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On Coexistence In 2014

Everybody doing OK out there? Things are getting a little...testy...'round these parts lately. Pull up a chair, let's chat.

Should this be necessary? No. Yet here we are.
Should this be necessary? No. Yet here we are.
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

A preliminary point of order before we get into today's business: conduct in the Lounge. We have no problem with the use of Fanshots as off-topic fora; in fact, it's a pretty elegant setup. We just want to remind everyone that the same rules apply there as in the main articles. Namely, let's leave race and gender out of the discussion, yes? It's not a pervasive problem, in fact the Lounge discussions are almost uniformly good, clean fun. But this is something we'll be monitoring more closely, just to make sure everyone's comfortable.

So. I originally started this piece because of an unfortunate trend I noticed (and I'm sure many of you did, too) where some article would get posted, an MSU fan would say something either related to MSU or critical of another school, and all hell would break loose. In what may have been an ill-advised concept to begin with, I put together an amateur psychological thesis to try to explain to non-MSU fans why some of us talk the way we do, and to explain to MSU fans why there are such strong negative reactions to posts trying to redirect the discussion in our direction (it's mainly jealousy of our intense awesomeness, but that's neither here nor there ;D).

But then, a few days went by without any big, MSU-related kerfuffles, and I rejoiced, thinking maybe I wouldn't have to play mediator between a bunch of internet strangers shouting at each other about Urban Meyer or Dave Brandon or whatever else.

Then the Jayru Campbell story broke. And something horrific happened; the conversation about the story itself was, for the most part, intelligent, reasonable, and even pretty civil. Except. The story wasn't the only thing that came up, was it? We had all manner of entertaining diversion: semantic debates, an abundance of condescension, bickering about who takes who out of context. Same thing happened for the Brendan Gibbons story, but with less of the sociological discourse before cutting right to the chase of he-said she-said -oh-no-you-didn't exchange.

It's a long offseason, but this is getting old really, really fast, ladies and gents. Part of me thinks this kind of squabbling is unavoidable in a medium like this, being largely anonymous and with fairly lax oversight. This is even more true in the offseason, when there's not much actual football-related news and the topics get more spidery. We understand that. Physical violence and sexual assault are powerful subjects, and when the schools that we love (or hate) so passionately are involved, it's like a force-multiplier. Because we know how deeply you feel about these topics, we're willing to let you run with the line a little bit.

But another part of me thinks, based on the breadth and depth of discussion you can observe on any given thread here, that we as a commentariat are fully capable of overcoming those baser aspects of our natures, even if it's so, so much fun to get into the occasional sand-kicking contest.

I'm not here to tell you how to think. Were I to try, I suspect many of you would come up with creative ways to express your distaste and take your presence elsewhere. I suspect that because half of you are here by virtue of having already done that, to the largest sports news source in the world no less. So this isn't a command to stop hitting each other in the backseat or I'll turn this blog around, so help me Jobu; it's just a request to parse your comments a smidge more carefully than has been the case so far this year. If what you're about to type might get you stabbed by the person you're addressing if you said it to them face-to-face, you wouldn't say it. So don't puke it up on our message boards.

Actually, I need to walk back that 'request' label, at least in part. The back-and-forth about who said what, when, is going to stop. I consider myself a fairly conciliatory person, but that particular flavor of bullshit has gone far enough and it's not happening anymore. There is no conceivable situation in which arguing with someone about what they have said in the past is going to contribute anything to the current discussion.

Continue to discuss and disagree. It's the whole point of what we're doing here. Do not continue picking apart each other's comments or flinging ad hominem accusations at each other like feces-wielding monkeys.