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Rules of Engagement: Playoffs Round 1

Well, this will be fun.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, Hockey Wilderness posted an article that could have been awesome. It was titled "Stanley Cup Playoffs: #AnyoneButThem." Using a clever play on a hashtag that has become synonymous with the meteoric and unexpected rise of the Avalanche from the depths of the league, the author set up a scenario in which arguments were given about why a hockey fan should root for the Wild over the Avs. Unfortunately, it fell quite short of its potential as it became clear within the first two bullets that the focus was going to be more about trolling the opposing team and its fanbase rather than promoting the Minnesota Wild.

Gotta give props to them, though, because it worked like a charm. Multiple people from MHH (including myself) took the bait and engaged in useless conversation over there. I say useless because it was obvious right away that there wasn't going to be much engagement in actual, healthy debate. Apart from a few interesting threads, it became a pissing contest wherein neither side paid attention to fact or logic offered by the opposing fans, and both sides just spewed narratives. The conversation went nowhere.

I believe that was the point, however. It was designed to attract MHHers so that later HWers could sit around their campfire, point fingers and laugh at us (regardless of how funny it actually was).

As always, my request for our members when visiting SBN sites of opposing teams is that you are respectful and civil, avoiding personal attacks and pettiness. For the most part, the folks that went over there yesterday did this. There were occasions in which the line was breached, but it wasn't egregious. Most of the taunting was harmless. Many thanks to you folks for that.

I'm wondering, however, if it's even worth going over there in the first place, especially to comment on articles like the one posted yesterday. If the article's only purpose is to troll, why give them the satisfaction? You're just playing their game, one which you'll never win because trolls don't care about facts or discourse. Nothing worthwhile will come of a conversation like that.

You'll notice that the comments on that one post obliterated their comment averages. That one article had nearly 1,000 comments. They topped out at 150 for a game thread the two weeks prior to it. Why so many comments? Because we visited. We have the most active comment section of SBN's NHL sites. Trolling us means bigger numbers for them if we take the bait.

So I'm suggesting we don't give them those kinds of hits. If you choose to do so, though, make sure you don't take anything they say about you, MHH or the Avs personally. Don't give them the satisfaction of getting a rise out of you. What better arsenal is there than letting a joke fall short? Without us, their trolling becomes this:

And isn't knowing that they're twiddling their thumbs, sitting on a thread with 50 comments, much more satisfying?