When the new website rings in, Old Man Diary will be ushered out as the new Baby FanPost takes the stage. Having played around a bit on the new format of the SBNation sites, I'm becoming a firm believer that the FanPost tool is one of the keys to a thriving community. Here, I will address a few of the features of FanPosts. Some of these features also apply to the front page posts and to "FanShots" (more on that later), so once you get the hang of FanPosts, you'll be rocking the joint on the entire site. Without further adieu...
For these first features, I'll use another FanPost from MileHighReport (the Denver Broncos SBNation blog). You can see all of these features at use in this link (except for the flags, fortunately.) Hey, I'm a Broncos fan.
- WYSIWYG For those who haven't heard the term "WYSIWYG" (prounounced "whizzy-wig"), it means "What You See Is What You Get". Much like using Word, WordPerfect, or any word processing software, you select font features like bold, italics, <s>strikethrough</s>, blockquotes, links, and image insertions by clicking buttons and letting the computer do the real work. (Contrast that to this paragraph, where I had to spell out every font feature manually.) You don't need to know any html to make snazzy posts like the one above. WYSIWYG can also be turned off if you prefer, but most people will find this quite refreshing.
- Recommendations This is a very, very handy feedback tool. If you read a FanShot (or Story or FanShot or even a comment - basically anything that somebody wrote) that you like for whatever reason, you can click a button at the end of the writing and give it a recommendation. With enough recommendations, a FanPost will be placed in a prominent location so it's seen by more people and doesn't get buried under newer FanPosts. (This, by the way, will be fantastic during football season.) There's no specific guideline for recommendations: if you like it enough, recommend it. If you change your mind (perhaps a second re-read uncovers some offensive content) you can always unrecommend it. It's only one click of a mouse button, so please use this if you feel a post merits attention.
- Email/Print/Flag Located right next to the "Rec" (for recommendation) button are buttons for emailing, printing, and flagging. Emailing and printing are self-explanatory. Flagging a post/comment gives the site admins (Joel, in our case) notice of content that somebody finds objectionable. Hopefully, the Flag button is never used on RTT, but it can speed up the review (and potential removal) of unhealthy comments. As you know, debate and differences of opinion are always fostered and encouraged so long as the discourse does not become overly personal, profane, abusive, etc. With the click of a button, you can help Joel maintain the family-friendly nature of the site.
- Tags When you write a FanPost, you have the option of adding tags to it to help it get notice. Tags link common articles together in a very handy search feature, and tags also help your article get found by people with similar interests. For example, the above article has the tags "Denver Broncos", "Jay Cutler (QB-DEN)" and "jay cutler has diabetes". If anybody is searching for any of those topics, those tags help that person find your article and read your fantabulous wisdom. Again, there's no requirement to use Tags. If you don't like using them, don't use them. (We'd still rather have you write the Post with no tags as opposed to not writing at all!) But they're handy and they're extremely easy to use.
- Saving Your Drafts If you've posted for very long (especially if you've posted a virtual blog novel or two), you've probably learned - the hard way - to write posts in some word processing software so you can save them as you write. The days are numbered for the infamous "I just finished writing the article and it got deleted and I can't recover it" that has assuredly caused a few holes in the nearest drywall. You can now save your drafts as you write. If a phone call comes in, if a draft takes a long time to write, if your ideas aren't 100% formed, if you just really have to piddle, you can save the draft and finish it on your own empty-bladdered leisure.