A Few Words About FanPosts And FanShots

Since it's a slow holiday week, I thought I'd post a few things about FanPosts and FanShots, what the difference is, and what's suitable for each. There seems to be a bit of confusion -- one reader here posted that he thought "FanShots" was for posting photos you take yourself. While you can do that (although we can't host your photos; you'll have to use something like Flickr or Photobucket), there are many other good uses for FanShots.

FanPosts are like the diaries used to be under the old BCB format. They're intended to be on a topic that hasn't been covered in, say, the last few days or a week, or something new to the site. If you're thinking about posting something about a topic you've read about on one of the mainstream sports sites -- please check the FanPost recent list on the right sidebar to see if your topic has been covered recently, or use the search function at the top of the right sidebar. If a FanPost gets hundreds of comments -- like this one about Kerry Wood did -- then it would be OK to start an overflow thread like we do for gameday threads, because at that point the post might start taking too long to load.

FanPosts have to have a minimum of 75 words. If your FanPost has a paragraph that looks something like this:

words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words

... that's there just to bring it up to the minimum, then it's probably better off in the FanShot section.

Some examples of well-written and thought-out recent FanPosts on interesting topics are here, here, here, and here. If I left yours out, that doesn't mean it wasn't good -- just wanted to give some quick examples.

If you something you want to post, and it's related to a recently discussed topic -- such as Kerry Wood being told goodbye, or Ryan Dempster signing -- please take a look at the posts on those topics first. Your thoughts, in that case, might be better as a comment under one of those posts, unless you have some sort of new angle that hasn't been posted yet on that topic. Just saying "I'm going to miss Kerry too" wouldn't be considered a "new angle".

FanShots are for things that aren't long enough for a full FanPost, for example, if you find a link you think is interesting but don't have anything more to add. Good examples of FanShots that have links in them are this one and this one. Or, it could be a photo you find on the internet. Take a look at this one and this one. You can use it to embed and post YouTube (or other) videos. Here's one I posted last month.

You can also use the Recommend feature on FanShots and FanPosts to put them in the Recommended lists, which moves them to the top of each section and keeps them there longer. It takes four recommendations for a FanPost and three for a FanShot to get them in the Rec lists. You can also recommend a comment -- this feature is sort of hidden, which is why a lot of people haven't used it yet; under each comment there's a link that says "Actions" -- click on that and you'll get the option to recommend a comment. Trei and the tech team say they're working on making this easier to use (more obvious) in the future. A comment takes 4 recs to get it "recommended" -- if this happens, the comment turns green and gets a big star next to it. Similarly, if you want to flag a comment as inappropriate, you can do that in the same way; it takes 4 flags to turn it red and put a little flag next to it.

When you are posting, just below the post box there is a link you can click, highlighted in yellow, that says "Show Editor Help". The Editor Help will appear to the right of the posting box and has a short tutorial on how to use the editing features available here. Once you've looked through this you can click the "X" at the top right of the editor help box to restore the other options. I would encourage everyone to use the team and player name boxes; adding these to your post will create links to teams and players you mention in your posts. You can do the same for events (meaning, in general, specific games -- click on "Attach Event" when you are making a post to see how it works) and also add tags (separated by commas if you have more than one).

I hope this clarifies what should go in each section and how you can make better use of the features available. This community has become the great place it is because of your participation. Please don't take this as criticism -- it's intended to help you with some guidelines, to encourage more participation and to avoid duplication of topics, especially over the winter when we have no games to discuss. Enjoy and dive right in!

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