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A refresher on Fear the Sword’s community guidelines

An examination of our rules and regulations in an effort to become better as a community.

NBA: Finals-Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The purpose of this post is to review the community guidelines for Fear the Sword and to announce some adjustments to the way they will be enforced. I encourage all those who wish to participate in group discussion in the comment sections on this site to read and abide by the guidelines in this article.

Editor’s note: If anyone in this community has questions or concerns, I can always be reached at — Chris

SBNation Community Guidelines

These rules apply to all sites in the SBNation network.

1. Comments, FanPosts or usernames that are intolerant or prejudiced (sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, anti-religion, etc.) in nature.

This one is very straightforward. I think the community at Fear the Sword does well in this regard.

2. Personal attacks or threats on community members.

I think this is something we need to work harder to apply here at Fear the Sword. On the one hand, this comment section is a forum for debate. Disagreements are natural in that setting, and are the root of most of our discussions.

However, that shouldn’t lead to personal insults being hurled at various community members, regardless what we might think of their opinions. Under no circumstances should a member of the community be continually targeted with insults. That amounts to online bullying and will not be tolerated. If you don’t like someone, don’t engage with them. If you think someone is behaving in an offensive manner then flag their comment instead of insulting them.

3. Gendered insults of any kind in comments, FanPosts or usernames.

Again, this is very straightforward and while it has popped up from time to time on Fear the Sword it’s generally an area the community is very good about.

4. Posting or creating FanPosts for the sole purpose of trolling or disrupting the community is not permitted. Posts made for such purposes are subject to deletion without notice. Creating multiple user names for this purpose is not permitted. Persons creating such user names will have those names banned and/or deleted without notice.

Definition of trolling: to antagonize (others) online by deliberately posting inflammatory, irrelevant, or offensive comments or other disruptive content

Trolls pop up regularly around here. When they do flag their posts and a moderator will take care of it when they see it. However, not every visitor is a troll, even if they fail to read the site rules when they sign up and post with a subject line initially. Please try not to be hostile to visitors that aren’t trolling.

5. Offensive imagery of any kind is not allowed, including violent, explicit and demeaning imagery.

Straightforward, and not really an issue at Fear the Sword presently.

6. Comments, FanPosts or usernames that make light of serious crime of any kind; specifically domestic violence, DUI, sexual assault.

A good reminder, seeing that all three of those examples have been pertinent with regard to players the Cavs employed at some time in 2017. These topics will come up in the comment section from time to time, and it’s fine to discuss them. However, it’s not fine to make light of these issues in any way, and therefore I encourage you to think very carefully about the wording of any comment regarding these subjects. Your meaning should be clear to any that read your comment. Because of the seriousness of these topics, your comments will be evaluated not merely by what is said, but also what is implied (at the discretion of the moderator).

7. Comments, FanPosts or usernames that make light of any physical, mental, behavioral or psychological disorder.

Straightforward, and rarely an issue on this board.

8. Excessive profanity is not permitted. Different SB Nation sites have different guidelines regarding profanity -- i.e., some do not allow it at all -- but across all of our communities, please keep use of profanity within reason.

Profanity is discouraged at Fear the Sword, but allowed in moderation. In a game thread and or in the post-game thread after a less the leash will be a little longer in this regard. In all other threads, try to find a better way to express yourself if you can. However, profanity directed at another individual in the community will not be tolerated in any thread.

9. Posts created for the sole purpose of advertising or other commercial purposes will be deleted without notice.

Thank you Vox Media for the “spam ban” function. It’s been very useful to me.

10. The sharing of illegal game streams is not allowed. Legal streams (via NBC Sports, WatchESPN, etc.) can be shared freely, but links to or requests for illegal, pirated streams are not allowed.

How you stream sports games is your own decision, but no links to illegal streams on this site. If you’ve found your way here, you no doubt understand how to use Google, so requesting a link is unnecessary anyway.

11. The “first post” rule: if you break any of the above guidelines in your first post at the site, it likely means that you are creating an account just to disrupt the community, and that won’t be tolerated. We will ban your account, and you can reach out to us via email if you believe there was a misunderstanding.

If you are new here try to be on your best behavior initially. Fear the Sword is the unfortunate recipient of many trolls, and if you don’t want to be mistaken for one then your initial comments should show respect for the community.

Additional guidelines at Fear the Sword

1. No subject lines.

The comment section has a much cleaner look without all that bold font, and let’s face it: most comments are too short to require a subject. If your post is so long that it does need a subject then perhaps it should be a fan post? But regardless of whether you like subject lines or not they aren’t permitted on this blog.

2. Politics and religion are (mostly) off-limits.

Now and then LeBron makes headlines for expressing his political viewpoints. Comment sections for these posts naturally will include political discussions. When this occurs do your best to be respectful to fellow commenters. If a civil discussion proves impossible, the comment section for that article will be closed.

In any other thread discussing these subjects is discouraged, although not strictly prohibited. It just rarely ends well when the discussion heads in that direction, so in general it’s best to #sticktosports (or at least less controversial subjects).

Editor’s note: We will close comments if things get out of hand. To be, being civil on all fronts is the most essential. — Chris

3. Don’t needlessly bash the writers.

This is not a full-time job for any of us. We make mistakes, whether grammatical, mathematical or otherwise. It’s fine to point out these mistakes sometimes. We want to put out a quality product after all. But as a rule any critique will be received better if accompanied by a measure of praise. If you want to point out a mistake, try to lead with something specific that you enjoyed about the article. It’s not that constructive criticism isn’t welcome, it just is easier to swallow when the writer knows their efforts and their content are appreciated.

Editor’s Note: Just don’t be a dick. — Chris


As the primary moderator on this site I’m implementing a new system of enforcing the community guidelines. Borrowed from my seventh grade Social Studies teacher, it is as follows: warning, detention, THE BOOT.

  1. Warning: if you break any of the community guidelines to the point where I find it necessary to delete one of your comments then you will receive a warning message in the form of a pop-up the next time you visit the site. For the next two weeks after a warning any further infraction will result in…
  2. Detention: while I can’t make you eat your lunch in silence and away from your friends, “detention” at Fear the Sword will be enforced as a temporary ban for the remainder of the day. Commenting privileges will be restored the next morning at my convenience. However, if you proceed to commit a third infraction during the next month following a detention then you will get…
  3. THE BOOT: a permanent ban. You will no longer be welcome on this blog. This ban will never be lifted. If you create a duplicate account it will be tracked down and eliminated. Game over.

These new rules of enforcement will go into effect either a) in one week or b) immediately if I know you’ve read this post. Use this comment section at your own peril!

Concluding thoughts

Fear the Sword is a great community in general. While we have our share of homers, in general we hold our commenters to a higher intellectual standard than most comment sections on the internet. Don’t expect positive reinforcement of your hot takes, and be ready to defend whatever opinion you express. Any opinion not backed up by evidence is liable to be methodically deconstructed piece by piece. Even those that seem at face value to be accurate may still receive a thorough examination to see whether they really are true. It’s not for the faint of heart or those lacking conviction, but its a place where you can learn so much about the sport of basketball. Many commenters here have a high-level understanding of mathematics (including more than one math teacher) and deep insight into the inner workings of advanced statistics. While our discussions may center on the Cavaliers, we regularly touch on players and teams all around the NBA landscape.

At the same time, we have to be careful that healthy debate doesn’t ever turn into hostility. Being hostile towards an argument is one thing — if an argument really is accurate it should be able to withstand any shots fired against it. Hostility directed toward another individual, however, is never good and it won’t be tolerated moving forward. If you don’t like someone, don’t respond to them. If we all seek to apply this then Fear the Sword will become an even better community moving forward. Let’s work together toward that goal.