Now that football season is back in our life (for which we bow down in thanks every day of the week and twice on Sunday), the traffic here at Niners Nation is picking up. The traffic is picking up both in terms of visitors to the site and commenters on the various posts, which is obviously a good thing.
A good chunk of the increase in traffic is due to many folks returning from the offseason. However, we also get a lot of new visitors to the site. I've noticed a few folks that are new, some of whom introduce themselves as being new. Welcome to all of you. In the past I've tried to welcome people individually with a quick reply, but as the site grows and grows that becomes a bit more difficult.
As SB Nation has grown, more and more people have become aware of what the network offers. However, plenty of folks are only discovering SB Nation for the first time. For those folks, and as a reminder to new folks, I wanted to post some information and a couple useful links so you can really enjoy your time here at Niners Nation as we welcome another season of 49ers football. If you get a moment, here are some useful links of information from the site worth checking out.
If you have any questions about any of this (or anything else related to the site), post a comment or email me at email@example.com. The comment option is preferred because then if somebody else has the same question, my answer to yours will help others.
The two biggest areas that people need to know about are the site's general code of conduct, and the use of FanShots and FanPosts. As to the code of conduct, it's actually really simple with one important rule. The general idea is to be respectful of fellow commenters. We shouldn't have to explain this, but as often happens on the Internet, people feel the need to get in other people's faces (so to speak) and make disparaging remarks. It's unnecessary, but I'd imagine being able to hide behind the anonymity of the Internet makes it easier to do this.
A corollary to the respect rule is our one major rule: there is no swearing allowed outside of game threads and the live draft threads. Sometimes we'll make exceptions, but unless otherwise indicated, swearing is only allowed in game threads and the live threads during the draft. The reasoning is that for live events like that comments are instantaneous reactions in the heat of the moment. For any other thread, people can take a few minutes to think over what they want to say and re-word it without the swearing. I realize swearing is a part of many people's vocabulary. I just feel that the discussion can be at its best when people aren't swearing. Generally this includes using symbols to block out parts of words.
There is one exception to swearing in game threads. While you are allowed to swear, that does not mean you can cuss somebody out for something they said. It logically follows from the idea of respecting your fellow commenters. Even if you think that person is an idiot and has no idea what they're talking about, calling them a dumbass does nothing to further the conversation. Provide reasons backed by evidence for why you think they are wrong and move on. It's as simple as that.
The second important area is the use of FanPosts, FanShots and comments. Check out this link to get a more thorough idea of each, but I'll give a basic rundown.
Comments: I don't think I need to explain how the comments work.
FanShots: The FanShot is used for short quick reference type posts. Links and YouTube videos are probably the two best examples of FanShots. If you check out our recent FanShots, all of these are good examples of FanShots. A lot of times, you'll see something you want to mention but you can't find a front page post or a FanPost that would be applicable. For those, the FanShot is your best bet. FanShots are especially beneficial for off-topic stuff.
FanPosts: The FanPosts are for broader discussions of topics. It can be a non-49ers topic, but if you do that I'd recommend prefacing your title with O/T (Off Topic). If you want to write about a topic that already has a FanPost on the main page, or is already being discussed in a front page post, there's a good chance your comments would be better suited as comments in an already existing post.
Some quick things to consider when writing a FanPost: There's a minimum number of words required for a FanPost, so if you have to add in filler words to meet the word minimum, your comments are probably better served as a FanShot or as a comment in an existing post. If there's a related FanPost or front page post already up within the last day or two, your post often is better suited as a FanShot or comment within an existing post.
At the same time, if you have a unique angle on it and you want to go into some depth about this angle, that could potentially work. For example, when the 49ers signed Brian Westbrook, we had several front page posts related to the signing that included the first mention of the signing, a post about his press conference, a post about how he'd work with Anthony Dixon, and a post about how this reflects well on the 49ers organization as far as the respect it gets around the league.
Generally you'd place comments about Westbrook in one of those posts. However, say you wanted to provide analysis about Brian Westbrook's injury history, or you wanted to look at his role in the Eagles offense last year, that could be worthy of a FanPost. Really all I ask is that you think about your post and how it fits in with other posts before publishing it.
I don't want people to feel constrained by too many rules at the site. At the same time, we need to have a little organization and structure so the site doesn't fall into chaos. If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns about anything related to the site or anything about the SB Nation network, I have an open email policy. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.