FanPost

A FanPost...About FanPosts (Republished From 4/4/12)

It's like a coffee table book about coffee tables, only this FanPost does not open up to be a coffee table. At least I don't think it does; I haven't actually tried.

So first of all, it has been gratifying to me to see so many new voices emerge lately and it occurs to me that readers, and writers, who are relatively new to AN are not going to automatically know the difference between what a "FanPost," a "FanShot," and a "long comment" are supposed to be. It's not exactly self-explanatory, although some guidelines are offered in the Community Guidelines.

With the regular season approaching...again...I thought this would be a good time to offer some clarifications, so if you're not already familiar with the distinctions please make sure to read on...

FanPosts

A FanPost should be substantial, taking a topic or idea and expanding upon it through data, argumentation, pretty charts, ugly photos, whatever. It is more like a short essay than like a rambling idea. A single paragraph is not a FanPost, nor is a thought-provoking question: A FanPost should expand upon an idea, exploring the presented topic before asking readers to do the same. Below, here are some examples of recent FanPosts that encompass these principles.

Nice use of data here to build an argument

A main point is expanded upon here

FanShots

A FanShot is for something quick, like alerting the community to a story that has come out elsewhere ("BP's Top Ten A's Prospects just came out..."), or asking about tickets for Sunday's game, or inquiring about whether someone has a Matt Carson bobblehead (because yours went splat into your kitchen's center field wall). If you'd like the community to see it, but it does not involve a true writing effort, it's probably a FanShot.

Comments

A long paragraph about why Fautino De Los Santos' slider is nasty or how dumb it was to bunt in the 3rd inning of Tuesday's game, or a question about why John Lannan was demoted to AAA when he was clearly the most talented Beatle, belongs as a comment in an existing thread. Just because a comment is long doesn't make it more than a comment. Best to keep the FanPosts and FanShots uncluttered than to create a new post just to make a point or ask a question.

A couple concluding notes...

* These are not "hard and fast rules" to where if you accidentally violate them, in someone's opinion, it's the end of the world. For that matter, some posts are borderline -- kind of in-depth enough for a FanPost, kind of not -- and that's fine. The variety in topics, styles, and judgment is all part of the diversity that makes AN inclusive and interesting. Just note the distinctions and ask yourself, "Is what I'm writing a FanPost, a FanShot, or a comment?" and be intentional.

* Please don't be offended, or feel criticized, if your FanPost disappears; it probably just means it was deemed to be clearly "not a FanPost". It might be fine reposted as a FanShot or as a comment in an existing thread. If something disappears, and you want to retrieve it, try doing a search for it because the moderators will probably "hide" it rather than "deleting" it precisely so that it still exists and can be retrieved in a search.

Most of all, thanks to all who are participating in the community conversations, as well as to our many "lurkers," and I hope this FanPost (which would make a heck of a long "comment") is helpful! Or at least not too harmful.

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