Twitter’s “Harassment Filter” isn’t ready

Man_yelling_at_computer

Yesterday morning I woke up to an email from Twitter, saying that they’ve decided to give me that fancy, self-validating blue checkmark on my profile. Neat, I thought. My internet friends will probably poke fun at me for it, seeing as I still haven’t really done anything to make myself a public figure that needs a verified official account, but I’ll take it. Read more of this post

Twitter’s Under Appreciated

nicethings

On July 1st, to ease the tension of free agent frenzy, I headed to Twitter with a simple request: That people say a nice thing about a person from Hockey Twitter that they felt was under-appreciated.

It was a really fun exercise, and it’s not hard to see why. It got a lot of people some extra attention put towards their work and/or personality, for starters; that’s always good, especially for people who use this platform to build out careers, or at least some form of more-than-hobbies. Just as importantly, it’s a good feeling to hear that someone things good things of you sometimes. Twitter, they’ve been rightfully under fire for lately, is a platform that makes it very easy to harass and pick fights with people, but most are often too shy or believe it’s ‘not their place’ to give a pat on the back. A little backwards, but an exercise like this gives a slight refrain to the unfortunate order.

So with that all considered, I gave it another go last night.

Here’s who got shouted out by the masses.

_maf29 earlsleek kickman10 rt1817
_melissaburgess ekbartus kikkerlaika sabresprospects
307x Erik_Erlendsson loserpoints sarah_connors
acarducci freefreep LoucksKE sarahhowling
acciohockey glitter4goals madeupcall saskystewart
avappleyard goldandorsmith marcpdumont Scotmaxw
battaglinoa gradhawksblog marycclarke seantierneytss
bethmachlan gunnrcarlsson michelle_jay3 seanwwoleary
bluelineDFS Hannah_Bevis1 mikedarnay sfseabiscuit
boltsprospects hockeygraphs mischula shutdownline
bsh_charlie hockeystatsca ml_han sonyajean26
BSNAvalanche hockeywthhannah mouserat_fan stapenewsday
bward1092 icehockeystick msjenneale_pd stephaliciousd
cane_alytics imfleming16 myregularface Steve_Dangle
cane_matt ineffectivemath nafio stIves72
caneschatter iyer_prashanth nicolehaase taylorsedona
chelseastedry jccuthbert oviethebulldog thedraftanalyst
christanouye jollywhiskey Pdwhoa thejustinfisher
classlicity jonathanwillis prospects_watch theninjagreg
couchtarts josh_khalfin puckbuddys theroyalhalf
craig_hagerman jtbourne pucksandfoxes tlndc
davependrys k_cimini regressedpdo tonimacattack
digdeepbsb katyaknappe reinadelaisla Totally_Offside
DimFilipovic katytearle rk_stimp vaswani_
dingdish kellyschultz robynlisaflynn zoeclaire_

I was thinking of leaving some notes on the people on the above list that I have familiarity with, but there are so many people on there that I know both online and in real life, and that I have a lot of respect and admiration for, that we’d honestly be here all day if I tried to do that. Just a few things about the above list, though.

  • Carolyn (classlicity) and Zoe (zoeclaire_) had the most nice things said about them. One can look at use the Loui Eriksson / Pavel Datsyuk and argument and say “Well, does that make the person underappreciated then?” and it’s a fair point, but both are people who deserve a bit more of the spotlight. Zoe’s Victory Press gives a paid platform to up-and-coming writers covering under-reported women’s sports, and Carolyn is one of the best and most creative stats-inclined writers out there right now while managing Today’s Slapshot. While both have made waves in our community, they also deserve a reach beyond us as well.
  • If I had to name two people on this list who I’d say are probably the most underappreciated, based on those I know, I’d have to go with Katya (katyaknappe) and Jeremy (307x). Katya has become one of my favourite writers in all of Toronto; she’s very good at identifying story ideas before everybody else and delivers them in that kind of “walking brainstorm” layout that really fits the blogosphere and that I try to use in my own work. Jeremy separates himself from much of the stats crowd by not just doing data tracking, but going beyond the traditional scope of the NHL and focusing on junior (and sometimes pro) prospects; something that I personally find more useful as the base data for those players is so minimal.
  • Something you’ll notice while looking at this list is that there’s a much higher percentage of women than you tend to find talked about in the day-to-day on Hockey Twitter and even more so in traditional Hockey Media. Now, a bit of that was probably swayed by which timelines the tweets landed in, much like the influx of higher-profile stats writers (who I didn’t expect to see on an ‘under-appreciated’ list) being nominated once the exercise crossed into that section of Twitter.
  • I do think that percentage goes beyond the scope of timeline coincidence, though and that while the smaller community that exists here on Twitter seems to support good work no matter where it comes from (as they should), female hockey writers and personality are probably still undervalued on the greater scale. There’s a lot of fantastic content and thoughts coming from very smart and charismatic people that doesn’t seem to get much traction outside of an inner circle, and it’s unfortunate that we all kind of know the answer why. I’m probably the last person on earth who should be looked to for a solution to a systematic issue like this, and I don’t even come close to having the answers here. But I will say that if you see good work that you feel is going unnoticed by anybody, try your best to give it the spotlight; and don’t be surprised later when you see that the demographics of the ‘deserves more credit’ talent pool are significantly different from the ‘already high profile’ talent pool.

As well as the people mentioned above, I think it’s important to recognize those who said good things about others but didn’t quite have the favour returned to them, for whatever reason there may be.

__nif__ Frostybear21 jtevans0 randangler
3rdperiodsuits garnetleopard kpower90 rdfigs19
ashonice ghostofnyles krift_dig rtaub_
boltsfan92 hockeyfisch kstrat9 shoelesshockey
bsharecohen imaraindancer lonis119 sluhockeyblog
burgmania87 ianmclaren mathhappens51 smalls96
cad_yellow its_allman_doe nhlcanesfans strictlyrandy
coachryan82 jessemcnulty nhlpittpens tanyarezak
cyclelikesedins jmtleaf pandapsu viktorallvin
danicklabelle johnisstraight pillerymack xployteddfs
danielronel14 jordan_dix puck_over_glass yotesgurl
danvincent78 jstats punkmemequeen zamar1

Much like the last group, there’s a handful of names here of people that I’ve spent a lot of my days talking to, because they’re fantastic human beings; as you’d probably expect out of somebody who would go out of there way to compliment a friend without the expectation of anything in return. A specific call out is probably in order for Platinum Seat Ghosts (3rdperiodsuits); they’re a bit of an inspiration for this exercise, in the sense that they were doing similar ones well before me. As a big believer in helping as many people as possible become as happy as you can help them be, it’s nice to see initatives like this one and PSG’s go well.

Anyway, that’s all from me on this; hopefully you find some new people to read and maybe even befriend out of this group of ~150!

Shockingly, some hockey fans are still insane

turtle

Earlier today, I posted footage of a “brawl” between KHL teams Barys Astana and Red Star Kunlun that caused their pre-season game to be cancelled just three minutes into the first period. By brawl, what I actually mean is that Damir Ryspayev decided, with a little encouragement from his hot-headed coach Andrei Nazarov, that the best way to get revenge for a borderline and injury-causing, yet non-malicious hit on Dustin Boyd earlier in the weekend was to give the opposing team a “warm welcome”.

That warm welcome mostly involved sucker punching four of their resistant skaters before charging the Red Star bench. Ryspayev, who has 194 penalty minutes and 0 points in 23 career KHL games, was almost immediately called out in highly public fashion by the league and given an indefinite suspension that will last, at the very least, for the remainder of the preseason. I’ve talked to some people involved in the league, and from the sounds of it, they’re not happy with this act of aggression, both from a common sense standpoint and due to the fact that it was a blatant attack on players in a brand new, much-hyped expansion market (Red Star is based in Beijing).

Interestingly, the KHL rulebook doesn’t cover the ability to spill a pre-season suspension into the playoffs, mostly because these pre-season tournaments are typically run independently of league operations. I’d expect them to throw the book at Ryspayev, though, given his goonish history and the severity of the situation. I also wouldn’t be shocked of Nazarov saw punishment as well.

Anyway, that’s not my main point here. Since the incident went viral through my own tweet, I got a first-hand look at how public opinion was forming. While you’d think something as blatantly malicious as this would be universally panned, you’d be surprised at some of the responses that crossed through my timeline:

I want you to keep these in mind the next time you assume that the violence in hockey debate has become all but a foregone conclusion. Personally, as someone who is against using up roster spots on enforcers and thinks strategical and ‘staged’ fighting is ridiculous, I can still respect the want for a consensual, emotion-driven scrap to clear the air. Many think it should be removed from the game entirely, many feel the goon is here to stay. There’s a lot of worthwhile debate to be had here.

But, as you can see, many are also totally cool with players deciding to go on a rampage of pre-meditated assault, even when their victims want absolutely zero part in. Some aren’t afraid to be boisterous, sexist, or xenophobic when celebrating actions like this. Many want things like this back in the NHL and see a fit for a player like this on their roster. Also, a lot of Brits seemed to be into it, which makes you wonder if the London KHL team that’s eventually coming should just be a grinder squad.

What I’m basically getting at here is that, no matter how far back we keep pulling the line, people are more than happy to celebrate those who cross it as far as they possibly can. As long as people like this are still around, the darker side of hockey culture hasn’t really disappeared; it’s just been suffocated a little. Hopefully, players like Ryspayev and fans like all of the above can either be convinced with time that there’s a difference between a physical game and bloodsport, or that the evolution of the game will make them lose interest in fighting such a nonsense battle.

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