For those of you wondering about the behind the scenes stuff here at High Above Courtside, I will share a little nugget of information with you that might prove interesting.
We got the first TOS violation on our new computer. It took us 4.5 days. That's four point five, folks. When the HAC engines were being fired up yesterday, the system shut down and we had to log on to the Master Screen Name, change the password, and send an angry letter to TOS Reports.
What exactly did those crazy kids at HAC do? While researching the Mohammed Hassan article , HAC (Bo Jackson speaks of himself in the third person.....HAC takes it to that next level, and is the first sports-related entity to speak about itself in third person plural) ended up in a wrestling chat room, where we- upon request- posted a link to HAC. We may or may not have implied that children should be forced to read HAC at gunpoint in developing countries. It was all in good fun, and no one said Boo.
"Are you threatening me?"
But the next day, we got TOSd. I immediately wrote to the TOS people and demanded that this affront be removed at once from my permanent record. They declined, and I have another black mark against my name.
I get TOSd all the time, usually for insulting people on message boards, but also for other more diverse reasons. You'd be shocked at how few TOS violations I get for the actual content of the articles....most of them are for protocol violations.
Off the top of my head, here's some stuff I've been TOSd over:
- Disparaging Cubans, who I actually enjoy. Even if I didn't like Cubans, I'd tolerate them simply for the plantain recipes.
- Offering to kill someone for pay on a Scottish message board. Incidentally, they weren't upset that I offered murder-for-hire....they were upset that I was using AOL to advertise what they termed an "untaxed overseas business transaction." I consider this to be my greatest TOS.
- Spamming my "Sexiest Athlete Poll" article link onto about 500 message boards. I wanted the most replies I could get,and I spent a weekend Dropping the Links like Tyson dropped Spinks. For my efforts, and the multiple TOS violations I got, the article generated a whopping 39 replies. Jersey Girl, who takes pictures of sand, gets 75-100 every article.
- WOWTOWN is a private group I'm in for what we'll call "female athletes." It is also the single best place to watch arguments online, or get into one yourself. I was TOSd there for suggesting that one of my fellow members may have been deprived of the necessary oxygen required in the birthing process. Turns out she had been, and she took offense...straight to TOS.
- In what I am sure was a misunderstanding, I got TOS'd during last year's All Star Game, which I attended after winning the All Star Blogger Contest. Ruben Stoddard was singing God Bless America, and I speculated that the entire cotton crop of Georgia had been requisitioned to construct his shirt. Bang, TOS....didn't go through till the following morning, or wouldn't AOL have been mad if the All Star Blogger vanished in the 7th Inning?
This was also noteworthy because I was the first sports blogger to ever get in trouble during the game I was covering. No other reporter had even filed yet, and I already had angry mail waiting for me from the people who had paid my way down there in the first place. They don't keep track of that stuff...but if they did, I'd be on someone's VIP list.
I'm assuming the person who TOSd me saw a racial dig in the black guy/cotton/Georgia reference, and the connotations it may have implied. I'd have made the same joke about Van Morrison, David Wells, Rikki Lake or Kirstie Alley, though.
- I have done the rarely-seen TOS within a TOS, when I threatened the AOL Service Rep I was arguing my TOS violation with.
While I'm working from memory here, my threat was along the lines of "If I have to come down there, be warned that it will be the 100% opposite of your commercial where that mousy girl brings you her 'famous apple crumb cake'to thank AOL for their anti-virus software."
I evaded criminal prosecution by telling that guy's boss- who I immediately demanded to speak to- that it would be a poor career move if he TOSd "Ted Leonsis' neice."
A bold-faced lie....but it worked. An ends/Means situation, kids....and the Code of the West can mean whatever you need it to, in a pinch.
- Did I mention message boards? While the actual things I've said escape me, I know I was TOSd for arguments centered around Raef LaFrenz(my personal boogeyman), Kobe/Shaq, Peyton Manning and the Colts (the Colt defense was referred to as "the Easy Whore of Mr. Touchdown, USA," which I hope cracked up the TOS guy), a perfectly nice kid named Tony Allen, George Bush, Ron Artest, Terry O'Reilly, the girl Kobe may or may not have raped, people who insult Teddy Bruschi, skateboarding on the street in Whitman, Massachusetts, betting on high school football game field goal attempts in front of the town preacher, Bobby Knight, hitting a kid at the YMCA with my Good Citizen award, smoking marijuana, Antoine Walker, Rick Pitino, and a few dozen more.
- There's one guy, who may be reading this now, who is mad at ME because he accidentally hit the "Notify Me When This Journal Updates" button when he was reading HAC, and he gets a letter from AOL whenever I do a new entry. He gets Jamie Mott, too. He can't be reasoned with in IM, either...and I am licensed to practice psychology.
I get out of most of these by vigorous protest to the proper AOL channels. I'm not sure how many you can get before you go POOF, but I must be in the neighborhood. Someday, I may just vanish. It will be a sad day when that happens, but I'd rather lose an AOL account than alter the hard-hitting, smashmouth style that has made me America's Sweetheart.