Let's take A2.com back from the trolls: Part 1

One of the most common things I read about the comments fields of A2.com or mlive.com is complaints that "I don't bother reading the comments anymore because it is full of trolls and idiots." I have posted on both sites for about three years now, and most UM articles are ruined by one troll with a lot of names. So, of course, I have fought back.

At first, I sunk to their level, combatting "scUM" with scuMSUcker, and "DickRod" with "Bag-Tonio." After reading mgoblog enough, I decided to show more class than they have, and now routinely respond to negative comments about Michigan with "Misdemeanor State" and 'Saint Dantonio."

My main problem with what happens at both sites was cited by Jonathan Chait last week: the headlines, articles, and comments are read not only by the general public, but by recruits and their parents, too. I remember during RR's first year when a national article cited "fan unrest" after sampling the comments in a couple of UM articles. Most of the negative ones were written by one person under about five names that day, and totalled about two thirds of the comments. The main point here is that the volume of negative posts in the comment fields of UM articles shed the University in a bad light to much of the public.

So, I have tried, with help from a couple of posters, to balance the misinformation of the trolls with information that is more advantageous to the University. Also, I have tried to balance it by posting in the MSU stories, figuring that if they get to ruin ours, someone needs to retaliate so that they don't feel that they can pollute UM stories with utter impugnity.

This weekend, I recieved an email from Tony Dearing, who runs A2.com. He told me that I had "lost perspective" and wanted me to not only refrain from using the phrase "Misdemeanor State," but refrain from "attacking MSU" altogether. I immediately posted the email and my two-part response to my private Yahoo community, The Maize Page, and asked them to voice their displeasure to his email addy.

Dearing, to his credit, actually changed his tune a little bit, and decided to allow everything that he had told me not to do, and encouraged me to flag any post that contained the phrases "DickRod" or "scUM." What does this mean to UM fans? I will explore that in the next post.

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