FanPosts and FanShots: A User Guide

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FanPosts and FanShots 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 (h/t Broadstreet Hockey for much of the "borrowed" content below).

FanShots

FanShots are quick posts, links, images or videos.

When Should You Post a FanShot?

  • Whenever you find a link, a quote, a video or a photo that you think your fellow Rink Rats will enjoy.
  • When you don't have any commentary to add other to the link, video, photo or quote.
  • When you can't meet the 75-word minimum for a FanPost.

How Do You Post a FanShot?

1. Click "New FanShot" -- Seems simple, right? While logged in, visit any page of Japers' Rink and click the handy "New FanShot" button. Enter the link or pic URL in the proper place.

2. Use the FanShot Bookmarklet -- Clicking and dragging the "Share on SBNation" button (which you can find here at the top of the FanShot section, right underneath the top ad bar; just click "FANSHOTS" on the front page to get there) to your bookmarks bar (the area under your address bar in your browser) will allow you to post to Japers' Rink quickly and easily while browsing the internet.

Once you have a "Share on SBNation" button in your browser, you have one-click posting of FanShots at your fingertips. Clicking the button will bring up a dialog box that looks like this:

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Just select the type of FanShot you wish to post (make sure to pick the appropriate type and fill in the fields with the applicable information), apply the proper tags (more later) and hit publish.

FanPosts

FanPosts are just like front page stories, except they're written by you, the Rink 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 Capitals or hockey. 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 Japers' Rink: 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.

Tagging

Tagging may seem like an afterthought, but it shouldn't be treated as such. Tagging is critically important to making sure your content is viewed by as many potentially interested people as possible, as it helps your content show up in searches and in dynamically-rendered content areas, such as on a player page or in the "More from Japers' Rink" box at the bottom of each post.

To the right of the text area in both FanPosts and FanShots you'll find the area for tagging your posts, as shown in the illustration below:

Tagging_screen_cap_medium

Tagging is simple. Events, Players and Teams have their own dedicated area, which will help link your posts to the proper Event, Player and Team Pages. These fields also auto complete, just begin typing the player's name and it should fill in, as shown above. The "Tags" post at the top is for any other applicable tags you might want to include, using commas to separate tags, as shown above (if you type a tag that's already been used around SBN, it'll begin to autocomplete). If you feel like being clever here, go for it, but make sure to properly tag your posts using the other applicable fields as well.

That's all there is to it. Now get out there and help us to keep producing the best and freshest Caps content on the 'Net!

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