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We interrupt your Orioles talk for a comment on off-season conduct

Please note this isn't in response to anything specific that has happened so far, but given the general tenor of a few conversations in the open threads so far this off season and experience from off seasons past, I thought it appropriate to throw out a few guidelines for the next few months. 

I know that without much actual baseball to discuss, we tend to get antsy and the open threads take on a life of their own as any and all subjects get argued and people get heated. I know that some of you think this is a hoot, but a lot of other people, myself included, do not. It creates a tense atmosphere and a hostile environment for anyone not in the group who participates in these heated off-topic discussions. You might not care about that, but I do. I want everyone to to feel as welcome as possible, and that doesn't exactly create the kind of atmosphere that I'm interested in having here. 

So, as the off season drags on and the randomness of the open threads ensue, here are some quick guidelines:

  • If you find yourself typing something that makes you think, "Should I be typing this?" the answer is probably no. 
  • Address the argument, not the person. That means you are not at liberty to tell people they are stupid because they disagree with you, or that they should go to hell, or anything else inflammatory about a person. This line gets crossed way too often around here and I'm putting down the hammer. 
  • I know some of you think it's adorable to purposely bring up controversial topics, but do us all a favor and use some discretion. 
  • If you find yourself and another person saying the same things over and over and over to each other with no new information, be the bigger person and just stop replying. 
  • If Eat More Esskay, Andrew_G, duck, zknower, the long lost 2632, or I tell you to chill out, chill out. Seriously. And if we ask that a certain topic be dropped or not discussed, pay heed. 
That's it. Basically, don't be a jerk. It's not that hard, I promise. We're not going to ban anyone (unless they really don't get a clue), but we won't hesitate to hand out one-day vacations to anyone who gets so worked up that they disrupt the site. I don't want to have to do that, but I remember how ugly things got at the end of last off-season, and I won't go down that road again.