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The Future of BBTF (and BKTF and FBTF…?)
Posted: 15 August 2011 09:18 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Last week, when this site was having some tech issues, over in the Lounge I took the opportunity to mention my ideas of expanding BBTF’s reach:

If you’re amenable, some of us Loungers would like a dialogue with you about the site and its future. I ... believe there’s a great opportunity for growth by expanding into the other major sports - BBTF is a fantastic one-stop shop for baseball fans, and it’s a format I don’t see anywhere for basketball and football.

Well, The Jim read that - and liked it:

Hello,

I noticed your post last week about adding additional sports. I am open to the idea of adding more sports and would like to hear what people are most interested in. If you don’t mind creating a forum post on the subject, I’d be very happy to join in on the discussion.

Thanks for the note,

Jim

So, what would we like from an expanded Think Factory?

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“Each time I read this post, it becomes more delightfully crass.  Short, to the point, and not sugar-coated in the least.” - The Joe Mauer Power Hour

Posted: 15 August 2011 09:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The one thing I would most want: separation.  Don’t roll them into the same site with the same Hot Topics sidebar.  As it is, most of the time half of the popular threads are nothing more than political fighting, steroid nonsense, and/or and grudge holding.  The last thing we need is to add topics for other sports to compete with the baseball threads for the short list that most people use for navigation around the site.  Either that, or make the Hot Topics bar a lot longer (25-30 threads rather than 10).

Also, if we’re going to expand, let’s do it with some sense of keeping the site’s original identity intact.  Football Think Factory shouldn’t be just a simple football news aggregator where football fans can come to talk about politics.  The focus should be on the analytic, objective, statistical side of the sport and not on all the BS off-field stuff.  (It would be awfully nice if BTF had stayed that way - it might have been the only way to short circuit all the steroid nonsense that basically ruined the site for 3-4 years.)

Posted: 15 August 2011 11:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I’d also recommend against a mega-Think Factory site. Let’s have BBTF, FBTF, BKTF, etc.

Also, if we’re going to expand, let’s do it with some sense of keeping the site’s original identity intact.  Football Think Factory shouldn’t be just a simple football news aggregator where football fans can come to talk about politics.  The focus should be on the analytic, objective, statistical side of the sport and not on all the BS off-field stuff.  (It would be awfully nice if BTF had stayed that way - it might have been the only way to short circuit all the steroid nonsense that basically ruined the site for 3-4 years.)

I have no memory of what the “old” BBTF looked like. But why shouldn’t baseball fans be able to discuss steroids on a baseball site? You speak of “all the BS off-field stuff;” for, say, FBTF, would that include arrests of players, economic woes in the Cincinnati area caused by the Bengals’ new stadium and a story about the Cheese League?

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“Each time I read this post, it becomes more delightfully crass.  Short, to the point, and not sugar-coated in the least.” - The Joe Mauer Power Hour

Posted: 16 August 2011 03:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Also, if a site is “ruined” for years on end, to blame is neither the site nor the content of discussions but the users.

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“Each time I read this post, it becomes more delightfully crass.  Short, to the point, and not sugar-coated in the least.” - The Joe Mauer Power Hour

Posted: 16 August 2011 03:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Jim, so we can better figure where we’d like to go, can you tell us where we are - a State of the Site Address?

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“Each time I read this post, it becomes more delightfully crass.  Short, to the point, and not sugar-coated in the least.” - The Joe Mauer Power Hour

Posted: 16 August 2011 03:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Is there as much of a “stat nerd” community in orbit around the other major sports like there is for baseball? I mean, such that could sustain the sort of velocity we find at this site?

In some ways, I think another Think Factory would be hard to duplicate in that the rise of this site coincided with the rise in popularity of sabermetrics in general. Is there a similar movement afoot in football and basketball? People always say there is in soccer, but the data remains largely proprietary which kind of eliminates the possibility of a Bill James coming along and revolutionizing that sport.

I don’t know…baseball and sabermetrics have become almost incidental to this place in a lot of ways.

Posted: 16 August 2011 04:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Mattbert - 16 August 2011 03:56 AM

Is there as much of a “stat nerd” community in orbit around the other major sports like there is for baseball? I mean, such that could sustain the sort of velocity we find at this site?

I’d say the content is there, yes.

Mattbert - 16 August 2011 03:56 AM

I don’t know…baseball and sabermetrics have become almost incidental to this place in a lot of ways.

Concur. It would be interesting to break down a typical day’s worth of mainland articles by type of content: on-field news; off-field news; sabermetrics; opinion…

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“Each time I read this post, it becomes more delightfully crass.  Short, to the point, and not sugar-coated in the least.” - The Joe Mauer Power Hour

Posted: 16 August 2011 05:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Frank McCourt’s Gold Stars are in bankruptcy court - 16 August 2011 03:35 AM

Also, if a site is “ruined” for years on end, to blame is neither the site nor the content of discussions but the users.

The users were allowed to run amok, taking over whatever threads they wanted and dragging all of the personal bullshit into them without seemingly any attempt to rein them in by TPTB.  The whole kevin/Union/steroid fiasco ran here for years before someone finally stepped in and put an end to it.  Other users complained frequently about it (both publicly on the site and privately to the admins - they’ve admitted as much), but individual users didn’t have the power to stop the discussions aside from leaving the site completely (which a lot of people did).  It only takes a handful of people to perpuate the conversations, and those involved were more than happy to keep ######## at each other forever.

Posted: 16 August 2011 08:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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OK, then looking forward, what are possible solutions? May I suggest a few trusted Primates be given the keys as to be moderators?

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“Each time I read this post, it becomes more delightfully crass.  Short, to the point, and not sugar-coated in the least.” - The Joe Mauer Power Hour

Posted: 16 August 2011 10:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I wouldn’t have a problem with additional think factories; if they get created that’s fine. I don’t really see what need it fills that will make the overall Think Factory experience better for Jim or users, or how it would improve anything aside from uncluttering Hot Topics, which I think is kinda weak justification.

Airstrikes on the compounds of a select few posters is really all that’s needed.

Posted: 16 August 2011 10:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Frank McCourt’s Gold Stars are in bankruptcy court - 16 August 2011 08:56 PM

OK, then looking forward, what are possible solutions? May I suggest a few trusted Primates be given the keys as to be moderators?

Define “trusted”.

Posted: 16 August 2011 10:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Joe Bivens is on STRIKE! - 16 August 2011 10:01 PM
Frank McCourt’s Gold Stars are in bankruptcy court - 16 August 2011 08:56 PM

OK, then looking forward, what are possible solutions? May I suggest a few trusted Primates be given the keys as to be moderators?

Define “trusted”.

Neither me nor you.

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“Each time I read this post, it becomes more delightfully crass.  Short, to the point, and not sugar-coated in the least.” - The Joe Mauer Power Hour

Posted: 16 August 2011 10:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Frank McCourt’s Gold Stars are in bankruptcy court - 16 August 2011 10:09 PM
Joe Bivens is on STRIKE! - 16 August 2011 10:01 PM
Frank McCourt’s Gold Stars are in bankruptcy court - 16 August 2011 08:56 PM

OK, then looking forward, what are possible solutions? May I suggest a few trusted Primates be given the keys as to be moderators?

Define “trusted”.

Neither me nor you.

You really should fly with me.

Posted: 16 August 2011 10:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Joe Bivens is on STRIKE! - 16 August 2011 10:13 PM
Frank McCourt’s Gold Stars are in bankruptcy court - 16 August 2011 10:09 PM
Joe Bivens is on STRIKE! - 16 August 2011 10:01 PM
Frank McCourt’s Gold Stars are in bankruptcy court - 16 August 2011 08:56 PM

OK, then looking forward, what are possible solutions? May I suggest a few trusted Primates be given the keys as to be moderators?

Define “trusted”.

Neither me nor you.

You really should fly with me.

Buy me a drink first, flyboy.

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“Each time I read this post, it becomes more delightfully crass.  Short, to the point, and not sugar-coated in the least.” - The Joe Mauer Power Hour

Posted: 17 August 2011 12:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Justin T is set to throw his mates a banana shower - 16 August 2011 10:00 PM

I wouldn’t have a problem with additional think factories; if they get created that’s fine. I don’t really see what need it fills that will make the overall Think Factory experience better for Jim or users, or how it would improve anything aside from uncluttering Hot Topics, which I think is kinda weak justification.

Right.  I know Gold Star’s idea is to expand to other sports, but is the question about expanding to other sports, or of improving the site?  Because if it’s the latter, expanding to other sports isn’t anywhere near the top of my wish list.  I can think of many other things that will improve the usability of the site for existing (and new) users.

I guess that leads to one question: are the site’s owners looking for growth? To improve the experience of current users?  Revenue?  Cost reduction?  Better serve the media and those in baseball, or the casual fan, or the hardcore sabermetrics fan, or who?

Without knowing the answers to those questions, the rest of the discussion is moot.

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Posted: 17 August 2011 12:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Harold - 17 August 2011 12:15 AM
Justin T is set to throw his mates a banana shower - 16 August 2011 10:00 PM

I wouldn’t have a problem with additional think factories; if they get created that’s fine. I don’t really see what need it fills that will make the overall Think Factory experience better for Jim or users, or how it would improve anything aside from uncluttering Hot Topics, which I think is kinda weak justification.

Right.  I know Gold Star’s idea is to expand to other sports, but is the question about expanding to other sports, or of improving the site?  Because if it’s the latter, expanding to other sports isn’t anywhere near the top of my wish list.  I can think of many other things that will improve the usability of the site for existing (and new) users.

I guess that leads to one question: are the site’s owners looking for growth? To improve the experience of current users?  Revenue?  Cost reduction?  Better serve the media and those in baseball, or the casual fan, or the hardcore sabermetrics fan, or who?

Without knowing the answers to those questions, the rest of the discussion is moot.

I can’t see a reason why this forum can’t be used to discuss both expansion and improvements.

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“Each time I read this post, it becomes more delightfully crass.  Short, to the point, and not sugar-coated in the least.” - The Joe Mauer Power Hour

Posted: 17 August 2011 12:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Oh, and what are those ideas to improve the user experience:

* Customizable hot topics bar (automatically include/exclude threads by topic, for example).
* Mobile features (possibly dedicated mobile apps to handle certain use cases)
* Improved performance (caching, etc.)
* An API to “open up” the site’s data to third-party developers (i.e., the user base).  This might be the best way to get mobile apps, by the way.
* Improved lounge interface
* Cleanup of generated HTML so that it is much more modifiable/customizable/scriptable on the client side

As usual, I’m very tempted to offer my time, but can’t really pull the trigger, as I know I’ll under-deliver.  Maybe if a few of us build some critical mass to volunteer, that would have a better chance at success.

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Check out the Lounge NFL season-long margin pool standings!  Can anybody catch Flounder?  Suckiest Sucks need the Steelers to outplay the Eagles, and Mug needs the Chargers to outplay the Colts.

Posted: 17 August 2011 04:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Good question Harold.

I also really like the customizable hot topic idea.

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Everybody’s doing it…

My retirement plan

Posted: 19 August 2011 12:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Is it possible, for the Hot Topics bar, when your mouse goes over the “Last: (username)” there could be a pop-up* showing the comment? It would be a good way to see which direction a thread has gone before wading in.

* - It’s not a pop-up, as in a separate browser window. A Java applet thingy, maybe?

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“Each time I read this post, it becomes more delightfully crass.  Short, to the point, and not sugar-coated in the least.” - The Joe Mauer Power Hour

Posted: 01 November 2011 04:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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On the mainland, Jim has posted news of coming changes…

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“Each time I read this post, it becomes more delightfully crass.  Short, to the point, and not sugar-coated in the least.” - The Joe Mauer Power Hour