More members join BFTB every day and the community is expanding rapidly, even in the midst of a mostly uneventful offseason for the San Diego Chargers. From reading the comments and listening to what some of the new users say, it's become evident that maybe some of you do not know exactly how to use this community. It's a little bit different from your common "forums", in that you can personalize your experience and comments. Let me explain and teach you how to best-utilize yourself at BFTB after the jump.
FanPosts: What I'm doing here is essentially a FanPost. What myself and the other authors do here are FanPosts. The difference is that we've been selected as writers who have consistently written very good FanPosts and are now given the option of moving our FanPosts straight to the front page if we want. For those that are not authors, don't fret. It's not too hard to write your own FanPost, and if it's good enough it's not difficult to get it on the front page.
Notice this box? It's on the left-side of this site (on the home page), underneath the logo. There should be one similar to it near the top of every page of this site, although sometimes it's on the right side. You can use it to start your write your own FanPost or FanShot. The authors of this site, myself included, became authors by writing good FanPosts and comments. If you've got a passion for the Chargers and have something to say, let it be said here in a FanPost and maybe you'll be asked to become a regular contributor to the site.
Here's another way for you to post your own FanPost. On the right side of the page, below the most recent FanPosts, you'll find the link for you to write a "New FanPost" of your own.
FanShots: What's a FanShot? It's everything that's not your own opinion. As you go searching around the internet, you'll undoubtedly come across a story you want to link to, or a quote you'd like to show, or even an image or video that relates to the Chargers in some way. Posting a FanShot is your way of sharing what you found with the Bolts From The Blue community.
See how easy it is to use? You click the tab at the top to select what you're linking to, then fill in the form. If it's something we haven't already discovered at BFTB, it's almost sure to make it onto the front page.
Comments: As most of you, I come from a world of Chargers "forums". Where a thread is started and your reply, no matter who you're replying to, goes on the bottom. God those things got so confusing after a while. That why at Bolts From The Blue, and all of the SB Nation blogs, we have a better system. Let's have a look:
Notice every comment has it's own "Reply" button at the bottom of it. Here we can see Clip Show making good use of it, replying to maestro876's comment. Instead of Clip Show's comment going to the bottom of the page where it doesn't make any sense, users now know to whom he was replying to. The comments box at the bottom of each post should be used to state a new idea, not to reply to someone else. So, what about that "Actions" button?
Now you see the options you're given once you click that "Actions" button. You can choose to either "Flag" a comment or "Rec" it. You should flag a comment when you find it to be offensive or if you think the user is just spamming or trolling the site. A flagged comment will get immediate attention from myself or one of the other site editors and the user will be taken care of in whichever way we feel fit. On the opposite side of the spectrum, you should "Rec" a comment when you particularly like it or find it to be impressive (due to the point being made or a fact that was unknown before). If a comment gets more than one Rec (or recommendation), it will turn green and catch the eye of any user looking through the comments. It's not at all required, but it has become common practice to reply to a particularly good post with your thoughts followed by "Rec'd" if you've recommended that comment.
You can even Rec a story or FanPost that somebody has written, which can put it in a "Recommended FanPosts" section on the right side of the page. The buttons to Rec or Flag a FanPost show up at the bottom of that post, before the comments. Here's a picture:
There you have it. I tried to keep it short and easy because, frankly, this is not a classroom and I am not a teacher. However, I know that there are features that set this blog apart from other Chargers blogs/forums and want to help you to take advantage of all of them. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask me by direct e-mail or in the comments below. It's my job, as your Maitre'D, to make you feel as comfortable as possible as you discuss and debate all things dealing with the Chargers.
Do you have any thoughts about Bolts From The Blue? Any tips you want to send our way? Whenever you have something to say, don't hesitate to e-mail me directly.