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Overreaction Monday: Everybody Hates Their Team Online

Is the grass greener elsewhere in cyberspace? Probably not.

Illinois v Iowa
Head coaches are known to cause people to post heated comments.
Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

A couple common arguments in the comment section of BHGP and other Hawkeye blogs are whether an Iowa fan should be happy with 8 or 9 wins consistently and if Iowa City has the cache to bring in four and five star recruits for major sports.

I’m not here to tackle either of these topics today, but I do want to take on some analysis on how accurate the reflections of message boards are to the true feelings of a general fan of an athletic program. To do that I’ll do a little research across the internet, visit some opposing teams message boards, and probably make up a few statistics.

Let’s start with some assumptions.

So there you have it. The average person that comments is male, 30 years old, drinks, and comments multiple times a week.

So why do people comment? There are many reasons but the percent just trying to troll is very small (though those people often comment the most). I thought the troll number might be higher. I’m mot a huge fan of the “correct and error” group as they aren’t really adding much to the discussion. My spelling “hear” instead of “here” occasionally isn’t adding value to the message. However the next five or six on this list really can make a quick blog post much more meaningful.

Taking a look at some interesting sites across the internet and posting a few of their interesting comments.

From Burnt Orange Nation (Texas Longhorns - football team with 7, 10, 7, 5 wins over the past four seasons):

From Crimson and Cream Machine (Oklahoma Sooners - football team at least 11 wins each of the past five seasons):

From Maize and Blue (Michigan Wolverines - basketball team ranked in the top ten, new legacy coach):

From One Foot Down (Notre Dame - football team that believes they are too good to be placed in a conference):

From Roll ‘Bama Roll (Alabama Crimson Tide - football team that gets all the breaks):

So my initial thought when I began this project was that I would find negativity and trolling when I looked at the comment sections of any team’s sites. However, I now tend to believe that the majority of people on the majority of sites simply want their opinion heard and known and want to have a discussion. The majority of the examples shown above could represent any fan base if you simply changed the name of the team.

Are there people that are overbearing and redundant (you could say troll or asshole)? Certainly. The ability to post anonymously also allows for anyone to post without fear or repercussions. Add in the fact that the majority of negative comments come after a team loss which is often fueled by alcohol and you have a gateway to hate.

Even at our own site, the civility of postings after a victory or on days where there are no games is much higher than after a loss. Big games against rivals welcome anonymous trolls from the opponents. I would not trade our commenters for any other site though. The quality and quantity that you guys provide greatly outweighs all the negative aspects.

Some sites have unfortunately turned off the ability to comment due to the uncivilized nature of their responses. Personally I enjoy comments for a couple of reasons. First, it’s nice to know that people are actually reading some of the articles. It would be silly to write about things that no one cares about (except volleyball, you’re getting volleyball articles) and secondly, there is so much knowledge out there and personal stories that it would be sad to lose those. Granted to get those benefits you often have to deal with some negative comments but that is just part of the process.

With all this said I welcome your comments and as always look for ways to make these posts more useful to the readers and to also generate discussion and learning.