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Jim's Lab Notes
— Site News, Baseball Talk, and a Bunch of Other Stuff

Sunday, April 29, 2012

microBBTFs: I Have Keys and I am not Afraid to Give Them Out

I am plodding along with the update. One of my main goals is simplifying our overall setup to make it easier for people to find what they are interested in *and* to make it easier for members to submit content. With that in mind I am streamlining the structure of topic specific areas. This includes changes to the way content areas are created and managed.

What’s this change all about?
In the past, I’ve created new blogs within Expression Engine’s Control Panel and then created new template groups to display those blogs. It was a time-consuming process and, often times, not worth the effort as people would post a few entries and would either stop posting completely or would post only sporadically. Eventually I stopped looking to add new voices to the site because it just wasn’t worth the time I was spending. With the redesign, I won’t have that issue. First, submission of content will no longer be restricted to people with “keys”. With the redesign, every member will be able to submit news items (which currently goes into the Newsblog) and commentaries (which currently goes into our blogs like Sox Therapy, Hall of Merit, Transaction Oracle). Second, I’m modifying the structure of content by consolidating the news and blogs sections of the site by topic into micro Baseball Think Factories (or microBBTFs).

What are microBBTFs?
What exactly are microBBTFs? microBBTFs are smaller Baseball Think Factory communities focused on individual topics. They are my way of integrating the news, blogs, and communities aspects of the site. I will accomplish this by combining our new categorization system with our current blog set-up.

For example, what is now Sox Therapy will be integrated into what is now the Red Sox NewsBeat (under the red_sox tag). The newly designed microBBTF will contain all the content submitted to the site marked as “red_sox”. The current editors of Sox Therapy will become the moderators of the Red Sox microBBTF (or Red Sox Think Factory or Sox Therapy).

At this point, I am asking for volunteers.

What are the benefits of becoming a microBBTF moderator?
Being a moderator makes you smarter, cooler, and more attractive than regular Primates. Of course the true benefits might not be readily apparent at first but, trust us, eventually you will realize just how superior you’ve become in the eyes of your former peers.

As if that isn’t enough, you also get the opportunity to shape the community that revolves around your chosen topic. Moderators are the defacto leaders of their topic community. They decide which posts show up to their area of the site. They decide what is acceptable behavior within their community.

The primary moderator of a microBBTF also gets to customize and configure his community to his liking. He gets to choose whether to keep the default appearance of his microBBTF or to change the main logo, colors, and background image of his community. He gets to modify the description and rules of his community that get displayed in the community sidebar and can decide what other content gets added to the sidebar. He can also approve other moderators of the group.

All moderators of a microBBTF have their posts automatically added to the “Featured” view of their community’s front page (the default view that everyone sees when a visitor hits their microBBTF). Their posts also get highlighted within the microBBTF topic and automatically get added to to the sitewide moderation queue. This benefit ensures that community leaders get noticed within their selected topic. 
Moderators can further shape their community by managing the content submitted to their microBBTF topic by their fellow Primates. If, upon submission, the creator of an entry marks their microBBTF topic as the primary topic of the post, the moderators of the microBBTF get permission to moderate all comments within that entry, further shaping their community. Moderators can also add or remove content to/from their topic that was inappropriately marked.

Lastly, moderators get the opportunity to impact the overall direction of the site by participating in moderator-only discussion areas. They get to have a say in what new features get added and get to help craft the overall moderation rules of the site.

How do I volunteer?
If you are interested in helping out, respond to this thread *including the topic you are interested in managing*? If you want to make sure you don’t get missed, follow up with an email to me through the site. Preference will be given to members who have established reputations on the site. Multiple volunteers for specific topics will be encouraged to work together. 

Thanks in advance for helping make our community even better,

Jim


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  Edited: April 30, 2012 12:15PM EDT
Jim Furtado Posted: April 29, 2012 at 08:39 AM | 33 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: April 29, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4118979)
I'd be willing to admin the Mariners micro.
   2. Tripon Posted: April 29, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4118981)
I'll do the Dodgers micro, if there is one.
   3. The District Attorney Posted: April 29, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4118996)
If there is a micro for "transactions", I would like to admin that.
   4. fra paolo Posted: April 29, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4119120)
I volunteer for the Nationals.
   5. Dan The Mediocre Posted: April 29, 2012 at 04:17 PM (#4119175)
I volunteer for Cubs.
   6. Lassus Posted: April 29, 2012 at 04:18 PM (#4119179)
Allow me to volunteer to guide the Mets fans to the promised micro-land.
   7. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: April 29, 2012 at 05:41 PM (#4119283)
I volunteer to serve as one of Lassus' goons in a Mets microBBTF, as long as I get a BBTF-issued taser.
   8. Poster Nutbag Posted: April 29, 2012 at 06:16 PM (#4119309)
I would be more than happy to help out with the A's, since there are probably very few dedicated A's fans left ;-)
   9. UCCF Posted: April 29, 2012 at 07:25 PM (#4119362)
I will volunteer with the Cubs as well.
   10. Gaylord Perry the Platypus (oi!) Posted: April 29, 2012 at 11:38 PM (#4119499)
I'll volunteer for the Braves.
   11. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: April 30, 2012 at 12:43 AM (#4119528)
Ill take care of off topic land.
   12. staring out the window and waiting for fenderbelly Posted: April 30, 2012 at 01:04 AM (#4119537)
I can help with Harvey's Brewers micro and any Reliquary action.
   13. Dan Posted: April 30, 2012 at 01:17 AM (#4119541)
I'd be up for helping out with Red Sox Think Factory if you need anyone beyond the current ST key holders.
   14. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 30, 2012 at 10:03 AM (#4119611)
I am happy to serve as a/the admin for wherever the NBA Thread ends up.
   15. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 30, 2012 at 10:12 AM (#4119616)
I'm in for the Braves as needed as well.
   16. BDC Posted: April 30, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4119673)
If the Rangers are worth a microBBTF, I can volunteer. Would welcome collaboration, because I sometimes disappear for two weeks midseason ...
   17. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 30, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4119685)
I will volunteer for any remaining interest there may be in the Royals, or any other worthy topics like the draft.
   18. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: April 30, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4119778)

I could help with the White Sox, for the 3 or 4 remaining Sox fans on this site.
   19. Swedish Chef Posted: April 30, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4119905)
I can help with the Marlins.
   20. Lassus Posted: April 30, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4119913)
I can help with Marlins.

"Losing is a disease..."
   21. Jim Furtado Posted: April 30, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4119984)
Thanks to everyone who has volunteered so far!

Although I don't want to swamp anyone with too much detail, here's a little more info about some of my thoughts on the microBBTFs.

The more moderators per topic, the easier the management of the area will be. As long as people can work together and can agree on who will be the lead moderator, I'm fine. If people can’t agree on the lead moderator, I will be happy to make the choice. If anyone doesn’t think he can work together with the others involved, he will be free to create a competitive microBBTF (or BBTF/m). Of course (using the Braves as an example), the default Braves topic will be easier to find, so other Braves-related BBTF/m would have to work harder to get attention. Even in that case, though, as long as both topics agree to provide links to each other, Braves fans that frequent the site will be free to subscribe to both BBTF/m.

In any event, I have no problem with competitive areas as a competitive setup has two primary advantages: 1) if the moderators of a particular topic go off the rails, or simply don't manage their area well, other members can create another BBTF/m. This encourages moderators to pay attention to the wants and needs of their particular community; and 2) if a member of the site wishes to create a singly-managed BBTF/m, which he wants to be more like a blog, I can easily provide that option without having to manage/code a separate area.

As for off-topic stuff, I will be grouping the tags/topics to make it easier for people find the BBTF/m they are interested in. I haven't decided exactly what groups we will have yet. The groups I am leaning toward creating for flexibility and ease of use:

(The first field is required and must be entered. It selects which microBBTF has full moderation permissions.)
1) Primary (required field)

(The following fields are secondary classifications and should be entered when the poster feels the entry will interest subscribers of another microBBTF.)

2) Team group, microBBTFs related to particular teams (this includes the initial 30 team micros),
3) People group, consisting of players, writers, and singly-managed BBTF/m,
4) General group, general topics which warrant their own microBBTF (sabermetrics, books, scouting, etc.)
4) Sports_OT group, basketball, football, soccer, etc.
5) Politics_OT group, just what it says.
6) Random group, tags which don’t fit within the other groups and, although useful for categorization, don’t warrant a microBBTF. This is where the offbeat and random tags go. Some examples which have recently been submitted are: booze, continuousmetsinjuries, doom, hello kitty, and the 10 plagues. In other words, fun, goofy stuff.
7) Naval-gazing group, site-related stuff like help, moderation, memes, etc.

The classifications will be monitored and adjusted as necessary.

This list may lengthen or shorten as I implement the change. I want the option available when posting but I don’t want people to need a manual to submit an entry. So, if I can’t set it up in a simple interface, I am not going to bother.

Edited: 5/2/2012
-------------------------------------------------------
Addendum 6/7/2012: As I've tested this classification system, I find the grouping of the tags adds more complexity to the posting process than I'd like. As a result, I've moved some of the overall grouping to a simpler system of channels.
   22. cardsfanboy Posted: May 01, 2012 at 10:28 AM (#4120567)
If you are going to do a Cardinals bbtf, I'll be more than willing to help out.
   23. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 03, 2012 at 05:09 PM (#4122864)
Jim,

Is it possible that with this introduction, we can improve Game Chatters? I'm thinking making each team key holder responsible for, if the desire is there, posting game chatter threads (in whatever format is desirable). That would seem to save you guys the trouble of posting a dozen threads every day that largely go uncommented in. If Sox or Mets or Cubs fans want to keep chattering, then any of these threads is the place to do it.

At the same time, BTF proper can host a catch-all game chatter like we do for Opening Day, First Round of the Playoffs etc. I look at a situation like last night, where Weaver is throwing a no-hitter. I visited BTF a few times during that stretch and had no idea it was going on, only finding out later at another site. There were places around here that people posted it was going on (such as the Dugout), but no place that anyone would think to look for at-the-moment activity in MLB.

But if there were a daily catch-all chatter, I think many of us would start looking there at night and discovering these things, alerting us to stuff we're interested in and (from BTF's perspective) leading to far more conversation. Just a thought.
   24. Jim Furtado Posted: May 03, 2012 at 08:34 PM (#4123025)
SoSHially Unacceptable, those are some great ideas! I'd been considering moving the Gamechatter into the new system. Your post just sealed things. I really like the daily catch-all game chatter idea. It would be a place where people can share highlights. It might even make sense to make it a live scroll on the other game chatters.
   25. Jim Furtado Posted: May 03, 2012 at 08:38 PM (#4123027)
Thanks for all the volunteers so far. I'm compiling a list and will include all of you in the upcoming initial Beta, which I'm very close to launching. I'll be interested in hearing your ideas for ways we should be setting up the micros.
   26. Gamingboy Posted: May 03, 2012 at 09:36 PM (#4123078)
If there's a WBC/International Baseball microBBTF, I'll definitely consider being it's moderator.
   27. dmunk Posted: May 04, 2012 at 10:50 AM (#4123387)
I'll throw my hat in for the SF Giants.
   28. zonk Posted: May 04, 2012 at 12:30 PM (#4123469)
Hmmm... I'd be happy to help ruin the Politics_OT group... Random sounds fun as well.
I'd also love to help out in the Cubs micro, but sounds like you've got plenty.

Faceprimer here we come!

   29. Poster Nutbag Posted: May 30, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4143343)
Post
   30. Randy Jones Posted: May 30, 2012 at 07:39 PM (#4143484)
I'd be happy to help moderate the Sports_OT group. I post in the soccer thread and lurk in the football and hockey threads already.
   31. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: June 02, 2012 at 10:37 AM (#4146302)
If there are ot sports blogs i would like to moderate the mma one.
   32. Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: June 04, 2012 at 09:54 AM (#4147481)
I've been meaning to mention it for a while, but I'd be happy to (help?) moderate the Indians and Dugout micros, if there is a Dugout micro.
   33. Publius Publicola Posted: August 16, 2013 at 04:32 PM (#4520513)
I can help with Nats.

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