"Don't be mean." That's it. Pretty easy and yes, it also leaves me some wide latitude as to what is mean and what is not mean, but ultimately, just want everyone to treat each other with some civility, the same civility that you would have if you were face to face with one another. I think too many rules can lead to too much administrative work and that's not why I run DTN, to keep track of who is doing what. If someone is being mean then email me and I'll make the call. I tend to err on the side of letting things go for the most part and thus far, I think that's served the community well. Bottom line, treat others like you would like to be treated and don't spam.
FanPost vs. FanShot
This is probably the biggest question mark for most readers, which is what's the difference between the two. A FanPost is intended to be your opportunity to write, discuss, hypothesize and generally have an opinion about Texas Tech. If you decide to write a FanPost and you end up posting content like this:
words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . . words . . .
Then it's probably not intended for a FanPost, but rather a FanShot. FanShots are intended to be quick links, pictures, videos, quotes, lists, chats, etc. There's not supposed to be a ton of content in a FanShot and although I can't speak for everyone, I routinely check the FanShots for quality links.
There's probably many of you who have heard of tagging, but aren't real sure what it is. Tagging is a way to organize a website. For instance, every time that I talk about Texas Tech football, I type in the tag, "texas tech football", into the appropriate spot to the right of the text editor. Thus, the "tag", "texas tech football" will produce a result a result like this, i.e. everything tagged with this phrase will show up. You can do the same thing with players ("graham harrell") or just about anything. Bottom line, it's a way to organize a particular story and you can have as many tags as you want and all you have to do is separate them by a comma (for example: texas tech football, graham harrell, michael crabtree is a beast,).
Adding Polls, Events, Teams and Players
All the stuff to the right of the text editor in creating a FanPost can be incredibly useful stuff. As an example, you can type the name of a team (you can choose college football, college basketball, NFL, NBA) and examples are Texas Tech football, the Dallas Cowboys or the Texas Rangers. In other words, whatever team you're writing about, make sure and add that team and no matter where in the network something is posted about that team, it will show up.
You can also add a poll to your own FanPost, which can be incredibly useful in gauging the opinions of your fellow reader (click the "Attach Poll" button).
One of the many cool things about DTN that's different than a message board is that we have the ability to have nested comments. What this means is that if I want to make a general comment, then I'll put it at the end of a post, but if I want to respond to a particular user, then hit the "reply" link underneath the comment that I want to reply to. Now, you and that person can have running dialogue that will be separate from the general conversation.
One of the rarely used items of DTN is the "Rec" or "Flag" features. Let's say that you read a comment that you agree with whole-heartedly, but you don't have anything to add? You can reply to that user's comment with the "+1" or you can hit the "Rec" link. The bad thing about the "Rec" link is that you really have no idea who liked your comment, but the upside is that once a person's comment is Rec'ed then it is highlighted. With the "+1" there's some agreement, although there are probably some users who would prefer not to read these comments, but they don't bother me. There's no reason why you can't do both.
I think we're still learning on this part, but there are a couple of features that you might not be aware of that would be appropriate to discuss here.
Do Not Post Subscriber Information
This one's pretty easy and self-explanatory. Just don't do it. I know, it's killing you not to do it, but trust me, the news will eventually get out, there's no need to violate any terms and conditions that you have with pay sites.