Online Communities

Online Communities
Ken Griffey Jr. is a well-known name in the world of Major League Baseball. Before the Seattle Mariners traded Griffey Jr. to the Cincinnati Reds, he was an absolute phenomenal baseball player. Since being traded, he has been nothing but disappointment to the Reds organization. The following is a dialogue between the two members in an online community at espn.com.

crc29: ?"Asked if he?s happy that he?s still with Cincinnati, Griffey said, "What does it matter? This game is not about being happy. It?s about wins and losses.?? ?and this is the same guy who once said when he was shopping the market that the important thing do is go somewhere where he?ll be happy? And he wonders why people always think he?s full of crap? Just answer the damn question Griffey, and stop with the ?feel sorry for me? type of quotes that are consistently coming out of your mouth on a daily basis! The guy is so melodramatic! That?s why he?s constantly getting picked on!?KREIJO1: ?Initially his intent was to go to Cincinnati under the belief that he would be happy. Things haven?t worked out that way so far. Funny how you jump Griffey who has never been arrested, never beat his wife, never done drugs and you attack him for the types of quotes he makes. Get off his back and go after someone who deserves it. Why does his alleged melodrama annoy you so much? He?s a harmless fvcking athlete and you despise him but don?t know d1ck about him personally. Get off your soapbox your opinion, like your knowledge of Griffey is worthless.? (griffey, 2/24)
crc29: "I didn?t get on him for beating his wife. I got on him for being a whiney bi!tch??which he is. So King Kenny is unhappy?how the hell do you think the Reds feel?? (griffey, 2/24)

These series of posts present vulgar language, aggressive verbal attacks, strong emotions, and total disagreement. These posts are at espn.com on the main mlb (Major League Baseball) message board forums. After observing my online community that consists of only sports talk, I believe that sports forums bring out the competitive nature of the fanatics.

Online communities have slowly been creeping up on users over the past few years. It has been a way for people to vent, explore, share ideas, feeling, and experience what strangers have to offer. By sharing ideas, feelings, and experiences, they form relationships. These relationships can be either cooperative or competitive depending on the atmosphere and type of community. The first time I came across an online community was when I was looking to get some help for college essay topics during high school. There were so many tips, topics on how to be creative when writing a paper. Since the act of communicating through cyberspace with strangers was new to me, instead of being actively involved, I just observed what everybody else had to say. It served well for my purpose and I must have taken a mental note about how much the message boards helped because, soon later, I found myself involved in an online community at espn.com. Playing sports and following professional sports has always consumed a lot of my time. I started surfing espn for live news updates, old news events, games, chat rooms, as well as message boards. Without even realizing, I had become addicted to online communication and I became a member of espn.com. In the act of joining ESPN?s membership, I was able to join chat rooms, message boards, and make posts. In addition, it also offered free online games and free goods. Now I am able to be actively involved in the community rather than just being the spectator.

When I browsed the message boards for the first time, I was surprised to see such a great variety of sports forums. Links to football, baseball, basketball, soccer, auto racing, and hockey forums were in bold and were among the most popular forums. Since I enjoy watching baseball out of all the sports, I first checked out the baseball message boards. Within the baseball message boards there were four sub categories. The four categories were mlb baseball directory, main mlb board, minor league baseball, and fantasy baseball. At first, I went to the main mlb board to look at the overall appeal of the community.

There were several different subjects, all of which were specific questions and topics. ?Veteran?s Committee Trivia,? ?DISGUSTING yankee fans,? ?Fantasy baseball help!? ?Championship Run,? ?Breakout Bat? are among the post that stood out. I learned that there are three main types of posts involved in typical sports forums: informative, analytical, and investigative.

The three posts, ?Fantasy baseball help!? ?Championship Run? ?Breakout Bat? all began the thread with questions and are great examples of investigative posts. The first messages presented were often questions. ?Will the Yanks bring the trophy home this year?? (Championship Run, 2/25) ?Which player(s) are expected to have a breakout season with the bat? Also how strong of a year is expected out of Mark Prior?? (Breakout Bats, 2/24) ?I think I pulled one over on this guy. He originally offered me just Burrel and Vidro for Hunter, Sabathia, Kim, and Mondesi but I needed a 2B and wanted to unload Rueter. Mondesi is junk. What do you all think?? (Fantasy baseball help! 2/28) Some of the posts involved polls, which people could vote on.

Which team has the best chance of taking the World Series in 2003?
Choices:
? Anaheim Angels
? San Francisco Giants
? New York Yankees
? Atlanta Braves
? Oakland Athletics
? St. Louis Cardinals

(World Series Champ 2003, 2/6)

Informative posts often follow up investigative posts. Informative posts include answering questions with strong opinionated responses or with concrete facts. I realized that people use these online communities to educate each other with knowledge of baseball. Many long-term members often back up question with strong facts. An example of am informative post made by an expert user would often be something like this, ?My crystal ball says prior goes 15-6 3.23 era 195IP 235K?s.? (Breakout Bats, 2/24) An analytical response would be, ?why do you need to know whether to root for them this year or not? Hey, don?t be hater?the Yanks have ?it? and that is what will carry them through.? (Championship Run) Upon examining the three types of posts, I realized that there are common traits among people with each type of post. People of investigative posts are often new members and have either posted never before or only a small number of times. The long-term users are the ones who frequently post the responses to the all of questions asked by the new members.

After observing for a period, I learned that many of the same people made posts day after day. The months and months of never-ending posting had given these extremists a ?Veteran? status. Most of the members screen names involved either their favorite team or player to show some sort of background of baseball. Examples of the names were 67RedSox, Yankeesagain. Some of the posts were only available to those classified as veterans. ?Veterans Committee Trivia? is an example of one of the threads. It asks questions that only the absolutely baseball fanatics would know. ?How many third baseman have 342 homeruns and aren?t in the hall of fame? I found five players that played at least some time at third that fit this criteria. Name them.? (Veterans Committee Trivia, 2/24) These people know every little statistic about baseball and are on the message boards twenty-four hours a day seven days a week. Responses to the original ?Veterans Committee Trivia? post was, ?Ripken 413? Nettles 390 ?? 385 Williams 374 ??? 360 ? 351 Gary Gaetti ? 360 Two to go.? (Veterans Committee Trivia, 2/24) The message board veterans are usually very helpful unless somebody makes an idiot comment, or says something offending. When there are ignorant posts made, they seem to make sarcastic remarks in return. Occasionally, it almost seems like these veteran make their posts to show off their knowledge about baseball.

After overlooking the main mlb directory, I looked into news about the New York Yankees because they are my favorite team. There were many posts dedicated to hating the New York Yankees, which contains criticisms. Over the past half a decade, the Yankees have been getting criticisms about their high payroll. In 2005 the Yanks will be paying $96 million to Jeter, Williams, Giambi, Rivera, and Godzilla alone!!!! Will $200 million be enough?!?!?! (Yanks $200 million team soon? 2/22) Those who posted criticisms about the Yankees were most likely fans of rival teams that were jealous of the Yankees winning one year after another. These people would post day and night, and it almost seemed like sleep was not a factor to this online community. They imply that George Steinbrenner makes horrible managerial decisions resulting in a high payroll. Most comments were extremely crude and offensive. The follow up posts to the comments would be a Yankee fan arguing back at the first person who posted it. The response to the Yankees high payroll post is, ?awful lot of posts for a troll? ?(Yanks $200 million team soon? 2/22) implying that the people who posted the criticism was ignorant. The argument would go on and on back and forth forever as if the people in the message board community feel superior over the other just as presented in the opening of this paper. Some people were very delightful and cooperated with each other instead of disagreeing. ?To all Yankee fans, be lucky to have an owner like George. I would die to have him own my team and create such a winning attitude. Jeter should be grateful that he?s got an owner with that kind of drive.? (The Boss is the best, 2/28) followed up with ?Amen? (The Boss is the best, 2/28) They also discussed most recent news, like trade rumors. Some posts were more professional than others were; they used facts and backed it up with reliable websites to prove their point.

The message boards are a good way for baseball fanatics to speak freely, learn more about baseball, and share some information with the rest of the community. The people shared common interests and there seemed to be a good amount of bonding within some of the posts. I often visited the website during baseball season because I was a member of a fantasy baseball league. The message boards informed me well about news, trade rumors, and tips that helped me in winning my first fantasy baseball league last year. The recent experiences has been relatively negative because baseball season has yet to begin, but during last season, looking at the board was extremely helpful and quite entertaining when I was bored at home doing nothing. Compared to other discussion boards like movie boards and teenager boards, there were more arguments and disagreements. It almost seemed like people came to this board just to argue and disagree. Very rarely, there were posts without disagreements.

In conclusion, the espn mlb message boards can be either competitive or cohesive. It allows people to share their free opinions, learn about baseball, and bond with other fanatics about the sport they love the most. It is similar to the way the online community was in ?The Virtual Community? by Rheingold (92). People came to the websites sharing same interests, and purpose. It is also similar because there is no actual face-to-face contact with the community. Therefore, it allows them to speak liberally as they wanted, without having to worry about confrontation. The cohesive relationships were shown at the Yankees forum rather than the mlb main directory. The competitive relationships were formed through disagreement and vulgar languages. The competition drives people to research more statistics to ambush their opposition, which I think is a good effect of competition because it helps them learn more about their favorite topic. Overall, I believe that these online communities are a positive aspect of society and people should keep using and share their experiences, ideas, and thoughts on their common interests.

Online Communities 9.4 of 10 on the basis of 2849 Review.