any and all suggestions in how to defeat Group-Think, and what you would like to see to make this new forum a treasure for us all!
“Oh how we are going to love to ponder Our Beloved Ducks in our new forum!”
Top Photo by Kevin Cline
Charles Fischer has been an intense fan of the Ducks for over thirty six years and has written reports on football boards for over 20 years. Known as “FishDuck” on those boards, he is acknowledged for providing intense detail in his scrimmage reports and in his Xs and Os play analyses.
He and his wife Lois, a daughter, Christine reside in Eugene, Oregon, where he has been a Financial Advisor for 35 years serving clients in eleven different states. He does not profess to be a coach or analyst, but simply a “hack” that enjoys sharing what he has learned and invites others to correct or add to this body of Oregon Football! See More…
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