Monday, September 16, 2013

Injury Crisis

Milan have an insanely ridiculous injury crisis, everyone knows that. But what some people don’t realize is that injury crises aren’t limited to the players on the pitch. There are often casualties right under our noses, some visible, some not. The question is, do you contribute to them or are you helping to prevent them?

If only it were as easy to prevent injuries on the pitch

Let me start with a little background information. This blog was actually years in the making. As a passionate Milan fan and a person who loves to write, I had been encouraged to start my own blog for a very long time. While that sounded fun, I didn’t quite have the guts to do it on my own. Or the time, really. But with the encouragement and help of my family, the incomparable help of my cofounder and original co-blogger, as well as a situation that left me with time to fill and limited physical abilities, it seemed the perfect storm and thus Milan Obsession was born.

My intention with Milan Obsession was to start a conversation. A conversation that was unique to other sports sites, other fan sites, and other Milan sites. Not only tactics or transfer talk, but a purely fan site, with all aspects of being a fan covered in a variety of ways. A place where every fan could feel comfortable saying whatever it was that they wanted to say about the club, and maybe some other stuff, too. The response was truly humbling and amazing. It’s not for everyone, but for those who liked it, they really brought the conversation. I still maintain that this blog has the smartest, most clever, and funniest fans commenting here in all the world.

The face of the future ruthless tyrant (and also blogger, photoshop & podcast fiend, etc.)

But as is far too common in the digital age, not all conversations are the kind you would have face to face. And so there are casualties in some conversations. Whether it be here, on Twitter, on Facebook, or whatever, people have insulted, harassed, abused, sexually harassed, made false accusations, and so much more to me, to people who comment here, or even to those who have been kind enough to write guest posts for me. And it is not limited to this blog or even Twitter, I have found people discussing me, the blog, or others in other blogs and forums, too. In fact, it is far more common than you can imagine.

And so there are injuries. Casualties of the interwebs, if you will. And these same cyber bullies will try to say that it’s just how it is, or if you can’t handle it, get out. But I disagree. My overall experience is that the interwebs are what you make of them. And if you can carve a little niche and fill it with amazing people like those who frequent the comment section here, then you can minimize these interwebs injuries and have a place where it is safe and fun to express yourself, a place to share Milan with friends, in good times and bad. A place to share news, observations, thoughts, rants, links, jokes, memes, pics, or even personal experiences. You may not think that what you have to say is important or interesting to others, but my experience has been that people are often touched by even the simplest things.

"That Milan Obsession blog is ... moderated"

But even amongst friends there can be apathy, a lack of understanding, or even a lack of respect. A lack of respect for each other, for their contributions, or for the guidelines put in place specifically to limit or prevent such injuries. That’s right, everyone loves to read a post, everyone loves to read people’s comments, but for some reason, it’s somehow harder to stay within the commenting guidelines and show everyone the proper respect. Respect for the forum, the people in it, the people who moderate it, and even for themselves. Everyone loves a well-moderated blog or forum until they themselves are moderated.

But have you ever put yourself in the blogger’s shoes? Or more importantly in the moderator’s shoes? Have you considered the time it takes to create a blog, to write a post or create a photoshop or a podcast or an original video or whatever and post every 8-48 hours for 365 days a year, win or lose or summer break or whatever, and then to post news and interesting information around the clock? Whether or not anyone comes to read it? Only to have even just one person come in and show a blatant disregard for the few guidelines that are in place? Or to have people’s perception of you warped because you must remove the offensive material, but let your comments to the offender stand? Or because what others say about you somehow has more power than what you say or do yourself? Like the misconception that you cannot disagree with me here… I have enjoyed a lot of respectful, healthy debate on this blog, and always welcome it. But because many people who are moderated have argued with me (usually about being moderated,) the stigma continues. I believe one of the terms used to describe me personally in this regard was “ruthless.” (So many of the other terms I simply cannot post here.) My friends had a good laugh about that because they know me in real life, and that is not a word they would ever use to describe me. However, moderating is one of the leading causes of injury around here – to me, to those who are moderated, and to everyone who reads the aftermath. It is a very unfortunate side effect of what is intended to keep this and other blogs and forums healthy. The Milan Lab of blogging, if you will.

Milan Lab... intended to help

But these injuries do not need to happen. So many blogs and forums out there are simply cancerous, rife with the false bravado of those who cannot see the faces of those they repeatedly and consistently harm. So where do you lie in this war of words? Do you read and make judgments? Do you get involved? Do you participate? Have you ever considered the effects of the words that you send out onto the interwebs? Or are you simply guilty of a general apathy? A lack of expressing appreciation to those who are contributing to the conversation? Or a lack of participation whatsoever? When anyone, even a moderator is being abused, do you step back and grab some popcorn? Do you leave and come back when the mess has all been cleaned up? Or do you jump in and stand up to the cyberbullies, even if they are “friends?”

Milan’s injury crisis may be out of our scope to heal, but every day we can contribute to or help prevent the greater social media injury crisis. What will your role be? Will you contribute to the injuries, whether it be by apathy or by active participation in the mess? Or will you prevent it by contributing positively to the conversation, following guidelines (or even basic human decency,) and maybe even support those who are in the awful situation of having to moderate or even simply create content for you? You don’t have to agree with or even understand everything that is done in the name of injury prevention or moderation. But at the end of the day, you will be the one to see your own face in the mirror. And whether or not you can see the other people’s faces does not make them any less human than you, nor any less prone to the interwebs injury crisis than you are. So the choice is yours. Will you be a Maldini or a Materazzi? A Del Piero or an Aronica? Your words here and elsewhere online will define people’s perception of you, but more importantly will either create or prevent these invisible injuries And at the end of the day, you are the one who must live with that.

If you were able to read this, thank your teacher.
If you enjoyed reading this, thank your blogger.
If you were inspired by this, please join in the conversation.

This post inspired by the music of OK Go

Our next match is
Champions League Group Stage
Milan Celtic
Wednesday, September 18 • 20:45 CEST (2:45 EDT)