Where is the line between constructive criticism and being an uninformed troll? What about the line between trying to keep hate off of social media comment sections and censorship?
For anyone in politics, this feels like an age-old issue. For sports, it doesn't rear its head a lot. But for the Lethbridge Hurricanes, it did this past week, to the point they needed to address the situation head on.
With the team mired in a four-game losing streak and sitting two points out of a playoff spot 16 games into the season, fans started taking to social media, in particular Facebook, to voice their displeasure.
While that criticism might be warranted when expectations are high, the vitriol obviously got the attention of the Hurricanes. Even some fans came to the defense of the players, as witnessed by several of the comments made not only on the Hurricanes' original post, but also on the Canes This Week post about it that same day.
During Tuesday's show, the panel had its say on the matter.
"I might defend a really negative comment if it can at least follow a logical progression but those were stupid comments," Dylan Purcell chimed in. "There are ways to critique without being a dirtbag."
"You don't have to beat guys down to get a point across," added Pat Siedlecki.
The issue the panel felt was the personal attacks against players, in particular captain Giorgio Estephan. The panel found it interesting that the 20-year-old has been singled out, despite being on pace to eclipse fan favourite Tyler Wong's point production from last season. Purcell recalled how some fans felt about Brennan Menell last season, who is now playing with the Iowa Wild.
"Don't denigrate, but don't elevate either, they're still teenage kids," Purcell said. "They screw up like teenage kids, they probably have all the same social life problems your teenage kids have, they have all the same issues teenage kids have. So just let them be teenage kids, leave them the heck alone as far as what kind of people they are."
LISTEN TO THE WHOLE DISCUSSION BELOW.
But the panel also agreed that constructive criticism shouldn't be lost on the team, even if it is early in the season.
"You don't want to get to a point where everybody has to be rah-rah," Matt Battachio countered. "I don't think there's anything wrong with coming at it from the other side. I think it's good for fans to talk about some of the things they think are going on with the team."
But host Jordan Karst was quick to point out that you might be yelling into your own echo chamber if you think your stance is going anywhere productive.
"It's not like Peter Anholt is going through this thing and saying 'Jim from Taber said the Hurricanes' powerplay needs to be better,'" he laughed.
Siedlecki also pointed out how he's had to police his own blog because of some of the vicious attacks being posted.
"I couldn't believe what people were saying and they actually thought this stuff was going to get posted," he said. "Libelous stuff, we're talking mean stuff."
"Be realistic about the team, look, they lost four games in a row, they're not playing great right now, if you've got some constructive, go ahead," Karst reiterated. "If you want to voice your opinions, do it, but do it in an acceptable way. Be mature."
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