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.
  • Required

    Perhaps you could do a stat line for the team or a matchup breakdown with a drop down team so I don’t have to leave the site to look stuff up. Other than that, nothing!

  • Brocktoon

    -Unread posts showing up uniquely allowing you to jump back in where you left off

    -Your own posts being tied to your profile, i.e. allowing you to view your own most recent say 10 posts or so. I know multiple times I’ve been in the middle of interesting conversations(other people may have another word for them) and they wind up abandoned because I don’t remember where they were located.

  • Danny

    I’m most interested in a front page that shows me the latest posts (so I can make sure I haven’t missed anything). To be honest, I don’t use the categories or menus at the top. I find most of the content via Twitter, Facebook, or checking the Front Page after work.

    Do what you have to do for ads, but I’d recommend avoiding the SportsOnEarth model. I *hate* the way their ads and related articles display mid-story. Especially on a mobile device.

    p.s. This is my first official BN comment.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Hey, look at you, Danny!

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

      Holy good God yes. Brett if you ever do the mid article ads, I will be eternally annoyed.

      If you do the in-story links that have a pop-up if your mouse moves across them, I might post an angry comment.

      Other than that, the ads are just fine…considering they are internet ads.

      • Crockett

        The ads I really hate are the audio ones that I cant seem to find a video for. Totally the worst.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I hate the link ones so strongly myself that I would never use those no matter how well they pay (and boy howdy, they pay well).

        As for mid-content ads, I appreciate the feedback. There is always a balance of not annoying your user, but also doing a service to the advertiser by doing your best to ensure that the reader actually sees their ad. Is that my way of saying I might do mid-content ads? Not necessarily, and I definitely don’t anticipate doing it. But I understand why other sites do.

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

          I appreciate and like the mid-bullets ads you do. Very well done (but I am sure it’d be difficult to line up enough sponsors to do many) and, I generally click on those every time to show my support.

          If the mid-article ad (assuming full color picture), is baseball/cubs/article related…probably livable. If it’s the standard ad package, that’d get old and would hinder some work viewing for a lot of folks.

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

          It all comes down to frequency.

          Given your history with in-article advertising, I’d give you a pretty long leash.

    • Jim

      And yet we all know who you are…

  • Blackhawks1963

    Good site, great reporting, timely updates.

    BUT, I HATE with a passion the constant offensive pop up advertisements…from everything to adult video games, to mouth ulcer treatment, to 1-800 Asian wife services. Sure, you need to subsidize your underwriting of this site…I get that. But this highly offensive trash that is called advertising will drive me from this site very soon. I don’t appreciate any of it. Thanks

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

      How do you navigate any of the internet?

    • Jon

      I believe that ads are driven by your own personal browsing history. (just sayin…)

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

        I think there must be some sort of default.

        I work at a large company and, generally, websites think I live in San Francisco. So, either there are a lot of folks who go to those sites in the company or it defaults to certain ads.

        • http://iawrestle.com On The Farm

          I work for a large company as well and I can assure that some of the sites that are being advertised to me are no where close to any sites my company would allow my broswer to go to.

          I feel like when I am at home they are not as bad/weird so I would guess there is some sort of default. The ads for me at home are all related to Kohls, Amazon, and stores I shop online at.

    • Funn Dave

      “But this highly offensive trash that is called advertising will drive me from this site very soon.”

      I’ll cross my fingers :P

  • Funn Dave

    In another website I frequent, next to where the number of comments is listed, the number of new comments is also listed. For example, if there were twenty comments when I last visited the article and thirty comments now, it would say, “30 comments (10 new).” This practice is one that I would very much like to see imported to BN.

  • Crockett

    More boobs.

    • Crockett

      Am I alone on this? You’re all liars and ridiculous.

      • ssckelley

        There are far better sites than this one to look at boobs and, depending on the site, they can be naked.

        I come here I want to talk Cubs, not look at porn.

        • jp3

          Does prospect porn count?

          • ssckelley

            ohhhhh….that kind of porn. No that kind of porn is ok and we need more of it. (June draft is getting closer and closer).

  • JakeMac

    I appreciate the layout of the home page. New story/most recently updated at the top, scroll to find older stories, archive at a certain point.

    Agree on the comments sections. Sometimes hard to follow the “tree”.

  • blars82

    Thumbs up/down and reply notice with comments, stats with each day’s lineup (maybe stats for each hitter career vs the opposing pitcher), maybe say something other than bullets each morning (that’s pretty violent. Maybe you can just call them wizards instead of bullets?), Twitter feed for sure for Brett and others, and definitely a buttfor.

    • Funn Dave

      Um. Is that last part a joke? Like, I’m supposed to say, “what’s a buttfor,” and you’re supposed to say, “pooping,” or something?

      • blars82

        Haha, yeah I’m 10 years old. It’s from the South Park movie. You ask “what’s a buttfor” and I say “for pooping, silly”. This site could also use some updog.

  • ChrisFChi

    Any way you can have a notification when someone comments on a comment you are actively apart of or you started would be nice. Kinda stinks you have to refresh and dig thru other comments to see if someone wants to discuss your point.

    (sorry if that seems confusing)

    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

      That would be nice since if you are sticking with comment “live” you can be gone for 10 min and 100 comments would already be posted. Ah the days when you could continue a conversation with somebody over an entire day because there were like five of us regularly posting.

      • DarthHater

        I’m afraid the unwashed masses are here to stay, you elitist goat, you. :-P

      • miggy80

        and everybody had a Simpsons Avatar.


      • ChrisFChi

        I would kinda like to see something like Facebook(shutter!) where there’s a notification up top by your wordpress dashboard. Just click on the notification and tour sent to the most recent comment on that thread your actively commenting on.

        also an ignore feature. Just because I may state my opinion, doesn’t mean I should have someone snarkly comment back that there’s data disproving my opinion. Just a simple “hey, (place link here) show why x&y doesn’t work.

        And id totally change my pic to Professor Frink.

        • ChrisFChi

          One other thing, maybe limit the character lenght of the comments. Some folks write novels to make one simple point. Should also help keep the commenter on point.

  • CubChymyst

    Since I’m not that creative, I’ll just repeat my favorite suggestion so far. A way to link back to your previous comments. I like the morning Bullets, and the recent addition of the occasional around the league is always good to read.

  • waittilthisyear

    having dated my girlfriend for over 5 years, im wary of answering this question…

    but an idea that has been stated that i agree with is tying your profile to your comments so you can easily look them up and know when someone has responded

    i am very anti the thumbs up/down idea, only because some trolls thrive off the thumbs down, or worse, start comments with “i know this will get a lot of thumbs down, but…”

    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

      I’d also likes way to “friend/follow” other users so you can see specifically what they are saying. It would allow the two sides that have formed to keep in touch with each other while not disrupting the comment flow.

    • miggy80

      If we could follow comments on our comments that would be cool.

    • blars82

      Maybe only thumbs ups then to reduce trolling?

  • manntastic

    I think it would be cool if you got a notification if somebody replied to a comment. checking back repeatedly can be difficult stay on top of.

    I understand that ads are necessary, but if there’s anyway we can limit the ads for big boobied fantasy games or the like, it would help me reduce the strange looks I get from my wife, or when I am checking in on the site during church services (I know, just don’t look at the website during church, but church is so boring!)

  • Jim

    One of the reasons I started reading BN years ago was the easy to ready format and style. The content isn’t lost amongst the ads, banners, and sidebars. That to me would be the most important to preserve.

    Enhanced mobile viewing would really be clutch, especially with the increase in readership via Twitter.

    A better search/method of finding past articles would be nice. The current search isnt broken per se, but its a touch clunky.

    A better way to see how comments thread are kept would be awesome. Notification of a reply would too be nice.

    All in all, the format on the site as is rocks. A lot.

    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

      If a mobile version is available please to not let it be automatic. I hate mobile versions from my iphone, but if you can have a link for those you prefer that I won’t complain.

  • Funn Dave

    One notion I keep seeing is that people want to know if a story has comments but do not want to be inundated with emails when their comments are replied to. I will re-post my original suggestion, because I think it solves this problem quite nicely.

    “In another website I frequent, next to where the number of comments is listed, the number of new comments is also listed. For example, if there were twenty comments when I last visited the article and thirty comments now, it would say, “30 comments (10 new).” This practice is one that I would very much like to see imported to BN.”

    With this feature, you can do a quick scroll through the homepage, find out which articles have new comments, and open just those articles in new tabs.

  • mikeg79

    I’d love to see an upgraded site design. Maybe something responsive that would fit well in a mobile browser as well as a full desktop display. If not responsive then a separate mobile theme that is triggered when the user is on a mobile device.

  • abe

    Hi Brett,

    I find it a little hard to follow discussions in the post. It would be easier if you could make different threads. Every time someone post and then a reply it would be nice if it says by the original comment 4 reply and then I can click to see what it says.

    Also automatic updates would be nice..

  • Aryk

    Brett, I am here to inform you as the digital rooftop neighbor to BN I have a signed agreement with the previous owners which does not allow you to make any changes without my permission and subsequent pay off. I apologize for any inconvenience but I am sure we can come to a quick agreement which would allow you to upgrade your site to make it more competitive and up to date.

    On a side note if you are thinking about changing or moving things around my vote is to keep the sites simplicity, I loathe having to click 10 different headers to get to a story or a section that I would like to read.

    • Funn Dave


    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

      No what would it take for you not to sue? And why can’t we not put up the OldStyle signage.

  • EQ76

    I know other Cubs sites have this, but maybe a NL Central standings, and team leaders or stats running on the main page? or a link to that stuff that’s visible? I know it’s a little disheartening to see Cubs stats and record everyday, but some of us are very busy and aren’t always up-to-date on it all, As i mentioned, other sites have it but including it on this site will make bleachernation.com more of a one stop shop.

    • cubsfan08

      Can we hold off on the NL Central Standings being shown for another year or so?

  • ssckelley

    An idea that might fix your advertising complaints is offer a premium service that removes the ads. Perhaps this can be your gateway into offering an app since the ads can be more tricky.

  • johnnyp

    More merchandise!

    • http://iawrestle.com On The Farm

      Yes, some sort of hat.

  • Ill see you at Sluggers.

    Hilariously enough this 5+ year old format isn’t too shabby! It’s easy to scroll down and find each recent article. Please keep it simple is all I ask! Great work Brett you’re the man!

  • Thomas

    Is there anything that prohibits you from using Cubs images such as Javy Baez smashing a HR as a background? I love the dark blue look of the website, very BN, but some cool Cubs pics would be a nice addition I think. The traditional BN blue and whites are becoming a bit stale.

  • Diggs

    One minor thing I run into — because the “Useful Stuff” tab is a drop-down, I often find myself accidentally clicking on one of those category tabs when I’m trying to click on the headline on the lead story.

  • Coop

    I have always appreciated the simple clean layout of the site. I honestly hope that doesn’t change much.

    All this fancification of sites on the interwebs caters to the ADD kids. Us oldtymers need clean and simple…

  • fossilhippie

    Couple of things – Some of your ads load real slow, causing the page to hang up until the offending ad loads.

    It doesn’t work well with Pocket, which I like to use to read some of the articles when I’m offline. Sometimes only part of the article is saved in Pocket, every time the it is hard to read because it saves the format of the page instead of the article. Its hard to explain tho – check it out yourself.

  • itzscott

    A centerfold to take our minds off the Cubs all the time would be nice.

    • ssckelley

      ok, I have to ask since I got confused earlier….by centerfold are you talking female or of a prospect?

      • Aryk

        I think he typed Sam Fuld but it was auto corrected.. he would have to confirm though

        • ssckelley

          Actually a Sam Fuld would be awesome about now, our outfield offense is THAT bad.

        • Funn Dave


    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

      Well that gimmick was here and now over, there was the days of the days of the she-view

  • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

    I have but one requirement… MOAR TIDROW! This site has forgotten which mustache hair holds it all together- DICK is not happy.

  • cubsfan08

    Really like the site – overall its a simple setup and I never feel I have missed out on content because it gets buried somewhere else on the site.

    Couple more things:

    Highlight DieHard’s comments – always

    I really like your rss feed or whatever (not versed in that side of things). I use Feedly quite a bit since Google Reader went bye bye and I get the full posts in app (great for those looking for mobile). When I want to check out the comments I can jump to the site via my mobile browser. Big fan of that

    Don’t mind the current ad set up, totally understand why they are there.

    As mentioned by others, would like a way to view replies to comments made by me. I don’t comment much but when I do I wouldn’t mind the ability to look back at it later and EASILY see that nobody gave two shits about it :)

    My favorite sports blog – hands down

    • nick5253

      I agree on Feedly – please keep the full article loading on RSS. It loads perfectly on that app (on my iPhone).

    • ChrisFChi

      Diehard should have his own archive.

  • cchoffman22

    One improvement that would improve my use would be a more friendly mobile site. I almost always come here from Twitter on my phone. It is a bit annoying to have to view it on the regular web page. Other than that, keep up the good work and don’t be a stranger to your friends here in Des Moines!

  • JM

    I almost strictly use my android phone to view the site. As of now, the only thing that doesn’t work for me is the use of bullets. A normal article, i can double tap and the article auto fits the screen. An article with bullets never do. I have to continually move the screen “back and forth” to be able to read it.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      A tip on that for now: double tap on the opening paragraph, and it should zoom properly. That’s not a lock, but it’s worked for other folks.

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