Welcome back to Niners Nation After Dark, where the party might slow down a little bit tonight. I wanted to use this particular NN After Dark to discuss a slight adjustment to the site's code of conduct. It's not so huge a deal as to require a mid-day STOP THE PRESSES type of post, but it is sufficiently important that I wanted to get it on the front page at some point.
It's a general policy (and common sense) that people should not attack other members of the community. It's just a matter of common decency and follows the golden rule: treat others like you want to be treated. That does not mean you can't criticize what they say. It just means you need to be adult about it and use facts and logic (among other things) rather than calling them an idiot and making fun of them or swearing at them. This should be obvious, but in the heat of discussions it's sometimes easy to overlook this kind of thing.
The adjustment I want to make is to extend this formal rule to people outside the community, like players, coaches, etc. This is not saying you are not allowed to criticize players, coaches, or front office people, or make jokes about them. But I simply ask that you be respectful of them as human beings. Criticize them to your heart's content, but try and be mature about it. This isn't because I have some vested interest in these individuals or they're friends of mine or whatever. The reason is because calling someone a moron, be it a fellow site member or someone out in the public eye, does nothing to advance the discussion.
I recognize it is a bit of a grey area so it's not like we'll be swinging the ban-hammer left and right. Rather, I just want to try and get people moving towards a more intelligent discourse on whatever subject is at hand. Don't feel like you need to tread lightly here. This is a new policy so we'll see how it works out. Folks will generally get the benefit of the doubt so don't feel like we're cracking the whip at this point.