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Community Guidelines

Welcome to the Community Guidelines section of Dawgs By Nature (DBN). This is meant as a reference for new and experienced users, containing information ranging from acceptable posting styles, how to use different sections of the site, and most importantly, how to have the best possible discussion about your Cleveland Browns. Some of the rules are considered "unwritten rules". Others are mandatory. Nonetheless, I encourage all new and veteran users to read this at least once to ensure their experience at DBN is a positive one!


Welcome to New Users
Intelligent Discussions
Posting Ethics
Respecting Authority
FanPosts vs. FanShots
What is a FanPost?
What are FanShots?
Using the Reply Button
Subject Line
Attacking New Users
Having Fun

  • Welcome to New Users: First and foremost, welcome to the site! We look forward to having as many new contributors to our discussions as we can get. However, we also like to define DBN as being a place where people can find "Intelligent Discussions" about the Cleveland Browns. Do not take offense to this, as it will be described below.

  • Intelligent Discussions: If you visit the discussion boards, how many posts do you find that are actually worth reading about the Browns? Not many. And, a significant amount of people who do talk about the Browns do so without much thought, posting comments such as "mangini sucks...can't we just ship rogers and take crabtree omg that would be amazing".

    The thought itself is not stupid - the way that people go about conveying the thought is what can sound ignorant. A more appropriate way to post a take on the sentence above would be something like the following:

    "Honestly, I think this offseason has been a train wreck so far. I know it's still early, but I'm very weary of some of the unusual decisions Mangini has made thus far, like his "issues" with Shaun Rogers and the releasing of a beloved player like Joe Jurevicius.

    Hopefully everything comes together around draft time - getting a player like Crabtree might be enough to offset the voids left by Jurevicius and Winslow."

    I hope you see the difference. If not, it doesn't mean you need to leave DBN. Just enjoy reading the discussions and hold back posting yourself until you feel you're more comfortable conveying your thoughts better. Granted, you might feel hatred towards a coach or player, but it really annoys a lot of other people when statements are made without proper justification. In the end, everyone else might disagree with you, but that's fine as long as you backed up your argument in the first place.

  • Posting Ethics: The following should go without saying. However, we do NOT condone: racism, excessive foul language, or verbally attacking another user. If your post falls under these categories or something similar to them, if you really feel the need to have at it with somebody, contact them personally via email. Do not do it on DBN. This specifically includes political discussion as well! Humor in the form of racism or foul language will be removed, and repeat offenders will be warned.

  • Respecting Authority: Here at DBN, we have several regular members who have been granted permission to moderate comments on the website. These members include such users as notthatnoise, Matt Wood, and rufio. They were all appointed by Chris Pokorny (the lead person at DBN) to assist him in moderating duties, and any time they make a decision to remove comments, warn members, or ban members, they are acting on his behalf.

    If you have a problem with any of the decisions they have made, you have one choice: contact Chris at about the situation. Otherwise, deal with it, learn your lesson, and stick to intelligent football discussion. Complaining about the issue in the comments section or ridiculing moderators publicly for acting on my behalf will not be tolerated.

  • FanPosts vs. FanShots: This can be extremely difficult for new users to understand at first, and understandably so. However, that makes it all the more important that you take the time to understand what the difference between them is.

  • What is a FanPost? Did you do your own little statistical study about the productivity of Browns players this season? Do you want to bring up your favorite Browns past time? Bottom line, creating a FanPost is posting something with the intention of creating a new discussion.

    Examples of good FanPosts:
    The NFL SalaryCap: The Future of theCap - This is as good of a FanPost as you can get; something informative, detailed, and well-written. However, let it be clear: nobody expects all FanPosts to be this detailed. A book doesn't always spark the greatest discussions, and most times, the point can be gotten across in a few words.
    -Kellen Winslow Traded - The actual first post itself might not have been extremely informative. However, I always encourage people to post breaking news as a FanPost, simply as a place to get the discussion started before I (or another writer with front page permissions) have an opportunity to do a write-up. Also, a link was provided after the original posters' comment. This is always important to reduce questions such as "where did you hear this?"
    -'The Stillers' by Joe Posnanski - This was only a one sentence post containing a link. Could it have been a FanShot instead? Maybe. But, because the probability of this stirring up a solid discussion based on the topic of the link was high, this is a case where something brief is acceptable as a FanPost.

    Also, please keep in mind that around the draft time, to avoid 10 different topics all about people expressing who the Browns should draft, we have one stationary Draft Discussion topic. If you do not post in this topic, your post may be removed. While your thoughts may have been constructed fine, you need to post it in the appropriate location.

  • What are FanShots? Many members of the community just want to post that one link, video, photo or quote, but don't need a full FanPost. We've got you covered: FanShots let you share YouTube videos, Flickr or PhotoBucket photos, quotes from articles, portions of chat transcripts, top 5 lists and simple links. If it's a video or image we'll put a thumbnail on the homepage when you post it.

    As a more specific example, consider the following post: Jay Cutler puts house up for sale. This is the type of topic people might be interested in reading about, but would you really feel like posting a response about it? Maybe not. That's not to say FanShots can't yield good discussions; sometimes, a certain subject will peak more interest than expected, to everyone's surprise.

    Many people have been posting things as FanPosts instead of FanShots, and there posts have therefore been removed. This will continue to be enforced.

  • Using the Reply Button: This, above all else, can be one of the most frustrating things. Every time you respond with a general comment in a DBN post, FanPost, or FanShot, you can use the general reply box at the bottom of a page. This positions your comment to the far left of the page. However, if you want to address someone specifically, you must use the "reply" link underneath that person's post. This allows the discussion to flow smoothly. Consider the following situations:

    Situation 1 (Incorrect Way):
    -ChrisP: I think Braylon Edwards should just be dealt away.
    -------rufio: Why would you think that? We wouldn't have any weapons on offense then.
    ---------------Brad: Right, unless you believe Paul Hubbard emerges out of no where.
    -------Nick: I'm all for dealing Edwards - if we get a first round pick and future picks only, of course.
    -ChrisP: Rufio, we could get Crabtree and just as easily replace him.

    Whoa, where did that last post come from? Consider the following situation now:

    Situation 1 (Correct Way):
    -ChrisP: I think Braylon Edwards should just be dealt away.
    -------rufio: Why would you think that? We wouldn't have any weapons on offense then.
    ---------------Brad: Right, unless you believe Paul Hubbard emerges out of no where.
    ---------------ChrisP: Rufio, we could get Crabtree and just as easily replace him.
    -------Nick: I'm all for dealing Edwards - if we get a first round pick and future picks only, of course.

    Now, as a reader, it's easy to understand exactly who and what I am responding to. Granted, it could have been comprehendible either way in short threads such as this one, but imagine the confusion that can be caused when 20 people respond with long opinions in each one. You would be breaking the discussion up in situation one, which only causes frustration.

  • Subject Line: It has become a standard for many posters at DBN to not use the subject line when responding with a comment. This is not a requirement by any means, but I think you'll find that it does make your posts easier to read. Sometimes it is appropriate to use the subject line in a comment - for example, in an "Open Free Agency Thread", you might post "Eric Barton Signed" in the subject line, before posting your actual comment, to help outline a "topic within a topic".

  • ALL CAPS: Do not use all caps. It makes it appear that you are yelling, and it is often annoying to read (unless you are celebrating in a game thread, like "WOOOOOOOO!!!"

  • Paragraph Breaks: Please use the enter key every so often. Seeing a screen of text without any paragraph breaks is an immediate turnoff.

  • Spell Check: We don't expect everyone to be a dictionary. Please try to make sure your post doesn't look like this every time though: "man i wsh I culd hve seen tht play...quin usally does a pretty gud job".

  • Attacking New Users: This one goes out to many of our veteran members, who have been doing this lately. If a new user posts something they shouldn't, or if they post something that seems unjustified (like they pulled it out of their...err..."hat"), that does not mean you need to respond with something overly sarcastic.

    I would much rather you click the "actions > flag" button underneath a user's comment if you find it inappropriate. This will draw my attention to a specific post quicker than usual, and then I can handle it from there. Our goal is to mold new users into quality users, but that doesn't always happen over night. If you think a poster said something without explaining why they said it, don't say "go to with that crap". Instead, I'd rather see "Can you explain why you said that? I can't take your statement seriously unless I hear a logical reason backing it up." Eventually, it should click in their mind that explaining their opinions or sources is necessary.

    I like giving people the benefit of the doubt; new users typically are new to giving their thoughts on a public forum - patience is key. Sometimes, someone truly is out of line, and they will be warned and or banned at my discretion.

  • Having Fun: Don't get the wrong idea - the most important thing, above all else, is to have fun at DBN. Don't hold back your opinions. Don't be afraid to challenge someone else's opinion. Free speech is not being violated or censored. Just make sure you're ready to justify your statements, and everything will be fine. Before you know it, you'll be a "respected" member trying to guide new members down the proper path as well.

  • Final Word: These community guidelines will be updated regularly. In the future, they will include guidelines that might be associated with Open Game Threads, and interacting with our partner SB Nation NFL blogs (especially in our division).