Alongside the AP reports, stories from Yahoo! writers and blog posts from Puck Daddy -- whom we admire greatly -- a new label appeared at Yahoo! Sports. It's name: Associated Content. Using the word "content" in this sense is a kin to selling empty jars of peanuts and calling them "full of substance".
Whomever decided that hiding garbage in between the actual news and coherent opinion is sorely missing the point of their mission. Conceivably (and I'm guessing here), someone decided that Yahoo needed more bloggers. Or at the very least a way to let their Average Joe users have their say. I guess, they thought the bloggers that they already have -- whose only peers are Deadspin and Fanhouse, by the way -- were not talented enough. Or maybe not, it's impossible to tell what would spur this decision.
Whatever their motive, their mission failed. They failed in the same way the Hindenburg failed as a flying machine.
User generated content and social media are all the rage these days and there are right ways to go about adding that to your media conglomerate and wrong ways. Maybe the idea was to let a lot of folks write for Yahoo and they would discover a few hidden gems. Maybe the idea was to create the second coming of Bleacher Report -- the irony being that this is the same week BR decided to clean house. It's just a shame "user generated content" can be absolute crap, at times (hence why not every blog owner turns into the next Arianna Huffington). Other times, it can be amazing.
This is one of the times it's absolute crap. And that's putting it nicely.
Let's take Exhibit A.
Let's first note that in the first word of the title there is a huge gaffe. Not only did the writer not proofread their title, but there was no editor to read it over. Or Ms. Clapper has the worst editor in the history of editors. I'm going to assume the former is true. (Here's a screenshot for when it inevitably gets changed.) Either way, it was still unchanged three hours after publication.
Now, to the article which resembles message board troll drivel more than it does even the worst the blogging world has to offer.
Here's the opening paragraph.
The New York Rangers are the NHL's weakest team. Beyond the stats, they can't hold together a solid fan base due to multiple rivalries and spats over lineups. As a fan of Philadelphia sports teams, my disdain for rival New York teams is rather natural. Philly sports fans are constantly tested or made to feel inferior by trash-talking fans from New York teams.
Now, remember that I'm an Islanders fan. If there's anyone who would pile on the Rangers, it would be me. This is such drivel, I'm actually rushing to their defense.
Let's take a minute to summarize this paragraph.
- The Rangers do not have a solid fan base.
- The author does not like them because she is from Philly.
- There is nothing to back the first claim other than the author's own opinions.
And now, my rebuttal. The Rangers have a solid fan base and then some. According to ESPN, the Garden averaged 99.3% capacity last season. They were at or over capacity in the three years prior, also according to ESPN. Secondly, not liking them because you are from Philly is valid however it is also inane. When you write for a major-media company like Yahoo (although I question calling them that now) you can't simply say you don't like someone because you're not from around there. That stuff belongs on message boards and independent blogs where people can be as moronic as they want, like us at BMR.
Should we look at the rest of this abomination? Ugh. Put on your boots and walk through the muck with me, folks.
"The Rangers have a record of losing at home. The Maple Leafs recently defeated the Rangers at their home opener. It's hard to believe Rangers fans stick with their team."
You're shitting me, right? The Rangers lose ONE GAME AT HOME and you expect fans to GIVE UP ON THE TEAM? You're fracking kidding. Please tell me you're kidding. You have to be. This article is one big sarcastic joke. That's unbelievable reasoning.
But wait, there's more.
"With Drury out on injury, Rangers fans are going ballistic. (Even the team's official Twitter account seems to echo panic and doubt regarding the injury.) The fans recognize that the team relies too heavily on an individual player, even if he is team captain, and that's creating panic instead of support among fans."
She's definitely kidding. I don't know how else to explain her reasoning that Chris Drury's early-season injury is devastating and people are rioting down Broadway about it while NOT EVEN MENTIONING Marian Gaborik's injury. Yeah, Gaborik. He's awful, I guess. Only finished 5th in the NHL in goals last season. Terrible season. That's why the blog post THE AUTHOR HERSELF LINKED TO, CITING IT AS EVIDENCE OF HER POINT said the following:
"Yes without Gaborik the Rangers have what is essentially the same pop gun offense of two years ago...The Rangers will miss Drury down the middle but his penalty killing and leadership can be replaced for the time being by guys like Ryan Callahan and Brian Boyle."
The blog post SHE, HERSELF CITED said that the Rangers WOULD BE ABLE TO REPLACE DRURY! ARE YOU SHITTING ME?!
I don't think there are enough font effects for me to properly emphasize that last point. But since I'm a no-good-very-bad blogger, I'll call on the help of Tourette's Guy to emphasize my point.
Oh no, Dear Reader. You're not out of it yet. There's more. No self-respecting internet troll rant would be complete without a 9/11 and George Bush reference.
"Additional conservative banter further accuses [Former Rangers goalie Mike Richter] of communist affiliations because he opposed George W. Bush shortly after Sept. 11—an attitude not uncommon in his native Abington, Pa. While most people dislike Bush now, it was an extremely unpopular stance just after the terrorist attacks, specifically in New York."
'Cause no one on the internet can talk about anything without invoking 9/11 or Hitler. She shot 50% on that one. Thanks for that. I really don't care at this point if this article was written tongue-in-cheek and I'm a big sucker. There's nothing remotely funny about that last paragraph.
But I'm getting off point. The point is that this "Associated Content" is garbage and deserves no place remotely near the Great Wyshnski and the rest of the Yahoo staff. If you want more examples, here are some really, super-awesome, amazing articles written by "Associated Content" writers.
Here's the first sentence. Emphasis mine.
"The San Jose Sharks would like to invite you to see your favorite team players during one of the games this year. Among the favorite Sharks team members are Center, Joe Thornton(notes), Right Wing, Dany Heatley(notes), and Left Wing, Patrick Marleau(notes), who consistently do an awesome job tackling other teams in the National Hockey League (NHL)."
Tackling? In hockey? Sigh.
More message board trash talk. Here's one of the fear-inducing put downs: "The Avalanche haven't won the Stanley Cup since 2001."
Cause, you know, only 7 different teams have won since the Avs. Man, they're terrible. Nine years. That sure is some drought! At least that article didn't invoked 9/11.
So, in the same week that Bleacher Report announces that it is clearing house, Yahoo makes a bold statement that anyone BR rejects they will welcome with open arms. Every time the blogosphere takes a step forward, some moron(s) take it three steps back.
Thank you, Yahoo. Thank you for those three steps back. Why you would want this content associated with you is beyond me.