We were taken to task Tuesday by the Chronicle for how are boards are moderated. Good! It's time to talk about that.
Since we started our new boards, we have tried to let the mods run things as much as possible, with minimal interference from management. This is a philosophical decision akin to our desire to edit good writers as little as possible (we have from time to time run stuff from people who are strongly critical of us for whatever reason, and we never water down their comments).
We haven't always agreed with every decision the mods have made, but we were determined not to micromanage, having been down that road before.
That said, there are obviously some guiding principles here. First, we really work hard to have a civil environment. Second, we're fans, not journalists, and we really don't want to do things that will hurt the program. And third, we've learned over time that players and their parents (and recruits) read this site. As far as we're concerned, there's no point at all in wounding any of these people. Of all people, why be cruel to them?
There is a misconception that criticism is not allowed on our boards. That's not exactly the case. It's one thing to say something like "I think Duke has made bad decisions in recruiting which have led to early tournament exits." That's an honest and fairly expressed opinion, and whether we agree with it is immaterial.
But to say something like "player A is a joke and coach B doesn't know what the hell he's doing" or "Duke has lost it," or a number of comments like that that were posted immediately after the West Virginia game, usually in much harsher and cruder terms, is not something we're interested in because they are essentially attacks on Duke, on players or coaches, and that's just not what we're about. We've been pretty consistent about this since we had 10 readers and posted board comments by hand. We realize it's not what most board cultures are about, and we probably lose some people over it. That's okay. As we've said often before, if it comes down to being the cess pools that most boards are or giving up on it altogether, we're fine with letting it go.
For those of you who prefer this approach, please help us to build a place which is thoughtful and welcoming. For our part, we've sought out several new mods and are trying to improve in as many ways as possible.
For those of you who feel this is a problem, we sincerely apologize. We would also respectively suggest that there are a lot of places to post now, and being a big Internet now, you can find what you're looking for without too much trouble. But you won't find it here.
Finally, it's worth mentioning that while the Chronicle itself allows reader comments, it also has standards which it enforces.