The Avocado

State of the Avocado (May 5, 2023)


Hi everyone! It’s been a while since we last checked in with the community. If you live in the northern hemisphere, we hope you’ve been enjoying the beautiful spring weather, and if you live in the southern hemisphere, well, WINTER IS COMING. (Game of Thrones references are still relevant in 2023, right?)

Before we get down to business, let’s highlight some fun stats for the period between April 1st, 2022 and April 1st, 2023:

  • Most frequented thread = November 12th, 2022 – “The WPT Is Working for the Man”
  • Most frequented Open Thread was on August 3rd, 2022, the “Booty Balm Day Thread”
  • Most comments came from the 2021-2022 NBA Playoffs thread – 6,382 comments from only 66 commenters. Nice!
  • To no one’s surprise, the #1 Community Engager was Adlai Stevenson with 1,377,441 engagements. The runner up is Flubba, followed by Just Ice Machine.
  • We’ve even got a fancy infographic for our engagements in March 2023!

Thanks to all of you for making this community such an awesome place to be. Without your wit, insight, and love of the trending GIF button, this community would not be what it is.

Now, let’s dive in.

Disqus Updates

A couple of quick reminders about Disqus: First, classic and new Disqus UIs are both available from the drop-down list at the top-right of the comments section. Second, user bios are now also viewable in the new Disqus UI on personal computers by mousing over the user’s avatar. This feature remains absent on mobile phones in both the new and classic UIs.

Badge Updates

Bios are visible again in both classic and nu Disqus, which means pronouns are also visible again. However, we are aware that bios are not as accessible for mobile users, and we know that this is also true for the pronoun badges. With all of this in mind, we would like to know what you all think we should do with the pronoun badges. Would you like us to keep the current pronoun badges? Please reply to this comment with your thoughts. Note that we can only offer eight badges total. The current badges are “Werewolf at Night,” “Content Creator,” “Pride Badge,” “They/Them,” “She/Her,” “He/Him,” “Cat Fancy,” and “Dog Fancy.”

Etiquette and Behaviour

Region bashing continues to be an issue. We understand that it often seems harmless / warranted, but it’s hurtful to the many good-hearted people who live in the “wrong” place. Please be cognizant of how your jokes about “Florida man,” for instance, affect Florida residents. And yes, the Bugs Bunny gif is still off the table. If you’re unsure if something you’re about to post counts as region bashing, ask yourself if what you’re saying is a broad and disparaging statement about an entire population (“[region] deserves what they get” or “[region] should just sink into the ocean”). While you’re at it, ask yourself how this comment could be changed to be helpful or productive instead (“harmful/hateful leaders continue to win elections in [region] but here are some resources that explain why that might be and what we can do to create change” or “[region] is suffering so here are some resources to help those who are most impacted by the bad policies currently in place”).

When someone tags a post as serious (“/serious”), please respect that. Err on the side of caution, in general, when responding to posts that have a serious bent. Some community members may use “/s” instead of “/serious,” which can cause some confusion due to the overlap with the “sarcasm” indicator, but please use your context clues. 

If you’re keen to live-blog a show or event, please restrict it to a single top-level comment and replies underneath. We strongly encourage you to make separate threads for popular events that multiple people might want to live-blog.

Please refrain from making “devil’s advocate” comments. The goal of this position is to blatantly take an opposing (often contentious) view in an attempt to prove the other view is false. It is unnecessary at best and harmful at worst. It is easy to discuss a topic and share concerns or differing points of view without having to resort to taking the diametrically opposite stance just for the sake of argument. It may also violate Rule 3 (“are likely to disrupt, provoke, attack, or offend others”). 

Always remember the “three golden questions” for posting online:

  • Does this need to be said?
  • Does this need to be said by me?
  • Does this need to be said by me, now?


We continue to recommend that you block at will for your mental well-being. But please keep in mind that blocking is an automatic two-way street: If A blocks B, then A can’t see B’s posts when logged in, and B can’t see A’s posts when logged in. If you’ve blocked someone, you cannot expect them to know about things you’ve posted. And if you’re blocked by someone, you should have no expectation that any information you post will ever reach them. This may impact your ability to participate in certain threads, and the site mods have no plans to request that anyone unblock someone to allow for participation in these threads. 

Similarly, if you block a site mod, you are responsible for any missed announcements, comments, or rule enforcements. To be clear, this does not mean you are not allowed to block a site moderator, but it does mean you risk missing important information, so we ask that you consider this when deciding to block. If you have a serious concern about a mod’s behavior, please contact us so we can address the concern. You can email us, tag an individual mod, or use the anonymous contact form. 

And finally, do not brag about blocking someone. If you decide to block someone, and you continue to discuss the subject, then you are likely violating Rule 3 (“rehashing grievances across time and different threads [vagueposting], dragging out or inciting drama”). This is also true for anyone who is blocked by someone. Basically, do not drag out conversations about blocking because it violates Rule 3. If you have a concern with a user, you should contact the mods directly. 

Threats, Wishing Harm, and Public Figures

Look, bad or good things are going to happen to people you love or hate regardless of what you do; rooting for physical harm to come to awful people might be understandable, but it may also violate site rules. Here’s a quick guide:

  1. Celebrating harm already caused to a public figure: insensitive but within the rules unless it’s offensive for some other reason.
  2. Wishing physical harm against a public figure: against site rules.
  3. Threatening harm to a public figure: against Disqus rules and could get the site shut down if not enforced.

The line between a threat and wishing harm can be blurry, and even if it weren’t, it would be impossible to reach a consensus about who is deserving of harm. As a reminder, Disqus has a very strict no-threats policy that we are obligated to enforce. On our site, we’ve extended that to not wishing physical harm upon anyone partly because the line between a threat and a wish is blurry. While we don’t have a policy of allowing people to wish harm upon those who have caused sufficient harm themselves (that would put us in the business of judging what sufficient harm is), you are of course still permitted to be as harsh as you want in your criticism of public figures, including calling them mean names and excoriating them for their incompetence; you just can’t wish harm upon them. All we are asking is that your words do not constitute threats, wish harm, or criticize a specific marginalized identity (inclusive of physical characteristics).

We do not believe this to be an onerous restriction.

Mod Intervention

While we try to respond to flags in a timely manner, we can’t always intervene right away. Part of that is because it takes time to gather information and context, and then to formulate a response when the situation calls for one. On the other hand, sometimes we determine a need to act quickly, so if it looks like we’re being too proactive about something, please understand that it is almost always informed by a past incident that got out of hand. Not only does the mod team have lots of institutional memory, but also our tracking system allows us to quickly review patterns of behavior, so there are times when decisions to act are made quickly in an effort to reduce harm to the community. That being said, we are a volunteer body, and sometimes we’re going to fall short of communicating the reasoning for our decisions. You always have the right to ask why we’re doing this. We hope that we’ve earned your trust to the point that you can be sure we’re doing things for a reason, and if we haven’t made that reason clear to you, then please ask.

As a team, we also do our best to remain as objective as possible when making decisions. But we recognize that sometimes we may struggle with objectivity, and that will affect our interactions within the community. In order to address this, we debrief routinely to ensure no one is overstepping boundaries or their role as a mod. We take concerns regarding our behaviors seriously, and even if it looks like nothing is happening, we are always discussing how to be better and how to do better.

New Mods

We’re looking for new mods! If you’re interested in joining the mod team, please contact us. If you’re unsure about what we do exactly, what kind of time commitment it might be, etc., please feel free to reach out and ask! We’re happy to give you the details to help you decide if this might be a good fit for you. 

Concluding Remarks

That just about does it for this edition of the State of the Avocado. To sum up: you can now view both classic and new Disqus; we want your opinions on pronoun badges; cut it out with the region-bashing; ask yourself if playing devil’s advocate is really necessary; blocking is an automatic two-way street; wishing harm or threatening public figures remains against the rules; please be patient when it comes to mod intervention; and we’re looking for new mods!

If you have any questions, please post them in the thread below, and we’ll try our best to answer all of them. Feel free to goof off and meme below, but please keep joking replies to legitimate questions to a minimum.

Thanks for reading!