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Farewell to HATE WEEK

Hey y'all.

You probably saw this coming, so let's cut to it: we aren't doing HATE WEEK for this (or any future) seasons. This decision has been a few years in the making and, at this point, it wasn't a particularly tough one to make. While we cannot emphasize to you enough that we completely understand that HATE WEEK was a weekly tradition enjoyed by many of our most loyal commenters, the spirit of the HATE seen here had both eroded over time and failed to evolve along with the content, tone, and style of the Cup over the past several football seasons.

To be clear, HATE WEEK will no longer be hosted in any form — not as a fanpost, not as a thread hijack on other articles. Those that attempt to circumvent this decision will be warned, and if need be, banned.

When I dreamt up the idea of a weekly comments thread shitfest, I very heavily borrowed from George Orwell's "1984" to evoke an image of a maddened crowd, enraged in a senseless fury against an enemy they didn't know or understand. "Hate Week," in the context of Orwell's dystopian world, was the product of a failing and desperate society in a perpetual existential crisis. HATE WEEK and the related "two minutes hate" were meant to keep a citizenry mad, angry, and - most importantly - afraid of someone or something else as to keep them industrious and loyal. I felt this idea appropriate when HATE WEEK really gained its steam in the final years of Houston Nutt's tenure in Oxford, the undeniable nadir of Ole Miss football in the modern era.

We were mad, stupid, angry fans who had a stupid, shitty, dumb butthead football coach leading an uninspired and unprepared team to their repeated slaughter against SEC teams that, at the time, seemed like unconquerable monstrosities. That doesn't apply any more, and neither do those feelings of desperate anger that HATE WEEK was meant to placate.

Most importantly, HATE WEEK was never intended to be an introduction to Red Cup Rebellion. It was supposed to be a place where Ole Miss fans could, given the appropriate spirit (i.e., without being deliberately mean), relieve some Rebel fan angst by talking shit and posting dumb gifs. That this kept getting lost - by Ole Miss fans and non-Ole Miss fans alike - and the weekly threads too often became a lightning rod for bad takes from across the internet. It became a face for our website and community and, by extension, the Ole Miss Rebel fan base. That it carried such an unfair weight burdened us with a responsibility to very closely pay attention to it, which in turn made it frustrating to read and so incredibly tedious to moderate.

Further, the spirit and practice of HATE WEEK diverged a great deal from the content and editorial voices of both Red Cup Rebellion and SBNation since HATE WEEK's origins. While casual sexism, needless riffing, and "who's the least racist" contests might have been commonplace around comments threads here five years ago, none of that is appropriate here by our standards and the standards of the network that still somehow graciously hosts us. To put it differently, HATE WEEK got worse while everything around it got better. It was a haven of needlessly unimaginative vulgarity amongst what we believe is some good, thoughtful, entertaining content.

For us, HATE WEEK stopped being fun years ago. We bandied about the idea of getting rid of HATE WEEK as early as the summer of 2014 because, from our end, from the ivory tower of Ingsoc, HATE WEEK was so easy to hate. We tried to moderate it more closely and be crystal clear with rules and guidelines, and most of y'all did a fine job of understanding and respecting that, but managing the hundreds and hundreds of comments it would inevitably produce robbed us of time and resources to actually write about Ole Miss football. It made running our own site more of a chore than a labor of love. It had to go.

Once more, we understand fully that y'all liked HATE WEEK. We now ask for you to understand that we didn't. And, ultimately, this is our decision to make. Sorry not sorry.