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Explaining the changes at BGN

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Let's talk.

I know that the last few days have been confusing for some of you, and that's partly my fault. I wanted to post this and clear a few things up.

First, I want to say that this is a great community. BGN is the best place for Eagles news, and that is largely because of your support and commitment to coming here every day and hanging out with me. I am humbled and honored to be part of this community for six years and counting.

Now, a recap of recent events. SB Nation has been paying close attention to BGN ever since the Nelson Agholor sexual assault allegation emerged last Friday. It's obviously a sensitive issue and we want to make sure we're covering the story properly. Sexist and racist comments were spotted in those threads. I wasn't able to moderate the comments because I was busy on Friday evening before leaving for a week long vacation on Saturday morning. SB Nation eventually closed those threads and checked up on comments on other threads to see if the discussion was spilling over elsewhere. More inappropriate comments (unrelated to the Agholor story) were found, including a very NSFW borderline pornographic image.

Then action started to take place. Three users were banned for the following reasons.

The first was for posting pornographic images. The second used the word "cunt" in a comment. He was warned and told specifically that the exact word he used was not OK. He then went and deliberately used it again. The third did the same thing, except with the word "retard." You should also know that a fourth is coming very close to a banning because he keeps trying to find loopholes that allow him to post porn. We were very generous with warnings because I realize that your community guidelines are vague (as are the current dot com ones) and it wouldn't be fair to start banning people who weren't equipped with do's and don'ts.

The latest NFC Beast Eternal Thread was deleted entirely due to NSFW pictures. Comments in other threads were deleted entirely and some users received warnings. After all that happened, I was asked to add some mods to the site, so I set up a thread asking for volunteers.

The increased moderation caused a stir in the community. It's been frustrating to watch comment sections on high quality articles (such as Dave's post about Eagles receivers) get hijacked with debate about censorship. On a personal level, it's been a big distraction from what was supposed to be a stress-free week for me. I was especially looking forward to vacation this year because I’m going through a real rough time with personal issues regarding relationships and multiple deaths in the family. It's upsetting because writing for BGN is one of the few things I can actually enjoy right now, but with everyone revolting it’s been additional stress. Please understand my vacation is the reason for the delay in response to some of your questions about the recent changes at BGN.

But enough about me. Let's get back to the state of the community. In the last several months, SB Nation has noticed a shift in the culture of our comments section. Yes, there is great conversation, debate and plenty of entertaining off-topic threads that make all of our work days go so much faster. But SB Nation has also seen an increase in racist, sexist and homophobic language, as well as NSFW photos that could get us all fired. We don't want to get anyone fired. Except Howie Roseman. (Just joking, mostly.)

Yes, there will be increased moderation on this site moving forward. But it's not as bad as you think, so don't panic. Here are a few things to consider.

  1. If your comment was deleted, it wasn't necessarily because you did something wrong. When a comment gets hidden, every comment in response to it also gets hidden so that comments aren't taken out of context in the absence of the lead one. So keep that in mind.

  2. There will be very few things that get you banned without a warning. They include: posting outright porn, doxxing someone (that is, publicly releasing someone's personal information), spam and racist, sexist and homophobic tirades. You have to try really hard to get banned without a warning.

  3. No, you won't get banned simply for using a word. You may get a warning, and that warning will be very specific as to what word you used that wasn't OK. You will not have to guess, I promise you. But, if you've been warned and you use that word again, you will be banned.

  4. We can't post NSFW images on any post, including FanPosts. We can still have Eternal FanPosts ... just not with those pictures. As you've probably noticed, there aren't a lot of women around here and we'd like that to change. This is the internet and there are plenty of other places to go for NSFW images and porn.

  5. As a reminder, the following message is the Membership Agreement you agree to when creating your account.

    "This community is designed to bring you quality sports content and a forum to discuss that content. We encourage you to share your perspective, and to react to our authors and their opinions.

    Please, treat our comment threads the way you'd treat your favorite sports bar: keep the conversations fun, engaging and respectful. Help make our site a satisfying place to hang out."

Again, I want you know that I value you all. (BLG will always love you!) It hurts me to see regular users and long-time community members threaten to leave. If you truly love BGN, I ask you not to abandon us, but instead help us make it the best possible environment for Eagles fans. While this all may seem constricting, I promise the core value of this site won't change. It will just be more inclusive, and that's a good thing for all of us.

If you have questions about this, leave them in the comments and they will be addressed.

Thank you,
BLG