diary guidelines --- seeking feedback

i deliberately avoided yesterday's "decency" thread, for fear of what it might do to my blood pressure; but i didn't want to shut it down. reading it over after the fact, i was pleased to discover that a few people articulated some of the themes that were on my mind. i'll be excerpting those folks down below.

my own thoughts about this boil down to one concept: intelligent discussion. the objective of this site is to promote intelligent discussion; the diary section is an instrument to promote and broaden that goal. the section is not a bulletin board for the latest rumors and news items, and it's not a scratch pad for fleeting ideas that somebody has dwelled upon for about 30 seconds. it's a place to share ideas that someone has devoted some thought to, maybe even done a little research on. a good diary presents a point of view that the rest of the community can learn from. meeting this standard has nothing to do with the length of the diary --- a juicy idea can be expressed in a single paragraph, and likewise a six-paragraph diary might consist of nothing but sloppy, random thoughts. it's about quality, not quantity.

the tricky thing, of course, is defining "quality." i have no desire to define it, nor do i consider myself qualified to do so in any absolute sense. on plenty of occasions i have read a diary and considered it terrible, only to see it generate a good discussion running dozens or even hundreds of comments long. likewise, i've seen diaries that i thought were brilliant get very little response. if you take any given diary, some people will think it's idiotic and others will love it. i want the diaries to be open to as broad a range of voices as possible. you can't have intelligent discussion without tolerance.

but you also can't have it without respect --- and that is a two-way street. when reading a diary, we should respect what other people are saying and their right to say it; but when writing one, we all have to respect the culture of the site. this is not the p-d boards, and freedom of speech is not an absolute right; it's both a right and a responsibility. posting a redundant diary cuts off the discussion someone else has launched in his / her diary; not considerate. posting multiple diaries in a day is the equivalent of hogging the mic; also not considerate. and posting new diaries for every rumor or wire report is a bit like spamming --- it fills up the fridge with junk food and crowds out the fully cooked meals.

here are some statements from yesterday's thread that i agree with:

from SleepyCA:
It's about respecting your fellow forum members. I personally love the diaries; I'd hate it if this stupidity caused Larry to take them away because I'm interested in what YOU have to say as well as Larry and HC and the other guys who write the great main posts. I think most people who spend their down time here are also interested.

But when you post a diary for EVERY rumor that comes along in a separate diary, it pushes good diaries in which good discussion is going on off the page. That is disrespectful of the other people who took time to write their thoughts. . . .

It's also disrespectful of the people who want to read YOUR thoughts, because it makes us look in 4 or 5 different places and often information is replicated; we end up spending more time than is necessary to get the same information.

from cardzfan24:
If you have a random thought, some rumor you saw from or MLB trade rumors, or any other site that is rountinely linked to here....90% of the time it isn't worthy of diary status.

Such things are perfectly fine in comment threads, and if you look, someone has almost certainly put up a diary about the topic you want to talk about. Those are the proper forums for rumor links and the like. At least, that is my understanding.

I lurked on this site for some time before I even logged in here. I did that because I respected this community and the high level of discussion that dominated it. Compared to MANY other SB nation sites...this one is supreme, in my opinion, and not just because I love the Cardinals. Many people here have intentionally created a community celebrating a common love of baseball and our team. That is why there is such a visceral reaction when the discourse is lowered here. Can some react better? Of course. Can the "diary police" be annoying? No doubt. But that does not mean we all forfeit our job to make this place better.

We all have a responsibility to make this a great site. I think a bit of a perspective shift is in order for all of us. Above all, we must realize this is NOT just some public forum. . . . . Think for about five minutes before you post a diary, and scan the last 10 diaries to see if your topic is unique or not. If it is not unique, put your info under the pre existing diary. If you have something new to share, share it in diary form or in the community main thread.

i don't think the diary problem has been as terrible as some people do; i understand why the so-called "diary police" are considered a little overzealous at times. but i appreciate that those individuals care enough about this site to fight for its principles. the site requires more time to keep up, and i have less time available; i'm stretched a little thin these days. striking the proper balance between quantity and quality, between tolerance and intelligent discussion, requires more attention and effort than i have to give. but it's a worthy goal. so what i'd like to do here is propose a few guidelines and then open the floor for discussion. here are some simple rules that can be implemented immediately:
  • daily hot-stove thread --- all rumors / news to be discussed therein
  • no more than 2 diaries per 24 hour period for any given author
  • diary will be deactivated if it draws fewer than 3 comments in 24 hours (author's own comments don't count)
  • in addition, as soon as my time allows i'll sketch out some broad do's / don'ts and provide some links to examples of good diaries, and not-so-good ones.

    add your feedback / suggestions to this in the comments.