Say, BHGP commenters. We need to talk. We here at BHGP love and cherish all of you, and your continued support of our humble little website. Without you, we would be talking to nobody but a passing-by Internet, devoid of anything but mild acquaintances and random, invariably disappointed googlers. Moreover, the closely-knit community that we've developed has turned into one with a spirit of charity that's nearly unmatched in all of NCAA Blogfrica, as our continuing support of Iowa Touchdowns For Kids has demonstrated (more on that in a couple weeks, by the way; we are full-throttle go for Year 2). We wouldn't trade this community for any else on the Internet. Not a damn one of 'em.
That closeness, over the course of now 4 years, creates a bubble of familiarity that becomes harder and harder for new readers to pierce, and to many it can become off-putting -- especially when the comment threads devolve quickly into interpersonal conversations that have little to no relevance to the topic at hand. We've been told on numerous occasions by casual readers that the comment threads are sufficiently intimidating that the readers no longer feel like participating.
That all said, we're not exactly in the mood to start Godzilla-stomping the networks and friendships you guys have accrued over the years just for the sake of staying on topic. That's happened on basically every other popular Iowa website out there already, and it sucks the fun out of it, plus it makes the admins look like overbearing assholes, and for good reason. We don't want to ban anybody, and we don't want to neuter (or for that matter spay) anybody's personality. But we also don't want to push away new people who read an article about the Hawkeyes and just want to talk about the Hawkeyes and not the Civil War or the state of Pennsylvania or whatever.
So to this, we offer a compromise.
Yes, friends: this is BHGP's Hamsterdam district. Your open thread, your playground, your whatever place. Every weekday, around 7 or so, we'll put up this thread with the understanding that it stays open for conversations of all shapes and sizes for 24 hours or whenever the next Hamsterdam thread goes up. It's our hope that Hamsterdam becomes the most popular part of BHGP for our regular members, so just point your browser at these threads every night, let the comments roll in automatically, keep it open the next day, and have fun.
Of course, that means we also have to come to an understanding that the other threads aren't playgrounds anymore. You can still tell jokes and have fun and all of that, but we just ask that it be at least mildly related to the original topic at hand. To that end, if you feel like someone's going too far off-topic or otherwise unduly calling attention to themselves in a regular thread, there's no need to do anything but politely request that they, well, "take it to Hamsterdam."
If you've just come home drunk and want to say what's up to the world, take it to Hamsterdam. If you like this weird youtube of a farting elephant and want the BHGP commenters to know about it, take it to Hamsterdam. If someone mentions something in a comment thread that reminds you of an interesting tangent, take it to Hamsterdam--and bring them along too, otherwise it would be confusing.
Now, our existing site rules are still in effect. The things that have never been acceptable anywhere on BHGP and will continue to be unacceptable in Hamsterdam and everywhere else on the site are the following:
1) No slurs, be they ethnic, sexual, or otherwise divisive and derisive;
2) No NSFW pictures, and that includes barely-SFW babe stuff that you wouldn't really ever want a boss to see on your screen;
3) No politics, because that ends badly all the time;
4) No solicitation or advertisement without our prior consent;
5) No links to illegal TV streams or other copyright-infringing material. That can get BHGP and SBN in serious trouble, and we don't want no trouble.
But that's it. This is your new play area. We'll use it to post fun stuff every day, we'll pop in every now and then to hang out with you guys and gals, and most of all we'll let it be yours--which means feedback is welcome. So please: comment away, friends.