Monday, August 25, 2008

A note about our content

A small discussion about the recent lack of Hurler content is taking place in this comment thread, and I wanted to reprint my just-posted comment here on the main page. It comes on the heels of an anonymous post, where the poster correctly takes us to task for not offering much in the way of quality content over the last few weeks and proposes, again correctly, that our declining site stats might be a reflection of that. Here is my response ...

Yeah, anonymous -- that's a fair argument. I'm pretty sure our numbers would drop as we get farther into the season (and closer to fantasy football season) no matter what, but it certainly doesn't help that content has been a little light around here the last few weeks. You are likely correct that we ourselves are somewhat to blame.

Although, let me say right now that I wasn't complaining about our hits. (Sorry if that was the impression I gave.) Hell, we don't even worry about our hits. Mike and Ben and I write for this site because we love/hate (and love to hate) fantasy baseball, and we often feel like we have something to say about the game -- whether it takes the form of advice or a rant -- that others would enjoy or find useful.

There's just much more to talk about at the beginning of the season than there is at the end. The beginning of the season is a time for optimism and rampant speculation. The end of the season can be a grind. The strength of our content (or lack thereof) unfortunately reflects that. Last year, this site almost completely shut down in September. Admittedly, that's not good. I don't want a repeat performance of that, which is why I'm going to do my best to post one or two non-LotD articles each week over the next month. I talked to Mike today, and he's hoping to write again soon, too.

We're also planning some posts for this offseason. (Last year, we barely had any.) And, next year, I hope to add to our stable of writers, so the content never dries up.

In the meantime, along with bigger pieces I'm planning, there will be Lines of the Day. What's the verdict on these? Do you guys like them? Not like them? Are they useless? One of the reasons I originally started the LotD was so our readers would have a daily post where they could comment on the recent games, bullshit, ask questions, whatever. But it hasn't really been used for that. Maybe that's my fault. Maybe I haven't made it clear that all comments are welcome in LotD posts. (Although, really, all comments are welcome anywhere.)

I'm starting to think about what will change for 2009, and an early question I'm trying to answer in my head is whether to keep or ditch the Lines of the Day (which are, admittedly, not what I'd call "quality" content). What say you all?

14 comments:

Andy said...

LotD is the main reason I read your blog. Definitely keep it!

daCommish said...

Fantasy Errata and Bits o' Hurl keep me coming back for more.

Anonymous said...

I could go for some call-up chatter. Denard Span?? Legit.

Scandalous Bob said...

Definitely keep the LotD. The stats are obvious, but they also (usually) give some pretty good insights into a specific player that we might not get otherwise. But I also have to agree with dacommish, the Errata and the Hurl are what I'm really looking for, even this late in the season. I'm in a tight race for the title in two leagues so I can use all the help I can get.

Anonymous said...

Fantasy Errata nd LotD are my favorite features of this site because LotD keeps me checking everyday and Fantasy Errata led me to my success in my league with helpful tips nd suggested pickups like Adam Lind and Ian Stewart

Ben Lea, staff Blogger said...

One thing Bob & I have talked about for next year is a weekly eligibility update (or more frequently if something absurd and vital happens, like Pujols playing a game at 2B).

Good idea? Lousy idea, because you can keep up with that information easily yourself, and you don't want the rest of your league to get the heads-up? If you want it, do you want 1 game updates? 5 games? 15?

Bob alluded to something, and I want to follow up on it -- I think that all writers, to one extent or another, write to hear the ineffable wisdom of their own prose. But good writers (an appellation to which we certainly aspire) figure out what their audience wants to hear as well.

All this is by way of saying: what can we write about that will make your Fantasy Hurler experience more ... um ... fantastic? Hurltastic?

william said...

I link to the Lotd, but it was the Eratta that caught my eye originally. I'd love to link to more stuff, but sometimes the swearing is why i don't.

just so you guys know.

wr

Anonymous said...

Any content is good.Keep LOTD its good and keeps the site ticking over.Any stuff you post is appreciated.A lot of it is opinionated crap,but its always entertaining and thought provoking.Keep up the good work.

Bob Taylor said...

@ William:

Sorry, the swearing is here to stay. Cursing and fantasy baseball go together like peanut butter and jelly, like Tango & Cash, like Kerry Wood and x-rays, like A.J. Pierzynski and being an asshole, like Manny Ramirez and being a bigger asshole ...

Bob Taylor said...

@ anonymous #1, RE: Denard Span:

The 12 stolen bags and a .390 OBP are hard to argue with. I regret not getting him in any leagues.

waters96 said...

Fantasy Errata is what caught my eye as well. I don't always have time to know what's going on with every player on every team. However, if I can quickly discover Frank Francisco is has gone from nothing to being a "crappy closer", that's worth a lot to me. Plus whether Denard Span is worth a pick-up. Etc. Anyway, glad this dialogue is going and good to hear that you guys are in it for the long run.

Bob Taylor said...

We've just hired -- and by "hired," I mean convinced to come and write for us for no money -- a new blogger named Daniel Aubain. I've seen some of his work. He knows his stuff and will hopefully help strengthen our content. Be sure to say hi when he makes his first post.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bob, I'm the original "anonymous" that seems to have sparked this discussion about lack of content recently. Let me first apologize first for not proofreading that post before I posted that note--I hate when people fail to proofread and now I've just done that. Second, I'll just say that I'm not trying to hide behind "anonymous" so I can levy criticism, (not that you or anybody has said or implied this) but for the reason that I just didn't want to create any one of the various types of identities in order to post. So you can call me Michael.

With that out of the way I'd like to follow up to my own post and your response.

First, I'd like to echo what I've read from other readers so far, that you provide some of the top FB analysis on the web. I only pay for one baseball website--BP--and so the rest of the FB content I use on the web is free. Of the 13 free analysis/content sites I have bookmarked and visit at least once a week, you and Razzball are the first ones I check. (RotoRob and MLBFrontOffice would come in next.) I tip my hat to you for the awesome work you guys do.

The fantasy baseball season is a grind. I play about six leagues a year in a variety of formats and trying to win all 6 by following breaking news, trying to be first on key pickups, and just trying to do analysis in your head...it's just a grind by late August and September. So I can only imagine having to write content for consumption--original and thoughtful at that--is just about as hard come this time of the year too.

So I don't begrudge you your vacation. Just make sure that you keep your readership informed about changes that may occur on your website. And know that by being good at something and having people notice, you set a standard to those people, even unknowingly. Know that it's a good problem to have--I can imagine a few websites that wish they had readers in the first place.

I'll end with this--keep the LoD. It's what makes your website unique. It gives some personality, and it helps people keep up with the universe of players they may not own. It may not have been exactly what you intended but I still think there is good utility there.

Thanks and good luck going forward!

-Michael

Daniel Aubain said...

"Scribbles on a Notepad" was another short-lived series that I'd love to see come back.