Of all the things we've managed to do here over the last eighteen months, one thing that hasn't gone as well as I would have hoped is the level of involvement we get from you, the ODB community. Considering that the ability of the fan/poster/member to post their own thoughts and start discussions independent of the writers is one of the hallmarks of SBNation's platform, this leads me to believe that I haven't done a good enough job explaining in the past how Baylor fans can truly make this blog their own. I always intended to around the time we started up and never did. That's my fault as a blog manager. It's led to a situation where a lot of people read what is posted here by others but don't really engage in the blog itself, which is actually the greatest strength of SBNation.
That's something we can fix right now.
First, about the commenting system:
I came to SBNation as a fan of the Texas Rangers, something that should surprise exactly no one that follows me on twitter (I've tried to tone it down recently, I promise). That fandom led me to LoneStarBall.com, SBNation's blog for the Rangers managed by one Adam J. Morris (AJM to the LSB regulars). I quickly found that one aspect of SBNation's platform in particular set it apart from every other message board format I'd ever seen-- live updating without refreshing the page. In that respect, SBNation combines the conversational aspects of a chat room with the ability to reply to specific posts and carry on multiple conversations at once. Depending on the rules of each blog (some are more restrictive than others), literally dozens of different conversations can occur at any given time in a single thread. Live-updating means that nobody has to right-click or hit F5 to refresh. You comment, people reply, and you can reply to them. It sounds simple, but I'm serious when I say that I've never seen a commenting system like it. Compare that, for example, to BaylorFans.com, a "typical" forum type where you have to constantly refresh to see other posts in the same "thread."
Comments allow you, the fan, to converse with each other on anything (again, within the bounds of the blog rules for a given blog) you choose, whether it's the subject matter of the post starting the thread or something different entirely. Some communities even have threads that exist for no other reason than to give the members some place to talk. That's fine, too. You can comment on an actual story like a morning DBR, a fanpost, or a fanshot with links of your own, quotes, or even pictures. Comments are the lifeblood of SBNation communities.
What the heck is a "fanpost?"
Excellent question! Simply put, it's a post written by a fan. Fanposts are your tool for writing your thoughts, sharing information, or just creating a new thread should you choose to do so. You don't have to be a writer for the blog or have any special permissions to make one. You just have to be a member outside of the 24-hour waiting period with at least 75 words worth of information (that's to combat automated posters). I made this post as a fanpost to show you what they typically look like and where they reside after being created (the right-hand side of each ODB window).
To make a fanpost, scroll to the top-right of any ODB window and you should see a set of links underneath the blog name "OurDailyBears" that says "New Fanpost Fanshot." Click on Fanpost and you will open the editor window to start writing. It's that easy. Another example is TheBrandonLamar's recent report from the Saturday Scrimmage. That report is now pinned inside the "Fanposts" widget on the right-hand side of the screen, above my previous fanpost about Penn State Transfer Rumors and beneath one from a guy who wants to talk about Rico Gathers. Fanposts in that space are organized chronologically.
How is that different from a "fanshot?"
Content. Fanshots are basically just small blurbs of information like links to exterior sites, quotes, images, or even videos embedded from youtube. That's it. You see something you want to share without much commentary, so you post it as a fanshot. It will then appear on the same right side as fanposts but further down the sidebar. You've probably seen fanshots before because I use them every day, mostly as a way to share links and/or quotes with links to the articles at other places. Kate's fanshot about the Harrison Twins from earlier this afternoon is a good example. With it, she linked to the DC regional SBNation site with news pertinent to this blog. You can do the same thing if you see something you think the ODB/Baylor community will want to know. If I see it-- this goes for Fanposts, too-- I can promote it to the front page.
What is a "rec?" Am I in trouble?
Exactly the opposite. "Rec" is short for "recommend," which, in typical English usage, means you like something enough to want others to see it. Get enough "recs" on a comment and it will be highlighted in green. Enough "recs" on a fanpost promotes it to another area at the top of the list. "Reccing" is a good thing, I assure you, unless we become some kind of hipster haven where cool things suck and things people hate become awesome.
SB Nation United
Our Daily Bears is merely one part of a tremendous network of blogs over 350 strong covering everything from college football to Formula 1 to combat sports and everything in between. If it is related to sports, we've got it, and you need go no further.
As part of the effort to bring those blogs together, SB Nation rolled out a system designed to simultaneously standardize and individualize each member blog: SB Nation United. That update, huge in both scope and ambition, gave everyone, from blog managers to individual commenters, a myriad of new tools. Where before we had one page with fanposts, fanshots, and stories, now we have the ability to create basically unlimited hubs for different content, share stories across the entire network, and engage our communities as never before.
For ODB, that means that every major area of Baylor Athletics, from football recruiting to the construction of our new stadium, received its own hub dedicated solely to that subject. If you like Baylor Baseball, for example, we've got you covered. If all you want is info on Kim Mulkey's WBB program, you are similarly in luck. All can and are routed through the main page, but each also stands on its own should you wish it. It's entirely up to you.
I'm not skilled enough with MS Paint-- or, possibly, far too lazy-- to show you all of the things I'm talking about with screen-captured images. I hope my typed explanations are enough to clear up any questions you may have, but if there is something not clear enough, ask in the comments and we can go from there.