SB Nation United is one week old today.
It is an adjustment process as much for the writers/bloggers as much as for the readers. From my point of view, while I'm still getting used to the new look, the functionality and ability to organize the site has been dramatically upgraded.
I can strategically position articles much more easily now. We will stick with reverse-chronological most of the time, going from newest to oldest. I prefer that personally and I think most readers do too, but under certain circumstances I can adopt a more thematic approach, or keep an important story featured up front.
I also have the option to include things like story streams. That won't be a main focus of what we do here, but it will be useful for things like the annual baseball draft. I can also feature articles from other SB Nation sites. I won't overwhelm you with that, but if I see something prospect-oriented that you might find interesting, I can put on the page.
Many readers have expressed concern about changes to Fanposts and Community Discussion. It looks different, yes, but everything that was there previously is still there. The Prospect Lists are still there; look at the Library drop-down menu. Also note Sections for MLB Bonus Baby (Matt Garrioch's draft coverage), Prospect Analysis, and Prospect Retrospectives.
With the new system, if you want to peruse some Retros, for example, you can click on the dropdown menu and read everything in that section without the clutter of unrelated articles. As I start working on the Top 20 Baseball Prospects Lists for 2013, you will see more and more data and analysis flowing into the new organizational system. I will gradually go back and tag the old stuff, but that will take time...there is seven years of material there.
The search function has been upgraded and works much better than it used to. You can find that with the little symbol that looks like a magnifying glass on the right.
Community discussion and participation remains paramount. That's a huge part of what makes Minor League Ball successful. Although things look different cosmetically, the emphasis on community and discussion has not and will not change. I won't let it.
Change is scary. Most people don't like it. I often resist it myself. Sometimes, changes don't work out very well. New ideas or technologies can fail, and change for its own sake can be counter-productive. There's no question that these things are true. But change is also inevitable, and while the road can often be rocky, you have to take the journey. In the end, change is beneficial.
Think about the adoption of steam power by world navies in the 19th century (hey I have to use that history degree sometimes). For thousands of years, ships were powered by the wind. But as steam technology became more compact and more reliable 200 years ago, navies began experimenting.
This wasn't a smooth process by any means. Many experiments were necessary, and there was wide disagreement about the best way to use the new technology. One particularly noteworthy example occurred in 1844. The British Royal Navy took a pair of steam-powered warships of equal engine horsepower but different propulsion configurations, then tied them together as a test, to see if one method of propulsion was superior to another.
HMS Alecto used a sidewheel paddle engine, while HMS Rattler used a new-fangled screw.
Although their engines generated the same amount of horsepower, Rattler ended up towing Alecto, showing that the screw was superior to the paddle. As a result, the RN adopted screw propulsion and stopped building side-paddle ships.
Despite this success, it took another 60 years before steam was considered a fully mature technology; as late as the 1890s, warships were being built with a full sail rig as an "emergency" method propulsion.
Right now, the internet and the "information economy" are still in the earliest stages of development. As a society, we are still in the early transition stages. We are still running our Rattler/Alecto tests.
In any event, my point is this: while change is not easy and it can take time to get the bugs out, it is equally true that resisting all change will guarantee failure. What we have to do is preserve the proven ideas that work, while at the same time adapting new ones that will enable us to prosper and thrive in the future.
SB Nation is constantly evolving. We have the best tech team in the business, and they are working as quickly as possible to stomp out the inevitable bugs in the new format, as well as improve functionality. Please send any comments or problems to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes, SB Nation and Minor League Ball have changed. But we've changed before, and always come out stronger for it. Let's stick with it, stick with the community we've built, and we'll come out stronger for this, too.