Football fans rumble on daily Web sites

By: Jason Williams

Local newspaper forums gettin’ ugly over nfl rivalry

Hearing insults and obscenities hurled about at a pro football game is not uncommon (and that’s just at the snack bar). But Pittsburgh Steelers fans and Cleveland Browns fans have taken trash talking to a new level with the help of two newspaper Web sites.
“You’re a typical Browns fan,” said one Steelers supporter. “You have shite for brains and are loyal to colors that resemble a baboon’s a$$ [sic].” And this is one of the tamer entries you’ll find on Cleveland Live, the Web site for The Plain Dealer (, where Cleveland Browns fans trade insults with Pittsburgh Steelers fans.
Not to be outdone, the Tribune-Review in Greensburg, Pa., is offering a similar forum ? although slightly tamer in content? on their Web site Pittsburgh Live (, called “Clobber Cleveland,” where defenders of the “Black and Gold” can do their share of bad-mouthing.
“I happened to be checking out, [Cleveland’s] site and noticed their ‘Bash the ‘burgh Forum,'” said Ed Kost, general manager of Pittsburgh Live, who initiated the cross-promotion with Cleveland Live.
Both forums have been popular with Browns and Steelers fans, who invade each other’s Web turf in search of verbal battles.
“I think Cleveland [Live] tends to let it run a bit wider,” Kost said about the rival site’s racy content. “By and large, [Pittsburgh Live] has been policed more by the people on there.” Despite the good behavior, Pittsburgh Live’s Web operators are still keeping an eye out for obscenities and offensive language, in addition to using automated filters.
Cleveland Live insists they are also trying to keep it clean, but fun. “We are really aggressive with our forum,” said Denise Polverine, editor in chief of Cleveland Live, adding that policing the site can be difficult but is a top priority.
On both sites, fans use a variety of typographical techniques to get their message by the automated filters, such as purposely misspelling obscenities and making veiled references to graphic scenes in movies such as “Deliverance.”
Polverine said Cleveland’s site is checked daily for obscenities and offensive language and words are often added to the automated filters, but despite precautions, people find a way.
Cleveland Live is planning additional cross-promotion between SunSpot, the Web site for The (Baltimore) Sun , for the upcoming game against the Baltimore Ravens, the former Browns.
(Editor & Publisher [Caption]
(copyright: Editor & Publisher September 25, 1999) [Caption]

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