FanPosts are part of what make SB Nation blogs different from and better than other blogs you might read - they allow you to contribute content, giving each user a greater voice than s/he might have anywhere else on the 'Net. But just because you've got a voice doesn't mean you should yell and it doesn't mean you should speak just to hear yourself talk. Here are some helpful hints for newcomers and veterans alike.
FanPosts are just like front page stories, except they're written by you, the Die by the Blade reader.
What makes a good FanPost?
- Make It Substantial. When we say "substantial", we don't mean it has to be a 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 start over. If your post contains something like this:
words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words
... then it's probably better as a FanShot. On a related note, just because the "extended entry" option exists, don't feel as if you have to use it - it's easily deleted.
Make It Relevant. Your FanPost should relate to the Sabres or hockey. If your post is about something other than hockey, SB Nation has sites for every team in every major sport so your post might fit better at one of those sites. 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 to a news story or other online article or page, try a FanShot.
Make It Timely. This is something that is very important. 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. Please use the search function (located at the upper right of the front page) to see if your topic has been covered in the last few days. If it has, your thoughts on that topic can and should be posted as a comment on the original post.
Make It Smart. The best FanPosts expand upon a central idea with supporting examples, or statistical data, or a link to a relevant article, or a "thinking question" for others to consider, etc. Don’t just post a large quote from an article and say "What do you think?" Post your own opinion, too.
Make It Readable. 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. It'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 unpleasant and occasionally difficult. The ENTER key can be your friend in comments. 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 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. (Note: The tech team at SB Nation has built a powerful WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor. If you know how to format using Microsoft Word, you can make a perfectly formatted FanPost here at Die by the Blade: 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 -- "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.
I tried to pick out a few good fanposts to give you an idea of what will get you some front page notoriety.
How to Write a FanPost
You can choose to write a new FanPost from the right toolbar, or by taking the long route at the top toolbar.
This is what the main part of the FanPost editor looks like.
Title - Make it a good one to get people to read it.
Formatting - These are pretty self-explanatory. Play around with them to learn how to use them best. The last one on the right is a spell checker. Use it.
Body - Make it great. I trust you.
View - The default setting is the WYSIWYG view. If you know HTML you can check that view as well.
Editor Help - This is the most important one. If you click on it a massive Help section drops down that answers all of your questions.