Welcome to The NEW Cub Reporter!
On July 21st, 2001, Christian started this site somewhere on the World Wide Web with a post simply titled, "Welcome to the Cub Reporter." About six and a half years later, the NEW Cub Reporter is born. Yes, the rumors are true, we've moved to a new site and to our own domain name (finally). If anything, we'll be easier to find now at www.thecubreporter.com. I suppose the first question will be: Why the move?
While we appreciated the opportunities afforded to us at MVN.com and all the fine people working over there, we're just not the conforming types. Plus, we were very anxious to take on the headache of maintaining our own website. Mostly though, we just wanted to do our own thing and be able to swear whenever we wanted.
The second question you might be asking is: What's the ultimate answer to life, the Universe and Everything? Answer: 42 (it's even in our FAQ).
Third question(damn, what's with all the nagging): What's new about the site?
Plenty my friends...plenty.
The first thing you'll want to do is register for the site. The links are in the upper left or below an article. It's simple enough, choose a username, enter your email of choice and you'll receive a verification email. Follow the instructions and then change the password provided by the system and you're in. Now you may be tempted not to register if you don't comment too often, but I strongly encourage that you do, indeed register. First, only registered users are allowed to comment, but nearly as important, registered users will get the uncached version of the site. In order to do our best to speed up things around here, guests are served a cached version of the site which will not contain the latest updates.
In the upper left, you'll see a box with your username in it. You'll want to check out the "My Account" link. The first tab labeled "View" just tells you how long you've been a registered user. Under the "Edit" tab though" you can change your email address or password if you desire. If you want to add a signature to your comments, you can add it here. We do ask that you either bold or italicize your signature to offset it from your the main content of your comments. You can use the tags
<em></em> for italics or <strong></strong> to accomplish that. As soon as I figure out how to make the system do it automatically, I'll let you know.
There's also an option to have a personal contact form. If you want other users to be able to email you, leave it checked. Do not fear, your email address is never displayed. Finally, there's an option to change your time zone as well and any time references on the site should follow that.
If you experience any problems trying to register, please drop me an email right away and I'll do my best to fix it for you. Please include the email address you registered with and the username.
Now that your logged-in, let's take a spin through the site. The menu bar
up top is pretty self-explanatory and we'll touch on some of those at a
later date, To say the least, it's incomplete at the moment, think of this as TCR v0.5 Beta, we'll hopefully be close to TCR v1.0 by Opening Day.
One of the new layout features is a "fluid width" middle column. If you go ahead and try and resize your Internet browser and drag it from left to right, you'll notice how the sidebars stay the same size, but the middle column expands or shrinks depending on the size of your browser window. A little more room for our posts and main content.
If you wish to increase or decrease the size of the font, most browsers will let you do that automatically. It generally is either the Control key (PC) or Command/Apple Key(Mac) and the + or - sign to increase or decrease the font size.
You'll notice under the headlines of each story, the author's byline followed by the date and time of the post and the categories of the post. You can click on the categories and it'll bring up all the other articles under that category. Underneath each post is the number of comments on an article plus a new feature that will tell you how many new comments since your last visit. You'll now never miss a chance to get in the last word.
Moving to the sidebars, you'll notice in your "Navigation" Block in the upper left, something labeled "Quick Links". Simply a few links that we think everyone will find handy, especially for our comment discussions. A quick rundown of the rest of the sidebar content:
Featured Post - Somewhere to highlight the latest and greatest post. Makes us writers feel less guilty if we want to just blog about a little something and still feature one of our more in-depth columns.
Gameday Weather - Self-explanatory.
TCR Approved - We'll cycle through some products that we feel you might like, books, DVD's, apparel. Afterall, we do now have to pay the bills. Don't be shy about clicking on the google ads on the left or footer as well.
Vote! - This will display the latest poll. Polls though will also have a front page entry where you can comment.
Site Search - Self-explanatory, it should search our archives over at MVN though as well, through the magic of Google.
Player Search - Search Baseball Reference if you wish. I'll try and add a Fangraphs one eventually, I was just having problems with the size of the graphic and our sidebars.
Archives - Right now, it's just got some posts from about early January. Hopefully (Maybe), we'll get the rest of our archives all hosted locally. If you want to access past months, just click on the current month and it'll take you to a full page view where you can access past months.
The comment system probably went through the biggest changes. Most of that is due to just how our new software handles comments (Drupal if you must know). As mentioned earlier, underneath each story you'll either see "Add New Comment" or the number of comments left on an article. A new feature is that it should tell you how many new comments have been left since you last visited. If you click on the number of total comments, it'll take you to the first comment on the article. If you click on the number of new comments since you last visited, it'll take you to the first new comment.
I imagine the biggest concern over the comments is that there is no longer an option to view them in a pop-up box. Unfortunately the software we used to build this, DOES NOT natively allow for pop-up comments, so all comments now are in a full page view. At the moment, we don't have the resources (meaning money) to code that any differently. We hope to bring that feature back one day, but please know that most websites out there do not have that feature for a variety of reasons.
If you happen to be the first user to comment, you'll see a dialog box with your signature already placed in the comment box. You'll notice comments now have a "Subject" and "Comment". Most folks just type the first few words of there comment in the subject line and the rest in the comment box. Most folks will be happy to see the "Preview" option is back. Below the comment box, you'll see some basic instructions. Web page addresses will be automatically linked and truncated (past 50 characters), so no need to learn the <a> tag, although you can use it if you wish. There are only five tags that can be currently used in the comments: <em> for italics, <strong> for bold, <a> for links, and <cite> and <code>. Those last two I may get rid of and if there's something else people feel should be allowed, let me know.
Moving on, once there's at least one comment on a post, you should see a series of drop-down menus labeled "Comment Viewing Options". The defaults are "Threaded View - Expanded", "Date - Oldest First", "150 Comments Per Page", but each person can tailor those to their individual preferences. You can play around with the settings as you wish, but the comments are now set up so that you can reply directly to another user's comment without having to do a lot of cutting and pasting. We STRONGLY RECOMMEND that if you do use the "Reply" button that you copy and paste the title of the comment that you are replying to into your subject box and add Re: in front of it (okay, still a little cutting and pasting). So if there's a post with the subject "Soriano", your reply would look like "Re: Soriano". The reason is that if a user chooses one of the flat views, they'll know which comments are related to each other. I do hope to automate that in the near future.
Otherwise, it's business as usual. You will be seeing quite a few more articles from me in the very near future(once I recover from elbow surgery that I had yesterday). Getting this site up took up most of my writing time from me...you guys can decide whether that's good or bad. I did compile most of the prospects lists from this offseason, in case you want to stick to baseball talk today.
I did want to thank all my fellow writers for their patience, as the process of getting this site designed and ready to go took far longer than it should have. Also wanted to thank Steve at HotDrupal for saving us from a near server disaster...we were just days away from repeating the MVN fiasco that plagued us the last time we moved. Hopefully I didn't just jinx everything...
We do hope you enjoy the site and feel free to contact us with any suggestions. This is really just the tip of the iceberg though, and we do think everyone will be thrilled with the new site, the new look, and the new features.
PS - If you happen to have any experience with Drupal or web applications in general, particularly CSS stylesheets, we(I) could always use the help ,especially if you're willing to help out for free or for a very, very small fee.