And we're down... Writing offline now.
So let's talk about why I'm excited about the new platform.
1. Auto-updating comments -- No more endlessly refreshing the game thread. Just leave it open, and the new comments shall appear magically.
2. Commenting Hot Keys -- The team has added a number of new comment functions. These hot keys are so great I actually giggled a little bit when they first debuted these features to us. The "C" and "X" keys allow you to easily tab through comments and mark them read, respectively. "Z" combines the two, such that I don't use C or X anymore. No more "Ctrl-f [n" to find new comments!
Replying to comments is easier as well. You can perform the whole operation without loading an additional page, or even touching the mouse. R, type, tabe, type, tab, enter, enter. I've been trying to use these hot keys on the old site for the last 6 weeks.
3. FanShots -- I have to admit, I've been a bit disappointed by how I've seen these quick-hit type posts utilized on the few blogs to make the migration ahead of us. When the dev team first introduced them to us, they explained that they were a response to the posting tendencies of certain posters. They were originally intended to be a response to those sub-300 character diaries that either had an ugly character string at the end or ended up as a comment in an unrelated thread. They've included Link and Quote type FanShots, which are, at least in part, in response to our our very own SSH2005's constant string of Rotoworld updates.
The provided bookmarklet makes posting these type FanShots a breeze. Just highlight a passage and click your new "Share on SB Nation" button in your browser and it will automatically format a quote for you.
I hope you all grow to utilize the FanShot section for those Links and Quotes you would throw into the comments sections. These FanShots can (and some will) be upgraded to the frontpage. I can envision upgrading at least one of these a day. The Miguel Cabrera signing, or Curtis Granderson injury each could have been upgrade worthy were we running on the new system over the weekend.
Basically, I just want the site to be more active, more useful. I think getting a stream of quasi-White Sox related news stories and links by clicking "FanShots" in our new navigation menu is very useful. And a steady stream of those posts hitting the front page rewards those of you who dutifully submit links as well as the rest of the community with more up-to-the-minute type posts hitting the front page.
4. Tags -- Three years ago, I was contemplating moving off my .blogspot domain in search of a better platform. I even bought a domain, which I still own. There were two features that I wanted on my new blog; a better commenting system and tags. When I was approached by the SB Nation folks, I took one look at the comment system and said yes. I could overlook the lack of a clean taxonomy system thanks to the proven community-building commenting and diary system we have here. But I've never lost my desire for the powerful utility of tags. Well now we've got tags, and they're big powerful tags too.
Tags are just like you'd see anywhere else on the web, flickr, del.icio.us, etc. Just use commas to separate tags and label until your heart's content. In addition to your normal tags, we have Team, Player and Event type tags. Each of these link to a respective Team, Player or Event (game) where you can see all the most recent entries tagged with that specific Player, Team, or Event. Every player on the 40-man roster has their own player page, but non-40-man minor leaguer do not as of yet. So a post about Aaron Poreda and Jack Egbert should be tagged "Aaron Poreda" in regular tag section and "Jack Egbert" in the Player section.
The usefulness of these tags will not become apparent until we have built a backlog of properly tagged, stories, FanPosts, and FanShots. Eventually, if I write a properly tagged post about Joe Crede and the San Francisco Giants, all of the most recent (properly tagged) posts will automatically be linked in the sidebar.
5. Gamethreads/Event Pages -- Gamethreads are going to have an almost chat-like feel to them with new comments popping up automatically. Yes, it's worthy of a second mention.
I haven't really seen it in action, but gamethreads should be automatically adorned with a truncated box score at the top of the post.
Once we've got a backlog of gamethreads and recaps, you'll be able to go through the schedule, click on a given game, and be taken to a page with the gamethread, recap, and any other related posts (pics or video) about that game.
Depending on how well the season goes, it should be a fun way to look back on the season, or just torture yourself.
* * * * *The new platform is not without it's pratfalls. The search feature has been neutered a bit, for instance. Returning it to it's full functionality and maybe more (I know they have the capability for a MLB-wide or SB Nation-wide search) is at the top of the dev team's list. But overall, I'm incredibly excited about the new capabilities of the site and network. I realize this is a lot to get used to. I've been playing on the site, in lesser stages of development, for over 2 months now. So the initial shock has worn off long ago. I can (virtually) assure you that you'll grow to love the new site. It's not gonna happen overnight. Change is hard. But this is change for the better.