Note: If someone pointed you here, you may have been or about to be tagged with #Report2STCATX. It might be time for you to really reflect on the way you’re engaging on social media.
Our social media life is everywhere. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Pinterest, Snapchat. The list goes on. What also, unfortunately, comes as a standard part of our social media lives are acts of cyber-bullying, trolling, and other such attacks that take many forms.
To be upfront and clear, the Organizational Team of the MLS in Austin Supporters Group does not condone any such behavior, either by our team, our members, or in our name by independent supporters of our movement. 100%. Full Stop.
We know many of you are frustrated by the ongoing and continued attacks, trolling, and attention-seeking of some Save the Crew members or those flying under the #SaveTheCrew hashtag toward our group and Austin soccer fans in general. However, we’ve also seen enough instances of frustration out of Columbus where Austin supporters are the starting point of provocation and trolling towards Crew fans. We ask all parties involved to end this now.
We are realists and know there’s always some level of undesirable posting on most Internet mediums. Twitter is especially bad, fueled by the relative anonymity of the service and poor moderation controls. We think we can and should all be better for the greater good of our respective causes.
While we want our fans to share their passion and enthusiasm online, we do ask the following:
Personal attacks — Not cool.
- Even if attacked yourself please leave it be and move on. This includes attacking but not tagging (subtweeting). Remember, these are real people behind the handles. Just don’t.
Jokes that would get you arrested at the airport — Don’t.
- Never talk of death, injury, or self-harm to others — even jokingly. Ever! This should be common sense.
Minimize, mute, block, and remove
- Minimize engagement with trolls on the commonly used hashtags or posts you’re directly attached to. By no means are we asking supporters to be a punching bag and tolerate attacks, but don’t act in a manner meant to just perpetuate the thread.
- Use the “mute conversations” and “block users” tools frequently. You’ll feel better.
- Remove accounts not related to the thread in your replies on Twitter. Simply tap the list of names and uncheck the boxes of accounts who really don’t need to be on the thread anymore. We don’t want Austin seen as the annoying Twitter following. Seriously. Please start doing this.
Media accounts are not fan accounts
- Recognize some media accounts are simply trying to share information that’s relevant to both supporters in Austin and Columbus and thus will use multiple ATX and StC hashtags.
- Don’t use these posts as a jumping off-point to get into it with Crew fans and vice versa and don’t attack the press. Even if you think they are biased, they’re just trying to report on what’s happening.
- They’re just doing their jobs and, we believe, are doing them well in both cities.
Austinites and Columbusites
- Please respect and refrain from commenting on each others hashtags. Specifically the #SaveTheCrew, #MLS2ATX or #AustinLovesSoccer hashtags.
Empathize and Understand….it can be done
- Crew fans are in a tough place as their team could be leaving their city.
- Austin fans are excited about MLS in our city for the first time.
- These are not mutually contradictory feelings. We’ve seen people in Ohio and around the country supportive of Austin and understanding of the situation Crew fans are in. We ask that Crew fans understand our excitement that is years in the making and we ask our Austin fans understand the Crew fans emotions, also years in the making.
- Debates on why the move could happen, of one city versus another, of one fan base over another, and other such back-and-forth are, at best, unproductive, and at worst hurtful and destructive to both our causes.
Demand better of your organizational leadership and yourself
- Be it the team coordinating your SG, your community movement, podcast hosts, or elected officials. These people set the bar for the community to follow. If they attack people and personalities instead of policy and positions – it can only go downhill from there. Demand a higher level of behavior and call it out when it’s not living up to those expectations — don’t cheer it on or pretend it’s not really happening.
- Do it and mean it. Don’t post about civility, then not follow through yourself.
We know there will be a minority that will continue to attempt to troll and speak negatively about Austin or Columbus. We know they live in a bubble where their perceptions don’t match reality and reasoning with them is very unlikely. We have seen civil discourses between the groups, but sadly it’s rare. We hope this is a step toward improving it, although we expect more lashing out in the weeks ahead through the official announcement of whatever is the end resolution to this saga. Our hope is that these very basic markers create accountability for us all to listen to each other a little better, enjoy being a fan, but understand what values we have as we do it.
The Mother’s Day Amnesty Program
Here’s our proposal going forward and what our SG intends to do. We hope our counterparts at Save the Crew will join us and do the same:
Any activities or incidents prior to May, 13th, 2018 will be forgiven and forgotten. We will also unblock all previously blocked accounts across our network. However, any clear activities brought to our attention after this date on Twitter should be reported using the hashtag: #Report2STCATX. Other social networks seem to have more adequate controls or less of a troll problem. There will probably be some early misfires as many will need to unlearn some reactive habits, but let’s try to minimize:
- All personal or organizational attacks including foul language
- Trolling: Posts with no purpose in moving the conversation forward, only to provoke or antagonize.
- Threats or encouragement or expressing a desire for harm or self-harm toward others.
- Spamming of hashtag-only replies or images
We ask that related groups on all sides check in on this hashtag periodically and ban and block the authors of any credible posts that violate what’s outside of the bounds of reasonable behavior — but not to stop good-natured busting of chops and friendly taunting. We are soccer supporters after all. The goal is to freeze the worst of offenders out of the conversation on all sides of it, not sanitize all discussion. It should also have a side effect: bringing to light those sympathetic to these kinds of negative activities within their network. This would be people not making attacks but retweeting them or egging them on. Each org and individual can decide their own tolerance parameters of course.
Additionally, our members who are linked to this activity will be reviewed by the Organizational Team and possibly suspended or banned and removed from the Supporters Group. We’ve managed to “out” the owners of some anonymous accounts in the past, so even that’s not a guarantee you won’t get caught by someone eventually. We’d like to see similar action from other organizations on this.
Have an idea on how to make this system better? Let us know.
You can feel “right” and be angry or you can accomplish your goals and be happy. It’s a binary choice.
Please rise above and let’s all better serve our communities when posting online.
PS: On the off-chance someone tries to spin this into a conspiracy theory, we are still extremely confident in MLS playing in Austin in 2019. However, we would like to act as a more positive force to ensure that The Crew remain in Columbus with a bright future. We’ve been consistant on this position, but want it more known that we’re also happy to engage in any constructive conversations with those in Ohio on ways to we can sincerely support this.
Thank you for your support!
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