On Commenting

By Jason Priestas on February 21, 2013 at 10:31a

Yesterday, comments on two topics – President Obama speaking at Ohio State's commencement and Gene Smith's interview with Outsports – started innocently enough, quickly turned into a brawl and ended with Brick Tamland killing a man with a trident.

As a community, we're better than that.

While we strive to be apolitical and do our best to avoid social issues, we don't want to be the Ohio State site that has to avoid covering news of a sitting President speaking to graduating students or the school's athletic director giving a major interview on LGBT rights. It's a disservice to our readers and doesn't jive with our mission of covering Ohio State athletics and major university events.

Our coverage of the Obama announcement was impartial, apolitical and strictly fact-based. If you put 11W in a time machine and took us back to 2003, we'd run the same thing if George Bush agreed to give a commencement speech at Ohio State. (We'd also likely be spending a lot of time fighting off Miami trolls and their cries of pass interference.)

Regardless of whether you like the man or not, it is big news when the President of the United States agrees to speak at your school's commencement. If you can't respond to this news without sharing your political views on the man – good or bad – consider saving everyone the trouble and just skipping the story. If you do want to wade into the comments, know that they will be free of political chatter. We have a long history of removing comments that stray to either side of the political spectrum and you saw some of that yesterday as comments mentioning "Obummer" or "Faux News" were removed with equal prejudice.

Smith's interview was just as big. I know that I had no idea he had a lesbian daughter before yesterday and some of the things he had to say, along with the "You Can Play" initiative are important and long overdue. If covering that interview and applauding Ohio State's stance of inclusion makes us a pro-gay site, then I guess we're a pro-gay site. To us, it boils down to equality and the right to pursue happiness and we're all for that.

We understand that you have choices with where you choose to go to get your Buckeye news. If our coverage of these issues means you don't want to participate in this community or can't do so without violating our commenting policy, we probably aren't a good fit for each other.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and thank you for making 11W the bustling Buckeye sports bar that it is.


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