In case you didn't wade your way through all of the really great conversation from the recent Rink Love-in, I am pulling the following points from D'ohboy's outstanding comment to put together a user's guide for Lurkers who don't know how to take that first step.
1) Keep it on-topic. Please don’t ask a question about Mike Green’s tattoos in a post about Tomas Fleischmann’s play as a center. If there’s a topic you’d really like to see addressed, ask about it in the Caps Clips or make a Fanpost. Fat_Daddyo made a FanPost [1/26/10] asking about Pythagorean Theorems for hockey and [D'ohboy] spent the better part of five evenings trying to come up with an answer for him. We’re like that around here.
2) Use proper spelling, punctuation and grammar. Honestly, it’s not that hard. We’re not going to berate you for making an it’s/its or their/they’re/there error, but if you resolutely refuse to use even basic punctuation or grammar it shows a lack of effort. Furthermore, SBN has a built-in spellchecker, so there really is no excuse. (This is obviously a little more flexible in the Game Threads, given the speed of the conversation.)
3) Try to ask things that aren’t easily Google-able. If you ask how many goals Jeff Schultz has, you’ll probably get this as a reply. If you ask why Jeff Schultz seems to be getting more media attention this year, you’ll probably get ten responses and you’ll start a conversation.
4) Don’t be afraid to go against the prevailing opinion here. But don’t get butt-hurt and pout or descend into ad hominem attacks when people don’t agree with you. If you do that, you’ll quickly end up as a running joke.
5) Keep it respectful. Asking "How can you be so stupid as to think that Chris Bourque will ever be an NHL player?" will probably get you dismissed out of hand. Asking, "Why do you think Chris Bourque will ever be more than an AHL All-Star?" will probably get a lengthy reply.
6) Don’t get discouraged. This is an extension of #4 – if nobody answers your question, or if they answer it in a way you don’t like, don’t give up. Ask a few more. You don’t become BFFs instantly with people in real life and this place is no different. If you follow steps 1-5, people won’t hold you at arm’s length forever.
7) Get an avatar. Avatars are one of the ways that commenters at The Rink are able to quickly recognize each other. It also is a way to add a little personality to your profile, so don't take too long to add one or you'll (gently) hear about it.
8) Learn to use the formatting tools and preview your posts. The preview button is your friend and it will keep you out of trouble. Learn to embrace it. The formatting buttons are pretty self-explanatory. If you’re having problems, feel free to ask and someone (likely Your Nation’s Capital) will help you out.
9) At the risk of getting sued by Nike – JUST DO IT! Don’t be like [D'ohboy] with Lookout Landing. Don’t lurk for five years; it’s better on the inside, trust [us].
10) Turn the snark meter up to 11. Many (okay, most) of the denizens of this blog like snark more than is probably healthy, and most will usually respond with snark the majority of the time. Before you get butt-hurt about a response you get, assume that the replyer is trying to be funny in a sarcastic way. If you’re still bothered by it, ask if they meant that snarkily. Usually the answer is yes.
11) Walk the walk, talk the talk. You want to start being part of the Rink? Fine, but more’s expected of you than John/Jane Cap Fan. Carry the cause of informed discussion to the unwashed masses and don’t crap in the yards of other SBN sites if you decide to go over there. They’re passionate about their teams too, no need to troll elsewhere and/or be a sore winner.
It’s like when Barry Sanders scored touchdowns. He handed the ball to the ref like he’d been there before and is going there again.
12) In General Don't Be a Dumbass. Using epithets like "Cindy Crysby" and "Philthy" is a way of being a dumbass. So is observing that Crosby has d**k sucking lips. Whining that the refs/league/Bettman/whoever is biased or out to get the Caps is another. And, finally, if you’re going to carpet bomb a Caps player, make damned sure you have some actual evidence to back it up. (Particularly if it’s Jeff Schultz.)
A few notes:
Caps Clips is the (mostly) daily general thread. JP starts us off with savory links, the first thirty or so comments dissect said links, then the convo goes where it will. This is the space for randomness, but we like our random hockey-flavored.
Game Day Thread (aka GDT) usually drops two hours before a game. JP says, "Have at it, people", and we do. I wonder if he recognizes how cool that is. Make sure to stretch out your z-key finger ahead of time or you could be day-to-day for at least a week after. The GDT is pretty much done at the end of the game as we await the recap.
Recap Thread usually drops within 90 minutes of the end of each game. One of our esteemed
overlords editors is tasked with watching the game and finding ten things to say about it. The discussion in the recap thread usually goes late into the night and picks up again in the morning. It is best when the recap thread sticks to the subject of that night’s game.
images If you’re going to put an image, especially a large one, in a thread, be sure to use a subject in your post, so that those who want to can click it and collapse your post, thus hiding the image.
Key commands (short-cuts):
Newbies – After you log in to Japers Rink/SBN you will notice that the comment section of each post consists of comments that are either yellow or white. Yellow comments are unread comments and white comments are those that have been marked as read. There are a number of button shortcuts you can use to help navigate the comments sections, listed below:
K allows you to scroll UP through the yellow comments without turning them white.
J and C buttons scrolls DOWN through the yellow comments without turning them white.
R button opens a reply to the comment that’s highlighted. You can also reply to a comment by pressing the REPLY link a comment.
X button turns a highlighted comment white without scrolling up or down.
Z button will simultaneously mark a comment white and tab forward.
[shift] –C will tab backwards.
[shift] -A will mark all comments white.
(if these keys aren't working, you may have your cursor in a text box and are inadvertently typing somewhere, in this case click an unused area of whitespace on the page and try again)
I now ask you, the Rink Commentariat, to add your additions to the guide and Rec those that are worthy. Any that go green will be updated and added to the list.
UPDATES: Edited for context.
Changes to #7 mine.
"A few notes" added. (minus the F&B Comment)
images note added.
Added Key Commands.