Are sports groups on Facebook helpful or hurtful?

Harmless or hurtful? 

That's the question haunting Las Vegas Raiders fans when they think about their team's Facebook groups. While these groups are supposed to be a way for fans to connect, they have become havens of constant debate and hateful comments. 

Keep in mind that these are supposed to bring us together as a community, not bring us to the verge of throwing our phone at the wall in rage. Now, some groups are better than others at mitigating this nonsense, but sports groups seem to have a particularly hard time when it comes to trying to find the positives. 

In the Raiders case, maybe that has to do with their 2-2 record this season. In fact, a lot of the comments center around Derek Carr not being the right starter, the defense being trash, and the coaching staff needing to be fired. These are all interesting ideas, and there can be a reasonable case made for each of them, but there’s no nuance. 

It honestly seems like, for every post of someone claiming to be a Raider ride or die, there are three or four posts with people complaining about what went wrong in their last game.  This overflow of negativity is causing a lot of people to leave these groups, which allows for the toxic vocal minority to continue. 

Another big problem is the groups'  argumentative nature that can turn any normal post into a  shouting match over ridiculous things. Some fans will even go so far as to look at the profiles of the people they are arguing with to make fun of their looks. 

People who utilize these groups need to be careful about what they are getting caught up in. They need to understand that not everyone will share their positive perspective on the team.

For example, when you join these groups, take a quick look at their feed, and see what kind of community you are dealing with. If you see overly argumentative posts that go on forever, be wary of what you say in there. If you see nonstop posts about how much the Raiders or any other team sucks, you might want to find a more supportive group of Raiders fans. 

Facebook groups can be a great way to bring fans together to support their favorite team, but there is a downside. In fact, between the toxicity, the arguments and the occasional doxxing, you might wonder why you joined the group in the first place. That’s why you need to be careful where you join and who you associate with. 

Finally, make sure you use the group for the correct purpose. Don’t go whining that the team lost again or that this player didn’t do that right. That will only result in more arguments, hurt feelings, and more toxicity in the group. If you do post, try to make it as positive as possible, and don’t forget that you are in the group to connect, not argue.