The Red Reporter Survey and My Philosophy of Blogging

I just closed down the survey that we ran last week about the site and let me thank all of you who participated.  We received nearly 200 responses from you all and I can't say how much I appreciate your input.  I want to make this site as good as it can be, and it helps to know what is working and what can be dropped.

With that, here' s a little look at the results.

  • We had a good mix of regulars and lurkers.  In fact, we had more lurkers respond than any other category of participation.  I'm glad to see that and I hope it means you are interested in participating in the future.  I'm going to work harder to give you that opportunity.
  • Just about all of you read the site for news updates (93%), but there is also a good spread across the other categories of information.  This makes me think you like what we're doing, so we'll just try to do it more.
  • The thing that I'm probably most proud of coming out of the survey was that 76% of you feel like the content on the main page is realistic in its assessment of the Reds.  I try my best to be balanced about the team and not go too heavy on the criticism.  It's tough since the team has known nothing but futility since this site started, but I believe there are things to be excited about with the organization and I try to point those out from time to time.
  • Strangely enough, you are less complimentary to the other commenters, whom you see only 51% realistic with the majority of the difference falling into the somewhat pessimistic bucket.  You all need to shape up and get real!
  • Of course, some of the results have some bias in them.  People who don't like the site aren't coming back too often and likely don't care to fill out a survey.  This is probably why the majority of you find the site to be entertaining, humorous, intelligent, and friendly.  However, there was still a significant number of you who find the site to be cliquish (39%). 

    Obviously, some of this is due to the fact that many of us have been hanging out on this site together for 4 years now.  It's inevitable that inside jokes will happen.  With that in mind, we're going to try to lessen that cliquish feel.  We're working on some plans to clean up the wiki and make it more usable.  We're also going to pay a little more attention to when new users start participating and try to prevent situations where they feel like the entire site is jumping down their throat.  I'd also ask that the regulars out there continue to try to be open and friendly when new posters show up.  We've had some excellent commenters show up in the last year, and I'd hate to think we're missing some even better ones because they don't know where to jump in.

All in all, I was fairly pleased with the results.  After the jump I want to go into some of what was said in the comments and try to explain my philosophy and rules surrounding the site.

Sabermetrics

A couple of people stated that they don't particularly care for all the stat-based stuff and went so far as to remind me that there is more than just stats.  To which I say, of course there is.  However, most of the analysis I do is statistics based because that is what I understand about the game.  If I had any sort of scouting skill or if I knew anything about the players as people, I would talk about that.  But I don't, so I won't.  I really don't mind when people argue from a non-statistics based position, but if I join the conversation, it will almost always be with numbers backing me up because that is my evidence.  Perhaps in the future I'll get smart enough to develop the other skills, but until then, you're stuck with me the way I am.

Rumors

I occasionally talk about rumors on the site, but I'm not someone that searches all over the internet for next juicy rumor to discuss.  A lot of that is fruitless, and if it is brought up it is typically in a "what does it all mean" sort of way.  Usually I look at rumors as a way to picture how a certain player can affect the dynamic of the team.  You should never ever ever ever take a rumor quoted on Red Reporter as anything other than a conversation starter.  I will not be held accountable for what you do with rumors that you read on this site.

Profanity

There were quite a few complaints about this in the survey.  All I can say to those people is shut the fu....just kidding.  My personal feeling with profanity, and with this site in general, is that it is a site intended for adults.  We expect a certain level of sophistication in terms of our discussion of the Reds, and we expect a certain level of maturity in dealing with the content on the site.  I am neither opposed to nor encourage the use of profanity on the site.  Each person has their own style and I prefer to let people participate as they choose.

That being said, there are three rules that I use to manage the site:

1. Be respectful to others.
2. Avoid the non-baseball related hot button topics as much as possible.
3. Everything else in moderation.

I think if you ask JD, he'll say these were the basic guidelines for when he ran the site as well.

I've gotten lax on these from time to time.  I'm going to make more of an effort to enforce #1 much more.  I feel like this should be the easiest thing for all of you to handle.  We're all grown-ups here.  Attack the idea, not the person.

We let a lot of political discussion happen on the site during the election mainly because there was no way we were going to stop it.  Since the election, that discussion has died down quite a bit and I appreciate how well all of you handled it.  I think it's a credit to this site that things never got too tense in those threads.

There has been a minor fervor of me shutting down a religious based conversation the other day.  Let me emphasize that this is not a site to debate religious topics.  I don't mind people expressing their religious affiliation or telling a story about a religious experience.  However, this does not mean that the conversation needs to turn into a debate on the validity of the Bible or evolution.  If it looks like a conversation is turning into such a debate, expect to be encouraged to shut up about it.

On #3, this includes profane language, repeated memes, off-topic discussions, and inside jokes.  Things get old quickly on the internet.  Try to be cognizant of that.  I'm not going to ban somebody for have a consistent potty mouth, but remember that dropping the f-word ten times in every comment tends to lose its effectiveness over time.

Other than that, I really don't have any hard and fast rules.  This is why I've only banned two non-spammers since the site changeover last April.  I prefer to let the site manage itself, mainly because I can't catch everything.  I skim a large portion of the site and only occasionally catch the objectionable stuff.  The admins will try to do the best we can, but if you feel like something needs to be dealt with, please use the flag feature on the comments.  That's why they are there.

I feel like I've focused on a lot of the negative so I want to end on a positive note.  I think this is a great site and has been since JD started it.  This is why I was willing to take over the site last year.  I enjoy hanging out with all of you and talking about the Reds.  There are much worse ways to pass the time by.  I'm looking forward to a fun season, even if the Reds don't provide all of the entertainment.

Thanks again for filling out the survey and keep the participation coming.  You all are what make this site entertaining.

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