I’ve been writing at Viva El Birdos since 2008 or so; the timeframe is long enough that I don’t really remember anymore. A year before becoming a front page poster here, I joined Erik Manning at what was then the WordPress hosted version of Future Redbirds. Three website iterations later and many of you are familiar with Future Redbirds as a staple of minor league coverage.
Dan Moore (VEB’s Managing Editor) and I have discussed the launch of the SBN 3.0 since he was allowed to tell the rest of the moderators about it and one of things that made a lot of sense to both of us was the role that Future Redbirds could play within the SBN environment. VEB is, at the end of the day, a blog with traffic and page view related goals. The beauty of the re-launch lies in our ability to compartmentalize via the “hubs”.
As Dan said at the launch, the goal was to preserve the feel and operation of old VEB for the existing community to the extent that we could while expanding the appeal and content frequency to increase traffic and bring in new blood. SBN 3.0 lets us do both simultaneously with minimal innocent bystanders lost in the process. Merging Future Redbirds and Viva El Birdos works very well within that framework.
Here’s what to expect from Future Redbirds:
- Daily Farm Reports – Every morning you can enjoy your coffee with a full recap of the previous nights minor league action. From AAA Memphis to Rookie ball in Johnson City — with new stops at Peoria and State College — we’ll highlight the best (and sometimes the worst) box score lines while adding context and anecdotes about the players. It’s the best way to stay current with the day-to-day events of the minor league teams.
- Probable Starters – Mid morning we’ll list all the games for that day as well as the Cardinals‘ affiliate’s projected starter.
- Daily Analysis – In the afternoon, we focus on a more in depth piece whether that be about a specific player, the draft, an opposing team or something that caught our eye in a stat line. There will continue to be player interviews and conversations with the front office that appear in this space as well as scouting visits to the minor league affiliates.
Having worked within the separate ecosystems of Viva El Birdos and Future Redbirds for some time now, I’ve come to value them both for their individuality. There isn’t a lot of overlap in the commentariat and it’s fostered very different but no less valid conversations at each site. In much the same way that Dan’s decisions with the change at Viva El Birdos were designed to make that shift for the community as easy as possible, I’ll be doing the same thing as Future Redbirds moves. Here’s a couple things you’ll need to do to get started:
- Sign Up – You have to sign up to comment at VEB. You can pick your screenname, a picture avatar (highly recommended) and include a custom signature that will appear with all of your comments. It’s simple. When you go to the homepage, just click sign up in the top right corner of the screen. There’s a two day waiting period before your account is fully active (to prevent an invasion of spam bots), so don’t hesitate to get signed up now.
- Story Layouts – The posts that go up will aesthetically feel better. More importantly for your commenting, is that each post will display two numbers in the right hand corner. The first number is the number of new unread comments in that post and the second is the total number of comments. (This only works if you’ve signed up for an account.)
- New Commenting System – The commenting system that’s been developed at SBN is simply the best around. It’s threaded (just like at Future Redbirds) so you can comment on the main post or click ‘reply’ to reply to a specific comment. You’ll also notice that you can click ‘up’ on any comment and it will take you to the comment that was being replied to.
- Hot Keys – At the top of the comments on each post, there’s a link called “Speed Reading Tips & Settings”. Click it and it shows you all the keyboard shortcuts for commenting. If you enter a comment thread and press ‘Z’ it will take you to your newest un-read comment. Press ‘Z’ again and marks that comment as read moving to the next unread comment. It’s a great system.
- Comment Moderation – There’s two important functions that will help make my life easier and you’re life more fun. First, the fun. On each comment there’s an ‘actions’ link. If you click it, you can then ‘rec’ a comment that you think is awesome. If enough people (6) rec a comment, then it turns green and you’ll know that it’s good content. Conversely, if you think a comment is boorish or terrible, you can flag a comment. This will signal any moderators (read: azruavatar) that someone is acting like a dick. I then have some tools at my disposal to try and remedy that situation.
As far as how you should act at VEB versus Future Redbirds, don’t expect much change. I still ask that you’re reasonable in your argumentation, avoid personal attacks and generally keep the discussion focused on prospects. The daily post at VEB often contains lengthy and protracted off topic comments. That will not be allowed on the Future Redbird posts. I will be moderating comments on these posts as we transition over. It’s important to me that the Future Redbird community feels safe and has a place to talk about the minors still. That will not change.
The focus on these posts — both the content and the comments — will be on the minors. If you want to drop links about the minors in the comments, go ahead. If the post is about Shelby Miller and you want to talk about Carlos Martinez, that’s great. If you want to talk about your new rice cooker, that conversation should be in the daily post at Viva El Birdos. Off topic conversations are permitted there, within reason.
So, if you’re still with me, don’t be scared. For Viva El Birdos regular readers, this means more content within your SBN home that’s relevant to the Cardinals. For Future Redbirds regular readers, this means a better blogging and commenting platform to house the same great content and community you’ve participated in for the last 5 years.
This week marks the start of the Arizona Fall League. It’s the perfect time to get acquainted with the new digs and find out how to navigate the site. On Wednesday, you’ll find a Daily Farm Report waiting for you at Viva El Birdos. I encourage you to check out the VEB home page where Dan and I will be managing the display of all the content at VEB including the new minors contributions. If you just want to stick with Future Redbirds and minor league content, we’ll have a hub you can do that too. (It’ll look like a traditional blog format of the content.) If you have problems signing up or questions about how to navigate the site, e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) — I promise to answer every e-mail I get.
Future Redbirds is taking the next step as a blog. Try it out. I think you’ll like it.