Fanposts can be some of the most entertaining articles on SBNation. But we get that they can be intimidating, especially if you're new to the community or you've never written a fanpost before or you don't think you're knowledgeable enough to write an entire post for the blog or a million other reasons. But we love reading what you guys have to say and we want to make the Fanpost section a welcoming place for Gaslamp Ballers. So here are some general guidelines from SBNation (and some added thoughts by yours truly) on writing Fanposts that everyone can enjoy.
Make the topic interesting. Put some thought into what you're writing. We have a character minimum (300 I think) which means that you can't just throw out one line (unless it's really long). You'll be rewarded with a good stream of comments if you make the effort to proofread and fill it with good info.
- First of all, I want to emphasize the proofreading and good info. Typos and mistakes are fine, but no one wants to read a post that looks like you put zero effort into it, so take the time to go over it before hitting "Publish."
- "Interesting" is of course a subjective thing, but use your best judgment. Make your post thoughtful and entertaining, whether it's your take on an event or player (like NationalWest's post about Edwin Jackson last December), a personal account of your fan experience (like Jonathan Gardner's "outsider's" view of baseball), or your thoughts on goings-on with the team (like kevintheoman's post about the Padres promotional schedule or A huevo's caffeine-induced take on random Padres happenings).
- Consider your audience at Gaslamp Ball. A lot of us are like-minded regarding certain topics. But also, a lot of us are very divided when it comes to other topics. That said, I'm not saying that you shouldn't write things that are controversial or that you think most of the readers would disagree with. Differing opinions are always welcome, but don't get mad or discouraged if you write an unpopular opinion and have a lot of opposition to it in the comments. Just make sure to back up your arguments and keep an open mind, and (ideally) readers will do the same. Mutual respect, yo.
Do not post entire articles from other sites. A link, which is always necessary to any article mention, and a snippet of the article is the max you can do. We can get in trouble for reposting entire pieces.Always link to an article or source you mention. Like I said above. It's part etiquette and part requirement.
- Say you read an interesting article outside of GLB or SBN concerning the team or baseball in general. You could always post a link to said article as a Fanshot, but if you want to add your own commentary then your best bet would probably be to make it a Fanpost. A good example of this is grizzlysd187's fanpost about the Andrew Cashner bidding war back in June.
- Also, as with anything, it is always important to show us your sources. If you're referencing a particular stat, tell us where you got that stat. If you're quoting someone, include a link to show where that quote came from. Again, this is "part etiquette and part requirement."
Entertain questions from commenters and follow on what they say. Defend your new turf with vigor but while still following our commenting guidelines.
- A lot of people refrain from writing Fanposts because they're afraid no one will read or comment on them. The absolute best way to remedy this is to open up your post to the readers. Ask them what their thoughts are on the subject. Ask whether they agree or disagree. GET them involved.
- This can be as simple as asking "What do you [the readers] think?" at the end of your article, like in this post by mrbarneydangles or this one by Grey Suit.
- When people do comment with their own thoughts, it's always good to respond to them. Keep an open dialogue with your commenters. People will want to keep revisiting your post as long as the conversation keeps flowing.
- PROTIP: Polls are always fun (I know - phrasing). A good example of this was when Thelonius_Friar tried to see if Gaslamp Ballers would make good GMs. Polls can be a good jumping off point for people to comment.
Utilize the formatting buttons above the text box. Use paragraphs. The quotes are for highlighting text and converting to an indented blockquote. The picture frame is for images, which are always nice. Never write a FanPost or comment in ALL CAPS or without formatting paragraphs. You may have just written a great post but if it's a huge block of text with no formatting, nobody is going to read it.
- We're talking about these buttons:
- Break up your post using paragraphs, blockquotes, pictures, links, bullet points, numbered lists, headings, etc. It makes them so much easier to read.
- At any time during your writing or prior to publishing your Fanpost, you can click on that "preview" button in the upper left hand corner to see what your post will look like to readers.
- Also notice the "Visual View" and "HTML View" tabs in the upper right hand corner. Make sure you're in the desired view when you're writing your post. I've made the mistake before of forgetting to switch to Visual View while writing a long article with several paragraphs, and then when I go to preview or publish the post, it ends up as a huge block of text because hitting "Enter" in HTML View doesn't begin a new paragraph.
Here are a few more tips about FanPosts:
- Browse the FanPosts already written to see if you are covering a topic that's already been posted about. Do your best not to duplicate topics in the FanPosts. Unless you have a unique angle on the subject, join in the current conversation on another post.
- Try harder than "Here are 8 one liners about what I think about the team" without any thought or analysis behind them. You'll generate more conversation and it will benefit everyone. How else are we supposed to kill time at work?
- Utilize the "Rec" feature which is on every front page post, FanPost and FanShot right above the beginning of the comments. If you like what you're reading, hit the "Rec" button. Once that FanPost or FanShot goes over a certain number of recs (which we can change at any time) it moves in to the "Recommended" section. That way, the best posts don't get lost in the shuffle.
- Before you post, check over your writing for typos and other errors. With most browsers nowadays, there are add ons or built in features you can get that will put a red line under misspelled words, making it really easy to pick out typos.