Since the California Golden Blogs launched on SBN just over two months ago, we've all been spending a little time getting used to the new digs. There's a lot going on here, and honestly, I still don't know what some of these buttons are supposed to do. Such knowledge is just going to have to come from experimentation and experience.
Many of you have been taking advantage of what I think is my favorite feature at SBN, the FanPost. Some of you (notably Danzig) have even been using the new FanShot feature, which definitely has some exciting possibilities. Surely most of you are familiar with the Daily Bear Dump (DBD), a feature that originated on Athletics Nation and was brought over here by oaktownmario.
However, as great as these features are, they have caused some confusion around here regarding which feature to use and when. To help alleviate this confusion, I have compiled all of this discussion into one handy page, which will be permanently linked to from the 'About Us' section of the front page, over on the left sidebar.
Before we begin, a couple notes. First, other than Twist's opening statement and my closing speech, every bit of dialogue has been taken directly from FanPosts and comments on this blog and AN. Also, for those of you just interested in obtaining some basic information, the stage direction can safely be ignored as a rhetorical flourish.
OK, enough talk. Without further ado, the California Golden Blogs now present...
FanPosts vs. FanShots : The Dialectic Struggle by 20th Century Marxism Playwright, Bertolt Brecht.
Scene 1 - Initial discussions on the nature of the world's struggle to define FanPosts and FanShots.
(Scene opens in a simple German deli. oaktownmario and TwistNHook are speaking excitedly about a new beginning.)
TwistNHook: The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of link struggles. Where to put links? How much to explain links? These are age-old questions.
oaktownmario: At "Athletics Nation", a great SBN site devoted to the Oakland A's, the community there posts a "Daily Link Dump" or "DLD" where news concerning the team, players, front office, etc. are linked. It's great if you want to link some articles but don't necessarily want to write at length about an issue. It also allows anyone to add a link about whatever topic they want people to know about.
So I thought I'd throw this out as an idea. There are no rules really as people link random stuff as well as stuff about the team, but generally people stay focused on the team or happenings that affect competitors. It'd be nice to go here first for all our teams' news. So here goes the CGB first link dump. I guess we'll find out if Bears like to dump. Dump away!
TwistNHook: I think that the DLD is a great idea. I noticed that GSoM (the SBN Dubs site) does “DailyDubs.” I don’t know if we’d (a) have to come up with a Bears-oriented name (“CaLinks” “CalLinks” “UCLink.Daily.Edu” ???) and, more importantly, if (b) people would start a new link dump every day? I would certainly hope so. OaktownMario, is this something that further interests you?
oaktownmario: Yes! I’m definitely interested and would be happy to do a morning dump as my work/wife/kids permit.
TwistNHook: Sounds good to me. I’m not sure how much response we will get in the start. But hopefully, as this site grows and grows, the link dumps will be great sources of conversation about both Cal and everything/anything else.
Do you have a thought on a name? I kinda like UCLink4.Daily.Links or something like that. Am I the only one who remembers when the email addresses were UCLink4.Berkeley.edu??? I’m sure we can come up with something good
oaktownmario: Maybe we can call it the Daily Bear Dump? Or we can come up with three choices and vote on them. I nominate Daily Bear Dump (DBD).
(Sirens begin to wail to help the audience distance itself from the critical drama of what to name the daily link-oriented FanPost.)
Scene 2 - An entirely too-long speech on the cultural zeitgeist of the Daily Bear Dump.
(Scene opens with a clear stage. TwistNHook enters from stage left, smoking a pipe in a double breasted cardigan. With complete class, he offers the following soliloquy to the audience, breaking the fourth wall of the dramatic arts. Now, the audience is fully estranged.)
TwistNHook: I'd like to discuss what the DBD (or Daily Bear Dump) is. Originally from AthleticsNation.com's Daily Link Dump (or DLD), it is a place to store all links. I am going to assume that at AN, many people were just putting up FanPosts (or Diaries as they were called then) with just a link to a story. This causes all other FanPosts to quickly fall off the page, which is not good. There's only room for like 8 FanPosts on the front page.
So, the link dump is designed to help collate all information that day into 1 post for ease of consumption. Recently, I have been posting them, but that's just because I am having some sleeping problems and find myself up brutally early with nothing to do. But if you (yes, you!) want to put up a DBD, go right ahead! It's an organic thing. First, look to see if there is already one up. If not, just date it, title it, put some links in, make it your own.
Regarding links, the best is when they are Cal-sports centric. Then, it goes out in ever-expanding circles of relativity. So, this California magazine link on 'What It Means to Be A Jew' is not wholly relevant, but it is not wholly irrelevant, either. It does relate to Cal, after all.
Please try to avoid links that are a)controversially political, b)controversially religious, and c)commercial in nature. But being funny trumps all that. If it's funny, post it. People have accused me recently of being obsessed. That's true, I am obsessed....with hilariousness!
So, there you go. If you find a Cal link, come here and post it in the DBD. Check the DBD first. If you want to write up a long post full of analysis, then that is what the FanPosts are for. Although chances are that it is already being discussed in one of the DBD and you could just add your analysis there. That will keep the FanPost section from dropping off quickly.
Scene 3 - The proletariat continues to struggle with the matter of FanPosts versus FanShots and the DBD.
(Peasant villager and strong Soviet everyman, Jan K Oski, fears these new rules are too formalist. He questions TwistNHook from the crowd.)
Jan K Oski: Didn’t you request that we put daily news in one thread? Someone already posted this an hour before Olsonist… Don’t mean to be troll, but it was your request, Campo man!
TwistNHook: It’s not really about daily news being put in one thread. If you have analysis or thoughts or extra stuff to add, then it's cool. It's more just about a post with 1 line or quote when it could easily be or has already been placed in the link dump. That'll keep the FanPosts from getting pushed down too quickly.
Nonetheless, I'm also trying to not be harsh about it or anything like that. I hope that over time people will learn, but I’m not going to try to get on every person who doesn’t follow it. Plus, I think Olsonist hates me, so I don’t want to make it worse. I do appreciate your understanding in all this, Jan K Oski.
Scene 4 - The nature of the FanPost struggle is not an isolated one. Here, the scene shifts to a neighboring country [AthleticsNation.com], where an avalanche of FanPosts has caused the local villagers consternation.
(Concerned citizens Poppy and thejd44 bring the mounting FanPost problem before local magistrate monkeyball, who offers some sage advice.)
Poppy: The rash of identical-content FanPosts that pushed all worthwhile reading off the page last week was extremely ridiculous, and I was (and remain) flummoxed as to why none of the moderators/administrators/whateverators said or did anything to try slowing the spread of the epidemic at, say, the 7th or 8th same FanPost. Instead, the scourge grew to (at last count) *23* diaries. Twenty-three, over the course of a just a couple of days... and most of those could easily have been a simple comment in one of the many existing FanPosts.
All I ask is this (and I don't think I'm alone in asking it): help preserve the longevity of other FanPosts in the list by checking to see if there is already a place where your topic of interest is being discussed, and add your points to the discussion there. Please do not create a new FanPost if you have nothing truly new to say, because when you create a new FanPost, other FanPosts get pushed down the list and off the page. The section of "recommended" FanPosts is not large enough to accommodate all the other things that are also worth reading, and that deserve to be visible for more than a day or two.
thejd44: Can’t we have moderators delete the extra FanPosts from now on? Or maybe add some kind of feature that’s the opposite of a recommend button and if there are so many clicks (5?), the post is either deleted or dropped from the main page list. Different from flagging because it’s not going to get anybody kicked off the site, just a way of saying “this post adds nothing new” and making sure everybody doesn't have to click it.
monkeyball: The “flag” button does not automatically result in strikes/warnings, nor is it intended solely for that purpose—if you feel a piece is some admixture of superfluous, trollish (i.e., posted immediately by a n00b who obviously hasn’t even glanced at any of the other coverage), incomprehensible, audience-hostile, padded, etc., and the mods haven’t yet deleted it, then by all means, FLAG IT! That is the anti-recommend button. Besides, no one but us mods will know who the snitches are.
Scene 5 - An update to the DBD guidelines, and an attempt to summarize the central tenets of the Daily Bear Dump.
(Fearing the audience has come to associate with the characters in this drama, TwistNHook again attempts dissociation. BeastMode, weary of this brutally unfunny Brechtian joke, interjects.)
TwistNHook: Ok, new amendment to this Daily Bear Dump-onology:
If you have a link to post up and there really isn’t a way to start a new DBD dump (i.e. a Sunday afternoon), dutifully remember to check the FanShots first. You never know when somebody might have already posted it there first.
Moreover, the FanShots even have a setting for “Link” to share merely a link with all of us, if there isn’t a readily available DBD or you aren’t in a good position to start your own (and even though I have been doing them recently, I, by no means, demand a monopoly on them). So, they might be the best way to share this link with all of us in the sort of Sunday afternoon scenario!
BeastMode: So, FanPosts should be blog entries by non-CGB writers plus the daily link dump. And, FanShots seem to be a place for photos and videos taken by CGB visitors. Perhaps there should be a FanLinks section as well where not only the daily link dump could be located but CGB readers could post links as well.
Another thought is that this whole separation between FanPosts and FanShots is stupid. This is a criticism of SBN, not CGB.
TwistNHook: I don’t want to be a rules gestapo about daily bear dumps et al. I already fear that there are too many FanPosts with my name attached to them as is. But it’s more about planning for the future. Right now, it is a dead period and putting up a FanPost here and there wouldn’t hurt too much. But during the season, if current readership numbers are to be believed, it could be well-traveled here. So, if people are just throwing up short FanPosts willy nilly, it could quickly knock other FanPosts off the main page quickly.
That's why I am hoping to keep single link posts to the DBDs. If you want to add a discussion of the link with original thoughts and links and analysis, then, by all means, make a FanPost. Certainly, Tedfordisgod’s FanPost about “Thinking Football In July” was delightful and deserved to be its own FanPost.
So, if you want to start a discussion of Bridgford as Elite 11QB and you write up some original thoughts on what this means for Cal and Bridgford and what exactly an Elite11QB is, then by all means, make it a FanPost.
Also, if you want to just do the link thingy and you hate me so strongly you don't want to post it in a link dump, try a FanShot on for size!
(Confused by what they have witnessed, the audience begins to tune out TwistNHook's ramblings. Ambient crowd noise rises as the stage lights dim. His friend and supporter, ragnarok, enters on the other side of the stage and attempts to bring this ridiculous mess to a conclusion, laying out simple guidelines for the use of FanPosts, FanShots and the Daily Bear Dump.)
ragnarok: Understand, to the extent that we have any rules here (really, they're more like guidelines), they're only in place to help the readers -- you people -- find your way around here. When people put information in predictable places, it helps everyone out. The Daily Bear Dump is designed merely as a common repository for daily news and minor links. Important links will still deserve their own place as a separate FanShot, and those that are accompanied by opinion or analysis will obviously merit an entire FanPost. And of course, before posting, please make sure that your hot new link hasn't already been posted somewhere else.
In any case, these are CGB's collective conventions, and that's all they are - conventions. Use your judgment when posting, and everything should work out just fine.
Scene 6 - Deus ex machina. Fin.
(clockwerks is lowered onto the stage in a chair. He quickly dispenses with any confusion caused by TwistNHook.)
FanPosts (the Section Formerly Known as Diaries)
We changed their name. Why? Because we took this major upgrade as an opportunity to leave behind some vocabulary that never made much sense for a sports blog. SB Nation is the network of, by and for fans, and these are the blog posts we make. So we call them FanPosts. When you're at a bar telling someone to check out your online sports opinions, you don't have to suggest they read your diary.
FanPosts are displayed differently on the homepage - we include your avatar to give more credit for the time you spend writing great posts. The new post editor has a WYSIWYG view that provides easy formatting. It also auto-saves drafts so you don't have to worry about losing your work when you compose a post within the web browser. And you can now associate teams, players and games with your posts: these tools promote your FanPosts on our new team, player and game pages - across the entire network.
The new system does not work like the old diary editor. For example, in HTML mode the new editor doesn't auto-create a new paragraph from two line breaks. But it does offer a whole array of new features. Look for the blinking help button on the right side of the FanPost editor for quick tips, and take a look at our full guide to writing FanPosts on the new platform.
IMPORTANT - if you write your posts in Microsoft Word or some other off-line editor, you will get the most reliable behavior if you cut & paste your post into the HTML view of the FanPost editor. And if you do that, remember to wrap <p></p> tags around each paragraph so your text doesn't run together.
Some writing deserves more attention and more conversation. If you want to bump a FanPost up to the top and keep it there for awhile, just click the 'Rec' link under the body of the post. When a FanPost receives enough recommendations it will make the recommended list.
Many members of the community just want to post that one link, video, photo or quote, but don't need a full FanPost. We've got you covered: FanShots let you share YouTube videos, Flickr or PhotoBucket photos, quotes from articles, portions of chat transcripts, top 5 lists and simple links. If it's a video or image we'll put a thumbnail on the homepage when you post it.
For those of you who are experienced internet hunter-gatherers of Cal Bears material, install the bookmarklet onto the links bar of your browser and share FanShots with the community from wherever on the web you find that killer quote or photo.