Throwing out Throw In

24 01 2007

My gosh, I spend a week away from the site and when I come back I find that the resource site, Throw-In, has come under attack and protection from various websites and scene figures for one reason or another. As someone who spends less time than they should on the scene, I was somewhat unaware of what the story behind this was. So, with the aid of the daily updates provided by the Football Manager Portal, I attempt to examine what was said, who it affects and give my own views and thoughts in the following article.

We’ll start with the site itself: http://www.throw-in.com . Now until very recently, this site was home to the odd guide and article (albeit sometimes re-publication of old material) , but upon my visit today I’m directed immediately to the forums. Now upon some researching – only found upon logging onto the forums – it appears as though the site is temporarily closed due to problems with hosting. A more positive start than that which I had first feared: that criticism had forced the site off the scene.

So where did this whole debarkle kick off? Apparently on a new (WordPress based) blog – ‘The Damn Scene’. Written by an anonymous source, TDS as I shall call it from now on seems to be desiring a somewhat controversial debut. The article in question, ‘Site X’, has so far generated 45 comments at the time of writing, although without going too far into them it would appear as though the majority are simply two sides of an arguement. The article isn’t long, although with the number of comments the page initially gives the impression that a Dispatches style undercover investigation is set to unfold infront of you.

The main points it seems to raise are the following:-

1) The forum has too many ‘clique’ groups for the average newcomer to become accepted and involved

2) Winning the Member of the Year award seems to give you the authority to say whatever you want, so long as you justify it with a mention of your title

3) Any new members of the Throw In staff must always be commented in with positive feedback; any disagreement and you will be labelled as jealous.

4) The guides are general, run of the mill articles that add nothing to a gamers experience

5) Four lines of text hardly constitute a player review

As I have previously mentioned, I am not one who knows much of the forum goings on in Throw In. I had previously mentioned only to post the odd topic about the scene, so it wouldn’t be fair of me to cast a view of the way Throw In’s forums are run. However, if this un-democratic system is in place, that hardly seems fair: websites – including ourselves – fall victim to criticism often, but it’s one of those things that you can either get all hot and bothered about, try and ignore, or act upon and improve your site. Forum posters should never be banned or have posts deleted for offering different views, unless they go against certain world standards (i.e racism, hatred, etc).

In terms of the articles, I have found myself that player reviews are something that are hardly needed today in the world of Football Manager. Granted, I still receive many hits a day from people looking for tips of which player to sign next, but by using a scouting tool, you can find players who are guaranteed (to a degree) to be better suited to your club than a list of names who have previously performed well for myself or another gamer. Player guides hark back to the days of CM when the same player would be an undoubted star whatever the game. Football Manager has progressed a great deal, and someone’s Henry can easily be another mans Brolin.

After the article spread across the scene, two websites put across their own views on the matter. Saint and Greavsie, like many I presume, had no qualms with the content as such, but they do sympathise with TDS’s views on the Throw In staff:

“Where are the days of differing opinions? Everytime someone slates TI, every staff member writes the same old recycled rubbish more than likely not even reading what has been said” (Q2thaZ, Saint and Greavsie)

From the Side Line, on the other hand, takes a more sympathetic approach to the actual site in question. The writer does concede that TDS has many valid points, but also puts across the fact that

“[We] know they bring it upon themselves but we are meant to be a community” (Spike, From the Side Line)

The final word that day went to Rob at Footygamer:

“Bang goes all hope of us hippy types bringing together some kind of harmony to the community” (Rob, Footygamer)

Before carrying on to look at other viewpoints, these last two quotes made me think. The scene has always been competitive – without the competition, they would be no need for the various quantity of blogs, resource sites, helpful guides and other areas on the internet that dedicated themselves to the game. No competition would result in just one big fansite – or even none at all, as writers would no doubt argue over whose articles are better written and more popular.

Competition can result in three main types of atmosphere within the scene:

1) An atmosphere in which each website is producing some top quality content to keep visitors going elsewhere

2) An atmosphere in which other websites attack/hack/spam their competition (typically seen in the younger generation)

3) An atmosphere in which rival websites try to put off visitors from going to other sites by writing what is often blunt and trueful apraisals of the competition.

TDS in my opinion falls into the third category here. What they are writing is not some sort of attack as such – just what the writer perceives to be an honest opinion. TDS is an odd website in the fact that it only, as of this moment, has produced articles that criticise the scene. One would expect to find a popular resource site vying for hits with another and producing something to keep readers coming back to them, but nonetheless this doesn’t mean that TDS is not qualified to cast an opinion of the scene. One should be able to criticise and praise another website without their own content being examined. It all harks back to schoolboy days: my dad has a better car than yours / but we have two cars / but we have a better house / but you smell / etc / etc.

On the next day, the saga continued. Saint and Greavsie were back with a further comment, provided by a different writer, which seems to sum up the general agreement that has now spread around the scene:

“If your not “with” the staff your not anyone.” (Niniev, Saint and Greavsie)

A member of the Throw In staff posted his own views on the forums, but this quote in particular was brought to my attention:

“Why do we feel the need to spend hours and days talking about the scene, when what we should really be focussing on is Football Manager?” (Toony, Throw In Forums)

Now this is could be quite a controversial point. Historical, the scene has always talked about itself. Since the days of yor, various websites have run competitions, reviews, guides and many other articles that look at the scene and other websites. The Football Manager scene is odd in this way: you wouldn’t pick up The Guardian to read a daily review of The Times, yet many websites pride themselves on scene-based content.

Spike followed up his earlier article by continuing the point raised above: that the Football Manager dedicated websites often offer more content about a similar Football Manager dedicated website.

“At the end of the day we are here to enjoy each others company and advice about football manager. A game.” (Spike, From the Side Line)

It is clear to see that this controversy has caused quite a debate – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, in my opinion I don’t see why it should warrant the sort of response that we have seen. Should I start abusing every member of the scene personally, attacking them for their religion, or abusing their family, then I would expect to be lambasted around the community. But as a writer of a website, I know that I have decided to publicly share my website with people. If you are prepared to put something into the public domain, you should also be prepared for the repercussions and the comments, be they good or bad. The original article from The Damn Scene was a collection of what could be coined as commonly-shared perspectives. It wasn’t an attack, it was a personally honest review. No-one can ever be wrong in their own personal feelings: you may not share their believes, but that doesn’t make them lower than yourself.

So Throw In and the members of the website and forums have no reason, in my opinion, to treat this article as some kind of trigger for World War Three. The Damn Scene has every right to publish their own views on any website they want without being subjected to a tit-for-tat war. Hell, I could spend 10 minutes finding many problems with Blog FM, and even if someone else did, I for one would not wish 40+ responses – many adding little to the real debate – to appear, especially if the author has put across some very valid points.

I’ll leave you with nimf’s view point, which is basically the whole of this article condensed:

“Why should a pointless article taking the piss out of another site aggravate such a reaction, I know it hurts to have your site insulted – but Throw In, one of the major players of the scene shouldn’t really be so overly sensitive.” (nimf, Crazy Team Talk)

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3 responses

24 01 2007
Throwing out Throw In « The Football Manager Wordpress Community

[…] Throwing out Throw In This article is originally taken from Blog FM  […]

24 01 2007
pitchside

Some interesting points and very well written. I think that a large part of the problem is that the scene/community (call it what you will) takes itself too seriously at times and suffers from an overdose of testosterone. Far too often people are lambasted for having and expressing an opinion that is different from the masses or which doesn’t suit a group’s agenda.

Events like this make me ever more happy to have distanced myself from the community forums and the scene in general.

24 01 2007
blogfm

I used to be a lot more involved in forums but I tend to stay away myself, unless promoting the website (something I did when we first opened, and left it at that). I think the scene can be a great thing – people work bloody hard on these websites and I’m glad we don’t see too much selfishness. The time to worry will be when other sites stop linking others – but this I can’t see happening, otherwise if every community site had no links on them, then 1) half would have nothing to talk about and 2) no-one would be able to find that website anyway, unless the search on google for a specific thing, trawling through pages of rubbish to find that single site!

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