Site News, Updates, Whatnot…

Did I get your attention? Okay, here’s the deal: you folks made some requests for offseason improvements and I had a little time yesterday to tinker.

1. There is now a Steelers news feed on the right sidebar of SL.com (cleverly titled: ‘steelers news on the tubes’). It draws headlines from various Steelers newspapers and blogs (I’ve customized it to exclude stuff like Bleacher Report galleries and whatnot), and updates automatically throughout the day.

I know some people like PFT for the “no news is too small to link to” philosophy, and this is one way to get at that without actually requiring one of the SL writers to post a link when something relatively unimportant-but-Steelers-related happens.

2. And that brings me to this: you, dear readers. We had a few requests for message board-type functionality. Well, it turns out, we have message board functionality and it literally took me five minutes to set it up. Obviously, this is in the very (very, very) early stages, but I figure the offseason is the best time to try it out, get a feel for what works and what doesn’t, and go from there.

So, first things first: here’s the link to the ‘SL Forums’.

You can also get there from SteelersLounge.com by clicking on the ‘sl forums’ tab under the Steelers Lounge banner (next to ‘contact’).

In the forums (titled ‘SL Community), I have included three broad categories: ‘general steelers news,’ ‘breaking news,’ and ‘reader diaries.’

‘General Steelers News,’ as the name suggests, is for everyday Steelers-related conversations. There are no hard and fast rules — it’s early, we’re getting a feel for this thing — more like general guidelines. So go nuts.

‘Breaking News’: in addition to the ‘steelers news on the tubes’ right sidebar headline generator, ‘Breaking News’ is the place for readers to post links to stuff they think is breaking and newsworthy (see what I did there?). Seriously: stuff like ‘Ray Horton joining Cards staff’ would be an example. As would something as small as ‘Mike Tomlin confirms he went to William & Mary with Ryan Wilson, still has no idea who he is.’ Basically, if you think it’s ‘new’ news and it hasn’t been posted elsewhere, go for it.

‘Reader Diaries’ is a direct ripoff of what SB Nation does so well: giving readers an opportunity to write posts of their own. Sometimes the comments aren’t best suited for long-form, particularly since comments can get pushed down the page. This is a forum for just that. Also: I’m 54 percent certain I can add a right-sidebar widget on the SL.com main page that will update the latest ‘reader diaries’ topic so it’s easy to find what people are talking about. And I’m certain we’ll even front-page (as in: post to the SL.com main page as an individual post) some of them. Everybody wins.

*******

So here’s the deal: take a look at the right-sidebar Steelers headline feed and see what you think. Offer suggestions/comments/etc…

Try out the forums. Let me know how the sign-up process goes, start threads, leave comments on other threads, and report back on how that experience is. Offer suggestions/comments/etc…

Let me know if you like it. Also — and perhaps more importantly — let me know if you hate it. The idea is to make SL THE MOST POWERFUL BLOG ON THE PLANET.

But really: it’s February so we have plenty of time to work through the bugs. And don’t forget our motto: “Steelers Lounge: Where’s Customer Service Is Job No. 1!”

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  • Anonymous

    All of this will, no doubt, confuse me. I’ll look later.

  • http://www.expensiccino.com Carl Natale

    I told you that you guys rock!

    These are great steps moving forward. Thank you for taking them.

    Besides being a Steelers fan, I’m a big WordPress fan. I haven’t tried it to run a forum – yet. So I’m going to be curious to see how well it works. And I’m probably going to ask questions that only WP geeks would ask. Consider this fair warning.

    Ooooh, there’s an RSS feed for the forum. (Told you. I’m a geek.)

    I have to run. I will play more later. Again, thank you.

  • CE

    Ryan — dunno if you’re still looking for feedback, but I’d vote for more film and strategy analysis, ala JJ’s line work (which is so great and differentiated — I can’t believe the traditional media hasn’t lifted the idea yet!). looking at other units might not be quite as eye-opening, given the inherent difficulties in evaluating line play from the couch, but I’d love to see periodic analyses of other stuff, like:

    - QB decision making (even a simple evaluation of open receivers missed would make for a good read)

    - receiver success in getting open (as a corollary to QB decision making?)

    - DL play (Aaron Smith is always credited with being disruptive; that’s also hard to discern from the couch when your team plays a 3-4)

    Looking at strategy would also be really interesting. Diagramming plays is helpful, but overall analysis of how the coordinator called the game would be even better (and more differentiating for you, I think). It could be as simple as a tabulation of what was called and how successful it was, or it could verge into full-on opinion… it would be fascinating, e..g, to get a non-partisan’s (Chris Brown?) thoughts on BA. on the other side of the ball, I’d love to read a detailed breakdown of how the Jets shut Brady & co down last month — it’s not directly Steelers-related, but it’s very relevant given how often we see them… and how badly they’ve owned us.

    so, that’s a long wish list. you did ask for feedback, as you’ll recall. :) in any case, thanks to the four of you for all the great work, all season long.

    CE

    • http://www.steelerslounge.com/ ryan

      CE,

      Thanks for the feedback. I’m adding these to the to-do list.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UR6KXGPFIFYZSVJNCXCJNHDQJQ Bob Costas

    As traffic increases it would be nice to have a way to track when new comments show up from the last time a person visited, etc.

    I like Israel’s idea for numbered comments. A “most recent comments” thing on the sidebar, ala HSS, would also be nice.

    • http://www.steelerslounge.com/ ryan

      Bob,

      Unfortunately, Disqus, the commenting system we use, doesn’t have numbered comments. It’s annoying.

      Lemme look into ‘recent comments’ as a sidebar widget. I remember using one early on here but the WordPress version was funky and worked about half the time.

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