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How To Comment

Let's get familiar with the comments section.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

One of the integral parts of the Amazin' Avenue experience is the comments section. Unlike many blogs, we want you, the reader, to participate and share your opinion on front page articles, Fanposts, and Fanshots. For new users, this can be a daunting experience, and so our team has assembled a handy guide and a set of Community Guidelines for you to follow.

Before we get into the technical aspects of the comment box, you might ask "what makes for a good comment?" A good comment is a thoughtful one, that adds to the conversation. In the case of a main page feature, that might be a related story, or a bit of analysis. In the case of the Mets Morning News or Open Thread, it might be a good dinner spot you're recommending. As part of our commitment to the community, we're committed to off-topic discussion, as long as it involves no religion or politics (there's other places for that) and falls within the Community Guidelines, which we'll get to shortly.

So, what makes a comment different from a Fanpost or Fanshot, then? A Fanpost is a longer bit of analysis, dedicated to a particular topic. Think of a Fanpost as the community's version of a front page post. A Fanshot is usually a link, picture, or extended thought. A comment, however, is a short reaction, usually part of a larger discussion, that's not in-depth enough to be a topic of its own.

Using the Comments section

If you're reading this, you're probably generally familiar with the comments box, or at least have seen it before. The comments box is divided into two main sections; the Subject field, and the Message field. Here at Amazin' Avenue, we'd prefer you to always use the subject field. It makes collapsing and tracking comments easier for everyone. Also, please be sure to Preview your comment before you post, to avoid dead links and pictures. If you scroll down to the end of the page, you'll notice that the comments open automatically. At the top we see a reference to speed reading tips here:  

If we go ahead and click on that box, you'll see an additional menu opens up:

What we see here are a set of commands for speed reading. You'll first notice that all comments are one of three colors. Yellow indicates that a comment is new, or hasn't been read. White indicates that a comment has been read previously. Blue indicates that a comment has been recommended, that is, the community has given it 5 "rec's" and it is now a permanently highlighted comment.

Let's use the below set of comments as an example on how to speed read:

If we start at LetsGoMatz's comment, and hit the C key, we can move to the next unread comment without marking it as read. If we use the X key instead, we can mark it as read, and the comment will turn white. To move along the page, while still marking comments, we would use the Z key, which would turn the comment white and bring us to the next yellow comment, wherever it is on the page. This is extremely useful for Gamethreads, where you have a lot of new comments all over the page.

The R key will open a comment reply box underneath the new comment. The Shift + C command will read all yellow comments in reverse, from the bottom of the page up. Lastly, Shift + A will clear the whole page, marking all yellow comments as white comments.

Using the comment box

Text features

When we first look at the comment box, you'll notice that there are several buttons, which lend themselves to different features. The comments box uses a HTML format, which should be familiar to some people. We can see this in the various text options that appear in the message field.

As you can see, we've illustrated the commands above. To get a sense of what each function does, you can take a look at the returns below:

Notice the tags in the first picture, bold is referred to as "strong" text, and so on, which shows how HTML formatting can be applied.

The next two buttons to the right are used to created bulleted lists. There are two formats for bulleted lists, one with bullets, and one with numbers. You'll see that these lists auto-generate when previewed - you don't have to add numbers for the numbered lists. Each bullet or number will also appear one at a time.

One last text function for us to look at is spoiler text. Spoiler text is used as it sounds, if you don't want to spoil something for another reader. The reader would have to scroll over the spoiler text to read what it says. The spoiler text box is the black box all the way to the right. We see below the dialog when we click on the box.

Once we preview or post our spoiler text, it will appear like this. If you roll over the text, you can see the black box disappears.

Adding pictures and links

Sliding over to the right again, we see perhaps the most misused feature in the comments section: pictures. The community doesn't have to worry about copyrights or anything of that nature, due to fair use laws under the DMCA, however pictures must always be tactful, and mustn't contain nudity or something outright offensive.

Let's start by going to an image browser and finding the AA logo. Once we get there, we'll right click to open up a menu, where we'll select Copy Image Location. This will copy the image's code to your clipboard. 

Next, we'll got back to the comments box on Amazin' Avenue. There we'll click the "add image" button you see below. As an aside, animated GIFs work on SB Nation as well.

When we do that, a source dialog box will open up. The first thing we'll do is clear the box, then either using Right Click + Paste, or Ctrl + V, we'll add the image in the source box.

This will then post the image in the box, in the same size that you found it on your image browser. Highlighted here is part of the code that will allow us to change the size. Generally, pictures coming from a web browser aren't the proper size to post in the comments, so we'll need to edit them.

So what we'll do is change the alt to a height and we'll then place a number inside the quotation marks. This number represents the size of the object, in pixels. Generally 200 to 400 is acceptable, but you should always use the preview button to see how it comes out.

Links will follow the same format, with one caveat, you can add text to the link. Once you place the link in the box, you'll notice that this dialogue appears. In the highlighted section, you can add your text, and it will appear as the hyperlink text. We can see this in the preview box below.

Flagging comments

One of the other functions you will see on the comment section is the "flag" function. When a comment is flagged it, sends a note to AA headquarters that the comment should be looked at. Unnecessarily flagging comments, or incorrectly flagging comments can create extra work for moderators, and so we'll briefly discuss the types of flags.

An inappropriate flag should be used when offensive content is posted. If a comment noticeably falls outside the community guidelines, it should be marked as inappropriate.

A troll flag is used when someone is being unnecessarily provocative. Discretion should be used when marking someone as a troll, since some snarky comments may be seen as trolling. Some members may not be familiar with the term "troll" and so here is the dictionary definition: " one who makes a deliberately offensive or provocative online posting with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them."

A spam flag is used when a comment contains promotional information or spam. Spam is a considerable offense on SBNation, and can result in a cross-platform ban. Please mark spam accordingly, and be diligent in noting what is spam and what is not.