Game threads, offday sermons, and offseason fellowships are spontaneous threads, reacting to current and late-breaking events. They usually start from baseball, but then go where the conversation takes us. Posts don’t count in your total, which means that reactive posts are fine, multi-media contributions and non-sequiturs are welcome, even expected, and generally the tone is supportive. Requests to the community for information can go here too. They can be good places to try out new ideas and to get feedback about whether a topic is worthy of a regular sandbox thread.
Regular threads are a place for more considered contributions on well-defined topics. Here are a few types that seem to generate productive discussions. Analytical threads evaluate the performance, potential, or ranking of a player or team. Cultural threads discuss the place of baseball in Boston and its nation(s), and the meanings and effects of the Red Sox in our lives as fans. Historical threads place contemporary performance in the long view (eg, Which Sox numbers will be retired?). There are many kinds of threads: this list is intended to open discussion on threads that 'work', not to foreclose other possibilities.
1) Spell-check the title before starting a topic. Posts can be edited, but thread titles are forever. Any poster who misspells a title risks being linked forever with that misspelling (remember HINSKI?).
2) Proofread the post, or at least run the text through a basic grammar checker (MS Word is our friend). Aside from names and the beginning of a sentence, please be sparing with capital letters – they are the internet equivalent of shouting, and nobody likes to be shouted at.
3) Include links to relevant sources. Sometimes it’s helpful to quote a brief selection from the source, but never quote the entire source. If the whole article is important, count on the reader to click through to the linked article. The selection of a key passage is one of the ways that a poster can add value to the original source, and focus the subsequent discussion on a few important issues.
4) Quantitative data and qualitative observations (eg, scouting reports) add a lot to player evaluation threads, and to many other threads as well. Codeboxes and the SoSH Excel Macro can be useful tools.
5) One last thought: is a new thread necessary? Too many threads can swamp the Sandbox. Maybe your idea would go better in a currently active thread. But if the existing thread has been inactive for more than a week, has fallen to the 3rd page, or has run out of insight, it’s time for a new one.
Edited for brevity and clarity.
Edited by Sprowl, 18 November 2007 - 07:51 PM.