Sunday, February 13, 2011

Practicum #1- Michael

For my practicum assignment I’m researching special interest discussion board, chat, and blogs. Within these platforms I’ve decided to make my focus the happenings of the New York Knicks.

In order to fully track the Knicks along a number of various special interest media, I’ve been active on’s New York Knicks message forum,, and the New York Knicks Facebook Fan Page. I think using these three sites as my areas of exploration will be an interesting endeavor, as I am a long-time, active member or the RealGM forum, I’ve read for a year now but was never active in comments, and I generally didn’t pursue anything having to do with the Knicks Facebook Fan Page. Furthermore I watch every Knicks game and stay informed with the team’s happenings in any way I can. I think having these varied dynamics in regard to my knowledge and experience with each website and the team itself will give me both a broad and specific look at these different types of special interest media.

In this post, I’ll give you a brief introduction on my experience with’s Knicks message forum, and will introduce the blog and fan page with my next post.

The RealGM Knicks message forum is the most well-known and active Knicks message forum on the web. It is also the most active message forum of any professional team on and probably one of the most active of all professional teams’ message forums in general. I’ve been a member of RealGM since February 25th, 2005 and have logged 4,945 posts (2.27 posts per day) over my time there. There was a point years ago where I was posting on the site very frequently. I started gaining notoriety around the message forum, as I was one of the youngest on the site and was becoming a well-respected poster. I even won Rookie of The Year and Nicest Poster in the yearly Knicks Message Board awards. (Yeah, I know: I’m the man). Anyway, I continued to post a ton and eventually did become a pretty well-known veteran poster. However, over the last few years of despair for the Knicks I’ve lost the fire to continue to post with the same frequency I used to. Now I’m more of a lurker, though it’s nice that when I do have something to chime in about every once in a while, posters at least view threads I create with some preconceived respect since I’ve been around for a while.

The interesting aspect about the way posters interact with each other on the message forums is that there is a community dynamic to it. There are forum moderators who make sure no one is violating the Terms of Service agreement and a clear social hierarchy of posters based on experience, personality, and knowledge. Furthermore, even though most of the board is usually at each other’s throats, when fans of other teams come from their teams’ RealGM message forums to stir up trouble, everyone bands together in disapproval. A unique aspect of the message forum is that there is actual order, as moderators are able to suspend and ban posters from the site. In fact, they can even track IP addresses to make sure that a person who is banned doesn’t just continuously make new screen names. This dynamic maintains a controlled environment for discussion, something that many places on the internet these days lack considerably.

Currently the vast majority of activity on the message forums is based around the trade rumors of Carmelo Anthony. There have been talks for months now about Anthony being traded to the New York Knicks, as confidants have maintained that he will only sign a contract extension with the Knicks and his current team, the Nuggets, don’t want to lose the All-Star for nothing. This puts a huge microscope over both teams and at this point, with neither team budging in trade negotiations, the amount of press this speculation has gotten is ridiculous. Due to the fact that there were so many posts about Carmelo on the RealGM Knicks forum, the moderators decided to create a thread devoted entirely to Carmelo Anthony discussion. This maintains the integrity of the board as a Knicks discussion place as well as alleviates the board of congestion and traffic that slows its’ servers down. Speaking of slowing the servers down, moderators are also informed to not let threads get to over 100 pages of posts. Due to this, the Knicks message forum is now on part 17 of the Carmelo Anthony thread, meaning there is an unprecedented amount of discussion geared solely towards this subject.

Today specifically, there isn’t much activity on the board. Based on my experience here, that is most likely because the team won it’s game against the New Jersey Nets last night. For whatever reason, anytime the Knicks win, posters are generally quiet and when they lose, posters are making threads to analyze/complain about the loss/specific players/the coach like it went out of style.

I’ll continue to track the boards and discuss with my fellow RealGMers throughout the season and thereafter. I can’t wait until the February 24th NBA trading deadline, when a conclusion will have to be met regarding the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors. That will have an enormous effect on the shape the board takes over the remainder of the season. As Knicks fans have been doing all season in anticipation of that trade, stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Great first post, Michael. I think you'll find a lot of parallels in the Watson article we're reading this week!