A Sea of Blue is an online community, not just another blog. What we try to do here is develop an environment where 'Cat fans and other sports fans of good will can come to discuss University of Kentucky athletics in an adult, reasonable manner. In order to create a welcoming environment, we have rules and traditions to help people avoid the unpleasantness that we sometimes see on other Kentucky Internet sites.
So with that, here are some of the most important guidelines to help you fit right in, and enjoy your time spent on A Sea of Blue.
[Added 1/29/2013] General Prohibitions:
- Racism, sexism, homophobia and religious bigotry are a serious violation of this blog and SB Nation's comment policy, and is strictly enforced on A Sea of Blue.
- No advocacy of criminal behavior, nor any criminal act will be tolerated.
- Any comment which may jeopardize the safety of another person or group of people will not be tolerated.
- Links to pornographic material or websites is forbidden. Overtly pornographic comments are also forbidden.
Guidelines, AKA "Do's and Dont's":
- Do be nice. Be nice to everyone -- Cardinal fans who may comment here, your fellow Kentucky fans, the administrators of the site.
At A Sea of Blue, rational, polite discourse is our policy and part of what attracts our commenters. Disagreement is encouraged, but if you can't politely disagree, you are better off keeping it to yourself. Don't be mean.
- Go back and re-read #1.
- [Added 08/21/2011] Do use recommendations to recommend posts and/or comments. The more green we get from recommended comments, etc., the better we look.
- [Added 08/21/2011] Do notify me (email@example.com) or another administrator if someone is having difficulty or violating guidelines. That way we can help him become a valued member, or part ways if he/she just doesn't want to follow the guidelines.
- Don't badger, crusade, or bait your fellow members. If you're not sure what those terms mean, look down near the bottom in the definition of terms.
- Don't be a Grammar Nazi in the comments, which is somebody who points out minor grammar errors obsessively.
Comments are not editable, andIf someone makes an error, don't point it out in a nasty way or use it as evidence of mental or cognitive deficiency in a rebuttal. Let it go.
In the main post, please do point out a grammar error, just don't be mean about it.
- Don't be hyper-defensive. Others are entitled to a contrary opinion, even if you strongly disagree. Sometimes, it's best to just agree to disagree rather than taking the argument to a distracting and annoying level of minutiae.
- [UPDATED 01/19/2013] Don't argue with the administrators in the comments. Email addresses for most authors and editors are provided on the masthead, and you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Do try to add value to the discussion. Adding value is making a unique observation, or noticing a twist, or making a strong argument with a well-reasoned defense.
- Do respect your fellow-members. You do not have to agree. There is no message discipline here other than certain topics which have been placed temporarily off limits to avoid threadjacking and hard feelings. Those will be delineated below.
- Do respect all coaches and players at UK, including former ones. Player or coach bashing is not allowed. Yes, you may have a little fun at the expense of both, but keep it light and don't overdo it. There is a fine line between a good joke and bad taste.
- Do use the FanShots for posting just links, quotes, pictures or videos.
- Do use the FanPosts for posting your own blogs. Best practices for the FanPosts will be explained below.
- Do provide support for your arguments via links to provide transparency and permit rebuttal.
- Do feel free to point out a factual, spelling or grammatical error in the main post. There is no reason for our mistakes to live forever in infamy.
- Fans of other teams are not permitted to come onto A Sea of Blue and smack talk. It is a violation of rule #1 and #8. Such comments or posts will be deleted and further action taken as necessary.
- **Special notice to bloggers from other blogs -- if you want to link one of your posts on A Sea of Blue, do NOT do so in the comments or the FanPosts. Please use the FanShots area. That's what it is for.
- [UPDATED 3/13/2010] Do not post the personal information, including phone numbers or other private data, of anyone without their prior express permission. Posting of the personal information of any player, coach, or other person without their express permission in advance is a violation of the ethics policy of A Sea of Blue and will result in immediate action.
- [UPDATED 4/10/2010] Do write in English in FanPosts. Avoid using cell phone texting abbreviations like "u" for "you" or "2" for "two," except in the comments, and then only when using a cell phone or other mobile device. We understand that not everybody is a touch typist, but FanPosts filled with textspeak read badly and look juvenile. Common shorthand like LOL (laugh out loud), WTH (what the heck), etc. are fine in comments.
- [UPDATED 01/18/2012] Links to illegal live streaming of games are no longer allowed on this site. All such links will be deleted on sight and the posters warned. Continued failure to observe this rule could get A Sea of Blue in big trouble, and therefore repeated offenders will face further administrative action up to and including removal of posting privileges.
- [Updated 03/27/2012] You may not ask or negotiate with others not to respond to your comments. Every comment on A Sea of Blue may be responded to by others, even if your comment was not directed at them.
- [ADDED 01/19/2013] Try to keep news items in the news thread if possible, but if a current one isn't available, the most relevant thread should be used.
- [Added 1/29/2013] Trolling is forbidden, and feeding the trolls is a bad practice.
Definition of terms:
- Invective: Harsh language including but not limited to swearing. An occasional oath does not violate this rule, but repeated or gratuitous swearing should be avoided.
- Angry commentary: This is best defined by example: "Tubby sucks!" "Billy G. sucks!" "Porter sucks!" "Fire Billy!" "I hate [fill in with Kentucky player or coach]." "Your opinion is wrong!" This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, and hopefully you get the idea.
- Baiting: Any comment designed to elicit an angry response from one or more members, or the act of escalating a dispute.
- Name calling: You may not refer to any Kentucky player, coach, Athletic Department member, A Sea of Blue member or other Kentucky blog or website member or administrator by such references as idiots, morons, losers, jerks, etc. ad infinitum. From time to time, I may designate others as members of the above group as appropriate.
- Stalking: Stalking is responding to every post of a particular poster, and works the same way as baiting. It is completely unnecessary to try to get the last word in on every argument.
- Badgering: Similar to stalking, except the offender posts essentially the same thing over and over in an offensive and repetitive manner in an attempt to drive out dissent by weight of sheer volume. It is the rhetorical equivalent of pounding the podium.
- Crusading: This is where a commenter has an agenda, and wants to interject that agenda into every thread, regardless of relevance, positive or negative. Similar to badgering.
- [UPDATE 3/31/2009] Bashing: Excessive negative and pejorative opinions expressed without regard to the feelings of the object of your derision. In general, bashing is forbidden on A Sea of Blue, even when it comes to rival teams and coaches.
- [Added 01/19/2013] Threadjacking: "Hijacking" a thread by changing the subject to something off-topic and destroying the continuity of the post and its commentary. News items are not subject to this rule unless done in such a way that it becomes distracting or destructive to the thread, and such determinations will be made by the site moderators.
- [Added 1/29/2013] Trolling: Trolling is a practice by which people post deliberately controversial or inflammatory material with the object of threadjacking or producing angry commentary or invective in return. The simplest form would be a Louisville fan coming over and making the comment, "Kentucky sucks because ..." A "concern troll" is a method by which the troll indicates fake concern about a perceived shortcoming with the goal of producing a distraction, or a threadjack, i.e. a Kansas fan picking some aspect of Kentucky's basketball team to "worry" about in a thread about the football team.
- [Added 1/29/2013] "Feed[ing] a Troll: Responding to a person trolling the site.
- Use paragraphs separated by a blank line. Paragraphs separated by a carriage return are hard to read.
- [03/27/2012] Avoid religious discussion. This is generally the same as politics, but it isn't banned outright. Still, religion and faith is an area of vast disagreement, and what you are sure of may be legitimately disputed by others. As in all polite conversation, religion and politics are both good subjects to avoid.
- Try not to write "stream of consciousness" stuff when you are angry. It never seems to work.
- Use "smilies" to soften sarcasm or satire. Don't be mean.
- When writing a FanPost or FanShot, use the "teams" and "players" boxes on the right to identify the teams and players you are talking about. The boxes are self-searching, so if you just type "Kentucky," you will get a list of schools with Kentucky in the name. If you type "Kentucky w," only "Kentucky Wildcats" will show up. The tab key or selecting the name with the mouse enters it. Same thing with the "players" box.
- "Add related item" may be used to link another article, video, or other URL.
- For FanPosts, avoid excessive use of exclamation points, periods, dashes, etc. Try to make your commentary as legible and as clear as possible.
- Don't rush FanPosts. Take your time, do it right. You want people to get the impression that you know what your are talking about.
Topics currently off-limits:
- Political Discussion. We don't do politics here. This blog is about sports, specifically the Kentucky Wildcats. There are literally tens if not hundreds of thousands of political blogs. If you want to talk politics, use one or all of them to do so, and leave it off A Sea of Blue.
Politics divides us. The Wildcats bring us together.
Most of all, have fun, make friends, and enjoy our community!
[UPDATE 12/10/2010]: Need a "best practices" about commenting on a blog? Read this.