As you might have already noticed, Da Box is silent this week. The reason? An upgrade and relaunch!
Very soon now, Batter's Box will be operating with some brand spankin' new software. As a result, there will be a number of spiffy new features and some additional bells and whistles. Amongst ourselves, we've been calling it "Batter's Box 3.0" (a name coined by Coach Kent), and we're hoping it will be the springboard to something better and more interesting -- a better-looking site with more original content and more writing that's worth reading. (It will look similar to what we have now, just better).
NEW! See the end of this message for new query contact information.
In addition, we're implementing a registration system for commenters -- completely integrated with the new software -- that will mean the end of some of the headaches we now face. Once the upgrade occurs, you will only be able to post comments in a thread if you are a registered member of the site.
The good news is that the registration process will be simple: all it requires is a valid e-mail address. You'll submit your e-mail address and your "handle," and you'll receive an e-mail reply with directions to follow (we'll do our best to ensure that current regulars keep their handles).
If you choose not to register, that's fine -- you'll still be able to read the threads as before, so lurkers need not register at all. We've always tried to be solicitous of your privacy, and we will continue to do so: Batter's Box will not release e-mail addresses, or any other information, to anyone -- for any reason at all -- without your express permission.
Why are we upgrading? There are a number of reasons, a bunch of which have to do with "back-office" stuff we won't bore you with; suffice to say we've outgrown our current software platform and it's become difficult to use. There are some other reasons as well, many of them connected with registration:
1. Registration eliminates spam posts, which have been increasing in number and causing problems.
2. Registration allows us to contact individual posters when necessary.
3. The new software allows us more flexibility in typesetting our stories.
4. Registration eliminates impostors posting as others, a problem we've had from time to time.
5. The new software has some features which look really, really cool, and will allow you to navigate the site more easily.
Batter's Box initially started out as a very small community -- originally, it was just Coach Kent posting his thoughts on the Blue Jays. From there, a few more authors and a few more posters joined in the discussions. While the quantity of posts in the early days was low, the quality of comments was extremely high. Over the next two years, Da Box experienced significant increases in traffic, so much so that we've lost some of our feeling of "community." We think registration will help bring a little of that back, despite our current size.
Of course, we don't intend to turn back the clock, even if we could. We do think, however, that the overall quality of threads (and maybe our original content) has decreased as traffic has increased. We hope to reverse that with this move. As a result, sometimes we're going to find it necessary to revoke a registration. We think that only a very small number of people will be affected by this, and we'll be very upfront with you if it affects you.
The best way to think of this upgrade is that we're not simply invoking registration -- we're really changing our approach to the site. What we want is a constructive, literate, intelligent environment that's interesting, insightful and fun, and we're going to do our best to hold everyone to it -- with the necessary exceptions for our occasional silliness, of course.
The changes you'll notice when we upgrade the site will be that it's cleaner, better-looking, and richer in content. We have a number of exciting projects in store, and we intend to continue our evolution from a simple "baseball blog" to a full-scale online baseball commentary and analysis publication. We think you'll be impressed.
As part of the upgrade, we've had to "freeze" the site as close as possible to its current form. That was part of the reason that (as many of you have noticed) we closed off the ability to post to old threads a couple of months ago. Now, we're going to shut down comments altogether, for several days, until the upgrade. We'll keep you up to date should (perhaps inevitable) complications arise, but our target date right now is Saturday, February 19 -- the day pitchers and catchers report to Dunedin.
NEW! If you have any questions or concerns whatsoever about the upgrade, there's one place you can go to have them answered. Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and Aaron (Named for Hank) will either answer it himself or pass it on to the right person. If you've e-mailed Craig at email@example.com in the past few days, please re-send your inquiry to Aaron.
We look forward to seeing you back here again soon in the new and improved Batter's Box. Many thanks for your patronage for the past few years and for your patience during this transition and upgrade. See you on the 19th!