Fan message boards, like the Tigerboard for Mizzou Tiger fans and their rivals’ fans, are places where far-flunged fans can exchange information and fling barbs, insults, and rumors. Sometimes those rumors turn out to be more than just rumors. From SI.com’s Stewart Mandell’s blog:
At 1:30 in the morning on Jan. 30, a fan using the Internet screen name of “aggiegrant06” posted a cryptic message on the popular fan site TexAgs.com entitled “Is it legal???????” In it, he vaguely described how his girlfriend handled payroll checks at a “large dealership where we live” and “didn’t recognize several of the names.” He went on to say, “The checks were made out to football players of the local university, and even though they had never actually been to work there, they were receiving HUGE!!!! pay checks.”
Unfortunately, aggiegrant’s post was met with what can best be described as belligerent skepticism. “Dude, go away,” wrote one person. “You and your thread are completely stupid,” wrote another. Perturbed by the reaction, he went on to specify that “The School is OU, and the specific player is Bomar.” After a few more cynical comments, the post was removed by administrators less than two hours after it originated. “We’re pretty conservative when it comes to rumors that show up on the site,” said Brandon Jones, owner of Texas Ags.com, who employs 20 volunteer “moderators” to monitor the site’s 10,000 daily message-board posts. “Anytime you see an accusation like that show up on a bulletin board it almost seems too good to be true, so the natural reaction is this guy is making this up.”
I can’t blame Jones for erring on the side of caution. Being easy on rumors could well end up opening a Pandora’s box, turning the message board into a “I know this dude who knows this girl whose brother’s sister’s mother knows this guy down the street…” board. Worse, being easy could invite lawsuits.
Even so, whistles have been blown before on these message boards. The now infamous Larry Eustachy photos partying with college students after a game in Columbia, Mo. were first published at Tigerboard.
Here is aggiegrant06’s restored post.