A Word About Our Message Boards

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message boards fans
Fans haven’t been able to cheer on the Hokies since sports were shut down in mid-March. (Ivan Morozov)

It’s a tough time to be the admin of message boards.

That’s actually always a true statement, but since mid-March, when the country was shut down, it’s been even more of a slog.

Our message boards are, of course, sports boards. Normally, we do our best to prohibit discussion about the hot-button issues of politics, religion, and race. But in the spring/summer of this pandemic and social unrest, political and racial issues have bled over into sports in a big way, blurring the lines.

For example, discussion about national political issues usually has nothing to do with sports. But the virus discussion, which has been heavily politicized, has a lot to do with sports. The pandemic is determining whether or not sports will be played, and if so, how they will be played.

Here’s the fundamental problem with trying to properly moderate a message board in this era … there are two major reasons people visit our boards: (1) to commune and discuss with others in our Hokie community about important issues of the day, especially VT sports; and (2) to get away from discussions of important issues of the day, and just talk about sports.

Those two viewpoints are sometimes directly at odds with each other.

We do our best to foster a sense of community on our boards, to bring people together and create a place where people can discuss, share, and bond. A ton of you are virtual message board friends, and some of you are even personal friends. These are difficult times, and you want to navigate through them by discussing them with your (real and virtual) friends. This group wants to talk about the social and political issues of the day, not just the sports issues.

But the other, sports-only group, doesn’t want to see any discussion of the virus on the boards, because they’re coming here to get away from it.

If we delete non-sports-related coronavirus discussions, some visitors get mad that we’re clamping down on the ability of the community to discuss, and they threaten to quit visiting the site and to cancel their subscriptions. If we don’t delete those discussions, others get mad that we’re allowing those posts to stay up, and they threaten to quit visiting and to cancel their subscriptions. We can’t win.

So we ask that you be patient with each other, and with us here at Tech Sideline. This isn’t easy for anyone, and there are no right and wrong answers or easy paths for us to take here at TSL.

To give us a feel for how to proceed, please answer a few poll questions. Thanks, and hang in there.

Poll Questions for Users of Our Message Boards

We have prepared six poll questions about the message boards. If you don’t visit our message boards, there’s no reason to bother answering any of these questions. We’re looking for feedback from people who visit the boards, whether you’re a poster or just a reader.

As always, we have done our best to capture salient points in a poll format. We understand that these questions are more nuanced than what you see here, and polls do not capture nuance. Please do your best to answer the questions honestly.

For the time being, the pandemic has had a much bigger effect on our boards than the social unrest around the country, so the questions center on the virus.

What is your overall opinion of our boards and board moderation since coronavirus shut down sports (mid-March)?

  • The Same (60%, 1,230 Votes)
  • Better (6%, 130 Votes)
  • Worse (22%, 445 Votes)
  • Don't know/no opinion (12%, 239 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,044

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Do you think there has been too much non-sports-related and non-Virginia-Tech-related discussion of the pandemic on our boards?

  • Yes (46%, 924 Votes)
  • No (42%, 848 Votes)
  • Don't know/no opinion (12%, 252 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,024

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Do you think we should delete all discussion of the coronavirus, unless it relates to sports or Virginia Tech?

  • Yes (41%, 834 Votes)
  • No (50%, 1,026 Votes)
  • Don't know/no opinion (9%, 178 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,038

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Do you think we should let the board community openly discuss the pandemic, even if it's not sports related or Virginia Tech related?

  • Yes (42%, 852 Votes)
  • No (48%, 971 Votes)
  • Don't know/no opinion (10%, 192 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,015

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If you're visiting the boards less these days, what is the primary reason? (If you're not visiting less, don't answer)

  • Because there are no sports going on (65%, 1,039 Votes)
  • Because there's too much discussion about the virus and politics (23%, 364 Votes)
  • Other (13%, 204 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,607

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If you're a subscriber, are you considering canceling your subscription because of the current state of the message boards?

  • Yes (8%, 132 Votes)
  • No (85%, 1,492 Votes)
  • Not sure (8%, 136 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,760

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Thanks for the feedback. Remember, we just host these boards. They are your community, and you are responsible for the direction of the community. If you want people to speak more kindly, then speak kindly. If you want people to discuss sports more, then start a thread about sports. Our boards are what you make them.


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176 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Don’t bring any more of this to the Lounge. The Lounge used to be good but it has degenerated into a cesspool of non-stop political posts.

  2. Will, I started coming to this site eons ago because of the excellent content. That has only gotten better over the years (although I wish there was more content written by you personally). Rest assured I will remain a subscriber.

    As for the boards, they have always bothered me because of the snarky attitudes of many posters. I don’t bother with any of the free content boards at all; and even the subscribers-only board bothers me in this regard. I think that you and CC do a very good job of moderating but it’s impossible to be everywhere all the time. I do you have a couple of constructive suggestions: First, I feel miscreants who engage in repeated personal attacks or criticisms should get permanent bans. Another suggestion you may wish to consider is to require people using the subscriber board to use their real names in addition to (or in place of) their screen names. I think when people no longer have the anonymity of an avatar to hide behind, they are far more likely to be civil. Regardless, when the COVID situation eventually reverts to normal, I would appreciate a return to the traditional focus of the boards on VT sports.

    Finally, I feel the recent ability to discuss COVID and politics on TSL has revealed what I consider to be a hard-right political lean of a majority of posters. I understand and accept that people have the right to believe, and speak, as they wish. It’s a free country. For the record, I consider myself a moderate, and I enjoy civil discussion and debate. Obviously, the TSL membership is going to generally reflect the demographic of Virginia Tech alumni. People who have attended college are usually better off economically than the general population. VT alumni are overwhelmingly white, and most are native Virginians (e.g. Southerners). Many older subscribers grew up in a different era, under a different set of rules/norms. All these factors explain the overall tilt to the right, and I get it. But I wish people were more open-minded and less judgmental when discussions about COVID or the social justice movement occur. It may be instructive for readers to imagine themselves having worn a different set of life shoes.

  3. Thanks for the poll and opportunity to share opinions. Clearly a dynamic situation and nearly impossible task of creating a win-win situation. Therefore, the sustainability and longevity of the site you’ve created requires the same vigor and thought that enabled you to pivot over time across a number of business revenue business models. Treat this no differently.

    As you’ve grown, the opportunity to segregate customer and their value to your brand enabled TSL to expand your subscriber value whilst allowing some of the non value added work to merely drift away. Furthermore, with your investments into the podcast and video packages, its clear your value will continue to migrate toward a higher value subscriber content vs a sometimes vile-nasty comments from a (Free/paid) message board. Whether is a google site content threat or chapped subscribers threats to leave, in the end you have to stay true to your values and please yourself.

    Never allow noise to interfere with your music you & your band create…

    Let’s Go..Hokies!!!

  4. I visit the MBs more these days, especially when we were under stay at home orders. With no sports to discuss it’s just silly to block discussion of the pandemic. The TSL community means a lot to me and I enjoy reading everyone’s perspective during this bizarre time, it helps me cope. The subscriber MB is full of intelligent folks and discussion, why censor it? I see some folks insist that we not speak of anything but sports but these days that would be a short discussion indeed. I don’t understand that purist position and the subscriber’s MB has never been restricted to sports discussion only, a common misconception.

  5. I read the message boards for sports information. I really enjoy the podcasts. If there are discussions I’m not interested in I don’t read them. The only posters that upset me are the ones who run off someone who is an insider and has a lot of good information.

    1. Or claim to be or know an insider and butcher the facts along with a player’s/coach’s integrity.

  6. I will continue to share facts and call out posts who demonize the messenger and not the message. If that upsets the board hosts, then I agree with those who wish to ban covid postings.

  7. As someone who sometimes gets drawn into political conversations on the board, I wasn’t sure how I felt about this. I’ve even been put in “timeout” by Will once for starting some crap (I was just joking around, but he did the right thing). Even with that being the case, I very rarely start political conversations here. I am very interested in politics and have never been particularly quiet about my views on a few topics that cut close to home like LGBT rights (I’m gay) and BLM (I’m supportive). If I see someone using any kind of slur on the board, I’ll definitely call it out and happily spar with anyone who wants to defend that kind of crappy behavior.

    With all that said, after thinking it over, here’s my take. I NEVER want Tech athletics to become politicized. I don’t want to know if Fu or Mike Young are Republicans or Democrats. I don’t want them to Tweet about politics or pontificate on Jesus after big wins. If student athletes organically choose to do something like publicly praying at the games (not a fan) or kneeling during the anthem (I’d be all for it) that’s one thing, but I don’t want those activities mandated or encouraged by the coaches or administrators. If it happens, so be it. The field or court can be a platform for individual student athletes, but I’m not interested in overtly political or religious behavior by paid athletic department employees of Virginia Tech.

    Tech sports is one of the last spaces left where I can go hang out with people and not know or care about their politics because we’re all yelling for the same team and we all have the same O&M flag to rally around. I’d like the same to be true for the TSL message boards. It is definitely hard right now because the pandemic is impacting every aspect of our lives, but I’d prefer to just talk VT athletics when I come here.


  8. Thanks for giving us all an opportunity to give some feedback Will. Generally, the discussions seem fairly tame and easy to navigate around if I don’t happen to appreciate something that’s been said. Having said that, the “if you’re scared stay home” post that regularly pops up is offensive and has been the primary reason I’ve stayed away from the boards over the last couple of months.

  9. I’m on Twitter often enough to know that sometimes you see comments/discussion that you don’t agree with. When I visit the boards and see a discussion or debate about the virus, I ignore it because I’m not interested in reading comments about the virus on the TSL board. I will admit that it can be disheartening at times to see a long virus-related thread and very little discussion about VT sports, but I think that’s just where we are. It’s very hard for commenters to “stick to sports” when nearly everything happening in our society has a political angle to it. I don’t envy you as a moderator, but as a loyal subscriber, I know that “this, too, shall pass”, and I’m willing to wait it out.

  10. All Hokie, All the Time. Period.
    That’s at the top of every page on this site and the reason I am a subscriber.
    Not one person should be using these message boards as a source of information on COVID-19 or anything else political in nature. Not to trash our group, but the source of almost all of our information comes from anonymous posters and with COVID-19 and politics fake news is rampant and not what I have signed up for with this site.

  11. not trying to dump onto another group of posters,

    but isn’t the Lounge Board available and designed for non-sports
    discussion? .. it’s open for both subscribers and non-subscribers.
    i realize some well-intentioned sport-topic discussions have devolved
    from the originating poster’s sports intent, but if a person wants to talk
    political smack — go there and do so, hopefully respectfully of all who
    want to be involved in that discussion.

    direct posters to the Lounge or wherever by a vibrant visual alert at the top
    of the sports boards if they want to post political, social injustice, and
    other non-sports opinions.
    i know there are bots that recognize and pick-up on “clue words.” can
    they automatically redirect the post and/or the poster to whichever board
    is made available for said volatile topics – without taking WS or CC’s time?

    i hope TSL isn’t considering and doesn’t have to create another board just
    for this divisive subject, which hopefully goes away sooner than later.

    thanks TSL, for being concerned about us and the integrity and quality
    of your boards, and our on-TSL time and minds.

    1. Agreed put those posts on the Lounge or make a specific board if people really want to discuss this. I personally don’t want to see it and do just move past them. It is too divisive and if you are demonized no matter what side you are on.

  12. In these times, COVID-19 (and honestly, a lot of the minor politics associated with it) can and does affect college football, college sports, and VT athletics in particular. I really don’t want to see excessive conspiracy theories, but where this disease is headed, and may be headed, really does have to do with the future of VT athletics.

  13. TSL will always be our go-to place for all things VT. Even in the era of COVID-19 and presidential elections, TSL is the only place. Will, Chris, Evan, Malcolm, etc. you’re the best. Yayyyyyy TSL

  14. The answer is simple. If it has to do with football, take it to the football board. If it has to do with basketball, take it to the basketball board…etc., etc. If it is any thing other than that take it to the Lounge or bring back the UWS board.

  15. I’d suggest requesting that all Covid posts that are not related to sports be posted on the lounge board.

  16. The biggest issue seems to be a relatively small number of people who always have a political axe to grind and who are not very interested in keeping discussion respectful. I think of this place as being kinda negative with a lot of partisan fighting, but when I look more closely it seems like most posters are pretty good. It’s a small group that wants to attack. Bring down the banhammer.

  17. covid-19 has affected every aspect of life so I enjoy seeing discussions on the boards. I actually started visiting the lounge over the last few months to get covid-19 updates and I never really visited the lounge before the pandemic. This is the offseason so I don’t think people should be mad about pandemic posts on the sports boards.

  18. Why not just make 2 new (hopefully temporary) boards:

    1: Coronavirus General
    2: Coranvirus as it pertains to sports

    Then you can easily engage or ignore it as you see fit. 🤷‍♂️

  19. I am a physician and appreciate the life experiences expressed on TSL, Covid-19 is affecting all of us. Unfortunately most of our information is anecdotal an at best, poor science, which leads us to believing our perceptions. I do regret the vitriol and antipathy that creep into the posts. The Hokies often break my heart but I have always had the “next game or “next season” to recharge my hope, and this board is replete with like-minded fans. I come to the board to be with those fans. Covid-19 is nasty, cancer mean, the heart of VT is not.

  20. For awhile I read COVID related posts on the boards and (as a health care provider) tried to reply to some of them, and asked for questions a couple of times. But at this point I’m just sick to death of the subject, and I don’t care about “speech rights” either — just censor it all. This is not a public or government entity, it’s entirely private and the First Amendment does NOT apply. I don’t really want the Lounge to be an exception either — in a “no sports” time period, more conversation goes on there than on the sports boards.

    When the UWS thing was created, most posters were pretty happy about it and weren’t shy about telling people to take their conversations over there — and the main boards got cleaned up. And then when that board was deleted, people were even happier — and STILL called out people bringing up UWS subjects. I am thinking the majority of posters will behave the same around COVID and be happy to call out violators.

    I hate politics. The political world no longer involves debate — it’s just a game of “gotcha”. And now medicine has become politics. So get rid of it all.

    1. i feel your pain – but burying our head in the sand wont fix anything either…debate is the only thing that separates us from animals…

  21. tough situation all around, but this is a “VT sports” board. It is not a politics board. The country is divided. While we all love Hokie sports, we are divided in our political views. You said you are the host but we make the boards what we want them to be – well that’s not easy to do when you have divided agendas. If people are allowed to interject their personal politics into your VT sports boards, it will be a cesspool, and as we approach November it likely will get worse. If people need an outlet to inject their political views, redirect them to another site.

  22. Keep up the good work TSL, I’m here to talk football and this is a great outlet. Don’t let the losers with political motives hi jack everything you all have and will continue to do. I will always renew my membership for football content and you do a great job. Tell the other nerds that hate on anybody to kiss off.

  23. Meh….. no worries here. I enjoy the VT sports info immensely. I enjoy some of the personalities and characters that come here to have a good time. I can’t and don’t let negativity bother me much, no desire to be that way cause life is just too sweet. I read the COVID threads occasionally but certainly don’t use any of that discussion to color my behavior as even the scientific experts and physicians haven’t agreed about much and even the so called stats floating around are colored by politics. If I read something “offensive” ( or stupid) I just move along. I appreciate what we have here and think it is invaluable. Yep, would also love to play for national championships every year but am clever enough to just enjoy where we are and be hopeful about where we are going. Thanks Will and all… you are appreciated.

  24. The virus posts are too much. There are several posters who feel as if their opinions are the only ones that are valid and if anyone else dare to make a counterpoint, they are just blasted. The virus talk on this board has mimicked the real world- it’s just polarizing and divisive. While I visit the boards a few times a day, it’s less than before because I just usually leave angry.

    There are too many wanna-be moderators who insult, intimidate and criticize others. This includes VT spirts, the virus, politics. Etc.

    1. Yeppers, the same 12-15 knuckleheads fighting about the virus and football in the fall. Banish these fools to ” the Lounge” and make the football board palalible again. Please and thank you

  25. I’ve only on the recruiting board for the last several months…haven’t seen much corona talk

    1. I generally keep to the recruiting board too. If anything, I come to the site less because there isn’t much there. I used to run home to get updates on camp offers/evals. Now, subscriber board is loaded with good mornings and best athlete birthday voting, not upset at those but that’s not why I used to be addicted. Recruiting isn’t possible here, just received 2 verbals from players I’ve never heard of.
      I joined when still at VT. I gave a ride to Demetrius (sp?) Taylor and Ike Whitaker when they were freshman, knew where they were from and a little about them. They were excited fans knew about them.
      I used to read RaleighHokie review of games to my father and we would talk games out for over an hour. There was a GT game that was legendary coverage.

      Anyway, it’s not COVID for me, it’s most discussion doesn’t help me connect with current team. The Cole Beck arguments were just as annoying.

  26. You have to be pleased with the answer to #6. Keep up the good work!

    The way I have always looked at things is that we are all Hokies, all one family. Like all families there are times for disagreement but we would not be tuning in if we did not care.

  27. The Mods often get personally involved and have way too much individual ban power. A mod on the virus thread should not be able to ban discussion on the entire site over a post that the mod didn’t like.

  28. I have complained a couple of times about non sports political leanings on the board and it was met with mixed comments.
    Website folks said they do what they can but cannot delete all. My feeling is when it starts getting political it will be a nasty board sort of like a Facebook.

  29. I have been hanging around since ’98 and no longer subscribe but do think you offer a solid product here. VT football is just not as exciting anymore. I have also recently shutdown Twitter and Facebook and the current civil unrest and craziness out there pushed me over the edge finally. I am also a 20 year hokie club member and golden hokie who has pumped a lot of money into the VT athletic department over the years and after this year will be walking from that and my long coveted season tickets. I have learned over the past few years and more recently on Twitter that our players do not share my values and have been appalled at things retweeted. The university as a whole no longer shares them either. It’s time to make my money speak for me. To be honest though college sports are completely out of control anyway. Boosters are funding things like 5 star on campus dining facilities and nap rooms for a bunch of ungrateful and whiney college athletes.

    1. Refreshing to hear the truth as sad as it is spoken. Professional sports are no a platform for politics and radical anti American groups and money. College sports are sadly moving in that direction also. Its not enough the players are getting their college education paid for. Now we have to pay them and now even the stars on teams will get even more money unlike the average team contributing player going to school to get an education. It’s all very troubling.

    2. thank you hokiees:
      + for your faithful support in presence as well as financially over the years!
      + for your honest opinion which i think a lot of us “traditional Hokies” share
      to one degree or another.

      i have not quite given up on “ole VT” quite yet. but i am beginning to think …
      with “college amateur sports” already greed, money and “me” contaminated
      and accelerating toward and adopting the “professional profit model.”
      i guess i still have too many vivd remembrances of the1973 NIT cinderellas,
      the Miracle in Morgantown, and our Belk comeback victory (to name a few)
      that make me remain hopeful Virginia Tech and maybe college amateur sports
      will not go the way of the do-do.

      “We Are Virginia Tech!” can “We Will Prevail” again?

  30. Already cancelled subscription, couldn’t handle all the Caronabros, sorry if this offends…not.

  31. I may actually be visiting the boards more, but it is not for the pandemic discussion. It is because in this environment I am starving for any VT news to especially how recruiting is going. This is going to be on extremely odd year for recruiting.

    1. Agreed ^ going to the boards is an easy comfort area, a lite version of having virtual happy hours with friends and family

  32. Is there a way to tag and filter the non-sports related topics? Allow the user to get the experience they’re looking for.

      1. see now Nokie, your comment is what pisses people off about you and your attitude or attempt to police what goes on with these boards. you sometimes jump in on every post when it might be more advantageous for you just to keep your mouth shut

        1. That’s pretty extreme. I don’t often agree with NokieHokie, but he keeps the discussion lively and makes the site more interesting (at least to me) than it would be otherwise. The people who seem to claim “moral superiority” with their posts from on-high is what I don’t like. To get political here, if it were not for the people who despise Donald Trump and his supporters, I would not like Trump at all. But he pisses off the people who are precisely the ones who need to have someone piss them off. I love to see them miserable.

          1. I can’t believe you can’t control yourself from getting political…even on a survey about how to deal with people getting too political on a sports message board. Unbelievable. I really feel for Will and Chris. This is exactly the kind of post that annoys me, and probably half of the community that comes here to read about VT sports.

  33. Truth – I am tired as hell of the PC crap that has filtered into every facet of America including these boards. If you can not post a political opinion for fear of getting banned and no sports are happening why even bother. Try to post something humourous and you usually get replies from the distinct few that monopolizes the board and view themselves as the moderator of all posts, as well as, their own personal chat room to hang out in all day.

    Franky, half the time I post anything, I come away disgusted I posted anything at all. I don’t even bother reading the articles anymore, save Clemson, it is a second rate football league and we are not one of the top dogs in basketball and the humor is very sterilized. Becoming the Lawrence Welk of message boards.

  34. I would do whatever is easiest to run your business. That is your decision and I respect wherever you land. I recognize this is a message board but I’d rather you and Chris manage Hokie content than monitor the behaviors of supposedly grown men. I would have no tolerance for doing that, and you shouldn’t either. You are running a business, not a nursery.

    1. Agree 100%. Run it how you believe you need to and if any whiny babies 😩 don’t like it…at least you will have made a biz decision that’s best for your business. I Can do with or without whichever you decide on, and frankly cannot believe that some can’t just scroll past what offends them, or take a gentle kind retort without getting nasty, although frankly, they are often good entertainment also! 🥳🤣.

      I think the bigger issue is when will Tech rename team to the BLACKSBURG FOOTBALL TEAM?!😳

      An even bigger issue is why the heck are getting ACC championship capabilities as a non ACC football member.

      1. very true!

        how desperate, deluded and gullible is the acc and ourselves as a non-dissenting member!!

  35. I could do without the political and racial discussions (arguments)… other than that, i’m good.

      1. You would think. But, as a physician, it no longer seems possible to have that discussion sans political overtones. Exhausting and off putting regardless of whichever way you might lean. I just want to lean towards VT sports (sports being the last arena in which you can wear your prejudices on your sleeve) but finding that refuge is harder as this discussion/poll illustrates.

    1. Agree on keeping politics off the boards. Don’t think all non-sports issues should be banned because other hokie life experiences are often fun to hear about.

  36. Just this week I dropped long-held subscriptions to the Roanoke Times and 247. Will is absolutely correct that being forced to do without things brings about permanent changes in people. Not only has my interest slipped for sports, but I am pretty sure after all this is over that my wife and I won’t go out nearly as much for entertainment purposes, and we may end up getting rid of streaming TV. I’ll likely also not renew mlb.tv next season, something I’ve subscribed to since 2008.

    The silver lining for my wife and I is that we’ve discovered enjoyable ways to pass time that we rarely did or made time for for in the past: gardening/landscaping, reading, cooking new and different meals, or simply hanging out by the pool with a drink.

    Like many of us, I used to live and die by the bounce of the ball, but it just doesn’t seem that important any more. Maybe it will pass, and I’ll come to my senses, but this is how it feels at this moment.

    1. Honestly, this is a silver lining that I’m hoping for. T.o quote a Bob Dylan son “you shouldn’t let others get your kicks for you” I feel the coronavirus is teaching a lot of people they’ve got nothing going on which, paradoxically makes them angry, someone’s fault they’re not getting entertained. Yep, it’s a slower pace but take a walk, learn some new recipes, heck, create a drink-of- the-month club, learn to tie a bowtie but I suspect it will be more satisfying rather than the latest fix.

    2. congratulations on your new discoveries! HokiePride.
      well said; follow your heart. (but we know you’re both still Hokies at heart.)

  37. Been here really since 1995 I think it was and Will has always done a splendid job…I would like to ban all discussions on Covid because
    99 percent of the commentary is opinion or narrative and NOT science…board members are not capable if keeping the posts just to facts or articles published because that is not what an internet board is..

    I am guilty too…maybe relegate the discussion to the Lounge because otherwise this is going to turn into a political cesspool and I likely will be one of the worst as Election Day approaches..

    There are PLENTY of great football only articles and discussions that can be had…I am like one of the other responders to this question…I come here for inside info on recruiting and local Hokie happenings and I want to get away from this Covid 19 garbage if only for a brief few minutes…Thank you Will, you are a tremendous guy!

    1. I am a fan of relegating it to the Lounge, unless it directly sports related. I.E. Michigan St. Quarantines the football team for 14 days. I know that can be a gray area though.

  38. Will…no walking on eggshells from me. I have been a long time subscriber of TSL because you have delivered content, information, and a place for the Hokie Nation to keep up with VT sports and talk about them..WITHOUT also being a home for ANYTHING ELSE. I have cut WAY back, or stopped, watching the major so-called “news media” AND social media because I don’t value hate-filled, divisive, and melodramatic and political drivel that they posture as “news”. If you are able to control the amount of “non VT sports – related” content to a manageable level, I’ll continue to be a loyal subscriber. If you can’t, I will be gone. In the meantime, thanks for being true to your mission. You know what you are doing, you understand the changes that are taking place and how they impact what you are doing with your business. I have no doubt you will do all YOU can do to make things work for TSL and your customers and advertisers (except Google 🙂 maybe ). I’m not as confident that the relatively small group of posters who are turning TSL into another Twitter or Facebook will allow you to please both the VT sports “purists” and the “activists” who come to TSL to stir the pot. Let me know if I can help. I mean that.

  39. I think we all agree that Sports has changed in a not so great way long before the pandemic….And The 5 Year Blah feel with regards to our football program, now this hits and everything has turned into a Crap Show….Suppose we didn’t have the pandemic would your mindset be different as this is Critical time for FU and program??? How Much enthusiasm is left in people with the current state of our program???

    Times are Tough and there really isn’t an easy way to navigate thru this….Message Boards are the perfect place for people to unwind and get stuff off their chest during these crazy times…..

  40. As I responded in the polls, I have no issue with the pandemic being discussed on these boards while sports are essentially on hiatus. It’s when people get too aggressive, the I’m right and you’re wrong posts, the “denier” posts ( both ways), and the posters that have suddenly become self proclaimed experts, that take it over the line of being okay.

  41. Might I suggest during the pandemic that you create a special board just for that type of discussion so that instead of deleting those posts you can give people a place for those discussions without bothering people who come to the boards to avoid those discussions.

    1. I would consider a corona board that is nearly unmonitored. Or is this too close to the UWS board…..

  42. What the survey does not address is the purpose of specific boards. I am not terribly troubled by what I see, but I have observed an uptick of posts on the Subscribers board that are not VT sports related and are more appropriate for the Lounge or some version of the old UWS board. Keep sports where sports belongs, including the impact of COVID on sports, but keep the politics elsewhere.

    1. The idea that all non-sports discussions should be on the Lounge *sounds* like a good idea, but what most people who don’t frequent the Lounge don’t realize is that it has its own weird, deep culture that is not welcoming to non-regulars. (Actually, I think I just described every message board on the Internet.)

      Bluntly put, if posters who are used to posting on the Subscriber board are told to go over to the Lounge instead, and they’ve never been over there, many of them will be shocked and off-put by the volume of snarkiness, inside jokes, and mocking that goes on over there. Subscribers would go over looking for a serious discussion on a topic, and when you do that on the Lounge, 90% of the time, you don’t get what you’re looking for, and it winds up just being irritating.

      The Lounge is not a solution to this, folks. People pay a subscriber fee to have reasonable discussions and be treated with respect (go ahead, laugh). That doesn’t happen on the Lounge, which is a free board.

      Sorry, Lounge Lizards, but it’s true. I no longer go over to the Lounge to ask serious advice on a serious question. I stick to the Subscribers-Only board. If I want to have a fun time on a topic not associated with sports, that’s when I go to the Lounge.

      1. 100% true. As a longtime Lounge lurker and only occasional poster, I know the Lounge is the red headed stepchild of the boards. However, the most frustrating part of the COVID discussion on the Lounge is that the primary posters (those starting and/or extending threads) are exactly what you describe Will, and the threads turn into rehashing the same narrative, partisan squabbles over and over. As odd a place as the Lounge is, it is becoming unenjoyable even for those of us who get (most of) the inside jokes.

  43. You can’t please everyone. You provide a great product and have always done a good job of reigning in heated discussions, but allowing for the civil free flow of ideas. Don’t obsess over pleasing everyone.

  44. Will, i just ignore that stuff (discourse much worese on 247).

    Maybe a “Subsriber only” board for non football things. probably get worse, just a thought.

  45. I haven’t really been active since I got suspended for a whole week for discussing VT sports, specifically Landers Nolley’s terrible shooting statistics, on the Subscribers’ message board. WTF? My post included no obscenity, no vulgarity, and no politics (which is apparently cool). Was I snarky? You betcha because I had a season’s worth of stats to support my argument and he was frustrating to watch as a fan. But I guess freedom of speech isn’t a thing here because I got suspended without warning or just cause. No sooner was I suspended than Nolley transferred and college sports were cancelled. Consider that karma from the AD. Overall, I haven’t really missed it.

    1. You aren’t alone I thought Nolkey was completely overrated as well. 3-2-1 Clank. I posted that several times but never got suspended.

    2. Thing is there is NO freedom of speech on the boards. It is a private entity and you are NOT entitled to any kind of freedom of speech, any expectation of that is a YOU issue. The owners of TSL are COMPLETELY within their rights to ban anyone they want to without cause at all. Those are facts. I suspect that the business would suffer tremendously if they exercised that freedom, but freedom and rights come with consequence, so good and some not.

      1. I don’t agree with your opinion AT ALL. If I’m paying $85 a year, I expect to be able to discuss VT sports on the subscribers‘ message board in a respectful manner. FWIW, here was the offending post. Hindsight is 20/20.

        Hey, stop me if you’ve heard this before, Nolley goes 4-11 FG (2-6 3pt)

        Glad to finish 16-16 and happy for what the future holds but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that Nolley is the worst shooting shooting guard that I can ever remember. His game splits tell the story over ACC conference play. Maybe he needs a vision test and some rec specs, or a sports psychologist. He is a liability at this point.

        Really think we need a better point guard, too. I know it’s an unpopular opinion on this message board and I haven’t seen it addressed in articles, but Bede shot 37%-FG, 23%-3pt, & 50%-FT. Those are just terrible numbers for a starting PG in the ACC.

        Bullish on Cone, Radford, Cattoor, Ojiako, and the coaching staff. Hopefully the incoming freshmen can contribute right away like the current class. The future is indeed bright. We’re on to next season.

  46. I rarely post but frequently read the boards. It is obvious that the pandemic is in the forefront of most minds and while I already have my opinions it is healthy for me to see what others are thinking. It’s a lifelong lesson to remind myself that everyone doesn’t agree with my train of thought. I am OK with the banter until it becomes personal…at that point stick them in the penalty box and ban repeat offenders.You are doing a good job of walking a tightrope and as the survey question points out there is only so much sport to be discussed right now.

  47. I don’t visit the site with the same level of enthusiasm as in the past, and even the Sub board has descended into “dumpster fire” territory IMHO. It is just a small version of our country’s current state. “IF YOU DON”T AGREE WITH ME THEN I WILL DO ALL I CAN TO SHOUT YOU DOWN, BECAUSE YOU ARE AN IDIOT”. The days of saying, I don’t share your viewpoint, but I willing to listen to your thoughts” are long passed it seems. I find that it seems to be the same small group of posters that feel they have a stranglehold on the “facts/truth/viewpoint, that find a way to make sure any thread they don’t agree with is taken into a cesspool. Also, I don’t get why people think they have a “right” to post whatever they feel like, this is NOT a public conveyance, and TSL can edit the board in any manner they choose! YOU DO NOT HAVE “1ST AMENDMENT RIGHTS ON TSL!!
    So I visit less frequently, and just scroll past those discussions that appear to have nothing of value for me. Having said that, if the choice is to not monitor the boards, then I plan to start posting my own version of the truth and engaging all the knuckle dragging idiots that don’t agree with me…….unfortunately, I suspect I need to make sure to advise that last comment was done “TIC” and meant to be sarcastic….

  48. The lock downs have made me focus on other interests since March. I know a handful of TSL posters who have moved on to other things the past few years. Some have simply gotten bored with Tech sports and others have found better ways to spend their time. Some of us are just getting older and have decided to move on to more important matters in life. With each new day into this pandemic, I find myself further distancing from all sports and even Virginia Tech. If there’s no football this fall or any other Tech sports, I’ll probably move on myself. I am close to at least a dozen TSL posters who feel the same way.

    1. We (TSL) are definitely not going to be the same when we come out the other end of this. I have been saying all along that once people start to do without something — as the pandemic is forcing many people to do, not just with TSL but many things in their lives — they decide they won’t go back to it.

      1. Sadly, none of this is your fault. You’ve done the best that you can do with what you’ve been given. I know a few people who have lost their businesses the past 3-4 months because of the pandemic. I’m hoping and praying that TSL and other businesses make it through these unusual times. I’m hanging in there like a lot of people. If we ever needed college football, it is this fall.

  49. I vote to mandate that any non VT-sports COVID discussions be confined The Lounge. I lost a 49-year old family member to COVID two nights ago, and I haven’t been spending time on the message boards because it’s just unpleasant to talk about the pandemic in light of his death.

    Hang in there Will and Chris. You are doing fine, and I am keeping my subscription regardless.

    1. I disagree that Covid should be relegated to the Lounge. I have generally found The Lounge to be the most fun board to read and occasionally post (especially lately without sports) because it’s different (in a fun and good way). I tend to think of it as stopping by the neighborhood bar (lounge) for a drink and small talk with people I know and don’t know. It’s generally been pleasant and a diversion from serious stuff. When The Lounge gets unruly I think of it as guys getting drunk and starting a fight. Bouncers have to show up and throw them out. We all know what the rules at the bar are. Don’t act crazy. Don’t start a fight. Don’t pour/spill your beer on someone else. And don’t bring up highly controversial topics that will lead to these. There are some posters who feel that they should be able to speak their minds. They have the legal right, but don’t do it at the neighborhood bar. Do it at home. TSL is a community space, not your living room, even if that’s where your computer is.

  50. I look at the boards a lot less than I used to due some posters mainly on the subscription board that always have an answer for everything and they snap back at other posters. Not very enjoyable. Also, a very few posters always enjoy letting one know that they are close buds with a lot of higher ups as well as milking a death in their family of years ago. So I just go to other boards.

  51. Posters could help this situation by making better use of “the lounge” board. Maybe add a note where we type in messages suggesting, is this message more appropriate for the lounge. Maybe add a link to the lounge board.

  52. Your concerns and efforts in this regard seem woefully irrelevant when compared to the level of repugnance and ignorance being exhibited by US “sports” entities and players. The idea of escaping politics through sports is long gone…and it wasn’t the fans that created this cesspool.

  53. I will remain a Techsideline subscriber regardless of the results of this survey. The Boards have been a great escape from the pandemic which is pretty overwhelming. The pandemic is occupying the lives of everyone in the world, but any sports insight into VT I can get is a welcome distraction. Is the team working out — what are the gains/losses? Is the team organizing practices? What is the basketball team doing this summer? Has UVA opted to conduct Zoom football practices?

    While this is an outlet for me to escape COVID, I understand fully that this maybe an outlet for someone else to vent about COVID; and I respect that.

    Therefore, Will and Chris, do what you think is best and thanks for maintaining this site.

  54. You could confine the COVID discussions to the Lounge, and forbid misinformation.

    1. Not sure if you are serious, but if you are, how exactly do you “forbid misinformation”? To me that implies content moderation, which means a person or group is deciding what is “true”. The purpose of discussion boards is discussion, which can’t happen when someone is making a determination of what is true, especially in an environment when every source of “facts” seems to have a bias or an agenda.

    2. Lounge for non-sports related Covid discussions i.e. nothing about sports in post.

      Forbid Misinformation – Good Luck almost all information in media today is poisoned with bias from the left or the right.

  55. For me, it’s not the fact that these issues are discussed, it’s the fact that when they are, the discussion inevitably descends into the spread of misinformation, and intolerance and disrespect of differing opinions. The majority are respectful and civil, but there are just enough who aren’t to keep me away from wanting to post much at all. I’ve been a subscriber for many years, but rarely post on the boards; and this has always been the reason.

  56. Mindless positivity about VT programs with little to no evidence for it annoys me far more than COVID discussion.

    1. Mindless positivity about VT programs without much evidence for it is the main thing I like about TSL. I come here to be entertained and have fun listening to everyone that hopes for more and better good things about our Hokie sports teams. Anything resembling griping and sniping about players or coaches, etc., is a big turn off, as is people griping about all the other problems in the world. That is virtually unavoidable elsewhere; I don’t need it here.

  57. I support TSL because it is a great resource for Tech information and I think all of you guys do a great job. I don’t support TSL bc of the folks on the message boards interested in delivering their political message of the day. I just skip them and move on to what interests me. Keep up the great work fellows!

  58. I agree on the coach/team/recruit negativity – thats the main reason I dislike the boards these days…but no where near thinking about leaving…TSL has been a blessing during this time. But regarding COVID and TSL – I read the TOS and cant see where debatable discussion on COVID are against them (TOS). To impact, change, adjust, peoples behaviors in one of our most important times in 100 yrs – or to at least discuss the asteroid heading right at the USA – should be totally allowed. Those that dont want to read it – just DONT and breeze on by. Those that want to debate in a civil way (even with politics included) should be allowed.

    1. Its not COVID itself per se, it is invariably the discussion devolves into either the science someone links is crap OR leadership isn’t doing enough, which then devolves into a political battle.

      I voted to remove COVID discussions except how it relates to sports/VT, not because I don’t want to talk about COVID itself, but eliminate the end result that invariably happens.


      1. Not sure how you would discuss COVID w/o talking science and leadership – but it should not get to politics for sure. Its impact on sports and economy are obvious…but debatable for sure…

  59. Honestly ignore non football related posts so my response is with a caveat. Strongly recommend deleting all Covid, social, or political posts from any of the non lounge boards. It’s okay to discuss things like when we think the season will start due to covid. This is a sports message board and that’s why most fans come here. Allowing a free for all will turn it into a yahoo message board. There is a reason why the likes of Foxnews.com, espn.com, and nfl.com don’t allow comments on their articles any longer and I hate to see this turned into that.

    So my suggestion is delete those messages that don’t adhere to your rules, warn repeat offenders, and deactivate their membership if need be.

    1. Agree, this is a great response. There are plenty of places to talk politics only 2-3 places to talk about VT sports.


  60. I just dropped my subscription to Techsidelines because it’s no longer enjoyable to read. Too much politics & constant negativism from the same posters. I used to look forward to coming to TSL and hopefully finding insider posts (Hokie83 et al) but the negative posters appear to have caused them to quit posting.

    Unfortunately, (for me) the posting trends that have caused me to cancel don’t appear to be changing and to be the preference of many on the board.

    I wish you & TSL well and am very happy to have found your site many years ago.

    1. I do not like all of the pandemic and related political discussions on the board. So I just ignore them. Makes my life and visits to TSL much simpler and more bearable.

      1. I don’t like the C19 talks one bit. I hate Facebook for the same reason, everyone is talking and no one is listening. The boards are becoming more like Facebook and less like TSL boards. Seems as if everyone has their Fox News viewpoint, or their CNN viewpoint and then there becomes actual science, and then it is all disregarded. The best of TSL has been to come and listen (inside info from 83, MBHokie, CC, Will…articles, interviews w/ recruits)…but much like Facebook, we have more talkers, less listeners, less Hokie fans, less Hokie FB or BB related discussion in general. If people want to just have their political viewpoint then go to politcal sites that agree with you. I mean there has been news talking of 3 pods in the ACC for football, the 9 + 1 scenario, ND possibly being eligible for the ACC title and the Hokies FB being ranked as high as #18 in preseason mags, not to mention a ton of July commits…but it is getting less airplay then all talk and no listening or discussion on C19.

    2. heck there was more vitriol on the Sub board in discussing football before the pandemic. I follow the mantra of “nobody knows nuttin” . Seems to fit with C19 discussion. no problems here!

  61. I answered the poll. I have not renewed my subscription yet. Not just these boards but our country cannot have a civil discussion anymore. I don’t agree with you, you don’t agree with me. Let’s discuss both sides. Doesn’t happen you verbally assault me with snarky comments or on these boards the common reply is “it’s a message board you don’t like me attacking you personally for what you say. Don’t come here. That is where I think I am on renewing or not. Enough negativity in our country all ready than needing more of it on a message board. Let’s discuss and leave personal attacks out of it.

    Go Hokies!

  62. Will support you guys but I’m not on here as much any more. I work at an Atlanta hospital and I get my fill of SARS2 every day. I get tired of coming here and seeing the misinformation (a friend of a friend who’s cousin works at a doctor’s office…..) and it reminds me of Facebook. Hanging in there for now – I realize that it’s tough on you and Chris.

  63. I have visited the boards the same and I don’t mind the pandemic discussions as it relates to sports or recruiting. However I move away when it gets technical and people are arguing back and forth. That could be suppressed somehow. I will say that Techsideline has be a welcome outlet during this time .

  64. when I see a long discussion about the virus or politics, I may simply skip past that discussion. So I voted no opinion on several questions because it really doesn’t bother me. There is not much going on with VT sports right now so my guess is that you have to cut the virus and politics posters some slack. I have noticed some informative posts on the virus as to what might happen to fall sports. Also, I have posted several times regarding things happening at the University that are not sports related, but definitely VT related (fundraising, construction, academics, etc.) I assume that is ok to do. I am interested in VT sports and any other VT related topic. Perhaps more of us should use the Lounge board.

  65. Honestly, I find there is too much discussion on the message boards about other posters. When you start having new posts where the premise of the post is to discuss another poster the boards become a waste. I don’t read a sports message board to get the latest options on an anonymous poster.

  66. Unfortunately, EVERYTHING is political in 2020 {or can be taken politically}… crappy year.

  67. Frankly, for some this is the only place to discuss current events such as Covid, especially since there is so much sheltering. It is absolutely a way to let off steam. Hopefully, it will be allowed to continue, even if only n in the Lounge. I’m sure that’s a major topic in most real lounges or bars

    I’m sure most everyone will abide by any changes that you make, if any. Thanks for hosting a place that some of us can have relatively good conversations. I learn a lot here.

    Now get off my lawn.

  68. I’m following the boards more since there’s no sports (at least I can talk about sports here). I hate to see these issues divide great friends and fans here. I certainly don’t want people to leave the boards. I know they’re important to you financially but, I believe they’re important for us and VT athletics as well. My first thought was to send all purely political & covid discussion to the Lounge but, I don’t want to dirty that board either. For the mental and physical health of the entire board it’s probably best for us all to just not talk about it. I really don’t think we’re changing each others minds on the issues. I think you’re doing a good job moderating the boards, keep it up.

  69. I tend to side more with open discussion, but if all the COVID-19 discussion got nuked, I’d understand. Especially after hearing that Google will steal your ad revenue.

    Plus, there’s also board themes that can make certain discussions more appropriate than on other boards.

  70. Will,

    I think you should all the covid conversations to the Lounge. That seems like the appropriate place for them.

  71. Build a COVID Board – then when this thing trends better – it won’t disappear, we can delight in watching an ENTIRE BOARD get nuked!!!

    1. Please make a separate board for the virus as many of us go to board to get away from all the political opinions about the virus you can watch TV 24/7 to hear everything about virus

          1. He did that for 9/11, caused major issues about a year later. He won’t do that again.


  72. I would have had different poll answers depending on which of the boards we’re talking about.


    Delete ALL non VT/sports posts on Football board, even if one could make a roundabout connection.

    Allow plenty of other discussions on the Lounge, but still remove really objectionable material, not looking for UWS.

    Allow some discussion of other things on TSL Pass, but have a little stricter threshold than the last couple months – I’ve been guilty as well.

    People can pick and choose which board to read, knowing what they might run into.

    Also understand from a business perspective you want people to read as many of the boards as possible.

  73. I voted “other” on the reason for visiting the boards less. By that I meant that pandemic or social issues are okay with me but the sanctimonious opinions are not. As in “my facts are right” and “your facts are not”. Where did all the infectious disease and constitutional law experts come from? I think “honest debate” about these issues and passing on of information gathered is helpful. It may give us hope for a resumption of sports or a resumption of our lives. We need to quit dismissing opposing views as false or political when the views we put out are, in fact, sometimes false or political. Let’s just agree to disagree.

    1. Partially agree. As a physician who DOES have expertise in these areas, I was getting very annoyed with the vast amount of misinformation that was being posted as “fact” so there was lots of “passing on of information” that was actually misinformation. Hard to have an honest debate when that is the case (and you allude to that). I communicated with Will about this and we had a discussion about some of the items he is polling us about above. Tough situation for Chris and Will.

  74. I encourage open discussion about non-sports related issues…. but I thought that was what “The Lounge” was for… can such posts/messages be redirected there and let the debate rage on?

  75. Didn’t there used to be a “Hide” or “collapse thread” button? That might solve the issue. Maybe put a .wav file to the button so every time you hit it, it make a nuclear-bomb detonation sound. Seriously…. MAKE THAT HAPPEN. And when you do that, the thread on the feed isn’t just the first line of the thread, but a solid maroon or orange dashed line that shows there is something there, and if you click the line, it expands back to the original thread.

  76. Some questions that showed no votes would not accept an answer from me. No place to indicate yes or no.

    You are doing fine. I don’t view the boards for anything other than Hokie sports. Love recruiting news and feature articles like offense/defense break downs and who is slated where on depth charts.
    Thank you,
    Bayside Hokie

  77. I would have split the first poll into two polls, as I see them as separate issues.

    Overall opinion of the boards is probably worse, as there is a lot of pent-up frustration that you can see boiling over in posts and replies.
    Board moderation has been the same or better. You are allowing a lot of non-VT discussions to proceed, and only are getting involved when it gets out of hand. You and Chris have a tough job right now.

    It’s on all of us to be better stewards of these boards and our comments. In the end, we’re all Hokies.

  78. We are Virginia Tech. We’ll weather the storm. Actually, part of the price of admission is the thrill of a banishment or nuclear daisy cut. But I’m weird.

  79. Guess I should have hit the results button at the very end. I couldn’t vote on #2 and #4.

      1. I’ve been saying no, for the following reason: we’ve already done that, in 2001 with the United We Stand board, and it turned out to be a negative. Here’s what I put on the message boards recently about it:

        We already did this with the United We Stand board back in 2001. Here’s how it goes:

        An event that is non-sports related dominates the news and commentary and discussion.

        It starts to infiltrate our sports related boards, and our readers and subscribers ask for a new dedicated board for this topic.

        We create that board.

        That board quickly becomes a cesspool of political fighting and nastiness. The original reason it’s created is completely forgotten and it descends into partisan bickering on every political subject you can imagine.

        We are asked to remove that board from navigation and disassociate it from Tech Sideline. We do so.

        But that board still exists, and it gets crawled by Google, and we get complaints that it’s a bad reflection on Tech Sideline and Virginia Tech because it’s in the Tech Sideline template.

        We finally wind up deleting the board because it’s an embarrassment, and then people who like to fight with other people on it get mad at us and send us emails and cancel their subscriptions.

        Someone else creates a board for that purpose and that’s where the traffic goes.

        So I’ve been against it, but I don’t know … this is getting exhausting.

        1. Dang – should have stopped here on my long scroll down to reply! Sorry for the dupe post below!!

          P.S – can we get the Reply button moved up? 🤪

        2. Your assessment is correct – I think you will have to muddle through and pick up the pieces (if there are any) after the pandemic is over (or at least under control). I don’t envy your task, but it is easier than working in the healthcare field right now. Good luck and Go Hokies.

        3. Wow – that’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation any way you look at it.I think you’re stance for now is the correct one – and based on experience, I wouldn’t create a new board for the subject.

    1. Something like this was done after 9/11 (UWS-United We Stand board). It degraded into garbage over time. Eventually it was just political lefties and righties yelling at each other. The same thing would happen on a COVID-19 board. It would only be a matter of time. Now, if they could create a COVID-19 board that directed you away from the Sportswar domain completely, I’d be all for it.

  80. I didn’t answer all the questions because I have not been on the boards as much recently (I still read the articles). The main reason is that my job has been busier than ever before. However, I definitely consider myself category #2 “to get away from discussions of important issues of the day, and just talk about sports”.

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