A new year and a new season requires a new Manifesto. Or at least an updated one.
The SLC Dunk community continues to grow, and that means new site visitors, lurkers who are venturing out into commenting and posting for the first time, and fans of other team fishing for news. Like any long-running website, SLC Dunk has a few unwritten rules and customs that might be unusual to newcomers. We're trying to make this the best Jazz fan site out there, but a website is only as good as its community. We want you all to be a part of that.
With this as our goal (and with the approval of our gentle host Basketball John), I'd like to lay out a few of the principles that have helped make this site what it is, and what it will be.
1. Be excellent to each other.
This is the first item because it's the most important. The Internet is an incredible resource for lots of reasons -- in our case, for the way it helps us unite as Jazz fans no matter where we are (and we have more than a few far-flung members on the site). Unfortunately, the Internet can also make people act like idiots. You don't need me to tell you this.
If there is one main reason SLC Dunk has succeeded in the way it has (aside from the incredible commitment of Basketball John and the rest of the community), it's because we genuinely like and respect one another. We make jokes, we poke fun at other teams and players, but we do not stand for trolls, personal insults, or anything disrespectful. (If you have to wonder if something you're about to post qualifies as "disrespectful," it probably is.)
There are sites for that kind of behavior between fans, and SLC Dunk is not one of them.
Whether you're a Jazz fan or a fan of an opposing team, a newbie or a lurker or a long-time site member, we want everyone to feel comfortable interacting with the SLC Dunk writers and with the community. That can't happen if we're anything less than excellent to each other. As Jazz fans, we understand better than anyone how beautiful good teamwork can be.
So. Think before you post. Maybe even try to read what you're typing aloud. Make sure what you're saying is adding to the discourse. In short, be excellent to each other.
2. Bring the knowledge.
Being a sports fan isn't always a rational thing. But we try to be as rational in our analysis as possible. That means we try to back it up with stats, game examples, facts and sources. We encourage everyone at SLC Dunk to do the same.
In our striving to be excellent to each other, it doesn't mean we always have to agree. On the contrary, our best analysis comes when we are willing to have our ideas, theories and breakdowns poked and prodded by the community. We've all become better writers and better fans that way.
I've been told by users that this aspect of SLC Dunk is actually a little intimidating -- that the fact that we "know our stuff" discourages them from posting or commenting. I hope this isn't the case. I love finding out I'm wrong if someone else can convince me of the fact. I think we all appreciate that. If you've got a strong opinion and you can back it up, I don't care if you've made 5 comments or 5,000. We want to hear it.
But do your homework. Don't just say "Player X sucks" without any analysis. Don't just say "We should trade for Player Y!" without breaking down the salary numbers. Make your points clear and simple. And DEFINITELY don't stop being excellent to each other just because you disagree.
3. If you're going to be funny, do not not be funny.
I'm stealing this from the old Deadspin Commentist Manifesto. In short, it means don't try too hard to make a joke. Most of the humor of blogging and commenting comes naturally, through interplay between users, and not because someone sets up some elaborate joke or insult.
Again: if you have to take a second to think about whether or not to post it...don't post it.
4. Don't overreact.
It's easy as fans to live and die with every made or missed shot. But every game is 48 minutes, every season is 82 games (except this one), every year is a clean slate, and we all have the rest of our lives to cheer for our Jazz.
We definitely want to be here to let everyone blow off frustration, to be passionate and express themselves. But it's really not the end of the world if the refs blow a call, or if we miss a possible game-winner, or if the Lakers beat us again. (Okay... maybe on the last one.) Point is, don't let your frustration get carried away to the point that you violate Item 1 or 2.
5. Love this Jazz.
We are here as Jazz fans. If you're going to get so pessimistic and down on the team that you feel like everything they do is wrong, you need to take a greater appreciation for all the things they do right. The Jazz play team basketball in an era of primadonnas and me-first players. They do more with less than any team in the league. They compete in one of the smallest markets in the country, and they do it every year. Yes, we can get angry when things go badly. But we're here because we love a unique team. Let's show it.
I hope this helps people understand where SLC Dunk is coming from as a community. I also hope it encourages those who want to join the conversation to do so. We're stoked to have you, and we promise to respect you and your opinion if you'll do the same.
If you want to get in touch with BBJ or any of the SLC Dunk crew directly, we're pretty easy to find. Our e-mail addresses should be at the bottom of every page on the site. In addition, most of the site regulars are on Twitter and communicate there daily. A brief list, which should lead you to others:
Basketball John: @slcdunk
Lastly, thanks to every site member, lurker, commenter, poster and Jazz fan who comes to SLC Dunk. I think it's the best Jazz site on the web, and that's because of you. Let's keep it up.