We've been on the new platform for about 11 months now, and while most of us have settled in, specifically to the great commenting system, others lag behind. This post is meant to be a guide to new users and a refresher course for the more seasoned guests. First, for our newer users, take a look at the basic SB*Nation Welcome Guide. After that, read below for a more in-depth guide and specific (renewed) expectations for South Side Sox, specifically
South Side Sox isn't a message board. It isn't a talk radio call-in show. The headline at the top of the page reads "A Chicago White Sox Blog Community," and that's the most concise way I can describe this site. South Side Sox itself is a blog, one which has built a community feel to it over the last 4 years. And unlike most blogs that are talking at you, South Side Sox offers FanPosts and FanShots where you can drive the conversation.
Follow me after the jump for an extended guide into FanPosts and FanShots.
FanShots are quick posts, links, images or videos from around the internet. Aside from the commenting system, FanShots and the bookmarklet for easy creation of FanShots are my favorite features of South Side Sox.
When Should You Post a FanShot?
- Whenever you find a link, a quote, a video (etc.) around the internet that you think the South Side Sox community will enjoy.
- When you don't have any commentary to add other than your link, vid or quote.
- When you can't meet the 75 word minimum for a FanPost
How Do You Post a FanShot?
- Click "New FanShot" -- Seems simple, right? While logged in, visit any page of South Side Sox and click the handy "New FanShot" button. Enter the link or pic URL in the proper
- Use the FanShot Bookmarklet -- Clicking and dragging the "Share on SB*Nation" button (shown below) to your bookmarks bar (the area under your address bar in your browser) will allow you to post to South Side Sox quickly and easily while browsing the internet.
Once you have a "Share on SB*Nation" button in your browser, you have one-click posting of FanShots at your fingertips. Clicking the button will bring up a dialog box like this
Just select the type of FanShot you wish to post, apply the proper tags (more later) and hit publish. Simple.
FanPosts are just like front page stories, except they're written by you, the average user. Select FanPosts, those deemed worthy by the crack editorial team at South Side Sox, will find their way to the front page.
What makes a good FanPost?
- Make it Substantial -- When I say substantial, I don't mean it has to be dissertation or manifesto. But if you see the dreaded 75 word warning, it's either time to put some more thought into your FanPost or trash it all together. Because if you can't fill up 75 words on a topic, what you have is not a FanPost; it's a comment, or maybe a FanShot.
Make it Relevant -- Your FanPost should relate to the White Sox or baseball in some way. If you want to talk about the Bulls or the Bears or Notre Dame football there are sites on SB*Nation for that. If you want to do nothing more than post a link to your site, you're probably a spammer, and should expect your FanPost to be swiftly removed. If all you want to do is post a link, try a FanShot.
I don't want to completely discourage Off-Topic FanPosting. Some of our most commented FanPosts have been the semi-weekly music threads. But if you're new, if you haven't made a FanPost before, your FanPost on Lovie Smith probably isn't going to be received very well.
Off-topic conversations happen all the time at SSS. Heck, half the comments in any given thread are off-topic. Other SB*Nation sites have a Daily Link Dump FanPost or some other form of daily off-topic conversation. I'm not against starting something like that on SSS, but nobody has taken the lead. I suspect because our comments sections are usually all over the map.
Make it Timely -- If the link you're posting is a day or two old, chances are it's been posted once or twice before either in the comments or FanShots (more later). Check to see if it's been posted before. Use our powerful search function.
If you do have some breaking news, post away. Even though we try, there's no way we can be the first to hear/read/see every piece of breaking White Sox news. That's where you can help. 1,100 sets of eyes and ears can
- Make it Coherent -- I've been known to make more than the occasional grammatical mistake, and I haven't met a sentence I couldn't drop a few extra commas on to turn it into a run-on. But my rants are generally easily digestible. Why?
- I use proper spelling (most of the time)-- You're not sending a text message. There's no need 4 U 2 use "time saving" abbreviations which only lessen the value of your post. It's like writing a position paper in crayon.
- I use punctuation -- You wouldn't stand up and attempt to give a speech in one breath, and you shouldn't try to make your FanPost one big sentence that never ends.
- I use multiple paragraphs -- There is something about reading text on the internet that makes reading a large block of text unpleasant and occasionally difficult. The ENTER key can be your friend.
Use Proper Formatting -- You'd be amazed how much better your piece will be received if it's formatted properly. Proper formatting is like a killer profile pic on a dating site.
I'm not likely to read your profile if you're an ugly hag. Likewise, if I'm greeted by a wall of text in your FanPost, I'm probably not going to make it all the way through. Break it up. Make it more than one paragraph. Use the 'B' and 'I' buttons for bold and italic text, respectively.
The tech team at SB*Nation has built a powerful WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, which I am unfortunately completely inexperienced at using. I code all of my entries by hand. However, If you know how to format using Microsoft word, you can make a perfectly formatted FanPost here at South Side Sox.
- Start by opening Word.
- Write your post completely in Word, making all your formatting adjustments there.
- Highlight and Copy your work.
- Click New FanPost
- Click the "Paste From Word" icon (upper right icon in the WYSIWYG editor)
- Paste your content into the dialog box.
Give it a Descriptive Headline -- "South Side Sox Poll" may, in fact, be what you are posting, but it doesn't exactly inform us what the topic is about. Your headline should be informative, above all else, with bonus points for creativity.
Poor Headline: South Side Sox Poll
Good Headline: Should the White Sox Pursue Orlando Hudson?
Poor Headline: Orlando Hudson
Good Headline: Source: White Sox Express Interest in Orlando Hudson
Poor Headline: What Do You Guys Think of This?
Good Headline: Is Orlando Hudson an Option for White Sox?
- Tag it up -- Keep reading
To the right of text area in both FanPosts and FanShots you'll find the area for tagging your posts. Tagging is important because it helps your content show up in searches and in dynamically-rendered content areas, such as on a player page or in the new "More from South Side Sox" box at the bottom of each post. It helps increase your posts exposure.
Tagging is simple. Just type the topics of your post into the area cleverly labeled "tags." Use commas to separate tags.
Players and Teams have their own dedicated area, which will help link your posts to the proper Player and Team Pages. These fields auto complete, just begin typing the player's name and it should fill in.
You can also use the attach poll feature to, get this, attach a poll to your post. While the "Attach Event" option allows you to tie your post to a specific game. Clicking the "Attach Event" button will bring up a box that lists the Sox past and future games (spring training not included -- only games that count appear). Clicking the Add button will make sure you post appears on the page for that specific game, a feature that will become more clearly important in the very near future.