CougCenter 101: Commenting

This is the first in a series of posts about the basics of SB Nation and CougCenter. You'll find helpful tips about interacting using the SBN interface and some guidelines to follow as we work our way through the series. If you're new, read this over and join us! If you've been around, consider this a refresher course.

With school starting in Pullman and football season upon us, it's time for an introductory class about SB Nation and Cougcenter. SB Nation provides a great commenting system and allows for quick and easy interaction with the authors and each other in the form of nested commenting. While it may seem as simple as writing what you want and clicking post, these helpful tips will help you best utilize the system and conform to the community guidelines .

Before posting, read this. When you're finished reading it, read it again. If you still have questions, read this. We hold ourselves and our community to high standards and because of it the community of commentors here is one of the best around. Please respect our rules and follow them whenever posting.

After the jump, a tutorial on commenting with helpful pictures!

If you'd like to comment on the article itself, the friendly comment box at the bottom of the page is the way to go.

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Commenting is simple and fairly intuitive. One thing we ask is that you always use the subject line. Type something in the subject box -- it can be as simple as the first sentence of your comment -- before filling in the body. It makes moderating comments easier for us and makes everything look nice and tidy in the comment section. Also, you'll find that you can collapse comments by clicking the subject line in the comment section. Is the thread filled with too many pictures for you? Click the subject line on each and collapse them. When posting a picture, we require that you use the subject line for this reason.

You'll notice a few buttons between the subject line and comment body. These are some basic HTML elements you can use in your comment. Highlight the part of your comment you want to apply these to and click the button. B will bold a certain part, but please don't bold your entire comment. The I button will italicize your selection. The S with a line through it places a strike through the selection. We'll get to the other buttons later.

The power of the SBN commenting system lies in the ability to nest comments. Think of it like a conversation within the conversation. Instead of posting a bunch of comments randomly in reply to the piece, this allows you to directly reply to the person you want.

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In this instance, say I want to discuss something related to Yaaaardsma's comment. It's as simple as clicking the reply button and typing your comment in the box that appears below his comment. Do not click reply and type your comment in the box at the bottom of the page.

At CougCenter, we want everyone to use the reply button to make the conversations easier to read and follow. Without them, a discussion could take place at five different spots within the comment portion of the article.

For housekeeping purposes, there's also an action button that opens up to give you the ability to either recommend a comment you like or flag a comment that does not meet the community guidelines.

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If you like a comment or agree with it, click the rec button. If enough people rec a comment it turns green, alerting the rest of the users to an insightful or humorous comment. Use it liberally. Recs are a good thing.

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I needed an example of a green comment and J.J. FeKl gladly obliged after I wrote this piece. Ladies and gentlemen, this is what the rec button is for. See the green background? That means the comment was money!

If a comment fails to meet community guidelines -- being inappropriate or spam -- click the flag button. When you do, you'll be presented with this screen.

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In the drop-down box, choose spam, inapproriate, or trolling (blatant attempts to rile up the crowd for no reason). Type the reason why you flagged the comment and click submit to alert the mods to the comment. Instead of piling on or devolving the discussion into a flame war, simply use the flag button and we'll take care of it however we see fit. Flagging comments that do not meet the CougCenter guidelines is highly encouraged.

The best advice I can give is to post as if your name was attached to everything you write. Many times, online commentors can hide behind a pseudonym and do or say whatever they so choose. If you wouldn't attach your name to a comment, don't post it.

When commenting on an article written by the authors, feel free to agree or disagree. If you agree with an article, post why you agree and add your own thoughts to it. This adds another dimension and perspective outside of our own. If you disagree with an article, tell us why. We know we aren't right all the time and if we're wrong, we all gladly own up to it. In either case, back up your argument with some clear thoughts. Simply saying I disagree doesn't cut it.

We also ask that you please keep your comments on topic. We put a lot of effort into front page posts and want the comments to be about the article, not a threadjack about a random topic. What we've been doing lately -- and feel free to do it yourself -- is start an off-topic thread in the FanPosts for any random thoughts about non-Cougar related material. Straying off topic happens occasionally, but please don't make a habit of it.

Most of all, we love having commentors around. It makes writing so much more fun and interacting with the community is the best part of the SBN platform. If you're hesitant to join and start posting, don't be. We don't bite and are generally nice people who would love to have you add your thoughts to the discussion. Simply follow these guidelines and it'll make commenting easy and fun.

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