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Boston Herald strikes out on Tito Ortiz coverage

By Zach Arnold | April 27, 2010

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So I saw that on Google and groaned, but I figured that the Herald would soon change the headline to something more palatable. Well…

My feeling on the media angle of this story is that when I first read about this, I dreaded what would come for all of the MMA sites in terms of the comments section. A lot of people have said a lot of stupid things and unfortunately none of it is very surprising. This includes our site, which has had some comments that I consider out-of-bounds and reckless. I know the editors at other major MMA web sites have had to deal with the same thing.

I’ve received a lot of e-mail from readers who are disgusted with the tone and tenor of the comments. I agree with their sentiments and I take full responsibility for not censoring or not moderating more of the comments that were made.

I’ve had disgruntled site readers beg of me to moderate all comments or to get a comments moderator. That’s easier said than done. Much like putting up inquiries to hire new writers, a lot of people show initial interest but once it gets down to brass tacks, people largely don’t want to get involved in the process because it’s too time-consuming and there’s not much of a reward.

So, it leaves me with two options. Either a) turn off all comments permanently or b) make all comments go in a moderation queue and have me individually go through each one, which could delay back-and-forth conversations from happening.

If you are a disgruntled site reader and would like to give me your honest, unabashed feedback on this topic, I would be happy to listen and make any recommended changes.

The story about Tito Ortiz and Jenna Jameson is not a story that I have much motivation in writing about. However, it’s sucked the oxygen out of the room and everything else has become secondary. I spent a couple of hours transcribing a Urijah Faber interview and discussing what his future may be. It didn’t mean a lot to readers because people have been consumed by the Tito-Jenna story. That’s life, but I’d much rather be talking about the successful Zuffa event from this past weekend than get into any reckless speculation about whether or not domestic abuse occurred in a celebrity relationship.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, WEC, Zach Arnold | 29 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

29 Responses to “Boston Herald strikes out on Tito Ortiz coverage”

  1. Sonny Mooks says:

    Simply go on a case by case basis.

    If you see a thread getting out of hand, either shut down the comments, or moderate on a one by one basis.

    In this case, there is no “one size fits all” solution (no pun intended).

    Also, feel free to delete comments that are offensive and bring nothing to the conversation.

    There is no need to go all or nothing on each thread, just treat each topic individually, and handle it from there.

  2. Nepal says:

    Please Zack,
    I’m quite sure very few people in the MMA community really care about this. Jenna’s a porn star. Tito has been doing the Tito-thing for years now. Neither are relevant period. The stuff you wrote today and the long winded stuff yesterday was and is just not necessary. Please stick with the stuff we care about. Good MMA stuff. Thanks.

    • Zach Arnold says:

      The article I wrote about UFC’s position was long-winded? *laugh* Typical op-ed from me.

      I have focused largely on non-tabloid articles!

      But I agree with your sentiments.

  3. Rob Maysey says:

    That headline is beyond reckless, and could constitute flat out defamation.

    Totally irresponsible.

  4. Ivan Trembow says:

    “Either a) turn off all comments permanently or b) make all comments go in a moderation queue and have me individually go through each one, which could delay back-and-forth conversations from happening.”

    Either one of those options would be another victory for the same troll who has had lots of victories on this site, from his trolling causing you to shut down the comments section in several individual posts, to his trolling causing you to shut down comments for the whole site for several days a while back. At this point, it’s just a matter of how much more you’re willing to let him disrupt your site.

  5. robthom says:

    You could implement registering via verified email before posting, which will usually cause people to consider their comments more thoughtfully due to the ease of banning trouble makers, and also cuts back on “driveby” posting.

    It is a good idea to just allow people to join in and post without a lot of rigmarole when initially getting a website up to get a community started. But you’ve got a lot of people in the comments section now. It would be a good time to go ahead and tighten up the shop now.

    Also as far as trolling or flaming, with a verified address you can send the person a warning first before resorting to something as drastic as freezing the account. Bans should be avoided until someone has been suitably warned and given a chance to explain or rectify the problem first.

    A ban-happy mod can kill a site pretty easily also. And I notice they tend to homogenize their little “turfs” to only reflect their own opinions. That wouldn’t be good either.

  6. David M says:

    this site is usually great to post on; obviously with a subject as sensitive as domestic violence, it quickly gets out of hand. If someone is used to trolling on a mma topic and then continues to try to troll on a different topic, you get the outrage that Ivan is exhibiting.

    The truth is, for all of our boy’s club feelings about how this site attracts a smarter brand of mma fan (and it does), let’s not act like we are curing AIDS here; we are talking about a sport in which 2 men attempt to beat each other almost to death. No need to act like someone saying women are crazy is so despicable and disgusting when we usually talk about chokes and elbows to the face. Perspective can go a long way.

    That being said, I do think there should be an effort on certain topics to keep comments in line, but most of the time we aren’t going to be dealing with these kinds of issues. You could just make a blanket statement in re: Tito and Jenna that you don’t want ridiculous trolling statements.

    On a much more interesting note, I saw that sherfail’s monthly rankings just came out and they have Shinya Aoki as the number 4 155er in the world! LOL. Amazing.

  7. kjh says:

    “That’s life, but I’d much rather be talking about the successful Zuffa event from this past weekend than get into any reckless speculation about whether or not domestic abuse occurred in a celebrity relationship.”

    As we all would, but if the case against Tito is proven true, then this may be a warning sign to the MMA industry, like Steve Austin abusing his wife Debra in 2002 was, that hopefully the MMA industry can learn from unlike the professional wrestling business.

  8. The Gaijin says:

    Rumbling that the WEC, er, Faber vs. Aldo card pulled between 150K-200K buys…the show was definitely deserving of that (actually much, much more). I would say this is 101% a result of Zuffa stepping in and basically making it a “UFC” card for all intents and purposes.

    If it remained a “WEC” event, it would have garnered the same type of numbers, but after the facelift it got the UFC rub and looks to have outperformed even their best expectations.

    • Mark says:

      It wouldn’t surprise me. 1 million people saw the epic Korean Zombie~! vs. Garcia fight so there’s little doubt 10% of those viewers said “Holy crap, I need to see more of this!” I know if I hadn’t already ordered it I would have been swayed by that.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        It makes it laughable all of the low predictions on this website. I think I was the only one who had a prediction over the 50,000 amount.

        The WEC PPV was the most successful MMA PPV in North America without the UFC logo on it. It beat Pride, Affliction, & WFA….

        Zuffa owns all.

        • edub says:

          I predicted it would do over 100,000. Check the records.

        • The Gaijin says:

          With or without the UFC logo, there was definitely no “WEC” brand involved with the marketing/hype/build-up of this ppv, and the UFC’s “fingerprints” were all over it and it might as well have had a UFC-lite logo.

          Zuffa’s strangehold on mma in North America cinches ever tighter.

          And…the trending numbers on this blew away what every industry expert/insider/outsider/journalist/mark/casual fan/hardcore fan/DW-himself predicted, so to act like people’s predictions were “laughable” when the people who are supposedly “in the know” weren’t even close just makes the bubble you live in seem all the more “laughable”.

        • edub says:

          “It will be above 100,000.

          You guys are really underestimating the power of a fight card on saturday night. This will be the jump off point of the WEC. I know most of the guys on here like to bash most things Zuffa, but this card is gonna be freaking awesome.
          The UFC will push this fight card to no end, and Urijah Faber is somewhat of a star already.

          I definately think you guys are underestimating the WEC.”

          That was my exact post. The only thing I think I was wrong about was the branding. The WEC probably won’t do much after this considering their best event didn’t even bear their name.

          So thats a pretty fun fact from a guy who already gets moderated on this site.

  9. Jason Bennett says:

    Since I’ve voiced my opinion on this in the past, I’ll chime in again in this instance. I agree completely with Ivan above, don’t let the maniacs run the asylum. I also feel registered users that are easier to ban is a great idea; not sure what that would mean for your traffic though.

    While I enjoy informed intelligent discussion with my peers, I can do without and still visit sites without participating in their forums or comments section. Reading comments that disagree with my own is much more informative and enjoyable than ones that I agree with; trolling and pot-stirrers are worthless though and spoil the fun.

    To be completely honest, this is the only site where I (used to) regulary read the comments as part of the site. In general, I don’t read forums due to ramblings that I personally have no interest in. So I’ll stay with FO for the info, but would love a more controlled comments; don’t sacrifice anything though that could lower your traffic.

  10. Mark says:

    I say it should be a case by case basis. If you have a hot button issue like this case, turn on site moderation. But in the normal day where the only arguments are over rankings or if a card is worth $45 let it be.

    IMO It’s a bit of an assault on free speech to moderate things 100%, and you’ll leave yourself open to lots of criticism from both the pro and anti UFC posters if one side seems to get approved more than the other. But if you feel you’re leaving yourself open to ruining the integrity of your site when the place turns into a bad episode of The O’Reily Factor, you pay the bills, it’s your baby, so do what you want to do.

    Some crazy, bigoted comments were made by certain people in this case, but most of the arguments are far more innocent. They usually don’t break down into a bunch of personal attacks like Sherdog, and while some mean things get said from time to time, I don’t think anybody truly hates anybody and honestly enjoy some occasional heated arguments. I know I do.

    So in a nutshell, just lay down the mod smackdown when things get slanderous, as in this situation.

  11. Fluyid says:

    Whatever you decide, I think we’ve all gotten a good deal of enjoyment out of FO. I’d hate for you to undertake something like registration/increased moderation and end up sick of running the site.

  12. A. Taveras says:

    Zach don’t trouble yourself with the extra moderation on every post. As Mark said, how often will we have these bizarre topics that bring out the deep crazy in some? Unfortunately in the online world some individuals feel compelled to dominate all conversations, and occasionally news comes along that gives them a great opportunity to do just that in cartoonish ways. As others suggested on those occasions feel free to do some case-by-case muting as necessary.

  13. Fluyid says:

    Jeez… this is getting crazy. The Tiger Woods story is now tying in to this.

  14. King Famous says:

    If someone says something stupid, it is not the Opinion of Fight Opinion. Just when I thought Tito was done, he always comes back with something stupid. This is not the sort of media mma needs at all.

  15. ttt says:

    i hope you leave the comments open, reading the comments sections from other blog sites suck in comparison

  16. Mark says:

    The regular posters here hold this website in a high esteem because it’s usually the one place on the internet you can ditch all the idiots that populate Sherdog and the Underground and have intelligent conversations like adults.

    Fight Opinion doesn’t have a bunch of threads littered with 80 people making the same comment and asking the same question because they’re too stupid and/or lazy to read the whole thread before commenting like Sherdog. It doesn’t have a bunch of people who go around playing the “You’re newer than me to the message board so you can’t have an opinion” or “You can’t have an opinion on a fight because you don’t brag about your martial arts training enough” like UG. It doesn’t have writers who take themselves way too seriously to the point of acting like the Soup Nazi if someone differs with their article or get conned like total mark rubes anytime someone claims they know Dana like Bloody Elbow. And it doesn’t have board members who act like cult members like F4W.

    That is why people care enough to be upset when it looks like it could get ruined by troll invasions.

  17. bandido says:

    Eh… I always read but very rarely post on here, but is the comments section really that big of a problem? The occasional drive by lunatic/troll who crosses the line is pretty much a part of the internet furniture really innit.

    Beyond that, sure, some dumb stuff gets said here and there, and it’ll degenerate into a p*ssing contest once in a while, but the signal to noise ratio is pretty good, and it’s mostly relatively civil.

    Would seem an over-reaction to shut the whole thing down when there’s usually some interesting stuff in the comments section. Just my 2 penneth.

  18. spacedog says:

    My humble opinion is don’t get ban happy. There is a very low level of trolling on this site and the resident whipping boy, 45, is actually knowledgeable and far more respectful than his detractors.

    Ban happy sites die quickly.

  19. Grape Knee High says:

    What the heck did I miss?

  20. Jonathan says:

    I say ban the idiots (We know who they are) or close comments down for everyone.

    That’s my two cents.

  21. Mark says:

    Maybe we can cool things down by beginning a picture caption contest of that psychotic picture of Tito in this post?



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