As Sam was kind enough to point out, Amazin' Avenue was graced by its one millionth visitor the other day. It's a big fancy number and a great milestone for the site, and I'm very proud of us, writers and readers alike, for collectively having achieved it. It's especially gratifying to have built such a strong community around higher-brow baseball discussion, particularly as the mainstream media careens recklessly in the other direction. So, kudos to everyone for making it this far.
As others have surely pointed out (here, for example), this community has grown considerably in recent months (Exhibit A). There are two significant reasons for the growth. First, Sam, James and Joe came aboard and really helped elevate the quality and quantity of the writing here. I ran the show pretty much on my own for the first three-plus years and, while I had built a modest but devoted following, the addition of these three great writers have, at least in my opinion, lifted the site from "merely good" to "simply great". The best part is that they aren't just knowledgeable Mets fans and terrific writers, but they really do care as much about the site and the community as I do, which makes them a perfect fit for Amazin' Avenue.
Secondly, back in February SB Nation entered into a distribution partnership with Yahoo! Sports, whereby our content would be fed into their baseball (and football, etc.) pages, providing additional coverage to their readers and, in return, a considerable influx of new readership to our sites. The increased readership has had its benefits as well as its drawbacks. Many of the new community members have contributed substantially to the betterment of the site, posting thoughtful comments and submitting quality FanPosts. The gamethreads have grown in popularity and vibrance (and cursing, of late), and the swag contest has had more participation than ever.
On the other hand, some of the newer members don't seem to get what we're doing here, so we end up with a smattering of cretinous Scotties posting inane rubbish like this. Amazin' Avenue is an open forum, but it is not talk radio and it is not an internet message board. We hold ourselves and each other to higher standards of discourse here. Making obtuse claims like "David Wright has no heart" or "Carlos Beltran isn't clutch" may fly elsewhere, but here they will be met with skepticism and, in particularly egregious instances, outright mockery and verbal flogging.
Many other sites have posted community guidelines to keep things in check and, while I have mostly avoided doing something similar in the past, we've probably reached the point where we can no longer go without. We will add to these as necessary.
- Rely on fact-based analysis. This is not a stats-first site, it's a facts-first site. Intellectual honesty means being accountable for your assertions, so if you're going to argue a point you better be sure you have the evidence to support it.
- Be emotional in the gamethreads, but don't check your rationality at the door. We all get caught up in the moment, but do try to be insightful if at all possible.
- Ask questions. If you don't understand something, ask questions. If you don't believe what someone is saying, ask questions. If you simply want to continue (or start) a discussion, ask questions. Oftentimes, a straight comment won't elicit a response, but that same comment with a trailing question (like, "What do you guys think?" or "Are there any recent examples of this?") can keep a dying conversation rolling.
- Treat others with respect if they have earned it. Not everyone deserves your respect, particularly Scotties and other assorted ne'er-do-wells.
- Discuss politics or religion, period. There are lots of places on the internets to discuss these things so there should be no need for it here. You may think that everyone here agrees with you about something but I guarantee you that they do not.
- Rely on tired baseball platitudes to make your point. If your comment/FanPost is indistinguishable from a random Joe Morgan Q&A (i.e. sub-moronic drivel) do yourself and everyone else a favor by not posting it.
- Post links to your own blog/site in the FanShots, unless you contribute something editorially (and usefully so) to the post as well. FanShots are for linking to relevant articles, images, videos, etc. that the rest of the community will find interesting; they are not intended to be free advertising for your website.
- Post gigantic pictures or malformed links in the comments. Lookout Landing has a terrific guide on links and pics, so read it and follow it.
Our policy here has never been one of pro-banning. Other sites govern differently, but I've always trusted the community to police itself. Those who contribute meaningfully to the discourse are respected by others and are made to feel welcome here. Those who contribute nothing of substance are quickly marginalized and forgotten. I think we all want it to remain this way, but if it can't then we won't hesitate to move towards a policy of more liberal cleansing of unwanted elements.
So, congrats and thanks to all who have helped bring the site to this point, and here's to a bigger, better and brighter Amazin' Avenue in the weeks, months and years to come.