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IMPORTANT Message. Please Read.

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Joined: 23 Sep 2004
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PostPosted: 06/14/07 9:33 pm    ::: IMPORTANT Message. Please Read. Reply Reply with quote

This board is now one very important element of something fantastic that's happening around the game of women's basketball. It involves the unique situation of fans stepping up to take control of different aspects of the game including the quality and quantity of coverage the sport gets as well as the discussion that surrounds it.

Incredibly, we even now have fans -- former season ticket holders! -- who have become OWNERS of the two teams that combined to win the first six WNBA championships.

We have many online publications and sources of coverage of WBB that are operated and contributed to by devoted and talented volunteers. And, in the case of some WBB bloggers and people who run their own websites devoted to the sport, we again have brilliant people who are doing what they do, contributing their time and energy freely, solely out of a passion for women's basketball and a desire to put themselves and their gifts out there in service to this under appreciated sport that we all know continues to struggle.

Nothing has been a more integral and original aspect of that fan contribution to women's basketball than this WNBA message board community that now calls Rebkell's home. The successful move of this group from corporate-run message boards and forums to this fan-owned website was simply an example of a group of people who love something -- in this case, participating on a WBB message board -- wresting control of that which they love from those who might continue to bungle, mishandle, or even destroy it through corporate arrogance.

There are other WBB message boards and there always have been. But where a core group of people have gone... everyone else who is anyone at all follows. From MSNBC to ESPN to World Crossing to here, the collective group--and Rebkell's itself--has a primacy in the world of women's basketball that should give everyone who posts on this message board PAUSE before they hit that SUBMIT button.

That clearly is not the case.

Unfortunately the high profile that this group now enjoys, that we've earned over the course of many years, attracts the attention and interest of many who have neither an appreciation for, nor a concern about, the history of this group and what we have accomplished together or the future good health and reputation of this message board. And that lack of appreciation and concern manifests itself through the conduct engaged in by these individuals here on Rebkell's.

But sometimes, unfortunately, even people who have been long standing and important contributors have displayed what seems to be a complete disregard for their own conduct and for the effect that disregard has on this board. Newcomers look at high post counts and see accepted members of the community and assume they must also be seeing behavior that is an acceptable norm for the board.

People who fall into that category might be experts on the game of women's basketball. They also might have connections to the league or to a team that make them privy to inside information. They may, and often do, generously share that deep knowledge of the game or their inside information with this board community which adds tremendously to the continued relevance of Rebkell's as a source of first rate knowledge of WBB as well as inside or breaking news and information.

Yet, if those people, or any other posters here, have personal behavioral or social shortcomings to the degree to which that they are unable to avoid constant bickering and/or demeaning or abusive conflicts, then they become a liability to all of us. That includes the community that is no longer under the thumb of a giant corporation; the people who have contributed for many years to make this group so attractive and relevant as to rise to the level of being addicting; the struggling WNBA itself; and maybe most of all, the very IDEA that fans can successfully do something like this without typical displays of bickering and back-biting behavior that demeans the board itself and, by extension, the many of us who participate here.

No one expects timid behavior from the people who participate on this board. A certain saltiness along with a good portion of attitude have always been a part of our reputation. Come prepared for that without being over-sensitive. You should never feel that moderators or administrators on Rebkell's are looking over your shoulder. Be smart. Be fair. Be controversial. Curse like a sailor if you wish. But do not curse AT anyone. Respect the people with whom you are debating or arguing.

Know where the line is between heated debate and abusive behavior and do not cross that line.

Attack the IDEA
, as caune once said, not the person.

Back in 2001, a corporation pulled the plug on our WNBA message board community with just a few days warning. A handful of us barely had time to exchange email addresses. So many good people never came back to the WNBA boards, ever. Thanks first to Stever and then, ultimately, to Reb, that's a lot less likely to happen again. But those of us who were just as passionately active on the board back then as so many of you are now got to see what our lives would be like without access to this community. It's not something anyone here is eager to impose upon anyone else who has been an active participant on the board.

We know how much this board means to those who spend so much of their time here. Please bear in mind that any action taken to permanently ban someone from this message board is ALWAYS done with the deepest regret.

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