Since football starts again for real tonight and the Green Bay Packers' first game is this weekend, it is the perfect time to welcome any newcomers to the Acme Packing Company community. We'll talk about some ways to make your experience here great - both tips for commenting and reading, as well as some things to help get you up-to-date on the website itself if you're still finding your way around.
Site Layout and Basics
It all starts with the front page, where you can see our featured stories at the top and the rest of our coverage in the middle of your screen as you scroll down. The little numbers at the upper right of each article entry show how many total comments have been made on that particular article or page, and if you're logged into your SBNation user account a second, smaller number may show up showing how many new comments have been made since the last time you viewed that page.
The top bar has links to various areas of the site, including the FanPosts and FanShots sections, which we'll get to shortly. You'll also see sections for FanPosts and FanShots on the right-hand side of the page as you scroll down.
Frequently, we will categorize our work into various sections or hubs. These are identified by small-caps headings directly an article's title on the front page or in the article page itself. Clicking on one of these headings will take youto the page for that section, showing all coverage associated with it. This is a great way to keep up on a specific story or two.
Getting a User Account
The first step to getting involved with the APC community is by signing up for a user account. You can do this at the top-right of any page, at the link that says "LOGIN". There are a variety of options for logging in, including using your Google account or other various social media accounts.
Once you're logged in, you'll need to sign up as a member of APC. The easiest way to do this is on any article page in the comments section - scroll to the bottom of the page, look through the APC guidelines, and sign up. Now you're ready to start making the most of the community!
One of the things we try to promote here at APC is a sense of community, so comments and discussion are encouraged! Try to think of the comments section on APC as a local sports bar - feel free to express yourself and your opinions, but keep it respectful of everyone and (relatively) clean. Sure, we'll all get heated from time to time, but remember, by and large the people here are Packers fans just like you. Everybody just wants to read and talk about the Packers and football in general while having a good time doing it. Pictures and GIFs are welcomed and encouraged - again, just keep it relatively clean, please.
And when people from an opposing team's blog come over to talk, please treat them with the same respect you'd treat anyone else here. Remember, we are just one site among the vast network of SBNation, and each NFL team has its own fans and readers who may stop over here at APC from time to time. We'll regularly cross-promote posts with our fellow blogs, so if you go over there, please stay classy just as you would here on APC.
Once you're in the comments, there are a number of keyboard shortcuts to help you navigate. The "Z" key is your friend - it will make the page automatically scroll to the next unread comment. If you want to mark all new comments as read, click Shift+A.
As for the comments themselves, the reply function helps nest conversations together. We highly recommend using this if you're responding directly to a previous comment. If you think that something is worthy of special recognition, there's a "Rec" button which allows you to flag it as being awesome. If a comment receives four recs, a comment will turn green and highlight it to anyone skimming through the comments. Likewise, if there's a comment that you think is inappropriate, hit the "Flag" button to bring it to the moderators' attention.
FanPosts and FanShots
One way that you can expand your presence in the community is through FanPosts and FanShots. FanPosts are designed to be longer discussions or discussion-starters about a particular topic. Want to give your personal breakdown on how the Packers' defense performed in the last game? This is a great place to do that. Basically, if it's around 75 words or more, a FanPost is probably a good place for it.
FanShots, on the other hand, are for quick bits of news, discussion, pictures, links, or anything else like that you can think of. These are great if you find a funny picture, a link to some breaking news, or a good quote.
One thing to keep in mind is that any entry in these sections can be promoted to the main content section at the editors' discretion. Basically, if somebody finds something really great for a FanShot or writes an excellent FanPost, we'll get it up with the rest of the blog content so it can reach a wider audience.
What to Expect from APC
This might be something you're wondering about. What sorts of content can you expect from the writers? What should you expect in the comments section?
From the writing staff, you'll get previews, game analysis, information on how to tune in for the games, fantasy advice, you name it - anything and everything relating to the Packers. We'll also have live comment threads during Packers games as well as big games in prime time like tonight's season opener between the Ravens and Broncos.
As for the community as a whole, it might be a little more random. It's true that there are a number of inside jokes and the community as a whole can be a little off-beat and sarcastic, but I encourage you to not take anything too seriously. People just want to have fun and talk football, and a healthy dose of sarcasm is something that should not surprise you if you're from Wisconsin or familiar with its people.
As site manager, I encourage you to sign up, start commenting, have some fun, and let's cheer the Green Bay Packers on to their 14th NFL Championship!