A note on commenting and the use of red and yellow cards…

I’m involved in a number of conversations at the moment with people who have been banned. Despite a profound difference in their politics, two of them have pointed to the fact that others have got away with breaking Slugger’s cardinal rule: play the ball, not the man.

It’s a pretty lame excuse for poor behaviour. But there is a more constructive point to make about it too. We do not premoderate posts. If we see something that breaks the rules of the site, of course we take it down. And with persistently mischievous posters we are prepared to go some lengths to make sure they understand they cannot break our rules with impunity.

But, and here’s the point of this short post, we need you to tell us when people are breaking the site rules. That’s why we have the ‘flag as offensive’ button. Of course it can be over used, but if you don’t tell us about people you feel are blatently ignoring the site rules, do not presume we already know about it.

Bad behaviour is not just bad form, it discourages other more knowledgeable readers from commenting. And it can sometimes make Slugger feel like you have to be part of some pub banter network before you can speak.

So please help us to keep the standard bar high even as we eep the entry bar as low as we possibly can. Play the ball, not the man. And use the ‘flag as offensive’ button, even where you think it’s a borderline case.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty