Monday, March 15, 2010

Asking For Some Feedback From You

One of the things I struggle with most about creating a stream of content for a blog is one of the most basic principles taught in any writing class: writing for the appropriate audience. Well, part of the reason for that is in academia, who you're writing for is much simpler to define - it's your teacher unless otherwise stated. With a blog, the audience is incredibly diverse, with people of all ages, in a variety of locations, with incredibly disparate reading habits, each looking for something unique.

Every reader that comes to the site brings a slightly different perspective with them. You folks come from all over the country and the world (in the last month we've had visits from 109 countries spread out on every continent except Antarctica). You folks all have a different daily rotation of blogs that you read and you emerse yourself in them to varying extents. How can we cater to those who read tons of Yankee and other baseball blogs at the same time as we take care of those who read relatively few? The answer is that you really can't. You have to try to find some sort of a happy medium.

One of the most important distinctions there is among the readership of any blog is the way that the site is consumed, either through the website or via RSS. When we weren't posting last week, someone who primarily visits the homepage probably checked back a few times before the week was over to see if there was a new post, only to come up empty. However, those who read via RSS probably didn't care or even notice our impromptu hiatus - they are automatically notified when one of our posts goes up and don't spend much time worrying about when the next one will come. Essentially, there is a significant portion of our readership who isn't concerned with how often we post, and another, larger section to whom the volume of content is extremely important.

This is how I imagine the dichotomy looks:
For instance, a blog like Wezen-Ball is best enjoyed through an RSS feed because although Larry doesn't post very often, when he does, it's extremely good. MLB Trade Rumors, on the other hand, is updated often enough for people to be able to check back every few hours and find some new things to read.

In general, people who visit the homepage get drawn back more often by a large number of posts but will get out of the habit of checking the homepage it it's not updated frequently enough. On the other hand, those who read via RSS are more likely to be annoyed by an unwieldy volume of them since they have probably already subscribed to about as many (or likely more) blogs than they can comfortably keep up with. But, they can also tolerate a very low volume of posts.

There is a theoretical sweet spot where those lines two meet, but given the standards we hold ourself to here, it's probably not possible for us to post that much quality content that often.

I think we usually manage find a pretty good balance between quantity and quality, but March is probably the worst time of year for our style of blogging. We don't do a lot of straight reporting of the news around here and because of that, it turns out to be much more difficult for us to find content during Spring Training than it is from November to mid-February. There are only so many stupid posts about Youk we can put out and so many hacky columns in the New York papers that we can make fun of.

This time of year there is a constant supply of news emanating from Florida, but it's the type of stuff that is not worth analyzing. We all know that what happens in Spring Training isn't to be taken too seriously, and since we try to do more than just blockquote a beat writer and state the obvious, there simply isn't that much to say. Not all of us can be like the dudes from River Ave. Blues and continually come up with interesting topics out of thin air without so much as a meaningful baseball game to draw upon.

With a few exceptions, you folks don't tend to comment a whole lot. We normally don't solicit comments either, but we could certainly use some feedback on this.

A few starting points:
  • What do you expect from a baseball blog in general?

  • What have you come to expect from us in particular?

  • How often do you check the site and are there specific times during the day and week that you do so?

  • How much do you value quality over quantity (or vice versa)?

    What kind of posts (linkarounds, historically-slanted pieces, FJM-style, straight news, etc) would you like to see more or less of?

  • We might have to ask again when the regular season rolls around, but what would you like to see from a blog when in comes to game-to-game coverage?

  • Do you enjoy our signature game previews wherein we choose a different song for every one?

  • Is it worth putting together a full recap for every game, or would you like to see something more streamlined like bullet points and/or some graphical data?
We'd certainly appreciate if you could take some time and leave your thoughts - even if it's something quick about just one of those questions - in the comments. You aren't going to hurt our feelings by telling us you don't like something. We're not simply fishing for compliments, so feel free to be honest. If you enjoy the blog here's a good chance to tell us why. If you have some criticisms, now would be a good time to voice those as well.

We're all ears...

19 comments:

  1. No antarctic readers? Weak.

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  2. We've never had anyone from North Korea, Greenland, Turkmenistan, Krygistan, Taijistan Serbia/Montenegro, Suriname, Guyana, French Guiana, or about 10 or 12 countries in Africa either. What are you waiting for, people??!

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  3. What have you come to expect from us in particular?
    - Humor and analysis combined. Joe Posnanski piece and the fake quotes about the John Lackey signing are great examples

    What kind of posts (linkarounds, historically-slanted pieces, FJM-style, straight news, etc)would you like to see more or less of?
    - linkarounds, FJM, statistical analysis, and random music posts.

    Do you enjoy our signature game previews wherein we choose a different song for every one

    YES, YES and YES

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  4. I have come to expect thoughtful, insightful, detailed commentary about the game and the Yankees from you guys, Jay, with the emphasis on quality over quantity. I'm of that type generally, and much of what occurs in ST--and during the season, really--is a lot of little chatter that requires precious little attention, in my opinion. For those blogs that like to pass along second-hand every aspect including whether or not Jeter farted in the on-deck circle, fine, but I prefer the more substantive writing and analysis. That you guys focus on the important stuff and avoid the minutiae is very good, to me.

    I personally check the site a couple times a day, and do not subscribe to an RSS feed.

    As for game-to-game coverage, I myself like to do detailed game summaries for, while plenty of fans watch the games, we all notice different things, so sometimes I notice things some others might not, and they things I missed, to allow for a fuller picture and assessment of the game-as-event as a result. Yours I like a lot, but whether or not you want to continue that, and in what form (pullet point or essay form) matters less to me than doing it. I'm an essay-type guy myself, but others may differ on content style. (Not a deal-breaker to me)

    The different songs for games and series is simply outstanding, and must continue--challenging though that must be after a couple seasons of culling fresh material. Still, LOVE it.

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  5. What have you come to expect from us in particular?
    - I absolutely love this blog. It is the mix of news, recaps, links, humor and great music that keeps me coming back.

    How often do you check the site and are there specific times during the day and week that you do so?
    - I used to check the site first thing in the morning and then once during the day but now I added you to my RSS. I think your quantity/quality is pretty good. I did notice the lack of posts last week but since it’s Spring Training I didn’t really care – don’t make it a habit during the regular season though.

    Do you enjoy our signature game previews wherein we choose a different song for every one?
    - Hell yea, it is the best thing about this site!

    Is it worth putting together a full recap for every game, or would you like to see something more streamlined like bullet points and/or some graphical data?
    - I don’t always read all of the recaps – but when I do I find them very informative – especially if I hadn’t seen the game. But I could go either way on them.

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  6. During the season I check your site once a day. Usually in the morning to read your game analysis. That's what I enjoy the most. I stopped reading local newspaper columns as they all seem to try and stir trouble more than anything else. No real insight and mostly BS. I also enjoy some of your pre-game stuff and especially the humor. During the offseason I rarely check your sight unless there's some big news. Not into the statistics stuff and would not like the graphical data.

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  7. Anon, Jason & Laura - Thanks a lot, guys, for your responses as well as the kind words.

    We were planning on going ahead with the song previews so it's nice to know that you folks enjoy them. They are difficult to come up with sometimes, but it's really rewarding when you find a pairing that fits. The reason that I was a little unsure was that they don't usually generate too many comments. Maybe we can put a little more emphasis on turning them into game threads this year.

    Something I've been thinking about is making some of the songs available for download. There are sites that you can upload and share the MP3's so that would be an option.

    As far as the game recaps, the essay format can be really time-consuming. I've been trying to think of ways to streamline that process so Matt or I are not up until midnight trying to piece it all back together. Some sort of graphical layout would be ideal so I'll probably take some data from a Spring Training game and see what I can come up with.

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  8. I've read the blog since the beginning and I have loved it. One thing that keeps me coming back is the humor in your posts... probably my favorite part. I also love the historical lead-up to spring training.

    When and how much I check depends on the day. This is one of my go-to sites when class gets boring, but I'm never upset if there isn't anything new, especially in the off-season.

    I love the game previews and recaps. I don't get a newspaper, and if I did, I live in Philly so it wouldn't be about the Yankees anyway. Often I have watched the game and want to know what others think about what happened. I agree with Jason From The Heartland about how others notice different things than I do -- one thing I like about your recaps also.

    I think the statistics posts are interesting, but as I think math was always my worst subject, numbers scare me -- I always seem to skim them a little, but never really pay too much attention.

    Keep up the good work, but don't let the blog take over your lives :)

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  9. Billy Walter3/15/10, 4:45 PM

    I actually started reading this offseason. I really like the humor, as many have said, and posts like the floating divisional realignment issue. To me that was dead on and I like how you critique a lot of different columnists or writers. I dont know how you do game posts but the songs sound like a cool aspect no one else does. I probly check in here about 2 or 3 times a day. Keep it up!

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  10. Your blog is a standout among the many great Yankees bog. Your banner says it all: I come for the vulgarity and stay for the analysis. Thanks for all your hard work and great writing!

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  11. AAC / ex-NY / now-Australia3/15/10, 5:39 PM

    I have a very up-and-down work schedule, so I check about 1-2 blogs per down time and rarely have time to comment. So I check about once per day. This blog is great because of the combination of humor and analysis. Linkarounds are especially valuable because I don't always regularly check infrequently-updated blogs, and the tips are appreciated. But it's the intelligence, lightly worn, that keeps me coming back. Game recaps are appreciated but not essential-- A few key events that might not show up in the box score, analyzed with with vulgarity, would probably suffice.

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  12. I've only started reading you guys regularly since the end of last season, so I can't comment on your regular season stuff, but I definitely agree with everyone else in that you blend in-depth, well written baseball analysis with humor to make even the most dry topics interesting.

    -How often do you check the site and are there specific times during the day and week that you do so?

    I subscribe to your RSS feed and am completely content with the amount/type of posts you make regularly. I read your blog for the quality of the posts and for the analysis, not for the up to the minute coverage or amount of posts.

    -What kind of posts (linkarounds, historically-slanted pieces, FJM-style, straight news, etc) would you like to see more or less of?

    I'm a big fan of the historic and FJM-style articles.

    -Is it worth putting together a full recap for every game, or would you like to see something more streamlined like bullet points and/or some graphical data?

    I'd definitely vote for a streamlined recap over a full recap. If you covered the highlights and interesting things that don't come up in the box score that'd be more than enough for me.

    All in all, as long as you guys keep the humor I'll be checking in regularly.

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  13. First ditto the comments so far. I truly think you guys are the best Yankee slanted writers out here. And by saying writers, it's not about the content it's the humor, wit, and when you guys are into it, the intelligence of your posts. And to top it off, you guys throw in the best Yankee history articles. And no, I don't say this to all the girls.

    I expect you to entertain and inform me. I usually check in at least twice a day. I don't use RSS feeds. Quality over quantity. I do like your recaps, but I don't depend on them. I've been new music challenged since 1992, and I know you run with the classics as well, but for the sake of my children I told myself I'd try to find some new music to like, so it's good you'll keep that going.

    And to sorta disagree with one commentor, I do hope you have a full post the next time Jeter farts in the batters box. Maybe you can couple it with a Doris update.

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  14. Dear Jay & Matt
    love the Blog. Seriously. I check in twice a day, once with morning coffee before anybody else gets up and again when the kiddos nap in the afternoon.

    I love the entire blog.
    If I had to rank my favorite things, the list would look like this.

    Humor & history.
    game recaps + news
    Linkarounds.
    Statistical Analysis
    music (very sorry. I know you guys put lots of effort into this. It's just not a dealbreaker for me).

    Quality over Quantity.

    Thanks for all your hard work....

    Wendy

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  15. * What do you expect from a baseball blog in general?

    News, analysis (both basic and advanced),and some humor


    * What have you come to expect from us in particular?

    Well-written, sometimes funny content. the profanity gets the point across well sometimes


    * How often do you check the site and are there specific times during the day and week that you do so?

    I check my RSS reader often Mon-Fri

    * How much do you value quality over quantity (or vice versa)?

    I think this blog does it just right, whatever you feel it is, leave it alone

    What kind of posts (linkarounds, historically-slanted pieces, FJM-style, straight news, etc) would you like to see more or less of?

    The history lessons are some of the best I have read, keep them up

    * We might have to ask again when the regular season rolls around, but what would you like to see from a blog when in comes to game-to-game coverage?

    Most blogs already do this, but it is always good to have line-ups and any transactions. The post game write-ups are a must read for me, though. They are well written and bursting with good information.

    * Do you enjoy our signature game previews wherein we choose a different song for every one?

    I am usually at work and can't listen to them. You Tube is blocked. No opinion here.

    * Is it worth putting together a full recap for every game, or would you like to see something more streamlined like bullet points and/or some graphical data?

    One thing I love a Plus/Minus recap. Who did well, who is slumping, etc. It can be paragraphs, bullets, whatever. The content is what I am interested in!

    All-in-All, whenever a new article pops up from Fack Youk I am always sure to check it out, keep up the great work!

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  16. First, I view through google reader so view my comments with the appropriate lens. I entirely enjoy the full game recap. If I (painfully) missed some or all of the game, I can get a sense of what went down way better than reading the box scores. If I saw the game, I get to see how someone else reacted to it, which is surprisingly enlightening compared to how I saw the same game.

    I don't read previews all that much, though I do skim them.

    FJM style is always appreciated, though there is probably a sweet-spot for those too (too much of those could get stale).

    An analysis. Always analysis.

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  17. Matt and Jay -

    Hey, you guys are terrific. Its a shitton of work to keep this site as updated as you guys do and especially given the time and effort you put into each articles. I check here at least 1nce daily and during the season, 2-3 times. I found this site around September last year and your recaps are fantastic. I absolutely come for the humor and appreciate the analysis. I don't always read every word of the other articles, but the game recaps have me. That being said, I would have no problem if you decided to hybrid your ways a bit and do some bullet-points and such. Those can be perfect instances for hilarious one-liners. if it can cut down the amount of time you guys have to put in here, then go for it. All of this is out of the goodness of your hearts, so I recognize the needs to not make this so much of a 2nd job. Your heads and hearts are in the right place, so the quality of your content will remain.

    I like the link arounds too. I am not always one to check them out, but you guys are good at pointing to good stuff. Its very helpful.

    I also cannot hear the audio on the songs, but as long as I see the titles, I generally know the songs. Hopefully you don't run out of Derek Trucks songs though :-). Only Bahston would cut corners and repeat!!

    All that said, I know it can be daunting to cater to the world's writing style preferences. I still ask to be talked to more like Allan from the Hangover and express a desire for more Yiddish jokes and an extra sprinkling of anti-Red Sawx banter.

    You guys keep doing what you are doing though. I'll be reading regardless. This site is one of my top favs. And by god, those historical Yankee articles were fantastic. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed them counting down to spring training. I have such new appreciation for ALL of those guys, even the ones I already knew about. The pinstripes that I bleed, have become even more vivid now.
    Fack Youk, you fackin' fack facks!

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  18. Fack Youk,

    I've been a long time Yankee fan, and have read many attempts at Yankee blogs.

    I have to say this one is in the top 3 for me. I check you, it's about the money, and river ave blues once a day.

    I work too much to keep hitting refresh for blog updates, and I really appreciate the quality of the work done here. I suspect you guys put in a great deal of work, and I respect it.

    I am a New Yorker, but I am stuck in Birdland (Orioles/Nationals everywhere!), and I prefer reading your game recaps to any of the others. If I just wanted to read a box score I could do that anywhere. I know you guys watch the game, and I appreciate the actual fan analysis.

    Thanks for all the great work!

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  19. I've been checking your site almost daily since I found it this winter. I really enjoy reading it during my lunch break at work. I've enjoyed the historical posts greatly over the winter break. Also the link-a-rounds are nice about once a week to see what else is going on in the baseball world and see what I may have missed. I've enjoyed being able to get some Yankees news with a touch of wit and humor from you guys.

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