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The Phinsider Rules and Guidelines - 2018 Edition

Arizona Cardinals v Miami Dolphins Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins are about to kick off their 2018 season with tomorrow’s first preseason game. We have added many new members, as well as are seeing some older members come back to the site. That is great, but it also means we are starting to see some issues in the interactions between members of the site creep up as well. While that is always going to happen when people have differences of opinions, we try to keep things here on The Phinsider fairly even-keel.

The site moderators - James McKinney and Dolfan88 - read everything on this site, from articles to FanPosts to FanShots to comments. I do not know how they do it, but they do and they are great at it. Of course, they may not be reading where something is happening at that moment, and they also have lives outside of the site, as hard as that is to believe.

That makes me believe it might be time to remind everyone of the rules and guidelines we try to use here on the site, just so our community remains the best Dolphins community on the web.

SB Nation Community Guidelines

When you joined the site, you agreed to some guidelines. SB Nation’s overarching guidelines are pretty simple:

We strive to make our communities open and inclusive to sports fans of all backgrounds. The following is not permitted in comments, FanPosts, usernames or anywhere else in an SB Nation community. Please keep in mind that some SB Nation communities may have rules that may be more strict (i.e. no swearing at all) than those outlined below, but the following apply to all sites on the network.

1. Comments, FanPosts or usernames that are intolerant or prejudiced (sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, anti-religion, etc.) in nature.

2. Personal attacks or threats on community members.

3. Gendered insults of any kind in comments, FanPosts or usernames.

4. Posting or creating FanPosts for the sole purpose of trolling or disrupting the community is not permitted. Posts made for such purposes are subject to deletion without notice. Creating multiple user names for this purpose is not permitted. Persons creating such user names will have those names banned and/or deleted without notice.

5. Offensive imagery of any kind is not allowed, including violent, explicit, and demeaning imagery.

6. Comments, FanPosts or usernames that make light of serious crime of any kind; specifically domestic violence, DUI, sexual assault.

7. Comments, FanPosts or usernames that make light of any physical, mental, behavioral or psychological disorder.

8. Excessive profanity is not permitted. Different SB Nation sites have different guidelines regarding profanity -- i.e., some do not allow it at all -- but across all of our communities, please keep use of profanity within reason.

9. Posts created for the sole purpose of advertising or other commercial purposes will be deleted without notice.

10. The sharing of illegal game streams is not allowed. Legal streams (via NBC Sports, WatchESPN, etc.) can be shared freely, but links to or requests for illegal, pirated streams are not allowed.

11. The “first post” rule: if you break any of the above guidelines in your first post at the site, it likely means that you are creating an account just to disrupt the community, and that won’t be tolerated. We will ban your account, and you can reach out to us via email if you believe there was a misunderstanding.

The Phinsider Guidelines

Over the years of this site, we have had various versions of our...let’s call it the SB Nation policies. Some of these are very similar, some of them are a little more inclusive, and some of them give you a little more leeway. We want everyone to have a great time when they come here, and we want this to feel like a place where anyone can come and leave a comment, maybe create some dialog, and see what other people think. We don’t all agree, and that’s what makes this great.

But, not agreeing with someone does not mean they are any less right than you are. And, not agreeing with someone does not mean you get to decide if they can or cannot post/comment.

Lately, there has been a rash of comments telling people that they need to stop posting, calling them names - especially “troll” or “Jets fan” - and other things. All of that should stop. We are all here to talk about the Miami Dolphins. It does not matter if you love a player or hate him, you are still here as a part of a team. Debate the subject matter, but understand, everyone has the right to be here and post, as long as they do not break any rules.

And, as it says below, if someone asks you to leave them alone maybe do that. You don’t have to completely avoid anyone, but there are times where people hold grudges and it can get ugly for you, them, the moderators, and me. Just ignore them.

With that in mind, here are some of the older guidelines, refreshed for 2018:

1) Please treat everyone with respect. There are going to be different viewpoints, but everybody’s input is equally important to this website. This includes visiting bloggers from other sites. Do not assume that just because someone is a fan of another team that they are here to troll. In fact, we have many regulars to the site that are from other blogs and are fans of other teams. They deserve the same respect as any of the Dolphins fans. Likewise please do not go to other sites to merely troll. I get a report on every member of this site, and every warning and banning we pick up. Now I know some of those members are simply people who signed up to make one comment, or joined all of the blogs, but it is embarrassing to see some people with Dolphins names or icons getting banned from other SB Nation sites. All of the editors for all of the NFL sites talk daily. If you are over at another site trolling or being disrespectful, I probably will hear about it. If someone is obviously only on the site to troll then please, as always flag them so that we may address it. Please be respectful everywhere within the SB Nation.

2) If you choose to disagree with a viewpoint, please attack the post and not the poster. Personal attacks will not be tolerated. Remember everyone has a right to their own opinion. If you attack another blogger, the concept of “he/she started it” does not apply. Flag it and move on. It’s just the internet after all. Likewise, making a comment on a post to tell someone “it sucks,” or any other insult of the post will be seen as a personal attack on the author and will not be tolerated. Remember that not every post is going to be for everyone. If you don’t dig what’s being written about please just move on as there is always plenty of content on the site and something for everyone. In the case that a post is put up that is inappropriate or you believe in some other way violates the site rules please flag it as well. The flag for the posts can be found at the top of the page.

3) Please keep the threads on topic with the original post. The exception here is for “random” live threads, where it is an open post just so you can hang out and talk to other Dolphins fans about life, the team, or whatever else you want. For the most part, just friendly banter is not an issue and encouraged.

4) Please keep the swearing to a minimum. It is going to happen from time to time, because this team makes it happen, but do not get too crazy on it. Remember, we have people of all ages on this site, and we would like to keep it a place where someone’s mother or father would not get upset seeing their son/daughter on it. The occasional word here and there is one thing but please do not go from comment to comment or write a post dropping one word after another. This also applies to live game threads!

5) Please do not post picture after picture. Keep the picture posting to a minimum. With how large the community is at The Phinsider, if this rule wasn’t in place, it makes it hard to have any conversation because you are constantly trying to dodge pictures. If you have a lot of pictures you would like to share with us, especially if it is from a Dolphins game or event that is in some way Dolphins related, please feel free to make your own Fan Post and place as many as you would like in the body of that post.

6) If you do choose to post a picture, no nudity, no body paint, no see through clothing. Racist, hateful, sexist, or anything else with an offensive slant is strictly prohibited from being posted on the site. A good rule of thumb is if you would not show the picture to your grandmother then it probably does not belong here either. I don’t mind if you all use pictures to make a point, but just posting a picture to post a picture can get out of hand. And, make sure the picture is in good taste. I try to not remove too many things around the site, but when I get multiple flags for pictures being inappropriate, I have to look into it. And realize, just because you find something funny, doesn’t mean others will.

7) ABSOLUTELY NO discussions or debates about religion or politics. These conversations usually do more harm than they do good. A general conversation about world events will happen. Just do not turn it into an us vs. them conversation as it applies to politics. This is the rule that seems to upset people the most but also one that we are very strict about. There are countless other sites out there for discussions of anything including politics and/or religion.

8) Make all members welcome. No matter if you have been here for years or if you are just joining today, you are as welcome as anyone else. No one member’s opinion is more valid or important than somebody else’s opinion. In fact, it would be a nice gesture of those of us that have been here for some time go out of our way to welcome the new members to the site and offer our help with any questions that they may have.

9) We joke a lot here at The Phinsider. If you feel like you are being hassled too much, just let people know. If someone tells you to get off their back, please give them that respect.

If a joke, nickname, etc is given to you and it offends you in anyway, just let us know. It will stop.

10) No posting of any links to illegal ways of watching NFL games! Also, no requesting of any links. Automatic ban for those who don’t follow this policy. The NFL is very strict on this stuff and I don’t feel like having the site shut down because others are posting illegal info. The NFL’s legal department is very tough - trust me. This is a Zero tolerance law. If you break this, you are done. It will happen at some point this season. Don’t let it be you.

11) Racist, sexist, homophobic or any other comment’s that would be considered hate speech or otherwise offensive are strictly prohibited. Even if you think a term is harmless think long and hard before posting any comment that singles out any ethnic group or sexual orientation. These kind of comments will most often result in a banning and at the very least will be followed by a warning.

This is a sports blog and while many of us have become friends via this site this is NOT a dating site. Please show these women the respect they are due. Any sexist comments made towards a female (or from a female to a male for that matter) poster will result in a warning or a ban even if the recipient is not offended by said comment.

Threats of any kind are prohibited and are grounds for an automatic ban.

12) Cheer on the Dolphins. We are all here because we love our team!! I personally am someone who gets tired of hearing how bad the team is. How we are all doomed because of something the coaches have done, or how a player is playing, or how worthless our front office is. But, I realize some people need to vent, and state their displeasure with things the Dolphins do. Please realize that people are fans, even if they express it in different ways. However, if someone tells you to knock off the negativity, don’t get all defensive. Just understand that you are bothering the way they celebrate their fandom too.

13) Flags. You can flag a comment if you believe it is a troll or spam or inappropriate. Please use them. They absolutely let the moderators know when there is a problem. But use them responsibly at the same time. Just because you disagree with a post does not make it something that needs a flag.

14) Spam. Spamming of any site on SB Nation is strictly prohibited. Spamming is the repeated posting of anything on a site from post to post or the obvious posting of links to promote some other site. This most often takes the form of a link to another site but can be in the form of anything posted repeatedly. Not only will spamming of any type result in a ban but this is more often than not followed by a banning from any and all other SB Nation sites that you may be a member of whether or not you have spammed their site. Also, the posting of the same comment or pic or anything over and over in numerous posts on the site will be considered spamming and result in a possible warning. If you post something in a couple of places nearly everyone here will see it as most members read everything. If it’s that important perhaps consider making a Fan Shot or Fan Post out of it. Also in the realm of spamming, from the SB Nation point of view is the posting of anything as a fan post or a fan shot specifically designed to promote another site. If you work for or have another site you are welcome to come and write articles but only if they are original articles of original content not found elsewhere.

Handy Tips, Tricks, and Inside Jokes

If you have any suggestions to make for this page, just let me know. I will gladly edit the post to the community’s liking.

On November 18, the site will reach its 12th birthday. Over the 12 years, we have had plenty of inside jokes as well as shortcuts created/found/utilized. Here is an explanation of some of those jokes and tools, just to make things easier for you.

  • FanPosts and FanShots - FanPosts and FanShots are awesome things that we are going to make a conscious effort to revitalize this year. These are articles or little blurbs/pictures/links you can write about anything you want - primarily about the Dolphins obviously - but they are yours. We read them, and if they are awesome, we will add them to the front page of the site.

We have a 75 word minimum requirement on Fan Posts for a reason. The site is very busy. If every post that says “I hate what we are doing!” or “Great pickup!” was made into a Fan Post, the site would be over run and no one would be able to see/find/read anything. So, we have a 75 word limit. 75 words is nothing. In fact, this sentence surpasses 75 words just in this paragraph. If you can’t make your post 75 words, it probably doesn’t need to be a post - it should be a Fan Shot. Use Fan Shots for short statements. Use Fan Posts for in depth analysis, stories, or anything else. It keeps the site organized and makes sure people read the right things. Don’t just repeat words or write non-sense to make it to 75 words.

If you take the time to format, spell check, and think through your posting, more people will read it, comment about it, and possible “Rec” it. I may even pull it to the Front Page, bringing more people to your article, and exposing it for Yahoo!, Google, and other sources to see. So, please take a second to utilize the best English grammar and formatting you can. It really does make a difference. (And if your first language is not English, do not feel like you cannot post.)

The final thing I ask is, please look around to see if anyone else has posted your topic before you make your post. Six Fan Shots and two Fan Posts all saying the same thing is a little excessive. Take a second to see if it’s there, then feel free to join the conversation. If you don’t see it, make your post and start the conversation.

  • Show respect for others work when writing a post. It is fine to point out an article as a source or to quote a piece of an article but cutting and pasting entire articles is prohibited. Also out of due respect to the original author always cite the article and the author or the site from which you found or quoted the information.
  • ”CKC”- The “Cool Kid’s Club” was founded by some of the regulars of The Phinsider years ago, and it shows up occasionally (mostly when McKinney is up late). Everyone is welcome, we just called it the CKC for the fun of it. This is the place to talk about whatever you want from Dolphins football, cooking, beer, basketball, or your stamp collection if you really feel like it. This is The Phinsider’s “Off Topic” thread. Random live threads have replaced the CKCs as a nightly thing on the site, but every now and then you will see a CKC, and things can get a little there.

It is a late-night open thread that is posted after 10PM EST and then taken down early the next morning by the site mods. These posts tend to be a little looser than a regular thread and any subject within reason is open for discussion. As always please use common sense when posting, CKC or not. All rules still apply including the one on personal attacks and posting of nudity.

  • Please keep typing in all caps to a minimum. To make the occasional statement is understandable but comment after comment after comment (or large comments) posted in all caps is not only annoying to other posters but all caps is looked at the same way as yelling and thus is considered rude behavior on the internet. Please also apply this rule to Fan Posts or Fan Shots in all bold letters. These will also result in a warning and will most likely just be removed from the site.
  • Warnings. If you do something on the site that results in a warning do not take it personally. Most here have had one at one time or another. Often times it’s simply a way for to send you a message and ask you to cool it before we have to take more severe actions. Likewise, if you have an issue with a warning and feel that you must say something, please email us directly. We are always more than happy to discuss these with you. Coming to the site and posting angry comments is not the way to address something that you do not agree with and we do not discuss these warnings in the threads on the site. We do not want to lose readers or members but merely keep the site a place that everyone feels comfortable
  • The Z Key. The day that you discover this will be one of the best days of your life. I am not saying that it’s as exciting as the birth of a child but it may come in a close second. When in a thread, especially a live thread, use the Z key to take you to the next comment in the order that it was posted. This is especially helpful during live thread with a lot of people in them at the same time allowing you to easily follow several conversations at the same time. Also, pressing X will mark a comment as read and Shift A will mark all comments as read.
  • Up Button. There is an arrow with the word up next to it under every comment that is a reply to a comment in a thread. Sometimes it gets confusing to which comment it is a reply to. If you click on the arrow it will take you up and highlight the comment that it was in response to.
  • Sarcasm Font. To denote a comment as sarcasm you type your comment in the main body portion of the comment box and type the @ symbol DIRECTLY before and after the comment.

@Exactly like this!@

  • Comment editing. After you post a comment in a thread you will see a bar appear that will quickly get smaller and a countdown going from 90 to 0. If you make a mistake or have a second thought, you have 90 seconds to edit your own comment. To edit the comment simply click where it says edit and the comment box will reappear. You then have the remainder of the 90 seconds from the time that you posted it to edit it. If not edited and then posted in the 90 seconds your edits will not take place.

Well, I hope that is helpful. As rule #1 says, please stay respectful and everything else will be easy. Thanks and let’s get back to talking about football!