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The Lance Rules

[Yes, this is a housekeeping post.]

I am putting up this note because it's a recurring theme. Discussion of Lance Armstrong seems to frequently devolve into misunderstanding and brushes with the Golden Rule of the Podium Cafe: our 100% ban on all attacks on each other. I don't think it has gotten very nasty, but I do sense enough frustration to make me want to respond proactively.

First, to reiterate: we do not tolerate attacks on each other. Ridiculing other people's opinions is clearly over the line. Disagreeing with those opinions clearly is not over the line, provided you can do so with even a modicum of respect. It's not that hard and it rarely comes up around here.

That said, discussing Lance Armstrong almost always sets people off these days. Fans seem to fall into two camps on Lance: seeing him as the greatest American cyclist and therefore welcoming his return; or resenting him and his return for whatever reason (doping suspicion; turned off by his personality; reacting against his outsized influence; etc.). A couple things to remember:

  1. You can't force people from one camp into the other! If someone doesn't like Lance, nothing you say to them will ever cause them to change. Same goes in reverse. Please, find a way to accept the existence of two camps, if only because they ain't going away. And in the spirit of consideration and respect for each others' strong feelings, resist the urge to bring up your love/dislike unless the conversation calls for it.
  2. When we discuss Lance, please try not to find conflict where it doesn't really exist. Today's example: his effect (or not) on the Tour de Georgia's cancellation shows how easy misunderstandings can arise. Lance is a single human, and doesn't deliberately try to have a hand in everyone's business, but the phenomenon of Armstrong is far larger and tends to affect the sport in odd ways. Such matters are beyond Lance's control, and when someone talks about the phenomenon, chances are they are NOT blaming Lance for anything.
  3. A general comment about blogging: read carefully before taking umbrage! A lot of the subtle niceties of communication are lost in this medium. And some people don't always say things exactly as they meant them. Given how nicely people almost always play with each other here, if you are uncertain whether or not someone is being a jerk, they probably aren't.

That's it. OK, everyone back into the sandbox.