Friday, July 5, 2013

BYE BYE ESPN



                ESPN has announced a change in policy.  Beginning July 17, 2013, all users will be required to have a Facebook account in order to post to new articles and conversations.  Facebook, although popular, is a website many people don’t ever want to be a part of.  Who can blame them?  It’s a free service where the members are the product.  Information is collected by Facebook and sold to advertisers who are looking to focus on very specific demographics.  They also do not want their activity at other websites somehow linked to a place that will broadcast all their activity.

The Migration to Fox Sports
                Instead of following ESPN down a dark alley, the Oregon faithful have decided the flock should find a new home.   Timber Joey made the first move and started an account at Fox Sports.  Others followed his lead to discover a new and improved conversation environment that Fox Sports implemented just last week.  They are using Livefyre for their conversation platform which shows an actual comment count, the number of people listening in, who liked a post, and allows you to delete posts.  Livefyre normally allows a user to edit a post, but Fox Sports has yet to activate that feature.   Livefyre also allows embedding of photos and video, but there are some bugs that will be explained in just a moment.

Creating an Account
                To create an account, go to the Fox Sports site and attempt to post in a conversation.  Write something like “Test”, then “post comment as…".  A popup screen will ask you to login.  There are several social options for logging in, or you can just create a standard account.  Fill out some legit email information because you will be required to verify that email before you can post.  Follow the steps and choose a username, pick an avatar, etc.  Now, IMPORTANT, you need to log out of the site.  If you try to verify your email while you are logged on, it will say that you are verified, but you won’t be able to participate in a conversation.  So log out, then go check your email and verify your email address.  Now you should be able to chat away.

                You should also be aware that Fox Sports will by default, flood your email with notifications of board activity.  Just go into your account settings and switch all notifications to "never".

Regular Links Don't Work
                If you post a link to a website, it shows up for you, but to nobody else.  It seems Fox Sports does not want people lured away from their site.  One workaround to this problem is to delete the 'http://www.' from the beginning of the address and the remaining address should show up for everybody.  They then just have to copy and paste what you posted into their browser address bar in order to see the content that you wanted to share.

Embedded Pics and Video
                There seems to be a very cruel bug when pasting photos and video links.  What will happen is that the image or video plus your comment will show up on your conversation screen.  Nobody will like or comment on your post.  You begin to think nobody appreciated what you shared and become upset.  Do not allow this to hurt your feelings.  What actually happens is that you can see your post, but to everyone else, your post does not show up on their screen. 

                I have found no way to post pics yet, but I saw someone post a photobucket image.  I tried to post a photobucket image, it showed up for me, but the post didn't show up for anyone else.  Perhaps a mod has to approve photos, or maybe there is a trick yet to be found.  Just don't assume that just because you see the image you posted, that anybody else will see it. 

                There is a trick to get youtube videos to work.  Again, the method most people use results in the video showing up on their screen, but nobody else can see it.  My current best guess to why this is, is because of the actual link they decided to use.  There are a few types of links to each video.  If you find a youtube video that you want to share, then click the share button to reveal a link…. that link is not going to work like you want.  The link you want to use is in the browser address bar.  This doesn't always work.  Make sure it is a simple link up in the address bar and not something that has a bunch of extra info.  You may have to add an 's' to the http so it reads https.  It should look something like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAAAAAAAZZZ

               One way to tell if your posts are showing up to the rest of the community, is to use another browser (that you aren’t logged into Fox Sports with) and check if your messages are displayed.

Other Tricks/Tips/Bugs
              There are no emoticons with Livefyre yet.  You can’t adjust font size or color, but you can use Bold, Italic, and Underline if you cheat.  Livefyre usually has a pencil icon to the left of the @ button in the text box, but Fox Sports disabled it.  You can use Word to do your text enhancements and copy and paste them into Fox Sports.  Links and links embedded in specific texts are other things you can do by cutting and pasting from other sources.

              Avatar approval is relatively quick and painless.  Avatars not approved at ESPN are likely to be welcomed at Fox Sports.  The person in charge of approving the avatars seems to work 9-5 type hours, meaning if you change your avatar at night, you’ll have to wait until the next day before it shows up, otherwise it’s usually done within a half hour from the time you uploaded your avatar.  Be sure to submit an image under 700k and don’t forget to adjust the cropping after you upload to get your desired square-set of pixels that will be your avatar.  Also keep in mind that thousands of new users are migrating over to Fox Sports, not just the Oregon fans, so the avatar mod is going to be very busy this month.

              I have changed the Dungeon to use Livefyre.  I’m still trying to figure out how to change the font color, but what I have discovered with Livefyre is that the default behavior of flagging is that 5 flags will delete someone’s post either reporting the post as "offensive" or "spam".  I suggest selecting "offensive" and let your WMD buddies do the same.  Flagging for other reasons probably won't result with a post getting deleted.  We haven’t teamed up on trolls yet to see if these flag rules apply at Fox Sports.  It appears that the swearing filter is set to minimal or has yet to be activated.  Beware of your language because people can flag you, and there are mods, so use at your own discretion.

              We experienced posting errors yesterday.  After making a post, we all got an error message in the text box.  Our messages would display anyway.  If this happens to you, just delete the error message or ignore it.

              There are also no user profiles on Fox Sports yet.  Clicking on someone’s name will not lead you to a profile to examine a person’s favorite team or other interesting information like at ESPN.  I assume this will be a feature that will be added in the future.

              Mobile access seemed to be nonexistent using default mobile apps and browsers.  You may have to install a different mobile browser in order to converse at the site with your phone or tablet.  I’ve heard people using Chrome on their phone to be able to access the conversation section of the team page.  

              Chrome and Safari may not work with the boards using a PC.  You’ll have to explore what works for you.  I use Firefox and it works just fine.  Others say Explorer works fine as well.  I use Chrome to spy on the board to make sure my youtube videos show up, but I haven't tried to login with it.

Gametrax
              In addition to the team board, there is also a conversation board for each game called Gametrax.   These don’t seem too popular yet, but they will provide a place like ESPN had where we can interact with fans from the opponent side.  A link can be found near the top of the team page for every game on schedule.  After selecting a game, you’ll then click on the discussion tab.  It’s my opinion that this board looks cleaner because there is less visual noise on the sides of the screen.   You may also notice a “Classic” button, that if you click it, you’ll get the same conversation, but it will fill up more of the width of the screen, more like the width at ESPN.  However, switching back to the default look will require you to clear your cookies on the website.  The regulars at Fox Sports have mixed feelings about the flock of new members, so it may be the case that some of us migrate to the Gametrax conversation, but only time will tell.  For now, it looks like the popular place to hangout is on the actual team page itself.

See You There  
               Hopefully we’ll see everyone at the new home.  Be respectful of those that had been there before us.  These guys are used to getting 5,000 comments a year; they aren’t used to getting 5,000 comments in a handful of days, so they are having a hard time catching up with their buddies.  Many have greeted us with open arms.  Overall, I think you will find this new home an improvement from ESPN.  Go Ducks!



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