It's like the heat of summer (or the hell of August) has everyone so on edge that the slightest comment sends people into bickering, all out wars, or defensive behavior. Therefore, I think it's time to refresh our memories about some of the basic understandings with which you should approach Mile High Hockey.
1. Turn up the meter. Look at every comment as a benign attempt at humor before you form an opinion of the comment. If there is any doubt, either 1) ask the person to clarify if he/she is serious or not OR 2) fucking ignore it.
2. Disagreeing is totally cool, but personal attacks are not. Disagreements are a part of life. Insulting others or belittling them for holding that opinion should not be and is not okay. Note: saying an idea is dumb is NOT the same thing as saying a person is dumb. If someone shits all over your idea and it offends you, either 1) tell the person NICELY that his/her approach offended you and ask that he/she rephrase next time OR 2) fucking ignore it.
3. Random tangents are fine unless they revolve around controversial issues, specifically in the realm of politics or religion. We often talk about things other than hockey, especially in the dark days of August. Let's keep those conversations to whiskey, gaming, Pokemon, music, food, etc. Let's not bring in hot topics that we know are incredibly divisive unless they pertain directly to hockey (i.e., on-ice fighting, drug use by players, ice girls [AJ's favorite], etc.) If someone does start a conversation that seems like it doesn't belong on the site, either 1) tell the person NICELY that such conversations are discouraged on the site OR 2) fucking ignore it.
4. Just because something is your opinion, you can't expect others to automatically consider it valid. A lot of the folks around here are big on supporting assertions, even those that are opinion-based. This does not mean you can't state an opinion without backing it up. It just means don't get bent out of shape when people call you out on it. If someone challenges you in a way that you don't like, either 1) try to support your thoughts with some form of observable or measurable evidence OR 2) fucking ignore it.
5. We're joined together by a love for hockey and the Avalanche, so let's remember to honor the community we created. In other words, be cool with each other. If someone starts railing on a member, either 1) NICELY defend the person OR 2) fucking ignore it. (Note that there isn't a third option of "fan the flames." Also realize that some people have a history of antagonistic behavior towards one another, DiD and Bibby, for example, and we generally just stay out of those tete-a-tetes)
6. Trolls will stop by; don't feed them. Lots of folks like to bait others into arguments. We call them trolls. If trolls shows up, either 1) fucking ignore them OR 2) fucking ignore them.
7. There are long-time members on this site that are more, shall we say, colorful with their commentary than others. Those people generally maintain that edge to their communication on a regular basis. For the most part, they are harmless and aren't really as bad as they may seem at first. Often, it's just their sense of humor (see Tenet #1). If you're unfamiliar with the person or unsure if that person is an asshole all the time or just right now, either 1) fucking ignore it and observe for a while OR 2) fucking ignore it. (Note the previous tenets of the site for other ways to handle it if you feel the need to do so. If they cross the line, the moderators of the site will address the issue privately. Long-standing membership gives you some leeway. However, it does not give you carte blanche freedom to be a dick.)
8. Turn up the meter. If someone does replies to your comment with the phrase "Don't be a dick", either 1) make the assumption that it is a humorous way to say, "Chill," OR 2) fucking ignore it.
We all screw up. We all fall into traps of bad community behavior. The trick is to recognize it of yourself and back off. It helps a lot if the other folks in the community can take a step back and be chill about it, as well. Don't think you can't call out one another or argue with each other or tease each other. Just remember to do so with a modicum of respect. Mmmmkay?
Final note: if something or someone is bothering you to the point you can't ignore it or it's making you want to leave the site, email me and (calmly, please) explain the issue. I will do what I can to mitigate the problem if possible. Oh, and fuck the red wings.