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meta-meta-blogFor technological reasons that you can’t really see when you visit the site, I will soon have to make some changes to the functionality here at BN. The short version is, the framework upon which the site is built is about five years old – that’s a century in modern Internet time. The site still works fine, but the landscape upon which it sits is ever shifting, and it won’t work forever. I’m trying to be proactive and take care of things before any serious issues pop up.

And, since I’m going to have to do some serious tinkering anyway, I thought I would take the opportunity to include you all in a dialogue about the functionality of the site.

What I’d like to hear from you all who are willing to drop your thoughts in the comments:

  • In terms of the site’s function (not content – we’re talking about how the website, itself, works; we’re not talking about my writing, or the types of posts, or whatever), what are the things that you really want to see preserved? The layout? The alignment of posts? The category system? The “featured” post at the top? The sidebar? Please feel free to get as granular as you want.
  • What are the things you would rather you didn’t see, or you wish operated differently? Are there features on the homepage or individual post pages that you feel like are totally superfluous? Distracting?
  • (Yes, there will always have to be advertisements, but you can include stuff about the ads in your comments. Just understand that they keep this place in business and free for you to use, and understand that I’m not asking for your thoughts on the content of the ads. This is all about site functionality.)
  • Anything else you’d like to share about your experience using this site. If there are other news/sports sites out there whose functionality/layout you really like, share it. If there are specific functions/sections/whatever about other sites out there that you really like, share it.
  • Isaac

    Honestly, I can’t think of anything I’d really change…it’s literally the only site I visit every day; a part of that is the simplicity of it. Perhaps the only suggestion is some way to edit a comment, even if it’s only available for a minute or two (to preserve the “what’s said is said” mantra).

  • jh03

    I’d like to see the layout of the articles stay the same. I find it very easy to read, especially compared to other sites where I feel like it’s too jumbled together. That’s my two cents, anyways.

  • Jon

    As many of are also Chicago + Football fans, what about a “Chicago Bears” themed section?

    • johnnyp
    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I think Jon was being flippant.

      • Bleeding Blue

        If you do create a new Bears page in the future, I would recommend some sort of tab function or “easy” button to press to access the Bears content. How to access the Bears content while an easy url typing function, I bookmark my favorite pages and never had that easy access to the Bears page. Just my two cents. With the draft coming up, it would be cool to have a similar “friendly” community to discuss the picks and the team.

      • johnnyp

        Classic Jon

  • Edwin

    It’s a fairly white background for everything, sometimes it comes off as a little bright. Otherwise I can’t even begin to think of anything else that would need to be changed. You got a smooth operation going on.

    • Medicos

      EDWIN; Interesting comments. The majority of my black friends don’t show much interest in MLB or NHL. When we get together on weekends, the sports talk usually centers around the fate of the Bulls in the playoffs and the Bears upcoming draft choices. Rarely do our discussions get into talk about the White Sox or Cubs.

      • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

        Wow…Freud would be proud.

        • Medicos

          HANSMAN; Great comment concerning my reply to Edwin. I misinterpreted what he was referring to when he stated “It’s a fairly white background for everything” But truthfully I’d venture a guess that the vast majority of the BNers are not of African-American descent.

          • johnnyp

            Wow.

          • Coop

            W. O. W.

            I had assumed the first one was a tongue-in-cheek joke. Now I am sad.

            • ssckelley

              nah, he was joking….besides we have plenty of black folks here. What we need are some more hispanics!

      • Jon

        I have no idea what the F’ this post means?

    • Funn Dave

      Yeah, the background is a bit bright. Let’s get some black-font-on-black-background going instead.

      • johnnyp

        My gf says brown is the new black.

        • ssckelley

          plus be more hispanic friendly…..

  • Satch

    The only improvement I would like to see is having the comment updates happen in real time. As of now, I must click out of a thread and then click back in to see the new comments. I assume that’s the way it is for everyone but maybe its just my system? Other than that, the site is fine and I really appreciate your hard work.

    • Spoda17

      I would like a live chat option as well. The comments can be hard to follow because of the way they “tree”

    • Funn Dave

      Real-time updates would be nice, but in the meantime you can just press the “refresh” button instead of clicking out and clicking back in.

  • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

    The only possible change I could think of would be an auto-uploading comment section, but I really have no idea what that would even entail, so not sure if it’s even feasible.

    • PejaO42

      I agree. The comment section is the only area where I could see some improvement. Not being able to edit after posting is also a bit annoying for a lazy typer like myself

    • Funn Dave

      Auto-uploading? What do you mean?

      • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

        Poor word choice, real time updates on comments

        • Funn Dave

          Gotcha. Yes, that would be great.

  • Rebuilding

    I wouldn’t change a thing. It looks clean and modern, the stories are well laid out and easy to navigate, and the comments section layout is about as good as I’ve seen. I do get a lot of Asian porn ads, but I’ve been told that’s my fault

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      Everything is your fault. Even the mascot.

  • johnnyp

    Don’t have much to complain about. Most of my reading and participation on this site is done from my iPhone, so an app would be nice, but not essential. A larger font or a mobile friendly site would make experience a little easier.

    • cub4life

      +1 for android

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      I like the app idea, but not sure how large your audience is and how much ad $ you could generate to make it worth the development

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Brett, the only thing that comes to mind is that when a thread is running after about four or five comments you get a permalink where you have to go and comment on previous comments without the ability to directly address a comment that someone has made farther down the line. Other than that you always do a great job and you are very proffesional in your running of the blog.

    • Brocktoon

      Yep, if you could reply to that person without the comment indenting further, it’d be nice. It’s such a minor inconvenience though that it’s really a non-issue to me.

  • OCCubFan

    Make the hierarchy of replies to replies to comments easier to follow.

    • Jason P

      I like that idea.

      • Spoda17

        Yeah agree… Also, I have seen other sites where you receive an email when someone replies to your post.

        • CubChymyst

          I really don’t want an email when someone replies. Just think of some of the longer reply chains and not sure I’d want 4 or 5 emails in that case. If done an option to opt out of an email would be nice.

          • Spoda17

            It’s just an option, you can turn it on and off on the fly.

  • Boccabella12

    I like the site very much as is. While it would be nice to have an “ignore” button for some of the more tedious commenters, my brain does that semi-automatically anymore.

    Functionally, I appreciate the lack of pop-up/pop-under ads. You might want to put an Amazon link and/or a Paypal donation button near the top. An Ipod app would be a nice touch, but the site comes up well enough on my Apple mobiles.

    Thanks for making it easier to be a Cub fan, in spite of everything.

  • Dave

    In modern Internet terms, I am an elderly person (age:29) so the thought of change is scary and confusing. I think the layout if pretty clean, but that is probably because I’ve gotten used to it. One thing I do think might be nice is up top, below the BN banner (where the message board and Amazon links are) there could be links to the daily posting categories (Minor League Daily, Bullets, EBS) so if someone visits in the afternoon on a busy day they could, if so inclined, visit those pages before sifting through the other articles.

  • http://iawrestle.com On The Farm

    I like the home page set up. For instance it only shows posts to the 27th from there you would have to go to the archives to find older articles. I hate the continuous scrolling of old stuff some sites use. The comments side bar as well as the the “tabs” at the top that take you to ‘Support BN at Amazon’ and so on are all set up well in my opinion. I could be wrong, but I like how they are set up now. I like the obvious featured post at the top as well as the layouts for the posts.

    I also like Isaac saying the comments edit button for a short period of time (like they do on SB nation). I hate when I type and error and having even one minute to fix it would be nice.

  • Pepitones wig

    I agree a real time update on the comment section would improve the experience when commenting. Also, on the comments a thumbs up/thumbs down button would be cool to get a read on what most people think of a comment.

    Otherwise I really like the writing and this site kicks the SB Nation site’s ass.

    • Funn Dave

      Personally, I’m not so sure about the thumbs up / thumbs down idea. Whenever someone posts something that could be construed as doubting Theo’s plan, we don’t need a thumbs-down button to see that people disagree–you just have to look at all the people responding to the comment with things like “you’re dumb” or something nonsensical about “facts.”

  • kgd

    I read this site several times a day and overall it’s pretty good. My number one wish would probably be for a mobile friendly version of the site. A feed of your recent Twitter posts off to the side would be neat. Maybe a splash more color around.

  • MightyBear

    It would be nice to have an edit function so we can edit our comments when we make a typo.

    • Spoda17

      ++

    • CubChymyst

      The return of the edit button would be my number 1 as well. Don’t always proof read as well as I’d like if I’m making a quick comment.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Brett,
    I really miss the edit button. I understand its out of your hands to fix it but it has been missed

  • tricky dick

    Phone friendly would be the biggest thing

    • ssckelley

      agreed

    • http://iawrestle.com On The Farm

      A moblie site is a good idea

  • itzscott

    Is it possible (it is with some of the other places I visit) to have those posts which I haven’t read yet be highlighted in bold type instead of having to remember when I logged on and then rummage thru the time stamps to cull what’s been posted since my last visit?

  • JulioZuleta

    First–keep the ads coming. As far as I’m concerned, they are barely noticeable, and don’t do anything to take away from the experience. I wouldn’t mind at all if you added way more, you deserve to get what you can get.

    I like the layout of the site, I like that it hasn’t changed since I started reading 3 or 4 years ago. One thing I might suggest would be a little bullet list of the day’s posts, similar to what ESPN does. I think there is a risk of readers not noticing a post from earlier in the day because it has been pushed down a bit. Maybe put a dividing line to show when a new day starts?? It might draw people’s attention to what is new for the day.

    FInally, I don’t know if it is possible, but some type of way to clearly direct comments to a specific person might be helpful. Sometimes in a longer comment thread it can be difficult to see who is answering who(m?).

  • itzscott

    Also, maybe a thumbs up and thumbs down button to really piss posters off could be interesting.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Keep ‘em coming, even if someone has already said what you were going to say, by the way. I’m trying to get a very broad sense of what people think, so repetition is not a bad thing.

    (Nor is saying, “Everything’s fine” – that’s important to know, too.)

    • dougdascenzoschangeup

      Real time updates in the comment threads would be great, and I’d have no issue with an up/down voting system. I’d also like it if the game thread could be joined with the bleacher nation handle. I’ve always wanted to participate there, but never seem able to sign in.

  • Spoda17

    I may be repetitive, but just to summarize… the comments are a big part of the site, but can be hard to follow based on the way they build, and some comments go to the end of the string… My fantasy football site emails me when a comment is made… but that may be way too many emails…

    • ssckelley

      Perhaps a subscribe option, so you can subscribe to a thread or blog and be emailed updates.

  • ssckelley

    wins and losses added to the pitchers stats!

    /runs

    • Funn Dave

      haha

  • roz

    2 things, both of which have already been said but I’d like to add my vote.

    1) Ability to edit comments. There are so many typos that I see people mentioning as a reply to their own comment (including mu own), giving commenters the ability to edit their comment would be good. Also, put some sort of notification that shows whether a comment has been edited, so people can’t try and weasel their way out of what they said.

    2) Better comment hierarchy. It can get very confusing to follow the actual conversation when some of the comment chains get very long. I tend to have to scroll up and down to see what people are actually replying to.

  • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

    Edit function.

    Reply lines stand out better so it’s easier to track who you are replying to.

    The “Reply” link standing out in bold, flaming letters.

    Everyone who is not sunshine and lollipops to be banned.

    The ability to track your own comments.

    You may want to clean up the “Archives” box on the right. It’s starting to get mightly long.

    A link that shows the pre-game and EBS posts for each game would be totes magotes.

    Don’t install a like/dislike button. Too cheesy.

    • Jon

      I like #4

    • JulioZuleta

      I like the ability to track your own comments.

  • ssckelley

    A quote option

    • Funn Dave

      “A quote option”

      Hey look, a quote option, built right into my keyboard :P

  • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

    My favorite suggestions so far:

    Comments upgrade (Real time update, definitely thumbs up/down, possibly an edit)
    Mobile friendly site or app for phone use
    Mas ads!! They blend in well and can only help site
    Twitter feed on sidebar featuring Brett’s latest
    An occasional guest column from yours truly ;)

  • nate1m

    It would be awesome to be able to sort the comments by oldest or newest. Also, for a while I was able to see when new post were coming (on dashboard) and it was awesome. I don’t know why that isn’t coming anymore but it was great to check in the morning and be able to plan my trips back to my desk accordingly.

  • Darth Ivy

    1- Edit button

    2- An activity log like Facebook has, so you can see a list of your comments and jump right to them to see if people replied, or to continue discussions.

    3- Similar to #2, a notification when someone replies to one of your comments

    4- a better team to cover

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      4 – Maybe make this a roving blog. Just bandwagon to whatever team was really hot the week before. If several teams are tied, just cover Yankees/Red Sox/NFL/LeBron…

      Wait…

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