Tomorrow at 12:01 AM, the first Red Cup Rebellion HATE WEEK of the 2014 Ole Miss Rebel football season will begin.
But, as of two days ago, this website's administrators weren't even sure if this day and time would come. We literally had a debate on the merits of HATE WEEK and whether or not we wanted it to continue for this football season.
On the one hand, HATE WEEK is a tradition at the Cup that you all get a lot of enjoyment out of. I can't tell you how many people have excitedly asked me when our first HATE WEEK would begin this season, as if they've been preparing to unleash their inner monster on Boise State the second the post is published. On the other hand, the past year or so has seen the weekly celebration of our more irrational side devolve into something wholly different from its original intent and spirit. It's gotten downright ugly, unfunny, and legitimately hateful. It began to spill into other comments threads, and even on to other SB Nation communities. It truly began to make us look bad, and became a bit of a source of embarrassment for myself and my fellow RCR administrators.
Consider what I believe to be a good example of Red Cup Rebellion's HATE WEEK: 2012's Texas Longhorns edition.
It was funny. It was lively. It had plenty of participants of the burnt orange persuasion or "got it," so to speak. There were jokes at the expense of the Houston Astros (low-hanging fruit, I know), off-color references to Matthew McConaughey movies, arguments over the merits of beef barbecue, swipes at the Alamo's over-inflated significance to American history, and the occasional unexplained "fuck you Texas" types of comments. The visiting Longhorns fans generally replied in kind and kept it interesting. None of it was mean spirited in its context, and all of it was fun. It wasn't particularly clean, but it wasn't hate for the sake of hate, either.
Now, for a what might be the worst HATE WEEK ever, there is Mizzou's HATE WEEK from last year, which I can't even open anymore because of Google Chrome's malware blocker. But while I can't therefore provide you with any specific examples of what went wrong therewith, I can generally describe how much of the "conversation" went that week:
"No, fuck you."
"No, you're fat."
"Well you're a fucking racist fuck."
"No, you're the fucking racist. You shitass."
And so it went for hundreds and hundreds of comments. From there it spread, like some sort of infection, into other comments threads and even onto other SB Nation sites. It was an all-around unpleasant experience that became downright unreadable.
HATE WEEK was never supposed to be about personal attacks. It was never intended to start shouting matches over whose hometown sucks more. It was never about actual vitriol and hatred. It was always about over-the-top nonsense, demonstrably irrational anger, clever insult comedy, and lots of animated gifs, all quarantined in one comments section. To keep HATE WEEK preserved for this season and future seasons, we want it to get back to what it was, and we trust that you do too.
To that end, we're going to ask that you please re-read the Community Guidelines to which all commenters have agreed, and take another look at the HATE WEEK disclaimer. Also, understand that those of us who are in charge here reserve the right to unilaterally hide or delete comments or conversations which delve into actual mean-spiritedness, and we won't be afraid to ban anyone who routinely misunderstands the very idea of HATE WEEK. We've been generally pleased with how well the Cup community has self-policed comments threads, but we feel that this season's hatin' might need a little more policing from those of us who can actually wield some e-authority. That said, don't be afraid to call out people for being lame and shitty (y'all did invent the very idea of the "Andre of the Week," remember?) and don't be afraid to flag comments - from Rebels or not - which are aggressively vitriolic, personal, bigoted, or simply lame as hell.
We trust that you all understand, particularly those of you who have been around for a while. And we trust that you'll be able to restore HATE WEEK to what it was from what it has become well enough that, in 2015, we won't need to have this conversation again.
Happy hatin' y'all. We'll see you bright and early Monday morning.