By on August 14, 2011

Yesterday, someone received the Yellow Card for what looked like a threat of violence. Here is the recommended code of conduct when a yellow card is issued: Take a deep breath. Take a walk. Maybe, take a few days away from TTAC. But for heaven’s sake, don’t talk back. And don’t continue the argument that got you the yellow card. You know the color of the next card.

That’s right. I mean, that’s wrong. So for disregarding the warning, the referee has sent MikeAR off the field. There is no coming back when that happens.

The comments are being policed by Ed and myself when we have nothing better to do, like writing articles. Each of us has a slightly different style, here is mine:

  • Any opinion is fine. This is an open forum for civilized discussions.
  • Don’t get insulting or personal. If you would not say it in the face of the other person, don’t write it.
  • This is like a dinner party: You are all invited to have a good time. Certain topics, such as race, religion, or politics should be avoided, or at the very least treated with caution.
  • If the host says: “Now, now” – please tone down. Don’t continue the argument, don’t argue with the host. If you absolutely have the urge to say something, say “I’m sorry.” That’s one line. Not an “I’m sorry, but …”
  • If the dinner party disintegrates, the person who causes the disturbance will be shown the door and will not be invited back.

Now how’s that for mixing metaphors?

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59 Comments on “Ask The Best And Brightest: What Comes After That Card?...”

  • avatar

    I agree 100%. I have quit other sites for this reason.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    It’s always been fine by me. I understand the soccer references (and dinner party comparisons) but as an American I couldn’t help but picture Bill Laimbeer in his days playing for the Detroit Pistons.

    • 0 avatar

      Laimbeer still has two more championship rings than LeBron James. He’s a great example of what you can achieve despite limitations. I think I have a greater vertical leap than Laimbeer. I don’t know if his feet ever fully left the ground. Though he had a great shooting touch, particularly outside, and like the rest of the Bad Boys, he played D like it was meant to be played. FWIW, Rick Mahorn’s elbow to Mark Price’s head was probably dirtier than anything that Bill Laimbeer ever did. That elbow helped win a divisional championship – though actually Detroit kicked the Cavs butts regularly those days. I recall one game where they beat Cleveland by something like 30 points.

      BTW, in an interesting bit of trivia, Bill Laimbeer was one of the few NBA players who, when he started out in the league, was making less money than his father, who was a packaging executive. For a while, Laimbeer even owned a packaging business but it folded when the Deroit automakers’ financial fortunes started going sour.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Ronnie, did you happen to remeber that I was born an Ohioan and have always rooted for teams based in Northern and Central Ohio or was the Cleveland reference just a happy coincedence? :P

        Graduating high school in 1995 my buddies and I spent quite a bit of time mock-protesting our innocence in pick up basketball games. “FOUL?!?!? What FOUL?!?!?”

      • 0 avatar

        Ronnie, if that clown Rick Mahorn had not elbowed Mark Price out of the rest of that season, the Cavs would have won the NBA title that year, and 50 years of no pro sports titles angst would be long gone.

        Mahorn should still be suspended for that hit.

      • 0 avatar

        Price should have remembered what they say in hockey, “keep your head up”.

        Though considering how the league office hated the Pistons back then the fact that they didn’t suspend Mahorn may be seen as evidence that it wasn’t completely intentional. I doubt that Mahorn was deliberately trying to injure Price.

        It’s not Detroit’s fault that Cleveland teams can’t win titles. It’s not like the Tigers are a super team this year, but the Indians can’t seem to catch them.

      • 0 avatar

        Dan, no I didn’t know that you’re a native Ohioan. However, I went to school in Ann Arbor, have driven in Ohio with Michigan plates, and don’t need much encouragement to annoy our slow witted neighbors to the south.

        Did you know that Michigan and Ohio fought a border war in the 19th century? It was over where the line was drawn. Michigan won the skirmish so Congress gave Toledo to Ohio. We ended up getting the Upper Peninsula out of the deal, much to Wisconsin’s chagrin. All that lumber and copper helped establish this state’s economy.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Yeah I knew the history, history has been a hobby that I turned into a job. (Back when I was teaching middle school and high school students, now I teach adults how to improve their teaching skills.) Of course Ohio and MI aren’t the only two states that have practically gone to war over territory.

      • 0 avatar

        @Ronnie: It was just last week when the Tribe was in the lead. I wouldn’t diss the Tribe so easily.

        I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Tigers’ organization since moving to Michigan, but still a Indians fan at heart.

        And the reason why the Michigan-Ohio border rises at an angle from Lake Erie to the Indiana border is due to the skirmish over Toledo…

      • 0 avatar

        I’m not dissing the Indians so much. Actually, it’s kind of surprising that the bengals are in first place. From how people talk on sports radio here you’d never know they were in a battle for first.

        Either way, it’s a lot better than when they lost over 100 games.

        I’ve told my son, my only son, whom I love, Moshe, that he’s been spoiled, having experienced championships here in pro baseball, hockey and basketball, as well as national championships in college hoops and football. Talk to anyone who covers sports in this city and they’ll tell you that they’d rather not work anyplace else. Knowledgeable fans, the occasional championship, great individual players like Gordie Howe and Barry Sanders. Detroit sports fans have been blessed.

        As the late Al Ackerman would say, “Bless you, boys”.

      • 0 avatar

        @Ronnie: No worries. I was just having a little fun. Besides, I think the Indians have slid back down again.

        I’m much more a Browns fan, and am astonished to find the Bengals in first place! I’d rather see the Steelers in first place… ;^)

  • avatar

    I once got Robert Farago’s attention, he sent me a green card.

    I didn’t know what to make of that. Seriously. No idea.

    I would suggest that the FAQ’s reflect this change of policy. Longtime commenters will know this, but newbs won’t.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m assuming he meant it like this:

      Traffic light vs Soccer penalty
      Yellow Light – Yellow card
      Red Light – Red card
      Green Light – no equivalent?

      So he said green card but you should take it as a green light?

  • avatar

    100% agree. Too many conversations these days have devolved into tea party vs. liberal, immigrant-lover vs. xenophobe, etc.

    I come to TTAC to get away from that garbage. If you don’t toss the trolls, then TTAC becomes Autoblog with lousy graphics.

    • 0 avatar

      Unfortunately, the leader words for an article often contain bait words to generate more traffic. Topics that are certainly car related, but invoke climate change, taxation, etc generate far more traffic than they would if all political connection were removed from the same story. Next time a left vs right thing breaks out, check the stats….usually plenty of hits. Yet a story on red light $cameras should resonate heavily to all motorists, yet they get some of the fewest hits. If people would just play nice and realize that nobody is going to change anybody’s political viewpoint on a car blog, but they might help enlighten them in regards to automotive knowledge.

      • 0 avatar


        that’s interesting about the red light camera posts, since The Newspaper, the site where those posts originate, seems to me to tilt hard libertarian, a viewpoint that one would think would provoke some of the progressives around here.

      • 0 avatar

        Come on.

      • 0 avatar

        Ronnie – at least libertarians have a consistent set of principles and seem to like reasoned debate – Ron Paul is a great example of this. Whereas GOP “leaders” like Bachmann shy away from debate and are not consistent in the application of “limited government” ideas. Maybe that is why some of the liberals on here don`t bite on those articles.

      • 0 avatar

        since The Newspaper, the site where those posts originate, seems to me to tilt hard libertarian

        And you reached that conclusion based upon what?

        I’m presuming that you would consider the ACLU to be a bunch of “progressives.” As it turns out, various ACLU chapters have argued against camera enforcement.

        I realize that you have a desperate need to separate everything in the world into strict right/left dualities. But there is no universal position on camera enforcement on the right/left spectrum. Some care about it, many don’t.

        I would guess that The Newspaper articles often don’t get many responses because the stories tend to be local. Someone living in Texas or California probably doesn’t care a whole hell of a lot what happened to cameras in some smallish town far from where he lives.

        That, and The Newspaper has become sensationalist. I often agree with the sentiment, but their coverage plays fast and loose with the facts, with headlines to match. Whoever writes it would benefit from having an editor and by going easy on the hype.

      • 0 avatar

        Isn’t the libertarian/authoritarian axis separate from the left/right axis?

        The Newspaper does seem very libertarian to me; maybe even as much as myself. It would be pretty difficult to classify me as either right or left, but I’m strongly libertarian.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        “but I’m strongly libertarian.”

        Great, welcome, so am I.

  • avatar

    You use a soccer reference for a site that is this well read in the states? How many people do you think would be able to understand this?

    Well, I do. In fact, I was watching that game when Zidane was sent off the field (world cup final) after head butting the other player’s chest and France went on to lose. Some people in the US like soccer :)

    • 0 avatar

      Steven02: You also don’t want to argue with the host. He’s the one who holds those colorful cards ….

    • 0 avatar

      I include all sorts of non-automotive and other cultural references that are not necessarily white bread American in my writing. Like Dennis Miller says, cross cultural thesaurus not included. I assume my readers aren’t idiots and if they don’t get a reference, they’re smart enough to know how to use a search engine.

      Nothing wrong with soccer that a little bit of scoring wouldn’t hurt. Still, with all the kids’ soccer leagues there are, I almost never see kids playing a pickup game of soccer, like you would overseas. You see kids playing football, baseball or hoops in the parks, but they only play soccer in organized activities.

      As an aside, I’ve also never seen a skateboarder that wasn’t a pro land a trick.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Bertel, I had to read the article to learn about the yellow card and figure out what it had to do with cars. I appreciate your excellent work helping to moderate the site, but soccer just isn’t that familiar to many of us.

      • 0 avatar

        Guess it’s time to get with the program. Soccer is a great game AND the number of concussions from “just learn to lead with your head” … ah forget ’bout it ..

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      I am curious to know how many people in the US really don’t know much about soccer. I mean to say that there is a big difference between not knowing about a sport and not liking a sport.

      I grew up in a small middle-America city and we had to play soccer in gym class. Soccer was also a inter-school competitive sport from elementary school all the way through high school. It wasn’t nearly as popular as football or basketball, but everybody knew what it was and how to play.

      I got plenty of yellow cards in gym class for making contact with people. That photo included with this article could have been me! I never knocked anybody down or hurt anyone. How could I have done something wrong?!? I wasn’t any rougher with people than I was on a basketball court.

  • avatar

    Keep up the good work Bertel. I find that the best articles on TTAC at those with an informative discussion attached. Once people start trolling and/or flaming, the discussion is ruined.

    It is possible to have a discussion about a touchy subject. Not a heated argument, but a discussion. But the participants must maintain their composure for that to happen.

  • avatar

    Agree. I really enjoy the comments expressed by most people, but there are a few who seem to think that their comments are the only correct interpretation of the real world facts. Not so. If it were, then the world would revolve around their perceptions. And it doesn’t.

    I need ttac (and other automotive sites) a great deal more than ttac needs me because the information exchanged (with the exception of a few self-rightious individuals) is priceless!

    No other site is as widely-read or offers as much pure-gold information, and the comments of those who choose to comment constructively, reflect the voice of potential buyers. And if you know what makes them tick, you can market to that.

    Farago started a good thing! But now we have to be careful not to offend the advertisers or it could affect the future of ttac. God forbid should an advertiser be offended by a ‘truth’ about their product and pull their ads.

    Fortunately for all of us the ‘truth’ in the real world is self-evident and does not need to be reinforced with threats or dares. Time always bears out who’s right and who’s wrong. Does anyone recall the vehement discussions prior to carmaggeddon? And did reality bite?

    It may even be better not to respond to the comments you object to and thereby not lending any credence to that poster. But that can be hard, especially if you have had a real-world experience to the contrary.

  • avatar

    For the sake of the ongoing dinner party it is best to escort the guests who don’t belong quietly out the back door with as little fanfare as possible. I could live with being banned since I rarely comment anymore anyway. I’d be a little irked by a “Strippo has been banned” post, though. It’s like putting my decapitated head on a stick.

  • avatar

    Nice policy…

  • avatar

    Good call Bertel. It is very seldom I post or read the comments anymore, it is too easy to call where the conversation heads. And that is usually a non-automotive argument caused by people personalizing and reading too much into what others say. It is good to see a rebound in policing…although it is more work for you and others…but dealing with the public is always the best and worst of times.
    But for calling-out names and why people are tossed is good, it keeps it public and reminds others “it can happen”. Again, good call Bertel.

  • avatar

    While we’re talking about moderation, can the lameness filter (or whatever it’s called) be set up so that it doesn’t flag the i-word when it’s followed by the word “light?”

  • avatar

    Generally I’m very grateful for skilled, objective moderation. It takes very smart people who are fully aware of their own mindsets to do this unforgiving and tedious task properly. And ultimately, you can’t argue with the owners. If their moderation is so bad it sinks the hits, then the site goes down and so it goes.

    I’ve just run into another aspect of moderation. I thought a recent article about Greenpeace and Volkswagen reflected a lack of knowledge on the writer’s part about Greenpeace, and even suggested an unfounded hatred of the organization. I felt compelled to respond. I was aware I was on tricky ground, so I tried very hard to be accurate and fair while saying what I felt needed to be said. Apparently my response has been in quarantine awaiting moderation for a day now. I assume I used some word that triggers a quarantine system. Although I can see my post, I gather no one else can. While I can appreciate these things may take time to get to, quarantining amounts to an indeterminate deletion even before consideration.

    I also think the best front-line technique to deal with offensive posts would be a “REPORT” button on each comment. This would lower the moderation workload and help ensure a “community standard”, while not compromising the power of the moderators/owners.

  • avatar

    There needs to be clean ups and moderations, otherwise it will be chaos. Not even anarchy, simply mindless static. Bertel has a keen sense of judgment, I’ll suggest the crowd simply follow the lead. There needs to be some sort of standard, or nothing holds up. I know, I’ve worked as a moderator on forums before, I know what will happen otherwise. And TTAC has been able to continue having the most well mannered discussions I have seen right about anywhere, just because of holding that standard high. It’s a tradition, from the Farago era up until now, and it works, and it works well.

  • avatar

    I’m glad you left the conversation up…sounds like more people should have gotten green cards.

    • 0 avatar

      are you saying there is a green card in soccer? Somebody please give a URL to the card/color mapping for soccer warnings or write up a proper list.

      edit: finally found a google search that didn’t just give me stupid made up answers that only included yellow and red.

      • 0 avatar

        After having read your link, I see that green cards are given in canoe polo and field hockey, neither of which I’m familiar. I guess that’s why Farago’s long ago green card was so bewildering.

        IMO, it would be wise if we stuck with the soccer(football) system of red and yellow cards, as it is widely understood by the international audience that comes here.

        Even the flag system used at racetracks isn’t always consistent, and it changes from country to country frequently.

  • avatar
    Robert Gordon

    “Now how’s that for mixing metaphors?”

    ‘ a dinner party.’ That’s more of a simile isn’t it?

  • avatar
    Robert Gordon

    Now regarding the player in the picture getting the yellow card extra points for guessing:

    His name…
    The country he plays for…
    The opposition in this match…
    The date of the match…
    The name of the referee…

  • avatar


    Comments disappearing?

    Anyway, to sum up what I had written, good job Bertel!

  • avatar

    For anyone interest the main image is of Australian ‘Socceroo’ Harry Kewell in 2007 Asian Cup quarter-final versus Japan.

  • avatar

    As this is an Automotive site, shouldn’t it be;

    1st Warning > Yellow Flag
    2nd Warning > Black/White Flag
    3rd (and out) > Black Flag

    Or somesuch?

    Just curious

  • avatar

    No loss on the banned poster, Bertel…good riddance. The guy was a troll if you ask me.

  • avatar

    It just seems that people take the opportunity to use one liners to belittle the stance of some political/ideological issues with which they don’t agree, and this detracts from the whole discussion of cars. People who read the archives in a few years will not get the Bachmann/PBO/Soros references

  • avatar

    To be fair there are some posts on this site that are about politics, mostly posted by Ed Niedermeyer himself, so a brisk discussion about politics in the comments is what’s to be expected in those cases. I must say I do enjoy getting involved in those sometimes and most of the times I’ve found that it remained fairly civil (if you’d ask me)…but then maybe there were some comments that were moderated out already, this of course I wouldn’t know.

    As long as we can keep accusing TTAC of bias (har har) I’m ok with it. I’d like it more if you could talk back a bit (if not on the site directly) after getting issued a hypothetical warning but then again I guess that would be too much of a strain on the moderaters, so these guidelines will have to do then…

  • avatar

    Upon scrolling through the exchange, I had a very strong impression that the other side was trolling heavily and deserved the same treatment.

  • avatar

    I think everyone agrees that all forums, regardless of the subject matter, have to be policed. I do think that the rules should be covered in the FAQ – searching for ‘yellow card’ gave me several hundred hits, mostly bad (probably because the dynamically generated pages were indexed by Google while comments with the search phrase were in the ‘Recent Comments’ section.)

    Might it be useful to add an intermediate stage, say a 3-7 day ban, between the current yellow and red cards? A permanent ban is more like a ‘Black card’ than a Red. (From fencing, can mean anything up to “We’re throwing you out of the sport.” Useful when the sport involves pointing swords at each other.) Or we could switch to using the racing flag system as RogueInLA suggests – I think everyone here would understand that instinctively.

    But I don’t see where the post linked to as the one he was red-carded for is crossing the line. Is it not ok to ask what country someone is from? The bit about ‘Sounds like your side lost’, while pretty childish, is less inflammatory than at least one of the posts by the other party. Am I missing something?

    Everyone is responsible for policing their own behavior. Issues that touch on Bertel’s three listed topics, I always let my post sit for a few minutes, then revisit. It’s too easy to say something totally without malicious intent that due to poor phraseology or regional differences can be injurious to another.

    I’ve learned, from being on professional and enthusiast forums since before Netscape, that you have to learn to recognize trolls. And once you identify them, you have to learn that the only appropriate response is no response at all. To quote Joshua, “A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.”

  • avatar

    I enjoy the automotive knowledge on display here in the posts and the comments. Because cars are part of our lives and controlled by the political and economic process, it’s perhaps inevitable that discussions about them move into politics. If I’m not interested or the thread doesn’t stroke my prejudices, I can move on. But the personal attacks are silly and irrelevant, so it’s good to get rid of one prominent producer of such attacks. Thanks, Bertel.

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