Fair Warning: Most of this has been adapted from Black and Red United, who have in turned adapted it from WAGNH's rules. It's a great set of rules and we're going to be discussing them today. The stuff written in italics can be credited to the excellent Black and Red United blog and We Ain't Got No History.
1) Insults and personal attacks are not welcome here
I shouldn't even have to explain this one, and I believe BDS has only ever smashed down the banhammer once. So long as our lovely community keeps its tone of respectful disagreement, there is nothing more to discuss. We generally have some pretty respectful debate around here, so let's keep it that way.
2) Relentless negativity is not welcome here
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.
We've all been guilty of being negative on posts at one point or another, after an ugly goal or after a particularly bad run of games. That's normal and understandable and it will certainly still happen, but there comes a point where it's simply complaining over and over without much of a point besides poisoning the BDS commenting well. There are other blogs for you to be relentlessly negative on, and this isn't one of them.
If you find yourself being relentlessly critical in a majority of the posts you comment on, you probably won't find yourself being taken as seriously, and others will likely stop engaging with you. You're entitled to your opinion, but please be mindful of the fact that people watch soccer mostly for fun, and not to hear other people complain every time they post.
We appreciate fans calling things as they see it, and when things are going south it certainly is worth discussing and we won't stop anyone from pointing out problems or issues, or disagreeing about how to solve them. Post-mortem threads about an ugly draw or loss are absolutely the right place to vent a bit and to discuss the team's failings.
But let's try our best to keep Big D Soccer a fun place to come, okay? Even when things are down, this should be a place for community and discussion. We're all in this together.
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. There is literally no room for maneuvering on this one.
Even hinting at it will get you warned. Luckily our commenters in general seem to know this rule well, so hopefully it won't even be an issue.
4) No trolling:
This is an FC Dallas blog. 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, and that, especially during a game, fans can be sharks about the way they treat opposition fans. However, this also means that we as FCD fans have a responsibility to keep our criticism of other teams within reasonable bounds. This also includes non-soccer related topics, like politics, religion, and other hot-button issues.
Politics and religion are best never mentioned, as a matter of course.
Also, we do monitor the other blogs. If you go and are rude, troll or otherwise awful to another blog, we will notice. If you'd like to engage in troll behavior, please do it somewhere outside of SB Nation. We try to cultivate a welcoming and, at the very least, polite atmosphere. There's room for disagreement, but there isn't room for name-calling or getting ugly with other teams' fans.
As a final guide, just assume that you know trolling when you see it. Don't troll, and don't feed the trolls.
5) No calling anyone a "plastic fan"
Any and all FCD 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", "you're new to soccer", are not welcome here, only thoughtful debate is. See also #1.
6) Stay on target!
If you have soccer related topics that you want to address that do not relate to the posts of that day, please talk about them in a FanPost or FanShot. Basically, please no threadjacking. If it's related to the game at hand or the thread's main discussion, sure. But if it's a completely and wildly off-topic but still related to soccer? Not so much.
That being said do not worry about silly side conversations. There was once a Friday post that attracted upwards of 30 comments, most of them about barbecue sauce and barbecuing technique. This rule is more about the soccer talk, less about the other stuff.
Drew and I will commit to promoting fanposts on the front page as frequently as possible so long as the fanpost is relevant, well-written and worthy of serious discussion. If you want to get a fanpost highlighted, format it nicely and make sure it's at least 150 words!
7) Have fun!
This is the overall message of what we want to have happen here at Big D Soccer. Try and keep profanity to a minimum, follow these guidelines, and everything is going to be just swell. We love you guys, and we want to keep our lively discussions going and growing. You really are an excellent and well-informed group of commenters, so let's not bog it down with bad stuff.
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 FC Dallas community.
Do you have questions? Let us know in the comments, and we will give you answers.
If you're a long time commenter/reader and are wondering why we're posting these rules, it's not because we need to "crack down" or anything. It's just us covering our bases and getting ready for the new season. Nothing has happened to particularly prompt this, we're just getting this out of the way so that if (god forbid) nastiness does happen, we can point to this and explain why it's not allowed here. All of you are great, even the ones we disagree with.
Thanks for reading Big D Soccer and commenting!