The basic layout of TC is pretty simple: three columns, with links to various items on the left and and right sides and the primary site content down the middle. In the middle will be news items, game threads, game recaps, and other fun stuff.
One thing you may find in an article on the front page is a link that says "Continue reading this post" at the end. Be sure to click that to get to the remainder of the post. If that link is not there, just click the "Comments" link to start reading the comments.
Right before the actual comments, you'll see this:
Display lets you change the view of the comments from Expanded (subjects and text) to Collapsed (just subjects are visible).
Checking the Auto-refresh box will toggle on and off the auto-refresh feature in the comments section. When checked on, new comments added to the thread will magically appear with a little note popping up in the corner with the name of the poster who made the latest comment. That's a great tool for game threads and it's highly recommended. It's a big part of what makes SBN blogs much cooler than other blogs -- we don't need those pesky chat boxes to have real, live interactive game threads.
Below those two boxes you'll see keyboard commands for navigating a thread. They work as follows:
- c - using the c key will take you to the first unread comment in the thread. This key does not mark a comment as read. Unread comments show up highlighted in light yellow.
- x - using the x key will mark the current comment with focus as read. This is how I typically navigate the comments, using c and x in tandem.
- z - the z key will combine the actions of c and x. One note of caution: often, if a new comment is added above the comment currently with focus (the one you're on), using z or x will actually mark that comment as read before you've read it. I suggest that whenever you see a new comment box pop up in the corner, pushing the c-button before hitting z or x to make sure you don't mark comments above your current point as read.
- r - to reply to the current comment with focus, simply press the r key and a reply box will appear. Please try to use the r key (or click "reply") when you are responding to a specific comment; this helps keep a conversation properly threaded.
When you get into the comments section, you'll see:
The subject line - the bolded area is the subject line. Clicking the subject will collapse the text below it down; click a second time to bring the text back.
Username/avatar - you can click the commenter's username or their avatar on the far right of the screen and it will take you to that person's SB*Nation profile page.
Date/time - after the username is the date/time of the comment. This is also where you will find a link for that specific comment. If you want to refer to a comment in another place, copy the link from the date of the comment and use that URL for your reference.
up - the up link only appears for comments that are a reply to another comment. Clicking up will take you to the "parent" comment to which the current comment is a reply. This is particularly useful in a long thread with many replies to a single comment.
reply - use this link to reply to that comment. Your response will be indented one level and put below the comment you reply to in order based on when responses happened.
actions - this is a special link that allows you to recommend or flag a post. When you click actions, two more links should become visible, labeled Flag and Rec:
The Flag link should be used if you find something offensive or if the commenter is being a troll or posting spam. I hope it won't be necessary to use this button too much. If you Flag a comment, nothing will be visible to you or others, but I will see it in red.
The Rec link allows you to recognize a post that you find particularly informative, useful or that you think others would like to see. At the end of the commenter's line, you'll see a rec count (e.g. 2 Recs). If a comment gets three recommendations, it will turn green and get a big asterisk (not steroid-induced) in front of it.
When it comes time for you to finally say something within a thread, you can do so via the comment box. This box is the bottom of every thread, or if you'd like to respond to a specific comment, it will magically appear when you click the reply link. As noted above, it would really help if you'd click the "reply" link if you are replying to a specific comment; this will help organize the comments in each post by thread and show each "conversation" as it develops.
Posting Images, Videos And Links In Threads
If you want to post a link in a thread, don't just copy/paste the link into the posting box. Instead, first highlight the text you want to be linkable, and then click the icon at the top of the box that looks like a link. Doing that will call up a dialogue box that looks like this:
Then, copy/paste the URL into the box. If, say, you have highlighted text that says "Click here to go to talkingchop.com", and then enter "http://www.talkingchop.com" into the dialogue box, you will get a clickable link that looks like this (don't put the quote marks in the box or your highlighted text):
NOTE! Please check the "Open in new window" check box, so that your links don't navigate away from your post.
For videos, if you find a YouTube video that you want to post in a thread or post (as opposed to a FanShot, where you can post it directly, using the Video tab), find the EMBED code on the YouTube page.
Note that videos cannot be embedded in comments. You can just paste the direct link in a comment, however.
Images can greatly enhance your post and add to the information and/or enjoyment that others get. I ask only that you follow a few simple rules:
● Keep images small. When I say "small" I don't necessarily mean the physical size of the image (although smaller is generally better); I mean the file size of the image you are posting. Large file size images can slow down threads, especially game threads.
● Keep images clean. They need to be relatively "safe for work."
Thanks for reading this long and detailed post. If you can put some of these suggestions into your own posts and comments, they'll look better and you're more likely to get many more people reading them.