State of The Den

Hello all,

Writing a State of The Den has always been a sporadic exercise to help keep things in order, and remind everyone what makes this community worthwhile. It’s important to be reminded of you are, of who we are, because when there’s a lot of noise, we sometimes lose our bearings. We lose ourselves. (It still amazes me how frequently people still interpret “tone” through text).

With a rise in unnecessary personal attacks, and on the tails of yet another disappointing Detroit Lions season (those two things are rarely mutually exclusive), it’s pertinent to re-state a few things.

The Den has been around, in one form or another, since 2000. You could make the case for 1998, but who’s counting? In that time, we’ve witnessed tremendous growth in an online community that stuck with one another through various technical changes, and different collections of users that would come and leave. Some even passed away, like spike804, who wrote the forum tagline you can read atop the forum.

Really, the only things that haven’t changed are the fact we still follow this maddening franchise, and the fact this maddening franchise continues to lose.

So what is The Den for, anyway? Who is it for? It’s a place for banter. It’s a place for predictions. It’s a place to spread (but not start) rumors. It’s a place for dialogue. It’s a place for community. But those last two don’t mean a whole lot if we’re complete assholes to one another. If we’re talking at each other, and not to each other, and being so brave that we’re condescending to one another on an online message board (so brave!), then this whole experiment is pointless.

We might as well shut it down.

Wouldn’t that be the logical conclusion?

I’d being lying if I said I didn’t consider it. I re-started the forum at the request of a handful of users. It can go away just as quickly. That isn’t a threat, it’s simply the logical progression of #ThisIsWhyWeCantHaveNiceThings.

So what do we do? I’m going to recommend a handful of things that all of us (myself included) can all do to generate a healthier community.

  1. Take a deep breath. This is an internet message board, in which people discuss a particular topic. This topic, the Detroit Lions, is a billion dollar enterprise and its employees are multi-million dollar athletes that – and as someone who was a credentialed member of the media can tell you – doesn’t care as much as you do. With little exception, they don’t lurk within online forums and argue whether or not the head coach should be fired, or if the QB is overpaid, or if they should have spent the last pick on an OT and not a TE.

  2. This community is only as good as how you respond to the next post. There’s going to be things that you disagree with. There’s going to be takes that you find obnoxious or ridiculous. And, this might surprise some of you: you’re probably not going to change anyone’s mind by flaming them. At no point in the history of internet-as-a-medium has one user responded to another, “Shit, you know what? That’s a good point. I’m going to change my opinion entirely. Thank you, sir, for enlightening me with such a profound take, and the insult was just derogatory enough to convince me.” If you participate in flamewars, or start them, or even respond with a shitty, asinine remark, it makes this place worse for it. And if that’s all you’re contributing, why are you here? Why take the trouble to sign up for an account and spend endless hours? How miserable of a person does one have to be?

  3. Mind the endgame. Sometimes I wonder what is the intent of this little slice of web. Seriously, think on this for a moment. We already know how bad things can get if we are the worst team in the history of the league; 0-16 happened. We lived through it. But if the Lions go 16-0 and win the Super Bowl, does this forum … end? “We did it! Time to close up shop. See everyone in the next life!” Do we pat ourselves on the back for the vibes we contributed to the franchise winning its first championship in the modern era? No. Nothing ends. Because the point isn’t whether the Lions win or lose, that’s merely a subtopic. The point is us. The community. The gathering of fans to discuss something we’re passionate about. That’s the whole game.

Look, passion can manifest in unhealthy ways. I’m no different, and have made mistakes on this forum myself. But if you target different users, or even different topics, with negativity, you’re just planting landmines that detract from the entire point of the community.

I don’t know what in the hell is next for this franchise. I really don’t. 2019 was a shitshow. We can all agree on that, regardless of what got us there. But while we cannot control the team, we can control ourselves; we can do a better job of policing each other. Instead of antagonizing another user, offer correction as a community. The moderators do a great job of this, but they’re not babysitters. This community is only going to be as good as you guys want it to be. So while our team of choice might be a colossal waste of time and energy, this forum doesn’t need to be.

Let me know if you have any questions in the responses.


PS – If there are users you just cannot simply tolerate, there’s a handy IGNORE function that you all previously begged for. Use it.


Nate - I think we all lose sight sometimes about the costs in time and money that you specifically throw at this thing that we all enjoy. It’s appreciated.

There are a lot of passionate fans here, and maybe a few trolls. When it comes to less-than-perfect posting behavior, I personally find the latter easy to ignore and the former easy to excuse.


Big thanks Nate. This website is as close to family as you can get on the internet, down to the crazy uncle or 2.


I’d like to take a moment and thank Nate for giving us a platform to vent and discuss the Lions. I can honestly say that I need this place to escape to. It has helped keep me sane through some difficult times.

I’ll be the first to admit I can be a better poster. I do try to lead by example. Meaning I try to respond to others in the way I’d like to be responded back to. I do try to show respect for everyone’s views. I love a good debate and I appreciate an opposing view. I’ve never ignored anyone regardless what they write. However I draw the line at name calling and personal attacks. I find these actions un called for. It’s the quickest way to lose respect.

I can say that the debacle of 2019 has gotten under my skin a bit. A TE really??? A TE (read in Jim Mora sound effects)

But Nate makes a crucial point here. We are a community here. We support our addiction but we do not have to contribute to the bad habits that come with the addiction. We can all do a better job of making the community a more enjoyable place to be.

I just want to say that I’ll try to do my part.


By the way I still think we need to have an annual tailgate party to help raise funds for the board.


Sorry Nate and all other Den members, I feel like I contributed to the unrest on this forum by taking the Iggy bait so I apologize for contributing to the negative and will aim to ignore it from now on.


Nate, I have always been one to give credit to the Mods and you as well, thank you so much !
I get what your saying , I don’t think it’s that we hate eachother at all , but we all want answers why this team keeps floundering in mediocrity . We all are super frustrated by many things that have happened over the years . We all have our own opinions as to HOW TO FIX the team , HOW to make it better, WHAT is wrong with it , WHO is responsible? For The Lions, It will always be like that until they win more than lose. but that is why we have thee heated debates and that, arguing, IT IS NOT to drag down the site, but WE are talking fans of one of thee worst franchises in the NFL for 30 years + . THAT is the only reason there is anger and frustration outside of officials making up rules game by game. I Greatly Appreciate you and anyone that helps run this place !!! I LOVE The Den and always have. If I didn’t I wouldn’t keep coming here daily. BUT you are the best ! I hope you reflect on why we bicker…it’s NOT for something to do. and anytime you got many people in the same place? well there is going to be a fight sometime . IN : Bars , Workplaces , Stadiums , Neighborhoods , Homes , at games , at events…so it’s natural that SO many posters TOGETHER in one area might get a little heated and catty at times bro. 98% IS Lions -Related and the Circus it has been all these years. Not so much the “I hate you.” “your %#!@ stupid!” “no I’m not !” “yes you are !” stuff . between fans. LOL . Great Job your doing and I appreciate all of you !!


Let’s go to Whitey’s and instead of leaving a tip we’ll tell the waitress we made a contribution in her name. :wink:


Hey! I resemble that remark…

Good stuff Nate. We all can raise this place up with a little intent, me included.


How am I supposed to know it’s a rumor if I don’t start it?


This one?

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I just went there Saturday Night.


Haven’t been in years. But some of the best food I’ve ever had.

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The godfather has spoken :wink:
I’ll do my best, brother! Appreciate you more than you know!


Thanks Nate, cutting the nonsense off just in time. :+1:

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In this Twitter / troll everybody-age, healthy discussions have dwindled, exorbitantly.

You post a thought, opinion or question, SOMEone out there may challenge you, just to make themselves “look good”.

Now when we argued intensively about Joey Harrington years ago, it got HOT - but NEVER juvenile (which happens much more frequently, today).

This is why I rarely post, anymore.


There are definitely a few people on here that are looking for a fight, whose words are solely designed to inflame and create conflict. So much so, that when you ask them about it, they skip over and literally don’t respond.

You could ban them to the political thread, where they fit in, and this place would look totally different :wink:


Thanks Nate, and any other moderator that i take for granted. This place has grown into a NEED. We NEED this place, probably more when we’re terrible like this year versus when we a re good, like 100 years ago.
I read alot of the name calling and just skip by it. To me its just part of the Den. I don’t mind a little bad with the ton of good reading and insight I get from this place.
Appreciate all you do.