Hey everybody. I know that commenting policies and community guidelines are not very interesting and are things that no one wants to talk about, but I wanted to give everyone a heads-up going into the 2014 season. For 97.73% of you, this will have no effect whatsoever on what you do and you can continue commenting on the site in the same way that you always have. And to also be fair, a lot of this is cribbed from SB Nation's Chelsea-supporting blog, We Ain't Got No History. Finally, this is not an exhaustive list of what can or can't get you warned. Just live by Wheaton's Law: Don't be a dick.
1: Insults and personal attacks are not welcome here: You are welcome to disagree with any and all of the writers on this blog. You are welcome to disagree with any and all commenters on this blog. You are not welcome to state or imply that any other community members here are somehow less than you. Discuss the ideas involved, not the people speaking them.
2: Relentless negativity is not welcome here: Similar to number 1, you are always allowed to have you own opinion over the state of the team, even if/especially if that opinion varies widely from what the bulk of fans here believe. You can even be pointed and critical. But our friends at WAGNH provide a specific definition of relentless negativity, which we are signing onto as well:
What constitutes ‘relentless negativity’? Constantly complaining without reasoning or proposing solutions. We're all fans and we all get frustrated when the team doesn't perform or has bad luck, but regurgitating the same venom over and over again doesn't help anything or anyone - it just fouls the air, and we're all better than that. If you continue to do nothing but post negativity, you may lose posting privileges without warning. There's a difference between someone who aims to point out flaws and be constructive and someone who is destructive. That said, we understand the reality of emotional responses in real-time during a game, for example, and are likely to be a bit more lenient in such cases. Bottom line: the goal is to make this community fun for everyone.
If you find yourself being relentlessly critical in a majority of the posts you comment on, you probably won’t find yourself being a longterm part of this community. You’re entitled to your opinion, but please be mindful of the fact that nobody wants it shoved in their face every single time they log in.
3: No linking to illegal streams: This is pretty obvious. For legal reasons, we cannot allow the posting of links to illegal streams of games.
4: No trolling: This community is primarily for fans of D.C. United. Of course fans of other teams are allowed to join and comment, but they should do so with an awareness of the primary goals of this community. However, this also means that we as D.C. United fans have a responsibility to keep our criticism of other teams within reasonable bounds. This also includes wildly non-soccer related topics, like politics, religion, and other hot-button issues.
5: No plastic fans: Any and all D.C. United fans are welcome here, regardless of how long they have followed the team or their level of engagement. Phrases like "you're too young to understand" are not welcome here, only thoughtful debate is. See also #1.
6: Stay on target. Stay on target! If you have soccer related topics that you want to address that do not related to the posts of that day, please talk about them in the Freedom Kicks post (which is always open for any type of discussion), or write a FanPost or FanShot. Basically, please no threadjacking.
7: Have fun! This is the overall message of what we want to have happen here at Black and Red United. Try and keep profanity to a minimum, follow these guidelines, and everyone is going to be just fine and dandy. We love you guys, and we want to keep our lively discussions going and growing.
Violations of any or all of these rules are grounds for warnings, short-term bans, and long-term bans. Like I said, this is not meant to threaten, intimidate, or suppress anyone, and except for the most extreme circumstances a private warning will always be the first course of action. These guidelines are meant to make sure that we have the most active, welcoming and fun D.C. United community in all the land. Questions? Let us know in the comments, and we will give you answers.