I am well aware of some of the abuses that are rampant on our site lately with regards to our Rating System, Shoutbox Terms Of Agreement Violations, Comment Guidelines Violations, and the overall lack of civility between dueling factions who simply have differing opinions on basic baseball philosophy.
We have always had heated baseball debates on MMO for many years, but with our readership doubling from what it was two years ago, those heated debates have crossed over into daily mud-slinging contests that have nothing to do with baseball. Actually, though I love and appreciate that over 11,000 different readers choose Mets Merized Online as a daily destination, some of the acrimonious banter has become too much to take and it seems drastic steps are now in order. I’ve written the specific offenders individually and pleaded with them to tone it down, but those pleas fell on deaf ears. That all ends now.
Effective immediately the following changes will be implemented so that we can give the majority of our readers a more pleasurable Mets fan experience. If you are a die-hard Mets fan who loves reading and talking about the Mets or baseball in general, I believe you will enjoy the new focus on projecting a more positive image and fostering a new fan-friendly environment for more passionate and civil debates about our beloved team and the National pastime.
Here is a summary of what will be changing…
1. Thumbs Up/Down Rating System – I took a look and evaluated our rating system which has now been in place for two months. Last night I tweaked the settings to prevent what seemed to be an abuse that was hiding certain substantive and positive comments. These comments were being voted down because of who posted the comment, rather than an honest evaluation of the substance of the comment. That will not be the case anymore. The rating system was never intended to be a popularity contest, but only a way of rewarding the very good comments by highlighting them, and also pointing out the hotly debated comments. The Rating System should work much more effectively now, and in one month’s time I will re-evaluate it again if still needs some additional refining.
2. Comments On Threads – For years I have been very lenient and yielded a great deal of patience with regards to the negative tones and personal attacks in the comment threads as long as they weren’t racially charged or totally offensive. Some took that as a sign to trade in their dignity and civility for bullying others and and behaving like Neanderthals. Over two-dozen of these offenders have already been placed into moderation and that’s where they will remain until the tone of their comments improve and as long as their comments are not intended to insult another reader or writer. Sometimes those comments will post immediately and sometimes they may not post for hours. I don’t have paid moderators so there’s nothing I can do about that. My advice would be to stop harassing or insulting other readers so you don’t have to be moderated. Basically my bottom line is now this: If you have nothing constructive or positive to say or add to the debate, then don’t say anything. That’s not too say you can’t be critical, I’m just saying to do it in a constructive way.
3. Shoutbox – It’s kind of hard to entirely shutdown a live chat room that has been such a big part of our allure and has generated over a quarter-million or more comments a year since 2006, but it looks like that’s where we’re heading. We used to have over 400 registered and active users in our MMO Shoutbox which was a great source of outstanding Mets debates for years and years. In the last six months it has been reduced to a cage match between about two-dozen users. Many of our longtime users have since gone and have moved onto the comment threads. To maintain the continuity of the Shoutbox under these circumstances seems totally ridiculous at this point. Let’s face it, the rancor and vitriol which is all you ever see now, has become a real eyesore to everyone including me. At one time, me and almost all of our writers would check in and mix it up with readers in the Shoutbox, but none of us would dare enter that arena now without a bullet-proof vest, so what’s the point of it? When the paid subscription runs out at the end of this month I will not be renewing it. To replace the Shoutbox we will begin a MMO Weekly Chat every Thursday evening, and once the Spring Exhibition Season starts, we will begin having our own MMO Mets Game Threads. We used to have Mets game threads before, but discontinued them in 2007 because of the strain it put on our shared servers. Now that we have dedicated servers we can handle just about all the traffic and bandwidth we want. That comes at a great cost, so please help us whenever you have few extra nickels, we appreciate it.
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In addition to the changes described above, I wanted to get your thoughts on one more thing:
Registered Comments – For years I have resisted registered comments because I personally have always hated the hassle of having to sign-in every time I wanted to leave a comment – it seemed like a big hassle. I also hated that whenever I registered on a site using my real email, that it also came with the added bonus of additional spam either urging me to sign up for their newsletters or to sign-up for whatever else them or their sponsors were pitching. I think it’s gotten a lot better now as far as the spam goes, but what are your thoughts on registered comments? Let me know at GetMetsmerized@aol.com.
We still have all the problems, technical issues, high bandwidth, and monthly costs of any major large-scale website, but without the huge corporate sponsor to pay all of the bills. Nobody on MMO is paid to blog or earns a dime, we are just passionate Mets fans and this is just a labor of love. However, every time the first of the month rolls around, it’s a real grind trying to muster up all the money to pay the bills. I’m tossing around some different ideas to help remedy that and someone mentioned to me offering premium content via paid subscription. I was wondering what your thoughts were on that?
Anyway, that’s all for now. Thanks so much for your support over the years and I look forward to offering you all a much more pleasurable experience whenever you visit our site. You’re the best!