It's getting to be the end of another year, and with the end of 2017 drawing near, we prepare ourselves for another deluge of New Year's wishes and resolutions.
I've never made a New Year's wish or resolution before. Well, that shouldn't really be all that surprising considering.
I am, after all, a disembodied comments section, and as such, am not only pretty much expected to be a perpetually open and willing depository for the whim of every Managing Madrid reader, but, well, the absence of fingers prevents me from typing. So there's that.
But this year, I had a thought. Yes, I have thoughts. And feelings too, believe it or not (we'll definitely get to that more later). Back to thoughts, I reached out to resident odd-ball managing editor Nate Bauer to see if he'd be willing to transcribe this for me. He's not shy about writing some pretty "out-there" pieces especially around the holidays, and readily agreed to be my scribe.
What I asked him to write is the culmination of many years and quite literally millions of comments. Years of Real Madrid winning and years of not-so-much winning. And what I have to say, as the heretofore silent, but ever-present participant in this great blog, consists of two simple things:
Think Before You Type
I'm just one, lowly little comments section, on one blog in a veritable sea of blogs, newsletters, and major publications that all have comments sections. Believe me when I tell you though, that our little fraternity of comments sections have serious gossiping issues. We talk ALL. THE. TIME. Can you blame us though? I mean, if you had to, and I mean were literally forced to read all the comments that all the people on the entire internet mindlessly slapped on your back every single day, you couldn't help but talk about it with your fellow comments sections either.
Imagine just for second that all the Jerry Springer, nightly news, and Real-Housewives-esque drivel that people selectively view, was the forced norm rather than an option. It's kind of like meeting someone at a party who is a 3rd shift ER doctor and everyone is riveted because the stories they tell of the poor fools who end up in the ER after making some terribly unwise decision are simply impossible to ignore.
Yeah, that's what we talk about every day. "So, At-man" (that's the comments section on The Atlantic), "what's new today?" "Well, M&M, these two commenters started going at it over trickle-down economics theory. And they at least purported they were both economists, but before you know it they were calling each other ridiculously unprintable deprications."
And that's just the civil example. I refuse to wallow in the debased nonsense that pops up on the celebrity, or worse yet, politically alt-right or uber-left blogs - that shiz will ruin your soul.
The last example I will use will shock you, the regular Managing Madrid reader - me and BG over at Barca Blaugrana were chatting the other day (yes we pretty much all have hopelessly uninspired acronyms for names - give me a break, I'm a comments section, not a damn poet) . I know you're going to say I'm a traitor, but she's just as worn and weary as I am over all this, so we chat. Plus, don't hate me, but she's kind of cute with her grey-blue recs coloring. Anyway, between Barca fans and Madrid fans, we've pretty much an endless supply of head-scratchers to talk about. The only blog worse than ours is Arsenal - but that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.
Anyway, we just can't understand how seemingly intelligent people type some of the most ridiculous things. We comments sections don't want to step on a pedestal and decry the entire internet and all that social media and anonymous platforms do to enable volatility, but we'd be remiss if we didn't mention that the people who leave comments are real people. Sounds overly-simplified, but if you take the time to actually understand that you are communicating with another human being, and that the insular bubble separating you and them (the internet) is to be treated with more responsibility, not less, then I think the world of comments sections would be a much better place.
Put another way, pretend that you are face to face with the person you are responding to. Unless you are prepared to look someone in the eye and say the things you are about to type - just don't.
For the love of Pete, be consistent, be kind
One would think, that given the see-sawing and back-and-forth we see in comments sections, that the majority of the population suffered from borderline personality disorder. The way people vacillate depending on their mood, or more glaringly, the current form and success of their club, is pretty astounding.
It's "Zidane is God, keep him forever" one day after winning the 5th trophy of the year, and yet after El Clasico a few days after that it's, "Zidane Out!"
Everyone is entitled to change their minds. And, based on consistent evidence or a well-articulated argument, it's vital to keep an open mind. I mean, if We Ain't Got No History can get me to move from unbridled loathing of Chelsea to begrudging respect, anything is possible. But the fickleness of the average fan is flat-out farcical.
BG and I talk about this one all the time. It's easier for her now that Xavi is gone - you think he had a big mouth in the press, you should read what that did to her comments section. On Managing madrid it's not quite as bad, but pretty dang close. There has to be at least one pariah every 6 months or so. Poor Bale was the brunt for way too long (and sometimes still is). It seems the commenters aren't satisfied unless they can gang up on some poor soul who can't defend themselves. One day Florentino is a genius, the next he's ruining the club with no glactico purchases.
That part always makes we comment sections sad. Not only do people use the anonymity of the internet to blast the villain du-jour, but they do so knowing that said individual a) isn't there to rebuttal, and b) the foul-typed nonsense they typed is the exact antithesis of what they would actually say to said Real Madrid player were they ever to meet.
The final thing I will shamelessly have Nate type on behalf of all comment sections is this - be kind.
Seriously, you guys and gals get to communicate with each other instantaneously from all around the globe. Better still, you're already on common ground as fans of the greatest club in the world. If you get the chance to interact with someone you don't know, it will never, ever hurt to always be kind. Even if the other person can't be.
So that's it, my New Year's wish for the Managing Madrid comments section. I realize that I don't really have a leg to stand on bringing this up (literally, no legs to stand on), and don't expect much to change, but with each New Year we all hope to be better people, or comments sections, than we were the year before - even in some small way. And in case you'd rather take the word of an actual person over mine, the fellas who keep the content coming for you to actually comment on have a set of community guidelines that really help - it's worth a quick look.
Thanks to all of you who keep this an active and positive environment to bring great ideas, observations, and Real Madrid love to this blog - it's much appreciated. (And BG says she really appreciates it when you pop over to Barca Blaugrana and are polite and courteous too - that stuff really makes me look good so keep it up!)
Here’s to another awesome year for Real Madrid in 2018 - Hala Madrid!
Sincerely, M&M (your friendly Managing Madrid comments section)