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On Moderation

Us Marshawnthusiasts absolutely love running the California Golden Blogs.  As an outlet to satiate our own addictions to Cal Athletics, we find it essential, and we totally dig interacting with all of you commentators on a daily basis.  But there is one part of this gig that I'll admit none of us are particularly enamored with:  moderation.

When we moved to SBNation from our old Blogsome site, we left our moderation policy intentionally open-ended.  Our site membership agreement consisted of a single statement:

In general, act as though your mother might read this blog -- CBKWit's mom does!

We thought something broad and loosely-defined would be better than listing a whole bunch of rules telling people what they could and couldn't do.  Also, we were lazy, and didn't want to deal with it.  Truth be told, we'd much rather all of our commentators got along with each other, expressing their passion for Cal Athletics in a manner that doesn't offend anyone, but as this site's readership has grown (and it has grown significantly over the past couple months), it's become obvious that site is in need of some light moderation.

I initially posted a link to the following community guidelines in the DBD last week, so if you saw it then, there's nothing new here.  I've also posted a permanent link to the CGB Community Guidelines page on our left sidebar, under the 'About Us' section.  If you have specific concerns about the content of the guidelines I have written up, please let us know; we don't want to be inadvertently discouraging legitimate discussion.  If you have more general concerns about the need for any kind of moderation whatsoever, well, that's too bad.  This site has grown big enough to the point where some moderation of and between commentators is necessary; rest assured, however, that CGB's mods are going to try and be really unobtrusive in our moderation, only breaking it out when necessary.

I'm not going to be throwing new ideas at you people, however.  First of all, they're all pretty basic; your kindergarten classroom probably had something similar written on colored construction paper taped next to the door.  Also, they're not new ideas to CGB; instead, I've attempted to gather and codify the loose set of moderation policies that have already been in use on this site.  The basic overarching principle here is one of respect:  we want this site to be as welcoming to as many Cal fans as we possibly can.  We know we can't please everyone, and we definitely don't want to stifle the unique mixture of intelligent banter and irreverent inanities that we've created here, but this is our best shot at a compromise.

 • Please treat each other with respect.  When you disagree with another commentator, please do so without personal attacks, instead relying on the force of your arguments to carry the day.  Note that we moderators can tell the difference between playful joshing and vicious invective; as long as everyone's having fun, we won't stand in your way.

 • Please extend the same philosophy when commenting on other articles written around the web or elsewhere.  If you want to take a particular ESPN personality to task for his or her general lack of understanding of quarterbacking, football, logical reasoning and a basic grasp of the English language, by all means, be my guest.  Just don't descend into simply calling them a douchebag, however.  Attack the argument, not the arguer.

 • No slap fights, please.  Many CGB commentators have shown themselves extremely adept at engaging in reasoned debate on any manner of topics, and we have no desire to limit such discussions.  Occasionally, however, topic subthreads have descended into commentators spouting unjustified opinions and mindless talking points at each other in an uncivil manner, making everyone else around them uncomfortable.  These slap fights add nothing to CGB, and the moderators will henceforth be making a greater effort to quash them as they crop up.

 • Content that is overtly racist, sexist, or otherwise objectionable to decently-educated members of society will not be tolerated.

 • Posting large, potentially risqué images could get people people in trouble if they were seen viewing such images at work.  If you're thinking of putting up a hilarious image that you would hesitate to show to you boss, grandmother, second-grade teacher or rabbi, please instead simply provide a link, and clearly label it as NSFW (Not Safe For Work).  People who feel safe checking out your racy images may do so at their own risk, and everyone else gets to skip on by.

 • No spamming, please.

 • Finally, within the comments section of main page posts, please try and stay on-topic.  We understand that comment threads may veer off into tangentially-related topics; this is how conversations naturally evolve, and we think this is perfectly fine.  However, if you want to talk about something completely unrelated to the topic at hand, the Daily Bear Dump is your place for free-form inanity and open discussion on whatever topics you like; please take any off-topic discussions there, thanks.

So, what happens if you violate the above guidelines?  Well, moderators will initially try to quell any disruptions before they become big problems.  We may end up deleting offending posts, though if we do, we will also leave a note explaining why some comments were moderated.  You may get a private message from one of us, telling you where you crossed the line and that you should knock it off.  Repeat offenders may be subject to sanctions, possibly including Hydro's legendary Banhammer, though we've yet to have to do that to anyone, and I'd hate to have to start.

Finally, I just want to say that CGB has had no problem with 98% of the commentators on the site, and few problems with the rest.  For the most part, you guys have made our jobs easy, and I don't want you to feel like we're laying down some sort of odious new restrictions on you.  Mostly, I just want to make sure that all of us are on the same page regarding what we expect of commentators on this site, so that when issues do arise, there's no confusion, and no one feels persecuted.

You stay classy, CGB, and thanks for stopping by.  Go Bears!