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Niners Nation 101: Comments, FanPosts and general site decorum

Although the season is coming to an end, the site continues to grow as we get new members joining up every single day.  We welcome all new members to the site as everybody has something of interest to bring to the table.  However, it's important for new members to operate within the rules and decorum of the site.  While we do have rules on certain aspects of participation, I think they generally do a good job of raising the level of discourse on the site.  As the team has struggled, it's easy for folks to get angry and lash out, so I am posting this just to remind people of the kind of atmosphere we'd like to maintain at Niners Nation.

When you register at the site, you have to agree to the community guidelines, which includes no swearing outside of game threads.  The reasoning behind it is that in a game thread you're reacting to something the moment it happens.  Outside of game threads (with a few rare exceptions), you're able to take time to think about your response and articulate it properly.  If you feel the need to swear about something, stop, take a moment and reword it without the swear word.  It's as simple as that.

However, an additional rule that I don't think is articulated well enough (even if it should be obvious), is that we really don't want personal attacks being leveled at opposing commenters.  Sure you might get annoyed by something someone says, but either ignore the person, or reply with an intelligent, logical, cogent comment.  It can be hard being the bigger man, but you'll gain greater respect for it.  Calling somebody an idiot or a moron, or any other insult, only causes other people to discredit your own comments on a topic.

I also wanted to address the issue of grammar very briefly.  You don't have to obey the general rules of grammar on Niners Nation.  If you can make your point without being grammatically correct, then so be it.  However, one reason for putting together even a semblance of grammar is that I think you'll get a better response to your opinion (although not always favorable of course) if you articulate it in an easy to read manner.  You may be making an absolutely excellent point, but people might either not get it, or choose to ignore it because of the grammar issues.  I'm not here to be the grammar police (we certainly have others for that), but it is something to at least keep in mind when you're writing a comment.  Now, if you're writing a FanPost, I think grammar is even more important since the FanPost is something that will likely be seen by more people than a single comment.  But again, these are merely suggestions.

The biggest running issue is people creating FanPosts on a topic when it is unnecessary.  Earlier in the spring, I posted a rundown on how FanPosts and FanShots operate.  If you joined the site since that post went up, I strongly encourage you to read it over.  I'll do a brief synopsis of when something is appropriate as a FanPost versus a comment or FanShot.  If you're just posting a link to something, it's likely best suited as a FanShot, or a comment in a related post.  If you're posting a link to an article and breaking down the arguments of that article, then it might be more worthy of being a FanPost.

A FanPost involves you taking a look at some topic and providing some detailed analysis.  If you have a question to generate discussion (such as "Who should the 49ers consider with their two first round picks), that's fine.  However, provide your own insight on the topic.  Furthermore, if you have to type in a single word over and over and over again to meet the 75 word minimum, 99% of the time your post should be a comment or a FanShot.  In a FanShot you can provide a link, or embed something, or just put a comment up.

If you do put up a FanPost that should be a comment or FanShot, I will usually let you know a change needs to be made, delete your FanPost, and either email you the contents of your FanPost, or use our network warning system so you can get the contents and paste them somewhere else.  It's never a personal issue.  It's simply the best way to keep the site organized and running tight.  If we have 100 FanPosts about the draft operating at once, it makes it hard to follow the conversation.  These rules and suggestions are meant to improve the experience at the site.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns about any of this, either comment here or feel free to email me at .