How To Use Baseball Nation

classroom

We're glad you're here at Baseball Nation.

But this site isn't a one-way street, with us writing and you reading. You can, of course, comment on any of the posts you find here, and we encourage participation and we'll try to jump in and answer questions and comments you have.

Beyond that, Baseball Nation is designed so you, too, can share your thoughts in the form of FanPosts -- just as you would at any of our team sites. This post is a short tutorial on how to create a FanPost -- which will appear on the front page of this site under the heading, "From The Fans".

You'll forgive the Cub-centricness of some of the graphics here. This post was adapted from a similar one at Bleed Cubbie Blue. Of course, fans of all teams are welcome and encouraged to post.

What makes a good FanPost?

  • Make It Substantial. By "substantial", we don't mean it has to be a dissertation or manifesto. But it should expand upon the main idea with supporting examples, or statistical data, or a link to a relevant article, or a "thinking question" for others to consider, etc. -- something beyond just the main idea itself. Don’t just post a large quote from an article and say "What do you think?"

     

  • Make It Coherent. You are much more likely to get someone to read your post if you follow some very simple rules:

    ● Use proper spelling. 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. That's like writing a position paper in crayon.

    ● 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.

    ● Use multiple paragraphs. There is something about reading text on the internet that makes reading a large block of text difficult and occasionally unpleasant. In posts, use the "P" button to make paragraphs; highlight the text you want in a paragraph and hit "P"; it will put the proper opening and closing tags there.

    ● Use proper formatting. You'd be amazed how much better your piece will be received if it's formatted properly. If a reader is greeted by a wall of text in your FanPost, he or she is 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 can't tell you much about because I usually use the HTML editor (which is the default box you get if you're making a FanPost). However, if you know how to format using Microsoft Word, you can make a perfectly formatted FanPost here at Baseball Nation.

● Start by opening Word.
● Write your post completely in Word, making all your formatting adjustments there.
● Highlight and Copy your work.
● Click "Add Your Post"
● Click the "Paste From Word" icon (upper right icon in the WYSIWYG editor; you have to be in the WYSIWIG editor to see this icon)
● Paste your content into the dialog box. This is really important. If you start a Word document, then just copy/paste without following this procedure, it will put weird formatting codes into the post and look strange on Baseball Nation.

Give it a Descriptive Headline -- "Question" may, in fact, be what you are posting, a question you want us to consider; but that doesn't exactly inform us what the topic is about. Your headline should be informative, above all else, with bonus points for creativity.

Examples:

Poor Headline: Orlando Hudson
Good Headline: Should The Cubs Have Gone After Orlando Hudson?

Poor Headline: Carlos Beltran
Good Headline: Should The Mets Trade Carlos Beltran?

Poor Headline: What Do You Guys Make of This?
Good Headline: Wandy Rodriguez Might Be Traded. Should [Team] Go After Him?

Stylistically, Baseball Nation has all headlines begin each word with a capital letter. You don't have to do that, but if you do, you'll match the site style.

Tagging

Tagging dialogue box

Below the posting box, you'll find the area for tagging your posts, as shown in the illustration above. Tagging is important because it helps your content show up in searches and in dynamically-rendered content areas that appear on various SB Nation sites. It helps increase your post's exposure.

Tagging is simple. Just type the topics of your post into the area cleverly labeled "tags." Use commas to separate tags, as shown above. If you type a tag that's already been used, it'll begin to autocomplete.

Players and Teams have their own dedicated area, which will help link your posts to the proper Player and Team Pages. These fields also auto complete, just begin typing the player's name and it should fill in, as shown above; I typed "carlos marm" and Carlos Marmol's name appeared. When this happens, just click on the name and it'll stick with the post.

If you want to have a poll with your post -- click "Attach Poll". The options that come up are self-explanatory; just remember to save your poll when you're done. 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 past and future games -- click the drop-down box to select the event you want. Clicking the Add button will make sure your post appears on the page for that specific game.

If you have other questions, click the links in the yellow area headed "The SBN Post Editor".

Posting Links, Videos And Images In FanPosts

If you want to post a link within your post, don't just copy/paste the link into the posting box. Instead, first highlight the text you want to be linkable, and then click the icon at the top of the box that looks like a link. Doing that will call up a dialogue box that looks like this:

Put links here!

Then, copy/paste the URL into the box. If, say, you have highlighted text that says "Click here to go to SBNation.com", and then enter "http://www.sbnation.com" into the dialogue box, you will get a clickable link that looks like this (don't put the quote marks in the box or your highlighted text):

Click here to go to SBNation.com

NOTE! Please check the "Open in new window" check box, so that your links don't navigate away from your post.

If you then want to put some text from your link into the body of your post and show that it's a quote from that source, highlight the text on the original link and click the icon that looks like a quote. That will surround your text with this:

Your text in here

If you want to insert an image into your post, look at the right side of the posting box. You'll see something that looks like this:

Clicking on the icons will bring up a dialogue box that should be self-explanatory as to how to insert an image into your post.

For videos, if you find a YouTube video that you want to post, locate the EMBED code on the YouTube page (use the "old" embed code, not the iframe; iframes don't work with the SB Nation posting box). It should look something like this:

Paste the above code into your post and you'll get the following video:

Regarding posting of images: images can greatly enhance your post and add to the information and/or enjoyment that others get. Here are some helpful hints:

Keep images small. When I say "small" I don't necessarily mean the physical size of the image (although smaller is generally better); I mean the file size of the image you are posting. Large file size images can make posts load more slowly.

Keep images clean. They need to be SFW. This is for your own safety; we don't want images that you wouldn't want to be seen viewing at work, or around your kids.

Thanks for reading this long and detailed post. If you put some of these suggestions into your own posts, they'll look better and you're more likely to get many more people reading them. We look forward to reading your contributions to Baseball Nation.

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You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

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