by Christopher Mooney
You join an amateur fan site. You spend 30 minutes coming up with something to say. You post it. People read it. People comment.
Pretty simple right?
Not any more. The eternally annoying, Pacland boxing page, Bleacherreport.com, has brought in a new feature, to ensure that they exert direct control over the type of writers that post.
You now have to pass an audition. In the words of the site itself, “it is important for us to ensure that all new writers build upon the strengths of our existing contributors”.
Translated, we have certain writers, and subjects that we like, because they attract lots of reads. And we don’t want to upset these writers, or the 40% of Asia that they bring to the site every day.
Translated further, we want to exert editorial control, over what is published on our boxing page, to maximise commercial revenues.
Translated even further, Examiner.com is whupping our ass, and we need to become a fully fledged member of Pacland, to make some moolah.
The direction of the boxing page has been questionable for quite a while, and has been a focus of my own personal studies. I’ve poked and prodded over the months, to try and work out what was going on.
I became suspicious because of a response I received from the “community leader” (the member responsible for ensuring that articles aren’t racist, libelous, or abusive) to a complaint I made about an author. This was an author who was consistently posting very dubious articles, which I suspected broke most of these rules.
The author was a Pacquiao fan who wrote none stop hate articles about Floyd Mayweather.
The response was:
“Hey man, I know it’s annoying. Don’t tell anyone this, but the people running the page value these guys highly, and there’s nothing I can do about this sort of thing. Please just ignore them. Hey, here’s a challenge. Try writing something positive about the subject, and show them you can rise above it all, and they’ll do the same”.
A very reassuring response, to a complaint about a libelous, borderline racist article, you might agree.
I decided to dig deeper.
If it’s OK for some users to write annoying, semi-mythical articles about Floyd Mayweather, every day of the week, surely it’s OK for me to write a single, negative article, about Manny Pacquiao? As in, not going any further than just being a bit critical about his career?
As in, a boxing fan, giving a boxing opinion, on a fan site?
Within days, I had another e-mail from the community leader, claiming that he had received numerous complaints from users, about the article. And went on to say:
“These aren’t just annoying idiots complaining. These are our TOP WRITERS who are contacting me”.
By “top writers”, I assume he means “pacland”. He went on to make it clear that the people who ran the page wanted to ban me immediately. However, he had managed to avert this course of action, as long as I vowed to change my evil ways. But he made it very clear that if I continued writing like this (negative articles about Manny Pacquaio), I would be banned.
I asked him on what grounds I was being potentially banned? What rules have I broken? What complaints have been made? Can you send me a screenshot of a rule I’ve broken?
“Listen man, I’m getting complaints every day, and if I get any more, you’re gone”.
A full, frank answer, to a customer, I think you’ll agree.
They have now made this censorship official. They have followed the Examiner.com model, of guaranteed journalistic retardation.
In order to get an article published on the boxing page, from today, you have to e-mail it to email@example.com, where it will be reviewed, and, in their own words:
“Those writers selected by our editorial team will be immediately eligible for the publication opportunities that Bleacher Report offers. These include our partnerships with CBSSports.com, USAToday.com, LATimes.com, SFGate.com, NHL.com, Telegraph.co.uk, and thousands of other media properties, fan sites, and blogs. Syndicated writers are also eligible to appear in our industry-leading newsletters.”
Please take into account that this editorial team have been featured already in this article………
What’s this actually about? The site now wants to review and authorize all writers that submit to the boxing page, to ensure that they are writing commercially lucrative material. As “it is important for us to ensure that all new writers build upon the strengths of our existing contributors”.
It is important to us that new writers don’t write anything negative about Manny Pacquiao, as it upsets our customers.