I felt the need to remind everyone to keep things civil on this great community forum for 49er fans. I know several of the moderators do a good job of telling people to cool it when they are going too far in their comments. This post is coming from a community member of Niner Nation and I'm really sick of reading people's insulting and rude comments, particularly when they are completely unprovoked. It's hard to believe how quickly so many posts degrade into disrespectful back-and-forth. One can start at the top of a comment thread and get to the bottom and completely forget what the original post was about. Obviously this happens as new topics and subjects inevitably arise as the conversation progresses. However, it's ridiculous to go from a topic 100% relevant to the 49ers and football to pure insult-hurling, and it seems to happen constantly. Although I usually refrain, I'm guilty of doing it too. Sometimes I make a back-handed dig at someone, sometimes it's meant to be a joke, but it is nonetheless unkind.
A total lack of etiquette is an issue with online commenting in general, whether it is an online newspaper, fan site, etc. However, this is a forum for 49er fans! We all share the same love of the team and want them to succeed. Of course, many of us differ on any number of issues, personnel decisions, rankings, etc., and those differences are good because we can learn a lot from each other. I've learned a lot from people's comments on my posts. Usually, after reading the comments on my posts I realize how uninformed I am.
Maybe some people just get angry automatically when they disagree with an opinion and the benefit of being online is that we are all basically anonymous. Telling someone off online may seem a lot less offensive than doing it face-to-face, but it is still inappropriate, not to mention cowardly. But, we can all disagree and still keep things on the level. It's as simple as saying, "I disagree" in the subject line of your comment and then stating your reasons for why. That's not too hard. At the very least, it sure as hell shouldn't turn into a tirade on how stupid the person is for posting whatever they posted. I was getting so sick of people going ape-feces over people's mock drafts that I created a post that simply asked people to respond to my mock draft with their own mock draft, and to back up their choices. I also invited people to "trash" mine, thinking that people can respectfully tell me how wrong I am without saying I'm "retarded".
At the end of the day, this is a bunch of people talking football; clearly not life and death. But, it would be nice to see fewer demeaning comments, and more substantive 49er talk. I plan on completely eliminating derogatory or hurtful language from any and all future posts. I'd like to start seeing people back each other up when someone is clearly taking it too far. It would also be nice to see folks back up their claims instead of just engaging in online screaming matches. Obviously, a lot of what we say on Niner Nation can't really be "backed up" because it's pure speculation or just an opinion, but we can all agree to disagree, concede when we are wrong, and point out when others are right (or, when someone has a good point). Let's remember that we are ALL on the same team here. Remember that before you click to post a hateful comment, that the person you are responding to is a fellow fan.