The Stanzi Gambit. Well played.
writing style of front page content
This will not end well...
Not gonna lie, if I see that it's written by Seth I usually just skip reading it. Nothing against him, but his style just doesn't work for me.
I agree with this.
Seth brings another very intelligent perspective to the blog - if you don't read him, you are missing out.
But it's a free country, so it's your choice...
Same here. I read everything on the front page expect for Dear Diary.
Love Seth's diaries, he's got a great writing style. I will say, howeva, that Ace is this season's Most Improved Poster (writer...whatever).
but I think the OP is a bit too sensative regarding this low period in the football season input, and I think that if front page stuff is always the same, it gets stale. Changing things up once in a while, but paying respects to the old classics, is a fine mix. Just roll with it...just my two cents.
I'm in the same boat with this.
I'm sure some of Seth's stuff is good, it just doesn't click with me.
I also agree with the above poster about Ace. He's come a long way in his writing, and I've come to really enjoy reading his posts.
The OP also has to think that he is complaining about this in February, which is the slow period for content.
We literally have the hoops team, and the very start of a new recruiting class. That's it. Brian has gone on a boycott of the hockey team so we don't get updates there (not that it's not a well-deserved boycott).
Content will start heating up once spring practice starts and we have the spring scrimmage and what not, and the basketball team will be entering the tourney.
If you still don't like it then, well I don't know what to tell you.
Can't tell if serious
Same. Some people might like his stuff and he seems like a nice guy, but I skip everything he writes also.
Is that you Herm?
In before delete
And a smile...
I agree. The writers these days seem to aim for being witty and unique rather than straightforwardly informative. I'm okay with a joke now and then, but the inside jokes get tiresome sometimes.
I used to spend a lot of time on the front page content, but now I skim it and head for the board.
This is why I like Ace's writing. He's mostly straight to the point
Your sarcasm is sarcastic! I hope you weren't serious, though, because Ace is a discernible downgrade from Tom and Tim. MGOBlog isn't as good, and I find Brian to be like Jim Caray. Hilarious for a awhile, but how my times can you hear the same routine, jokes and find it amusing or interesting?
I don't think that's fair to Ace. First of all, I don't know that he's a huge downgrade from Tim right now. he was at first but once he got his feet under him, he has been great. As far a Tom, he's where he is now for a reason. He had a lot of contacts and a great reputation. You aren't going to keep guys like that around a free site very long and people should just feel fortunate he was here as long as he was. Ace will continue to gain contacts and experience and get better. I'm assuming we are also talking about guys who aren't making themselves rich in these jobs. You guys also aren't giving Heiko credit for forging the thing I looked forward to more than any other content in the football season: His interaction with Borges.
I don't, know but all this seems like a bunch of bitching to bitch. There is plenty of stuff out there for Michigan and if you want dried out information go there. I enjoy the sytle of this site because I'm not reading a newspaper. I'm reading actual people who have a vested fan interest in what goes on and you do get more than the facts, especially with the Monday posts after games. It's much more relatable.
What is it about the internet that prompts people to make derogatory comments directly about the capabilities of perfectly nice people providing you free content? Anyone being openly critical like this about guys like Ace or Seth is flat out a dick.
Just want to make sure I'm getting this straight... you head for the board to avoid the inside jokes? We've already got one entirely pointless "this will end well" comment in this thread (predictably upvoted to 5), and I'll set the over/under on Kate Upton shots, "turning the tide of the rivalry" mentions, and RollTide and/or Section 1 references at +/- 10.
FWIW I completely agree with you that the increasingly insular writing is ruining MGoBlog (especially by comparison to its peer blogs in the Big Ten, such as, regrettably, 11W), but I think the board is every bit as nauseating in that regard as the front page.
The board has inside jokes, but you can skim past them and still get info.
Sometimes the front page content is just one big inside joke.
"Straightforwardly informative" would make for a very dull Michigan sports blog. You seem to be aware of this given that your own blog is saturated with models and unsuspecting girls wearing Michigan stuff. Personally, I strongly prefer the approach that Brian and Seth have taken - with real voice and personality - to the approach you've taken.
Different strokes for different folks.
This is exactly true. It's called personality. This blog has one.
I agree. This is the stuff that make this site different as well as outstanding. It's not dry, it's witty. It's not just a sports column, it's prose. I know some people only come here for the information and that's fine. But the site offers a lot more than that, and it's found on the front page.
it wouldn't be the internet if it wasn't a little wacky and opinionated
But don't you feel like it's been trying to ram its personality down our throats a little more the last year or two? Everything always has to be quirky or a meme. No one ever says "run-first pro-style offense" anymore, it's always "MANBALL." Things like this get tiresome after awhile and what used to give this blog personality is now very overbearing and often unnecessary. (Not that this stops me from checking this site a thousand times a day.)
Look, this blog is great and is THE cyber pub for all UM fanatics. I agree with Magnus....maybe this is an age related view; however, sometimes it is too much snark and over reliance on pop culture or insider references. This audience probably spans 50 years in age variation and, perhaps, that is not considered. Now that this has been mentioned, I do seem to move straight to the board more often.
Right, because the board always skips the bullshit like memes and inside jokes and just gets to business.
Yeah, like 5 years ago it was all kinds of cool and clever when Brian would go off on his weird little DFW cum Dennis Miller reference tangents but there is such a thing as a law of diminishing returns.
Before Dan Patrick and Keith Olberman the show was a pretty straight forward sports news report aside from the annoying Chris Berman nicknames...but once Dan and Keith started the "Big Show" the level of snark and "witticisms" rose exponentially to the point of rendering the show unwatchable, an issue that has grown even worse over time.
Yup. I definitely see some parallels there.
There are more contributors, each one being slightly different, so maybe that explains it. But I try not to complain when everything's free of charge. If you really feel strongly about it, just write Brian.
You do realize you're reading a blog, right? I mean if straight news from sober people is your bag that's understandable, but then this was never that in the first place. Ever read some of Brian's stuff from 2005-'06?
In the past, you've presented blogs as being just as legitimate as traditional news sources but now you're using the defense of "we're just a blog." Anyways, I disagree with the OP, I enjoy the style of writing on this site. However, I could see how some people might not appreciate the sense of humor.
The distinguishing characteristic of a blog is that there is no editor to filter the writer, so I think Seth's response is reasonable. If you want a safe site where everything is sanitized and anything edgy is deleted, don't read a blog.
I believe Seth is the editor.
First Seth was Misopogon, then he was Seth, now he's the editor. Seth has occassionally edited my contributions, but I don't think Brian and Ace have to pass everything by him before they post front page stuff, and if Seth is the editor, no one else is editing his stuff.
I tend to get Brian's perspective and writing style more than Seth's, but I always figured that's because Brian and I are engineers, whereas Seth reads books and knows about history and stuff like that.
Well "Editor" is an official title and that's Brian's title. But yes I'm still the copyeditor. I'm Business Manager and Associate Editor, and the Publisher of Hail to the Victors. Long title, I know.
On copyediting: yeah it's hard to edit your own stuff. If I had to rank the MGoStaff on typos on the 1st draft (from fewest to most) it's Ace, Me, Brian, Heiko, Brian's bolded subconscious. If you want to include the outside writers, Mathlete is the new last place and BiSB is too soon to tell. Ace has now gone 6 months without a "teh" -- that' big yo.
First Brian hired me as a copyeditor. Then I took on Dear Diary. Then I split Dear Diary into two weekly posts and got paid twice as much for it. Then I took on the business manager role when TomVH left since he was developing something like that before me. Then I took HTTV independent.
My duties: write my 2 weekly columns, copyedit everything on the front page, do some ombudsman-like stuff when required, provide direction for the moderators, handle all of our business transactions and advertising, handle all of our promotions (e.g. the weekly t-shirt giveaway), and just generally be a (poor man's) backup Brian.
I don't have equity in the blog--I draw a salary. I do have equity in Hail to the Victors, which in the future will be published out of a new company I'm starting. I'm also planning a book for Black Shoe Diaries and for Inside the Hall, and we want to launch a MIchigan basketball book this year. Brian's a small part of those other books.
As for engineers vs. historians who dabble in paleoanthropology, I'd like to say for the record that of all the MGoStaff I'm the only one who blogs on a computer I built all be meself. Unless you count Chris Cook (Brian's brother who built our servers out of alien spaceships) but that's just not fair.
In other words, you do everything that Brian can't be bothered with. Sounds like a lot for someone who then also has to sit down and be creative. Must be nice for him just to be the "Editor", i.e. Big Idea Guy/Writer.
You should have him give a comparative list of the things he does then. Also people aren't here to read Seth's blog.
I know Brian does radio, speaking appearances, probably reads a lot of email etc. but it does seem like you've sucked up a good deal of the day to day drudgery that's necessary because of how huge the site has become.
I realize that you have gained a reputation for being jerk-ish to people on this site and that it's something of a feature/bug that's part of the package that includes your excellent video production, but...
Have you ever worked in a team setting with people who divide responsibilities? It sounds like you're bashing Brian for not being involved with every element of the site's day-to-day operation. As if he weren't working hard enough or something.
Do you know how dumb that sounds? This site is what it is because of Brian and no one else. Seth is an asset to it, as are Ace and Heiko; but without Brian this is just another sports blog and it isn't close to the phenomenon that it has become.
Brian provides a viewpoint, writing style, and level of content that are unique and inextricably crucial to the quality of this site. The things you are griping about him not doing are, with no offense intended to Seth, things that multiple people are capable of and qualified to do. If Seth were to get hired by someone else, Brian could replace him with someone who could do a lot of the same things.
But nobody can provide what Brian does. And, in case you forget, it involves a whole boatload of work, especially during football season. Not to mention many of the technical things that Brian handles himself.
Seth collaborates, doing things that he is good at, allowing Brian to focus on the things that only he can do. That's how teamwork works.
I guess I wasn't clear, probably because I was actually trying not to be jerkish to Seth (no really, I was!). What I meant to suggest was that since Seth is doing all the behind the scenes stuff, maybe he shouldn't try to write Brian's blog too. I could have waited until Monday to get Brian's take. Now, instead of a post, it will probably only be a bullet in UV.
Okay, that's reasonable. I disagree with the point, but I don't think it's necessarily a mean thing to suggest. I misunderstood.
Is it just me or is that comment really douchey? Sorry if that isn't the way you intended it, but that sure is the way it reads.
is "we're a blog so we can do this, it's what makes us different than traditional news media, and if you want the straightforward no non-sense reporting, you already have that avenue but we take a different approach" rather than "we're just a blog." That was my take anyway.
The Head Bloggers have a sense of humor (senses of humor, to be more precise, since they differ), to go along with their responsible journalism and M fanaticism. [I was actually sorry I couldn't upvote the Sing Along with Seth piece because he's a front-pager. Thought it brought reasonableness and clarity after the several Montgomery-departure threads.]
Tastes differ in humor as well as in all else, but that's another positive of this blog. It's full of posters with different brains and tastes and views. So some of the jokes fall flat, and some of the reasoning is weak, some of the grammar is... ungrammatical, and some of the taste is tasteless. Vive la difference. [And thanks for the mods for what really needs to go.]
FWIW, from my perspective, I don't think a legitimate news source or something of the like has to exist as "news from straight news from sober people". I'm typing this and I now see that a few others have commented on this matter as well, so it's sort of summed up already, what I/we think he meant (i.e. I don't think he meant that "this is just a blog" by stating that this place does differs in may ways from a typical "news"/media outlet).
Good answer. I would distinguish however between style of the writing and quality of the information. What's great about a blog is we can post pictures and video and links and stuff to make our points and back up our information. These new communicative tools are no longer new, and part of being a blog is keeping the readers up to speed on all of the new directions and in-memes that grow from them. When I say "we're just a blog" in this context, I mean you're going to get style, you're going to get references you don't get, you're going to get posting of several stanzas of lyrics to drive home a reference because our paper is way cheaper than the other guy's.
Sometimes we try to save readers' time. However this particular blog doesn't compete with, say, ESPN, to be the first to post news, so we need to provide something unique in our news coverage. That thing we can provide is perspective, hence all the references and the assertions and whatnot. Most readers have already seen the headline and read someone's formulaic article by the time our article is up. Where we come in is when you're talking to a fellow Michigan fan tomorrow aboutt today's news, they'll be like "did you hear we lost our defensive line coach" and you can be like "you mean one of three--actually he was our young dude."
To use this post as an example, anywhere else on the internet you go to read about Jerry Montgomery leaving it will talk about him leaving, maybe mention a recruit or two he was tied to, then repost information on his MGoBlue bio. I guess you could find some sites that just cut the crap and say "Jerry Montgomery left for Oklahoma, not a big loss for Michigan because he was a face guy at a position where we have Hoke and Mattison already coaching, and it was his time to move on to real coaching jobs." Exeunt. Snore.
"We're just a blog" doesn't excuse us from information quality. I would argue that the quality of perception here was better than elsewhere, if only because so far we're the only site I've seen that even mentions Montgomery's territory was only half of Ohio. The key thing about Montgomery leaving is that he's the "Beyonce" as I put it. I doubt ESPN will let Chantel or Tom say that Montgomery outgrew the role of young face guy.
All the "Oklahoma" crap is there because it's a strong reference. To anyone who's familiar with the musical it should get across that we're rooting for Jerry in his move to some southwestern territory nobody's ever heard of, and that we're kind of mildly contemptuous of Oklahoma but understand why he's going there.
I agree with almost all of that. The part I would raise issue with is the implied assertation that MGoBlog isn't forumlaic. I think that might be the heart of the issue for some people who are concerned about the "style" here. When it first started it was new, exciting, and fun. Now it seems that so much is being beaten into submission to fit that style that Brian created.
I'm also guessing that it boiled over in your direction because we associate Brian with the origin of that style and feel that it isn't actually your voice when you do it. We could be wrong in that assumption, but at this point that assumption is out there.
Also, the .gifs suck. Please give those of us who hate them the video as an alternative. I don't know why they load so terribly from this site, but they do. It doesn't matter what browser I use, or even which computer. They work on other sites, but something seems broken when I try to watch them from here. And .gifs suck.*
*I know, I said it twice. Just trying to drive my opinion home on them. I enjoy sound.
Agreed, the gifs are terrible from a technical aspect.
I know one idea was it's a way for those that have video blockers at work to kind of see some highlights. However, gifs are NOT a good device for delivering video for a reason. They are massive files and Ace uses massively big pictures to put them together. gifs are best when they are small, short, and don't take minutes to load.
I would guess it's both. I have a certain voice I use for Dear Diary and another I use for Hokepoints and another I use for all the other shit I post. All writers are strongly influenced by those they've been reading, and I've been reading pretty much everything Brian (who is a great writer) has written for the last five or six years. I used to sound more like Craig Ross because his book was a big influence on my Michigan fandom. I used to sound like Mitch Albom as well.
Stylistically the only conscious change I make to my writing because I'm on this site is I don't have one-sentence paragraphs, since Brian finds those a cheap columnist's trick. Like every kid who grew up reading Albom before Albom started mailing it in, I kind of like that device. If we're getting into deep prose then Brian's writing is going to sound more stream of conscious while mine gets musical. But then we seldom get into deep prose. If I took my tongue out of my cheek I might sound less like Brian, but then it's really really hard to write stuff like Dear Diary and not be sweatpantsy about it.
Some stuff that people here think of as "Brian's style" was independly mine before I started writing for mgoblog but because it's his blog I come out looking like I'm aping him. I used to have conversations with my bolded subconscious in emails to my friends, and all of my creative writing works made a point of setting the tone with the weather and the direction of the sun. That last is kind of a signature for me that I don't get to use very often because most of what I write about is stuff you find while sitting indoors in front of a computer.
I am sensitive to trying to have my own voice on the blog. I'm more sentimental and definitely more metaphorical than Brian. He's the greater intellect and more penetrating, while my goal is to draft a definitive consensus opinion. If we're conservative Supreme Court Justices, he's Scalia and I'm Alito.
But it's kinda hard to bring that out in most of my posts. Hokepoints I can dump whatever I want into, but I don't write game columns and that's where most of the sentimentality (and thus the real writing) goes. Dear Diary is going to sound like Unverifed Voracity because they're both links posts. Guess the Score, Win Stuff nobody reads anyway. This week because Brian was out of town I felt we needed to have something mentioning Jerry Montgomery left and providing some perspective on that, and I wrote UV because we needed a UV.
I have no control over the gifs except when I post them myself. Ace's one frame at a time isn't my favorite article on here either, but enough people adore those gifs that they're probably not going away unless they're slowing down the whole server (which they might be).
Thanks for responding, I do appreciate it.
And tell Ace the he is slowing down the server. Or at least tell him to put up the video clips so that those of us with adult attention spans can watch those.
And you do realize the place is a lot more popular than it was in 2005-06 right? You think the change might be a part of the reason why?
but this has been a pretty rough offseason in terms of content. I don't know if it's because there's no more drama going on anymore, but I haven't really read anything substantial in a while. I think Ace & Seth do a great job, but there's no doubt this site took a hit once TomVH left. Additionally, it seems that besides the UVs, Brian hasn't contributed that much. I don't know what the answer is, and I'm definitely appreciate of the free content, but something has been lacking here for a while.
what you pay for
I think it was said that Brian is on vacation. How you can go on vacation from being on the internet at home probably pantless, I do not know. I guess you put on pants and go outside?
Not sure if you're joking, but Brian works pretty fucking hard during the football season. It's perfectly reasonable to take a vacation every once in a while.
Brian is essentially a sports writer, and for most of the year his workload is severely reduced
I don't know if that really counts as "hard" work as most people understand it.
Spencer Hall is a big shot blogger and he don't need no vacations. Dude has bourbon for dinner, cocaine for dessert and shoots out rapid-fire tweets until 7 am every fuggin night. I think the weed and his wife's cooking is making Brian lazy.
Just to be fair, I'll give credit where it is due. This was funny.
I would like to see more pieces from Brian a la "The Age of Miracles" (one of my all-time favorite articles from any source) - some more personal experience-type stuff. I was an English major, so the statistical stuff doesn't appeal to me quite as much as the emotionally-fueled content. Not a critique in any way, just my own personal thoughts.
Additionally, it seems that besides the UVs, Brian hasn't contributed that much. I don't know what the answer is, and I'm definitely appreciate of the free content, but something has been lacking here for a while.
You must not read the Basketball Watch Guide and Big Ten Rankings of Power Rankings.
and I'm sure I'm missing a lot of other content produced by Brian. I also really don't want to come off like an ungrateful jerk, but I do think it's in the best interest of the site if people are honest and upfront about these things. I just really believe that this site has been lacking something substantial for a while. This site has great writers who can present great peices, but the content has just felt stale for a decent amount of time now.
Can't argue that. I think there's simply a lack of news going on right now.
Our recruiting class wrapped up early, MBB is pretty much performing as expected, and hockey is so terrible they are not worth discussing.
Perhaps it's a good time for some off-topic columns from Brian. Some of my favorite pieces by him have little to do with Michigan (WSOP, for example).
Then again, once MBB is done, we'll really have a dry spell... there's likely to be litle newsworthy content on football so who knows what we'll get content-wise.
I would like to see a return of game columns from Brian. Brian has the remarkable ability to recap a game while providing a unique literary quality that makes it seem like more than just a game. Those are always my favorite posts during FB season.
Additionally, it seems that besides the UVs, Brian hasn't contributed that much. I don't know what the answer is, and I'm definitely appreciate of the free content, but something has been lacking here for a while.
You must not read the Basketball Watch Guide and Big Ten Rankings of Power Rankings.
I don't know why anyone would neg this post. I was simply pointing out the extensive content that Brian gives on Mondays/Tuesdays.
Brian's Watch Guide/B10 Rankings post got so big and so content heavy that it had to be split into 2 posts. That's a lot of content from Brian right there.
I do miss MBB previews from Brian and I have been disappointed in these "second go-around, refer to the first preview" basketball previews, but hey, I'll deal.
I didn't neg it, and I don't think you should worry about it. My guess is the person who did thought you were advocating them and probably feels they are unnecessary. I have to say, I agree with the imaginary person I've just created, and would prefer to have fresher content, or deeper looks into something off my radar than a recap of the past week.
I honestly think this is behind the feeling a lot of the posters have. Brian has put hours and hours and literally thousands of words into each power ranking, and especially reviews of opponents' games. I'd be fine with one post summarizing all this from Brian's perspective and his predictions a week or two before the tourney rather than as an unwieldy weekly routine. I think that's sucking up a lot of the content time people are wishing for.
But I don't want to complain about a site I click on many more times throughout the day than I'd like to admit.
Just because you complain about it in every other post.
I've been busy at work and thought "crap, what did I miss today" then check in later and see....not a lot. The front page content is down to one or two posts a day, with maybe one substantial. It has felt a lot more like late June than the middle of the basketball season; probably since around the bowl game ended.
I mean when was the last time Brian took off during this time of year? It's certainly his right; life happens. Maybe it's because the hockey team has sucked the life out of the winter sports season, but the main portion of the site has seemed pretty thin lately.
Hockey coverage! But Brian's not to blame for that, or maybe he is. When I started reading, he wrote mostly about football, and then when the football season was over he wrote about hockey. For some reason, he has decided not to write about the hockey team this year. I get it that they are not winning, but it is a passion for him, I would guess moreso than basketball. As such, some of the basketball coverage seems forced. The basketball fan gif they tried to make into a meme also seemed force. Memes are organic. If it works, it will happen. We cannot manufacture Lloyd Bradys or golden poops.
I thought it was an odd sequence of events. I started doing the hockey stuff last year in the Diaries because no one was even attempting, then midseason Brian started posting previews on the front page.
Instead of having two of the same posts every week I started my own blog, so you can imagine I was rather surprised when Brian decided he didn't want to do hockey anymore.
Without hockey, FA doing baseball, Tim doing Lacrosse, it's just football and basketball.
Heiko has also been missing from the front page lately. He posts more of the straightforward reporting stuff, but we're in the off-season so that's to be expected.
Front page posts from Heiko really bugged me. The content was good. I couldn't deal with the spelling mistakes in every post.
Says the man who didn't capitalize players names' when he first started writing diaries.
I also didn't use the correct Your/You're, There/Their/They're forms either. MGoBlog taught me more about grammar than my grade school teachers ever could.
I agree to some extent, but it's an easy problem to solve. I read the first paragraph and then make a decision from there. It's free.
But sometimes too clever ain't clever at all.
Absolutely agree. If you can cut out every joke and be left with a paragraph, maybe the post is overdone. I love the humor on this site, but some posts feel like they're hitting a meme checklist and it sucks the life out of things. They end up being tiresome and humorless despite the (or because of) the constant gags.
I'll just say it, usually it's Seth.
To be honest, I have only been reading mgoblog on a regular daily basis for about 7 or 8 months, and while I have struggled with a lot of the analogies, I love the writing style (it did take me a while to figure out what/who "Tacopants" was). But I wouldn't take the current way of writing away. No sir. I like it the way it is!
Might answer some of the questions you have.
I now understand "posbang" and many many many other things!
Don't hesitate to ask. Most people here are nice enough to answer.
Alright thanks! I have to say, the whole thread policy of asking questions can be confusing at times... So while I'm here, and you're obviously extremely knowledgeable, what's the +/- score for, why does it only go up to 5, and what (if any) bearing does that have on my MGoPoints thing?
- The point of having scored posts is just to have a user-based system for moderating replies. It's a reflection of the perceived value a post has, and if it worked perfectly voting would follow value more closely. You'll have that feature when you hit 100 points.
- I have no idea.
- None. You get points for posting diaries, threads, or comments. Posters who have been here a while have points held over from the days that upvotes and downvotes counted, so if someone has 5,000 points it doesn't necessarily mean they have 5,000 posts.
IIRC, we lost the actual ability to up/down vote after the malware attack of 2011.
You can only go up to +5 and down to -2. But, those points have no impact on your mgopoints. If you get upvoted more, you earn "karma" and your posts will start out at +2 value.
Can't really put my finger on it...but been feeling the same way recently. Don't get me wrong, the content is similar, and I am appreciative of it, but the writing style has gotten progressively worse. Call it MGoSpeak. MGoProse, maybe.
I check the site a couple times a day. There are some poor pieces (Oklahoma) but it's still a great site
I'm with you on this one. I stopped reading any front page content awhile ago after realizing that I never understood a damn thing I read. Maybe that has more to do with me than the content though.
Or use more. I'm not sure.
Very solid advice. You are wise.
For the most part I have been avoiding the front page in favor of the board, but figured it was my preference.
This will probably not be very popular, but the kittens/muppit garbage is the thing that I just can't understand. However, because we are all typically in a great mood when that stuff is on here, I tend to overlook.
The kittens, muppets, haz, MOAR, and all those all memes or whatever you call it annoy the hell out of me. But this is one of the best sports blogs out there, pro or college, and it is free, so I will not complain.
I couldn't have said it better, we are lucky, when considering the other filth that's out there. One more reason it's great to be a Michigan Wolverine!
it is little wonder you don't understand them.
You guys go to the board to get AWAY from muppet/kitten speak?!
I agree with the OP. They try to play up the smart-guys-turned-football-junkies angle too much, not in terms of analysis and information, but in terms of writing style and constant references to abstract things, memes, and inside jokes that go around this community that I find incredibly lame. I don't always agree with Magnus, but when I read his site I feel like I get the information that I care about, whether I agree with what he wrote or not.
I don't think the "smart-guys-turned-football-junkies" thing is an angle. I think it's an accurate description of the people writing the blog. Brian has a Master's degree in EECS from Michigan, and a professed love of the writing of David Foster Wallace. I don't expect him to write about sports the way say, a former player would, or even the way a journalist would. Ace's power rankings are clearly meant to be witty (I happen to enjoy that; your mileage may vary), but his post-game columns are often more pure journalism in content and style than any actual newspaper is anymore. And Seth's old posting handle was "Misopogon." He named his internet presence after a satirical essay written by a roman emperor! It can't be shocking when that leads to non-sports cultural references like "Oklahoma!" in his writing.
As far as the proliferation of internet memes on the site is concerned... well, you're on the internet. And a lot of people who read and post on this site (including the authors) spend a LOT of time on the internet, so it can't be a surprise when their current cultural references include I CAN HAZ CHEEZBURGER. Again, this blog was founded by an EECS nerd. That kind of stuff has been here since the beginning (been reading MGo since 2005).
Very accurate. That's just what this is, like it or love it.
I think a big problem is that 5 years ago, 90% of the readers were people who liked it, mostly students and recents alums. Not the site has gotten very popular, and a lot of the main page stuff goes right over peoples' heads.
That, and I knew Karpodiem in college and I think he was a tool, so that affects my stance a bit. No offense Karpo, of course.
You've pretty much nailed it. I personally enjoy most of the memes and running inside jokes, but I've also been a reader (though infrequent poster) since the RR coaching search. This blog, with its wittiness and general sarcastic/satirical/oddball tone is what helped me survive the first two years of the RR era as an upperclassman at M.
I do miss Brian's songs. Although, again, I don't think that can be forced. FWIW, I immediately get chills and a flood of memories concerning Michigan football when I hear "Better Son or Daughter" or "Sons and Daughters." That's the kind of intangible tie to the blog that I can't undo.
Keep up the good work mgoblog writers. Life is busier for me now, but I'll always check in when I can. Thank you.
Big ten (grad school) EECS nerd who did a little journalism in college, I find a base to relate to the content and style. And I use the rest of the content and styles as entertaining and opportunities to learn. And gosh darn some of us love a good musical!
Nit to the OP from a math/EECS type- if there was any thread to label as META, this would be it.
It is a blog. Generally the stuff on sports blogs is quirky. EDSBS... BHGP... Odd stuff. This blog has a great mix of straight up information and stat analysis with a healthy dose of weird. I love it.
I also agree with Karpodiem, and if I didnt agree I wouldnt act like a child about it. I know there were different authors at one point and or Bryan wrote more...who knows...things be different though.
There's plenty of sites that'll give you the straightforward news and I don't think mgoblog has ever been that type of site. I can't say I've noticed too much of a change other than there's more content overall maybe that's why you're feeling that way.
While I think it's kind of a dick move to put it how you put it (immediately after a front page post criticizing a specific poster), I do get your point. I think the lack of content has a lot to do with how boring and stable the teams are respectfully.
As huge as a Big Ten Title race is, it's not nearly as nerve racking and content producing as a bubble team (and I am 100% ok with that). Similarly we spent the offseason of 2009 debating whether to keep RR and the 2010/2011 olfseasons on how/if we could use Denard effectively. There's not the same divisive topics available this offseason. We pretty much all agree Mattison is awesome and how good we think Devin will be is a matter of degree (I think he'll be honorable mention all-Big Ten, but to each his own).
The ugly thing lurking under the rock is that we've never really replaced TomVH and Tim. Ace has grown into more of a basketball guy and tends just to post recruiting summaries of content that have already appeared on the board or Twitter. Useful if you don't F5 the board every 15 minutes, but a bit of a let down from the glory days of TomVH predicting the future. These days Sam Webb's Twitter is the sole free way to gaze into the future.
As for the rest of the content, I figure this year's football content suffers slightly because it lacks the luster of last year's content about a team that went 11-2 and won a BCS bowl. If you go into the article feeling a bit down after a loss, it is harder to be impressed by it. Some of 2008 and 2009 work suffered from the the dark cloud over the program. There were some real gems there as suffering breeds artistic genius, but also so dark times.
As for a specific callout against Seth it seems over the top. Seth is Seth and you know what you get when you read him. No one says you have to like it, but it isn't like he randomly posts goatse after the jump to burn you. His style is consistent and he has his established roles. Just scroll on past like how you flip past Sharp and Rosenburg columns in print media. If Seth suddenly was put in charge of UFRs and did them all parody style, I could see going for the torch and pitchfork style thing, but not over this. If anything has changed it seems that now MGoBlog will get up filler content quickly, be it a barebones profile or humor to convey the news and then post serious info later. As in over the weekend the fun posts goes up, come Monday we see a post on what this means, who we can hire to replace him, etc.
(I'm kidding, no one reads newspapers anymore.)
I don't think Tim was any big loss. Just about anyone could do what Tim did if they were given Scout, Rivals, 247, and ESPN memberships. Ace does just fine.
I just tend to lump it as the Tom and Tim recruiting era, even though TomVH was really the keystone of it. I liked Tim since we was able to get film on some of the lower star guys that weren't as well scouted and had out their own highlights.
What really made this blog for me though was the recruiting coverage coupled with the Brian UFRs and explanations of RR's offensive and the 3-3-5. The former is definitely missed.
Didn't Tremendous announce on the board that he was joining mgoblog a few months before he went to 247? That deal falling through was a big blow IME.
All the writers may not be my best buddies if we hung out, but I think they're all pretty good dudes. Tim went out of his way to be a dick too often. Someone would ask an innocent question and he'd be all up in their face.
I miss the guys who have come and gone*, but Tim, not so much.
*Heiko trying to take time to be a doctor and stuff has hurt the variety of front page content too.
Tim was a bum.
He wrote poorly and greeted every criticism with a power trip.
He also didn't seem to be very knowledgeable about Michigan football pre-2005-ish.
I'd have to agree. I couldn't read his press conference "transcripts" at all, they were just (bad) summaries of the conferences, lazily written and lifeless. TVH was the real blow.
If I had to identify a weak link now, it'd probably be Seth. No offense to him, he seems like a very nice guy. His style is just too over the top most of the time, I generally either skim or skip his front page stuff. I read all of his comments, and think he's a valuable contributor, just don't like his writing style.
Now Tim is dragging down the quality of The Wolverine. I like the layout of Rivals better than the other sites, but the lack of quality info over there is making me reconsider my subscription.
I agree to some extent, and I think the problem could be solved with some site page that describes all these inside jokes and unique word usuage. I've been reading for some 3+ years and I still have trouble understanding some of the things on the site
but I do seem to recall that the style was one of the things that drove me to click enough to remember the URL back before Chromium opened with a tab for MGoBlog.
Is this the Sunday night drinking thread?!? Because I'm housed. Coors Light!!!!
You can get housed on Coors Light? You must be young.
I'm sure you could get housed on Coors Light too. The beauty of it is you can drink a ton of it quickly. Have you ever played flip cup or beer pong? I bet you weren't doing it with Sierra Nevada.
Tom Izzo level whining going on here. This site is free. Hello!
Informative? Yes, always.
Straightforward? Um, no. Not ever. Not even close.
Some like Brian's style, some don't. Some like the other contributors' individual style, some don't. I'm in the former category on both, but y'all can choose to read or ignore any of the blog's contributors if you like.
But shit, man, if it's your personal style to complain about specific writers who contribute content to a free blog, I don't know. Seems dickish. Whatever.
Long time lurker. Just wanted to say the writing keeps me coming back. Love the blog!
We need a new banner asap
From the ethics page on this site:
Clever nicknames will be kept to a minimum. I'll use something sporadically but I will not go into full TMQ mode. Cute nicknames just get annoying after a while.
I enjoy obscure references, nerdy senses of humor, and the rest. Howeva, I think MGoBlog has been drifting in the "TMQ" direction (as Brian dubbed it) for the past couple months. I'd say that referential analogies are a bit too common to be read without difficulty; your average person will have to either google it, or have a good chunk of the jokes go right over their heads. MGoBlog is becoming a little too difficult to read if you're not already familiar with MGoBlog, and even then it's tough.
Another thing I miss is "Brian's songs", as the MGoHoF puts it. I feel like the blog has become a little too pigeonholed; if it's not part of a regular feature (UV, Friday Recruitin, Mondays Posgame Column, Hokepoints [don't like the name change, but YMMV]), it generally doesn't make an appearance on the blog. Why can't people just write features on what they feel like from time to time? The out-of-the-ordinary posts are often the ones I'm most interested in.
That being said, all this is nitpicking on what is, in general, an excellent blog.
I will say, I think the Hoke pointing thing was at the point of only having a handful of bloody feathers left and that was back in Dec. Now we don't even have the feathers anymore.
Yeah, I've never been particularly impressed with the Hoke pointing meme (distinct from Hokepoints, the former Michigan Museday column). That being said, repeated jokes don't really bother me, with a few exceptions (Kozan's vision quest; constant Kate Upton fawning).
Edit: For the love of all things holy, people, please stop negging the OP. You might not agree with the point, but the fact is that this is a good topic of discussion, as evidenced by the fact that there's been like 80 responses in an hour. Unless you want to prove the smartasses right who claim that we're all MGoLemmings, don't neg just because you're offended.
Also, please neg me for mentioning voting.
I don't have a problem wth the OP, but you've certainly been around long enough to realize that quantity of posts in a thread often has very little to do with the quality of the OP.
I want to argue with you because your avatar looks inviting to argue with.
However, I agree 100% that the writers should be beholden a little less to the standard recurring articles and be given a little more leway to write on topics/styles/interests that are truly their own. That is how Brian became so successful and that is how any writer finds his/her true and most effective voice.
If you just want to read dry sports content, go to mlive or the freep. That is what makes this site different than them. Plus it's not like you're paying anything for this, so I don't really understand why you're complaining?
I don't think people are complaining about the writing style in general. It just seems that the attempts to be witty are now outnumbering the football/basketball/sports-related posts, or at least the ratio is getting closer and closer to 50/50. Whereas Brian used to post news-worthy content frequently and then sprinkle in a funny post every once in awhile, now it seems that Brian posts funny things at the same rate but various other posters are attempting the same on a weekly basis.
It's definitely a change, and people are resistant to change. If I discovered this blog today, I would be interested, but I don't know if I would latch on as much as I did several years ago. But some people might be latching on more today than they would have back in 2006. As I said above in the thread, different strokes for different folks.
I'm an ISU and UM fan. I'm a much bigger ISU fan in terms of how much I care. All of that said, I read this blogs main content much more than I read the largest ISU information site's main content. It's because this stuff is fun to read. When I read the ISU stuff, it's a re-hash of what espn or some other news site wrote about the game or what the local paper wrote about something. It's just very bland. The humor and other off the wall stuff is what I like about this place.
I feel like Seth tries too hard to be like Brian. Ace has his own style and I love reading his stuff.
I like reading Brian because he is Brian. Seth comes off as trying to copy that style. Sometimes it works really well. Sometimes it misses really badly. Sort of like an Eso Akunne jumper.
Maybe it has become more noticeable because Heiko isn't around as much to break it up, and Ace can only post so much.
I know the majority of us appreciate that these guys do this without forcing us to pay, but that doesn't mean that there isn't room for the users to given constructive criticism. Otherwise it just turns into the Michigan version of TheBigLead. Luckily it isn't like that, and I hope it stays that way.
I will admit to being annoyed that we don't get the season-ending UFR when we lose. I know watching it has to suck, but it seems like it would be cathartic for a lot of us to get that stuff, and it would fill some of this downtime.
I've sat here for 10 minutes trying to nail down my opinion on this subject. I don't know, man. I'm still not sure if I agree with the OP, but there are some elements of truth. For me, I feel like Brian is still Brian, but the subject matter this football offseason has been lacking. Sure, the basketball team is doing well, but that means that most of the frontpage/UV stuff is talking about KenPom numbers, eFG %, and other basketball stats that lose their luster after they've been talked about after every game for 12 weeks. Gifs are forced, the recruiting information is copy-pasted from other sites (or the board), and there are not enough free-form, personal, or unscripted columns (i.e. get out of the mold of UV, recruiting, hokepoints, dear diary, and game columns). What I look forward to most are the 3 or 4 paragraphs of Brian's writings in the game columns that are heartfelt.
Surely the site lost something big when TomVH left, but it wasn't like he was a great writer. He simply had information that everyone coveted -- his posts were elementary but informative, and he had the type of charisma and humor that translated through his posts. I feel like I could say much more, but out of respect for the site (that is free, by the way), I am ending my thoughts here for now. If you really don't like the direction of the FP, you'll end up visiting the site less and you'll vote with your feet -- I don't know if this type of open dialogue is helpful or rude.
there are not enough free-form, personal, or unscripted columns (i.e. get out of the mold of UV, recruiting, hokepoints, dear diary, and game columns). What I look forward to most are the 3 or 4 paragraphs of Brian's writings in the game columns that are heartfelt.
I think this is the key. Don't get too corporate and inflexible, and you'll have my readership.
I miss a lot of the jokes; if I have a moment, I hit up the googles or click through a link to see to what the allusion is. Allusion probably my favorite literary device; done well, enhanced meaning per word skyrockets.
I'm getting older, though. Not older as in "I used to be a freshman but now I'm a junior", older as in "there's a new funny movie coming out about a kid turning 21 that there is no way in hell I'm going to see because my wife won't want to watch it with me and I don't have even close to enough discretionary alone time to miss watching important sports for a college kid movie". So there will be a lot of jokes in that movie that are funny, and there will be allusions to them, probably even on the front page, and I will miss the allusions. Such is life.
Long story somewhat shorter, I'm OK with missing a few inside jokes. I won't be missing any front page content because of it.
I like turtles
My first reaction to the OP was that if he doesn't like it, stop reading and move along (as many have mentioned).
On the otherhand, I'm sure Brian & Co. would benefit from this type of info if it is shared by others. It sounds like it is shared by more than I thought.
I love the witty writings and I always long for new front page content. Still, I could see it either getting tiresome to some or a little unbalanced to new readers. This type of quality, slightly-quirky writing is one of the things that does set MGo apart and I'm sure this style of Brian's is one of the reasons that MGo has become so successful. I think the new contributers mostly follow that style well, yet in their own voice.
With this said, I don't think it would hurt for a little more "hard content", although I hadn't thought about this until reading this post.
I read every damn front page post. The only ones I occassionally regret reading are the team previews (redundant info for me), the new Twitter-thing, and sometimes Dear Diary.
But it's like cocaine and I'm like Rick James. I just can't stop myself from reading it all.
Thanks for all the front-page writers!
Agree. I skip everything written by Seth.
I enjoy the different writing styles and the inside jokes. I like the idea of being entertained while I get knowed up on UM sports. Boring and straight forward doesn't hold my attention any more. I'm getting old. I don't waste time on things I don't enjoy unless I'm getting paid.
I think more than the style, its the content. Its now mostly summaries of things that I already knew (or at least anyone could know if I visited any other site). This is in contrast to when tomVH was here and he was breaking actual news and other interesting information, and not as much of the summaries. This isn't really ace/seth's fault, its just that it's hard to keep the amount of solid information coming the way TomVH did...
This would have been better handled as a personal email to Brian.
I disagree. I'm big enough boy to take some criticism on a quite wide scale of productivity, and capable of separating someone's point from where they're being an ass. If some people don't give a damn for my writing, at the least they can't say I don't give a damn what they have to say.
On the other hand Brian has never passed on any criticism to me nor made any suggestions other than to split Dear Diary and my weekly musing post about into two posts. So if that's the route people have been going it's definitely not working.
Sides I'm enjoying this thread way more than doing my late great aunt's taxes, which is what it's distracting me from.
Is it just me, or has Seth's doing of taxes become somewhat less interesting than it used to be? I mean, sure he's still completing the right forms, but it seems like lately he's just going through the motions.
Honestly, I skip over any tax returns filed by Seth.
Oh how I miss TomVH's beautiful W-2s.
Audit me, TomVH...
I KNEW IT! DAMN YOU IRS, SEND ME MY GORRAM CHECK!!!!!
(That's a Firefly reference for those of you who don't like cute references)
Sucks to be you. I've been F5ing my bank account for a Hello: 2012 Refund post for days already.
Deposit Watch. Insiders expect there to be a deposit within the next 24 hours. You may have two deposits since they come in pairs.
Love the Firefly reference! I'd give you +100 if I could and I still would like to dong punch the idiot at Fox that cancelled that show.
These type of references and the witty (sometimes subtle) writing is what makes me an addict of this site. Actually the humor is what gives it the hook. Keep it up, fellas.
Only one avoiding taxes by following this thread. At least it's not the combo of the two inevitables you're dealing with...
Honestly, it took me a little while to get used to the writing style here. But after a while, I definitely learned to love it.
I don't disagree, but I like the content better now than constant whining about the negative perception of a coach with a terrible record.
As i think about it, one of the other issues is that Hoke isn't that much fun to cover. Fort Schembechler is back. Hoke is recruiting well. The issues with the team this year were fairly easy to explain and it is generally assumed they have already been fixed via recruiting. What is there is left to get in depth about? How Brady Hoke only recruited the #5 OT in the country and we demand all linemen be within the Top 3 for their posistion?
RR was better for writing in that you could break down that 2*/3* player and argue how he was a perfect fit for the specialized system RR ran. With Hoke it is "On your left is the Jake Long clone, on your right is the Lamar Woodley clone, directly ahead is the Chad Henne clone...". I think that leads to punching up your writing via other means and different individuals will have different views on how much punching up is needed.
The site needs to updated sooner than this summer, and Brian clearly needs some help with his business model. Why? This blog gets some serious traffic, which should generate enough gross revenue to hire young writers looking for resume boasters. Now, maybe finding said writers are increasingly difficult. Perhaps, Brian is waiting for someone to buy him out or a merger, but he just isn't doing what ESPN Wolverine page is doing or can do. Probably impractical to use that as a comparison, however, that should be his goal.
I just don't think this blog has long term sustainability. If Brian and his mgowife plan for a family or have high couple goals, MGOblog won't exist in a few years.
Brian's business model is fine (most likely). It's enough for him to treat this like a full time job and to hire another full time employee (and probably dish out part-time cash to at least Seth and Heiko, and maybe Chewer D and Mathlete as well). Now, if the direction that he and the other employees are taking it isn't working, he'll see that in the numbers. But you can't talk about his business model when from all angles it seems to be doing swimmingly.
Okay so the guy whose writing is beting ragged on by the OP is also biz manager. You're really wrong about stuff.
Not everything: we are planning the big redesign for this spring/summer, hopefully to launch before the season next year. When we do that we'll finally be able to have the ad size that everyone sells these days instead of having to take lower rates for outdated ad positions.
We do generate good traffic for a blog, but we're in a weird market. Sports is a great market for some general male marketing sectors. Beer, except people don't buy beer from the internet. Gambling, except I'm such a dick to gambling sites when they come to advertise because I won't work with someone who doesn't have security upon security (like Draftstreet does). Cars.
But if you're using hobby blogs and whatnot as the example for the kinds of rates we ought to be getting, that's a bad model. Take Metalsucks.net, which is to metal music what MGoBlog is to Michigan sports. They bring in net about twice what we do. How? If you want to sell a metal album in America you have to put it on the Blastbeat Ad Network, which puts ads on every important metal site on the internet, and is run by...Metalsucks.net.
We aren't endorsing a product here, and that changes the math considerably, because there are few things that you can only sell by reaching our audience. So our rates are lower. The other thing is about a third of our readers have adblockers on, and a lot of readers have moved to the mobile apps which gets way less net for the blog. So in a month when we had like 8 million actual pageviews we were able to monetize only about 4 million impressions.
What Brian is NOT doing is waiting for someone to buy this blog. It's a fiercely FIERCELY independent production, and that's not going to change. We made a lot of mistakes while taking HTTV independent last year but that enterprise is a big part of the blog's future financial stability, and we're hoping to a basketball book as well, and that is a tiny thing beside some of the ideas being bandied about.
Being ESPN is not the goal, though we do plan on doing some of what they do. I can't claim that we're monetizing anywhere close to our potential right now, but business has been good enough this year that I recently took it full-time. Rest assured, we're in it for the long haul.
Question: I have an ad-blocker disabled on the site, but I still block Google Analytics (et al) ability to track me and deliver targeted advertising. In that case, do my pageviews still make money for the blog, or is it just as if I were using an ad-blocker?
I don't know. Keep in mind people are paying us at most $3.50 or so for a thousand impressions, and most limit the amount of impressions that one guy gets anyway.
I doubt it's affecting us but I'd turn it off anyway since I find the targeted ads far less annoying than the backfill ones. I don't pay attention to car commercials--the ones from Underground Printing you get for awhile after you order from the Mgostore are funny.
Google shouldn't be pushing many ads out to you anyway since I'm running competing networks on top of them right now.
I'd rather not tell people to turn off their adblockers because hell man who doesn't get annoyed by ads. You do tend to miss things like sponsor deals we put up, and the HTTV kickstarter, and the new t-shirt announcements. Folks who have their adblockers off, if they feel they want to contribute to MGoBlog, just go to Beveled Guilt. Free is free--not "you should do whatever you can to make us more money!" and this site is emphatically free.
Nothing personal, but I have blocked all the tracking services I can possibly find, simply for privacy reasons. It's either generic ads or no ads for me. The problem with MGoAds is that there's all too often those supposedly funny t-shirt ads featuring really slutty women, and I'd rather not have that appearing on my computer screen (again, nothing personal). I'd be much more likely to tolerate ads if I knew stuff like that wouldn't show up. But I suppose, that's what the analytics engines know that young males like, so blocking that would reduce revenue.
I like the beveled guilt solution; thanks for the suggestion.
This site brings in roughly $14,000 a month? Nice. I don't know anything about website finance, but that sounds like a fairly high amount of money.
Erm I should shut up. We're not getting $14k/month in plain ads.
Personally, i got into this blog during the RR years when there was, frankly, a lot more going on with Michigan football. It was a program on the ropes, and i loved coming on here and experiencing the drama and the intrigue with a bunch of other fans. I mean, the biggest news right now is that an assistant just left for another school. There just isnt as much to write about and not as much angst and emotion coming through. Brady Hoke; great for Michigan football, bad for Michigan blogs
I wouldn't say "not as much fun to cover" as "doesn't raise the stakes as high." Tiptoeing the knife edge between The Factions of those years really got the writer blood pumping.
It's not Hoke so much as the Alabama game sucked the life out of football season, and a hockey team that's loaded with NHL talent which can't find the time to play defense isn't very fun to write about, and the basketball team is great but they had a brutal road stretch that reset expectations down two rungs and then went into a schedule lull of easier games and long breaks. Then Brian took a vacation, and I've been trying to put the book together again so I haven't been doing the hard analysis stuff on Tuesdays, and there you are.
Here's the site's readership history since the move off blogspot:
Our peak was beating Ohio State then stealing Kalis from them. The peak before that was the coaching search. So Hoke being boring isn't really hurting the site's readership so much as the schedule last year being hard.
The current state of UM football and basketball is definitely less likely to generate emotional heart-felt writing. There's less to write about.
However, I would argue that what you describe isn't the "other point." It's the main point.
Everyone sucks, except for the new guy
/Yeah, that new guy is great.
//Concur!!! He's fantastic. And sexy.
So we're in agreement. New guy rocks.
But I think there should be more front page content that is info dump/rumors, etc... such as what you can get with insider access at Rivals.
If there is one thing that frustrates me about the mgocommunity, it's the sense of entitlement some have over content on this free site. If you don't like the front page content, don't read it. Don't like the boards? Don't go there, either. There are other places to get information about Michigan sports, right? No one is forcing you to get it here.
you are not completely wrong, however....
One of the special things about MGo is the community aspect of it. You can't have that unless there is some level of ownership in this here Blog. You can have that sense of community+ownership+critique but do so in a respectful and appreciative way. This site gives my many hundreds of hours of entertainment and info. I am thankful, for sure. But I think Brian and Co. are strong enough and smart enough to know that listening to one's "customers" is one of the most important aspects of any business. And I think it is not only acceptable, but also appropriate and useful for us to have this conversation openly rathar than just one email being sent to Brian.
This blog can handle the handful of ungrateful complainers (if not, it would have crashed years ago).
And, thanks for/to this blog.
I don't mind the writing style. My reason for not reading some of ace and seth's content is that it's old news by the time it shows up on the front page.
I like reading things that have non-traditional style. If I just want facts, I can look them up myself. I like the MGoStaff's witty, satirical, tongue-in-cheek style of writing.
If I wanted to read something formulaic and straightforward without any subtlety or satire, I'd buy a Mitch Albom book.
Agree some thing even go over my ahead, but its fun to look them up. I also really like the new twitter front page recap, i miss most of that stuff and most the time its pretty interesting.
I only read this site 5-6 times a day. I can't keep up with all the modern hip lingo used by the 20 somethings around here because I have a job and kids and other things to do.
I've been facinated reading the various responses to the OP's post. It's clear, from the sheer volume of people responding and the wide range of sentiments brought forward that there is a general feeling that something's not quite right, even if people don't necessarily agree on what that is. I must admidt, I've shared those feelings for a while myself though never felt compelled to start a thread over it. The OP has touched a vein it seems.
I guess for me I would say I miss reading Brian's prose and wish he'd post more often. I have no specific beef with Seth (other than when he makes fun of me and even then I know it's not mean-spirited), Ace (I actually think his best work rivals Brian's for writing excellence) or even the new guy (he'd be a great Mod btw) but I do wish Brian would post his writing more frequently than he does.
I've wondered sometimes if maybe Brian is simply getting tired of writing on a daily basis and is just burning out as some creative people do. I hope not but I do wonder.
I am a long-time member of the community. I ave been posting since long before my date activating this account. (The old site had no MGoBoard and you could just post comments on the front page articles. There wass always a race to see who was first to post. I tried to give up the sie once they had a forum like Scout/Rivals because I thought it ould suck up my life. I lost that battle.)
Anyway, IMO this site was built on 2 main things. 1. The in-depth analysis of the UFRs every week, and 2. Brian's writing style/sense of humor.
There used to be such anticipation for new (front page) stories. I would just sit and hit refresh. There were only a couple stories each day, max. (A lot of times I think it was just one.) The scrcity of the articles and the passion they brewed deep inside was intoxicating.
That has alll changed a bit. No one can expect Brian to keep doing it all himself. The other writers are good. They are just not the same level of quirk and whimsy that Brian had early on.
IMO - Brian has also mellowed a lot in the past (ten?) years or so. The pain in the articles was real. There was passion in everything. A lot of that is user geneerated now. I can't bring myself to read each line of the UFR anymore as I have gotten married and matured. Brian probably feels the same way. He still loves it, but that initial drive is bound to lose a bit while the site grew. (See the capitulated war on Special K.)
Don't get me wrong. I love it here. It is my go to site for the whole internet for years and years and is o this day.
I, for one, actually appreciate the way the new guys try to keep up the somewhat obscure references. I like the youth infusion. Its just never going to be the same as it was in its heyday. I am fine with that. I appreciateit for still being FREE and super-informative. The best sie on the internet. Bar none.
Don't be afraid of change......
[EDIT - Woops this should have been a reply to the OP. I hate this site now. It ade me look dumb.]
I hop on the board at least once a day just in case I missed something. The writing has become 'eh' lately. I appreciate the site but I come for the board information mostly. Some front page posts are better than others. Tuesday/thursday/friday recruiting, is just a recap, nothing new. Other than breaking news and hello: posts - it's all just recycled by the writers. To each their own. /whine /cry
The community is great (obviously!)
1st and foremost, lets take it easy on the guys (Brian, Ace, Seth, etc). I've never been in the field they are but I can imagine they're working their asses off to have a FREE and detailed write up each day especially when Ace is getting arthritis in the fingers from putting a Hello post up within the hour of the commitment.
With that said, I can agree that some stuff is a bit childish and sometimes Leads me to stop reading after a title or first paragraph, BUT, I've been a member for about 5 years now and have never considered stopping. The Tuesday/Friday recruiting wraps are my favorite, and being a paid member of other sites (who shall not be named), I can tell you these round ups are twice as extensive and detailed.
In my opinion This is the best site on the internet. I read it every day and am a huge fan of all of the writers. There is probably little else in this world, that is free, that I am so greatful to have available to me. There is a lot of other web sites on the internet that I do not care for at all. I do not waste my time to complain about them.
I have one philosophy when it comes to writing
if you like it then you better put a ring on it
I know it has been a rough day coach Izzo, but I don't think you need to take it out on poor Seth. We like a little quirk with our meat and taters around here. Maybe you should give Mateen a call, you guys can have a good cry.
The reliance on memes etc can get tiresome but sometimes it's really funny too. Also the silliness usually comes out when a less serious aspect of Michigan athletics is being discussed. For instance, I still think this site has hands down the best sports writing anywhere after an emotional football win or loss. Those Monday after posts capture the raw emotion of athletic fandom better than just about anything I've ever read, and I don't think that has changed recently.
"has anyone else decreased mgoblog consumption due to the strange writing style of front page content?"
Nope. Each writer brings a different take on their pieces, but they all bring their brains.
At all. Some great front page stuff recently
You take the good with the bad. Some of the articles are in Greek to me. Some are emotionally raw and powerful. Some make me smile and laugh. And certain, amazing, passionate essays like Get Behind Me nearly move me to tears. Wouldn't trade this blog for anything.
1 part Brian
1 part Ace
1 part Seth
2 parts forum topics
5 parts blog posters
1 pinch sarcasm
Best served cold.
I may not agree with every FP post, forum OP or comment, but I wouldn't give up or trade the site or MGoCommunity for any other Michigan resource.
not evan an animated Bo corpse as your BFF? (too soon?)
Maybe a half part Heiko, at least during football season. His Opponent Watch columns are the most consistently hilarious thing here.
I'm an older reader and I miss a lot of the memes, but that's piddly compared to how much I enjoy most of the writing here. When you do something like the Oklahoma post, it is a hit or miss proposition. I find the relatively few misses easy to overlook. The hits are my favorite thing on the Internet.
Bland writing is everywhere. I come here for pizzazz. Keep it up, dudes – don't let the naysayers get under your skin!
I was lurking and reading articles well before I joined. I have to admit I use to come here for the front page but during the past couple of years the front page quality had declined somewhat Now when I first enter mgoblog, I check out mgoboard first, since it seems the latest breaking news is posted there first and then it makes it on to the front page. Another thing I noticed is that mgoboard content gets elevated to the front page more frequently than in the past. I'm sure Brian doesn't post as frequently as he use to post while he was single. I just wish Brian could find another young Tom VH!
Overall, mgoblog is still one of my favorite sites on the web and I read almost every article on the site!
If you produce the amount of content for the length of time that Brian has, some stuff is going to seem either repetitive or obscure or whatever. The majority of the stuff that he, Seth, Ace, and Heiko produce are (IMHO) substantive and interesting. But on the occasion that someone opens with a lede that I don't 'get,' I just skip it. Problem solved.
BiSB, you are speaking more out of loyalty (which is very noble), rather than practicality. I get so damn annoyed when people say if you don't like it, don't click a board post, come to mgoblog, etc.
Well, here is a simple question: what if people boycotted this blog for a week, a month, a year - like I did with FB? How would Brian feel about that? How would his family feel about that? This blog is free to us, but Brian and the consistent contributors are invested both emotionally and financially. We are his source code if you will. His market share... This you can have both ways argument is laughable. Simply, you can't. Either Brian's blog progresses or it dies, like "man" it-selves.
I like this idea! Why don't you boycott mgoblog? Like, forever. It is my sincerest conviction that this place will indeed improve by that action. Everyone else will join in. Honest, I swear. Don't bother checking to make sure though, because then the blog will continue to suck. Remember, you're doing it for Brian.
I'll put this here-
Everyone who's saying a crappy hockey team has reduced content generation- a crappy football team produced content left and right. Why isn't it the same for hockey? It wouldn't be as popular, but I don't get why the horrors (small "h") of one team produces stuff but not the other, when he seems about as passionate for both.
The interest for hockey on MGoBlog may be the lowest that it's ever been. If you look at the open threads we only have 10 or 12 people paying attention, so it becomes a chore spending an hour writing something that only a handful of people care about.
Brian is an incredibly gifted writer with a truly unique style. I think he is one of the very best writers in all of sports (I'm an English writing professor so I can claim absolute authoritative knowledge on this).
I will say that I am a pretty critical reader by habit/profession, so I was expecting to not like the new writers as much as I have. However, their voices have grown and I feel like they are usually quite good.
It is a little hard for other writers to follow Brian. As this site has grown he likely has had other responsibilities (and possible burnout). But the single best way to make any improvement starts with Brian writing more.
Writing is hard, and Brian does it really, really well (as is evidenced by the huge success of the site)
I like Brian's and the other writers' content on this site, but many people (Brian, the writers, and the posters, i.e., everyone) sometimes use atrocious grammar. You can be witty without relying on jargon, intentional poor grammar, etc. An example is the use of "this" as a sort of shorthand. The cleverness has waned, and it is definitely not proper English.
Don't change anything
So suddenly we get a deep, long, meta state-of-the-blog discussion in February. And here I am, late to the party. Some thoughts:
1. There's a big case of "meh" that is going around and I think this is a symptom of it. I don't think that this is an issue with the writing style; I've been kinda "meh" for a few weeks, but that's because it's February, the hockey team is embarrassing and unlikeable, football is long over, and the basketball team is slogging its way toward a 2-seed after a difficult stretch of losses. Nobody is going to be excited in these circumstances.
2. This bleeds into the writing. As others have said, there just isn't a lot to talk about. The basketball team is really good, but even that gets old--many of Brian's game write-ups in December and January just became exercises in creatively saying "wow, this team is really good" over and over again. They weren't bad write-ups, but what else can you say? College basketball doesn't lend itself to titanic emotional swings and catharsis like college football does until the tournament... and that's still a month away.
And basketball is Brian's third-best sport.
3. Seth is absolutely right about the impact the Alabama loss had on the season. Everything lost luster after that.
4. Writing for a blog is hard. Guys like @yostbuilt and @michiganhockey have had to follow and update a hockey season that is as bad as anything that most of us have experienced in our lifetime. The team isn't just awful--it has been mostly unlikeable. There is, finally, some improvement in recent weeks, but it has been difficult to watch. And a blogger like these guys or like Brian has to write about it and follow it whether they want to or not. The rest of us can just pay less attention.
I have a lot of admiration for the guys who write on this blog. They have to produce on a regular basis, even when they don't feel like it. I write the occasional diary and if I had more time would write more... but sometimes I just don't feel like it and it doesn't matter. Nobody needs or anticipates my stuff.
5. On a related note, those who are a bit frustrated with the content are free to write diaries themselves. Good diaries can and will be front-paged. I'm not saying this to be mean; I actually would love to see an uptick in quality diaries. There are some good ones, and I enjoy writing them, but if you ask me we've actually seen a reduction in diary quality in the last year.
A lot of that is due to BlueSeoul's career (and name) change and the subsequent disappearance of the classic Game Wraps with Pics. That's life--some people are just busy.
6. I do think there are times when guys try too hard to be creative. I've seen it in Brian occasionally, and Seth as well. It's not that creative is bad, but sometimes things are just natural and sometimes it looks like the author spent an hour and a half staring at their computer thinking "what can I do to be unique/funny/quirky." But that's the way it goes.
7. I don't think that this is a change. Check the mgohalloffame link for some of Brian's old stuff; if anything, he has gotten less quirky and more literal.
8. I love the blog and don't want it to change. One of my worries is that Brian would get burned out on it and just quit, which would be a massive, massive blow to Michigan fans everywhere. Of course, it would be his right to do so. It wouldn't surprise me if he were a bit burned out right now; hopefully a vacation and the change of seasons and the redesign will help. Of course, an exciting football season will help a lot too.
Keep up the great work, guys. Thanks for giving me stuff to read and a place to write occasionally. I am very grateful for it.
Its the writing style that keeps me coming back. Even when I disagree with the content, dammit they deliver on style.
to get less filtered impressions of the news of the day. Not being able to downvote front page posts is a serious weakness that saps the interest of the reader in becoming involved in their quality.
To have been pretty forced. On the other hand I get that there is a very fine line between witty references and trying too hard.
But like, he went to the University Oklahoma...who in their right mind wouldn't put in lines from one of the most famous musicals of all time, titled the name aforementioned University. And the other references are pretty appropos for the overall situation, not all that "far fetched" or being "forced". I know I'm trying to explain an opinion as being fact and one really can't do that, so.
kind of insiderish with vague references to events outside of my own personal experience on earth.
were to the initial "Hello Jerry" post. They were hardly vague, they were on point. Now, I certainly won't claim to remember the entire post, but I remembered enough to smile at the references, and there was a link right there in the text. Insiderish by aim, but the audience consists of "insiders".
To all those giving Seth constructive criticism, I'm sort of with you. I in generally enjoy reading him. He gets into trouble, IMO, when he tries to pack too much stuff into too little space. Whenever he takes heat in the comments, it generally reveals a sensitivity to being concise. So I guess maybe the idea is to tone down the density of some of the posts; I'd rather read a feature that's a little longer but more natural to read.
Of course, I'm a pretty awful blogger (seriously; I'll never give out my blog's address on this site), so what the heck do I know?
Holy shit balls, I finally get why this post was made. The front page post abt JM. I made my comments on that post, but I agree, this blog is coming to a paradigm shift like moment where some tough decisions will need to be made. If most read something and its so far out there where they have ask 20 questions to understand it, that will alienate a lot of people. I don't know, I am struggling with the blog. I have been an avid reader since 2007, but progress is needed.
I think the biggest issue boils down to one word: passion
Brian has not been posting as often and it's been hoops related, not hockey or football for all the reasons explained by others above.
there's no passion there for hoops b/c he's not passionate about it and it's a sport with enough sample size that stats can predict the game.
now there are other issues, like the broader reader and commenter base than when I first started reading in 2005-2006. the best part of the blog back then was the comments section (this was before the FIRST! era even: no one went after coached heads or yelled UNACCEPTABLE. Just a lot of engaging discussion on Michigan football, hockey, B10 atheltics). I mean, for fucks sake... there's so many readers we're getting nut balls who don't believe in gloabl warming and that the CDC are nothing more than 'groupthinkers.'
not to mention, he's been doing this for 8 years now. I mean, at some point you run out of new stuff to say. he's said it all. you know his opinion of conf. realmnt, coaching searches, the role of ADs, his thoughts on MSU, OSU, etc. It's like sitcoms: after a few seasons, they've done all the crap they ever thought of, so the comedy becomes topical (eg: the Simpsons). or you bring in new characters (eg: the cosby show or married w/ children).
I don't have time to read UFRs line by line anymore, and Seths stuff has grown on me (the old Misopogan stuff was tl;dr for me). i'm not into the whole twitter thing too much, but I can see the value there. the gifs? IDK what the value is there,
Basically. I get the sense that Brian would personally rather blog about soccer or even not blog at all than be expected to give basketball, a sport he's clearly not as interested in on a personal level, the kind of attention the team's current form demands. And that lack of passion shines through... you're never going to get an Eleven Swans or an Age of Tin or whatever about basketball on this site.
The blog is as informative as ever save the time Tom VH was here, but that was always obviously just a happy accident. Brian and Co. remain proponents of good sports values (oversigning is bad,sending sh*tty twitter messages to recruits is bad, winning at all costs is not the Michigan way, etc.) Everything else is small stuff. I don't get every reference or enjoy every meme (I don't even like the word "meme") or understand how BiSB can type since he's a golden retriever, but I'm less concerned with any of that than the fact that I just got bbq sauce on my underwear.
It takes a lot of balls for people to complain about the writing styles of a free (and fantastic) blog.
You don't like it? Fine. Move on. I think Brian and the gang are quite informative, solid writers and pretty damn funny. Constructive criticism is one thing. Bitching about how it doesn't fit your taste? Pointless and bordering on obtuse.
I think it's fair to throw the point out there and allow people to discuss it to try to help the blog out. If it weren't for the board, I wouldn't be here, and I don't think they'd be attracting many new readers.
To echo a poster above, I too tend to lurk and read rather than post here, but reading through this thread inspired me to reply.
In principle, what I feel is that the average post, whether front page or in the forum, has lost value. They are sometimes less interesting to read now (and I do skip some FP posts) for several reasons:
1. Overuse/over-recycling of some memes. Yes, this is the internet and therefore memes will permeate both FP posts and forum posts, and that's fine. But there is a point where they become stale and nauseating to read, especially when there seems to be a race to be the first to post them (the "this won't end well" meme is a good example of this). In this way, the posters are as much to blame as anyone for any "staleness."
2. Less drama overall (well, except for hockey, which hasn't been covered this year, but I'm admittedly much more of a football/basketball fan, so that doesn't kill me). What can you do, though? That's something we should be thankful for, of course -- but at least for me, not having drama to obsess over in the sports-sphere means that the time and content dedicated to those topics has to be averted elsewhere (in terms of MGoContent, that is) and sometimes those "alternative avenues" don't seem to be as riveting as the content past drama has produced.
3. That actually makes me think of another point that is echoing others who've posted; the routine/cycled posts and rigid posting structure can slowly wear at the value of FP posts. UVs, game summaries, and weekly recruiting posts are obviously exempt from that because those contain essential information and are always well-done (and usually don't have to be "forced"). However, for non-essential but recurring posts, it seems they have stagnated the front page a bit because the actual amount of information in them varies and tends to slightly over-reference (don't get me wrong though, I'm all for referencing!) or mis-time usage of some of them. It'd be better if the writers could post a bit more free-form because they are all different and have unique styles, but confining them to a set structure dampens that a bit and creates that forced feeling.
All that said, I love MGoBlog and will always read, and a few ideas for how to mix it up a bit came to mind, too.
I wish that Brian and co. would bring WolverineHistorian on board! I watched M sports avidly through any media source (TV, internet, a book or two) when I was in middle and high school, which, along with MGoBlog, developed my inherent M-fanhood into an obsession, and much of what I learned came from his YouTube videos both when he was WH and when he was under the handle dynoguy88. Sorry WH, I hope you don't think it's creepy that I know that -- I'm actually the poster (or one of) who followed up to ask why you'd taken old highlight videos down before you switched to WH. Anyway, WH's video content is often linked here anyways, but I'm interested to see what his journalistic skills are, too (he's a pretty good poster when he does post, so I suppose that's a start). Someone who has made so many old highlight videos must have a love and deep knowledge of M football. That's always a valuable perspective, and the fact that he's never over-the-top like some blue hairs can be is a pleasant change.
Another thing MGoBlog could do, in terms of inside information, is communicate more with the Maize Rage. I know that might sound silly, but I think it would be greatly beneficial to both parties to have a more official association with each other. MGoPosters could suggest ways to improve both the Maize Rage and possibly even the football student section because the Rage has developed a pretty good relationship with the athletic department. MGoPosters for example, could suggest signs, chants, ideas for game "stunts," anything really, and if it's a good idea, you get to see your idea on TV. On the other side of things, I know that the Rage collectively has a few people that it seems to me always have good sources for breaking info. For example, a friend of mine who is pretty dedicated to the Rage knew days in advance that Maryland and Rutgers were going to join the B1G. His connection was within the Maryland ath. dept., and while that may seem like an obscure connection or bad sample size (of one), that isn't the only time he's had the inside track on football news. He's also not the only person who has had "breaking info."
As a senior at U-M, I no longer actively participate in the non-game aspects of the Rage, but I did fresh/soph years and thus am not giving you a baseless perspective. Plus, many of the people who've been dedicated to it all four years are still good friends of mine. In any case, if there was a way to get information from them to here, I bet it would be helpful.
Or just do some mid-season score prediction or random-type prediction contests where the prize is a t-shirt, whatever who cares
Thanks for posting this. Some of the writers and contributors try to get too cute and it can be annoying. As long as the writers and contributors listen to the feedback and as long as feedback like this is allowed they will adapt and the blog will improve. I've seen cases where that's happened for the better. Although I've seen cases where the writer gets defensive instead which doesn't work.
I have been a long time reader but never posted. This topic finally compelled me to post.
MGoBlog is incredible and makes me laugh out loud besides adding to my Michigan knowledge. Brian's writing style is what makes the blog and the other writers add different viewpopints.
Keep up the good work!!
There are two things that I always liked about MGoBlog:
1) I can get all of the details about something happening in one place. The best example is Hello posts. It takes info from all 4 of the major recruiting sites, quotes about the players, and various breakdowns and puts them in one spot. You also get some things that you only see here like YMRMFRSPA that really help with trying to figure out where a player fits in.
2) I can get a Michigan fan's perspective on things happening. Writers are always biased and they try to cover it up. No one here tries to cover it up and they instead try to back up their view points. A lot of times, I agree with the argument that Brian makes and it just gives me the facts to backup the argument when I have that conversation with someone else. Example: A lady at work hated Rich Rod from the beginning. I asked her why and I had facts to dispute every claim she made about him. Eventually, it came down to her just not liking Rita, so she didn't like Rich.
Anyway, when the authors try to fit jokes into the content too much, it really masks the two main benefits of the blog for me. Many times, I feel like Brian writes as if he were speaking and it would makes sense if he were actually having a conversation with you. But, he's not; he's writing on a blog and the inflections that make the jokes make sense don't come through, so I tend to lose information.
My favorite posts in order are:
Hello Posts (and other spontaneous news items)
News conference writeups (mostly just skim for MGoQuestions)
UFR (mostly the breakdowns at the end with a few peaks at big plays)
Game Columns (check to see if my general impression of the game matched)
Recruiting Roundup (usually just read about big recruits and skip the rest)
You can see that it starts with almost pure info and works its way toward info + commentary. Anything else basically has too much wit thrown in for my tastes and I have a hard time trying to pick through it for info.
of styles. I observed this site for quite awhile before emerging from the woods. I chose this site to become a poster because I found myself here the most due to the comprehensive information available at any given moment. There is less lag for new information.
Generally, there are some pretty thought provoking minds lurking here.
I also dig your site Magnus. Keep doing the girl pix.
I admire and draw inspiration from the fact that you guys made this into a vocation.
Seth, I always enjoy your magazine as well. I built my computer too. As a guy who rebuilt a BMW transmission just because I'd always wanted to rebuild a transmission, I appreciate information freaks (as I am one).
This is an interesting discussion, but man, you guys are brutal.
As far as I'm concerned, the blog is Brian, so diluting content by Brian with content by others will always be a losing proposition. I think most of the reason that Seth is getting crap is that his style is very different than Brian's, whereas Heiko doesn't freelance much beyond straight reporting and Ace's style is close enough to the Blogfather's that I sometimes can't tell who wrote something without checking the byline. (Is that just Ace's style, or is Ace intentionally aping Brian's style? I used to think the latter, but now I can't tell.)
... for Unsolicited Advice Fest 2013 is as follows:
1) I think a great many people are conflating their feelings about Brian's writing with the results of the 2012 football season. This is a UM sports blog, and that means it's a UM Football blog. Having listened to Gary Grant, Roy Tarpley, Antoine Joubert, et al on the radio in my bedroom as a kid I'm as happy as anyone about the Great Basketball Renaissance. But the Michigan Athletics brand begins and ends with the helmet. Them's the brakes.
Getting pancaked in the season opener really took the wind out of the football season's sails. After that, Denard's performance and injuries prevented any kind of consistent momentum. It would have been one thing to see a senior Denard Robinson put a flawed team on his back and heroically carry them to an 8-5 record while shredding the individual record books in the process. Instead, we got the Notre Dame game. And the relief of breaking the losing streak to Michigan State was followed by... the Nebraska game. Feel the excitement!
2) A message for Brian. I'm just going to put this out there. If you like it, you can take it. If you don't, you can send it right back: Don't listen to one f-ing word anyone on here has to say about your writing. Not one. You created something from nothing. This entire blog sprung from your head like Athena. So in the words of Mr. Earlie Johnson, aka the Hugh Hefner of Muskegon (we all saw that column, right?), just "do what you do," man. Just do what you do.
I thought this was gonna be a shit show when I started reading the thread, but it's a testament to the quality of this community that we can have such a restpectful discussion re: constructive criticism.
Some folks above made good points that resonated with me and helped clarify my thinking on the topic. I agree that the blog has lost a little something, and agree that it has a lot to do with the combination of lack of engaging storylines/events and less Brian (both in quantity and sometimes passion). I like Seth and the others, but imho Brian is far and away the best sport blogger out there, and one of my favorite writers period. It makes sense that given the amount of creative energy that goes into his posts he might lose steam at times, or feel like he has already covered certain areas of ground or made certain jokes or analogies.
I started (obsessively) following the blog after The Horror, and Brian's wit and passion (and great taste in music) have helped me cope with the ups and downs of being an emotional Michigan fan. I echo the sentiments that I want more Brian emoting. I wonder whether taking heat for some of his opinions has made him back off from certain topics that he's passionate about (e.g., Dave Brandon's attempts to turn U of M into Special K U, concerns about Borges' inconsistency/competence). Maybe he's tired of whining, but personally I'll gladly take some more, in depth whining about the topics he's most passionate about.
And as for the other writers, even though they're not Brian I would take any of them over the writers of the other team blogs that I follow.
I love blog... I love blog.
Are you just saying you love things that you are starring at on your computer?
I love blog! I do.
No really this place will have highs and lows like anything. Brian has been cool enough to link my blog when I post on nights when the moon is full(so not that often). I will always be thankful for that and for the way he gives to the little guys that post about Michigan or Bob Knight Roats on VHS that is found on Ebay. Its Free and I like it. I would never pay for content from 24/7 or Rivals ect or read anywhere else.
My real concern(content wise, great Brian!) is when he and his Mogwife have a baby. I know my child has pretty much killed most of the little posting I did. Everyone.. Be ready for that day when Mgoblog has a baby. It will change posting... and stuff.
P.S Oh Seth I like your stuff too. Good stuff. Very good... stuff.
As a fellow dad, I can confirm this. He will love the baby more than mgoblog and even Michigan football itself. We must prevent him from procreating. The mgobaby era will be like "Oh yeah, Michigan lost the Appalachian State rematch or whatever, but it was such a nice day to take the baby to the Arb. Kittens? Kittens."
really threw me off when you said "mogwife". Now in my head i picture Brian's wife as a mogwai.
Of course, they could bypass the whole baby thing. You're allowed to do that now.
I think the information in this this thread is very valuable to the continued growth of the blog. I'd like to add my personal views as an avid reader for the past 8 years.
1. A lot more of the references go way above my head and I find myself reading less of the content because of it. No offense to Seth, but his style just click with me and I skip those posts. Recently, I've been yearning for some more Ace content. Some of his recent post game basketball write ups conveyed so much emotion and concrete info. The best stuff I've read anywhere in awhile. I'm talking Rick Reilly quality material.
2. I gain most of my "Michigan Intel" from reading the forum titles and rarely read through the threads (except for this one). I feel the arguments in the mgoboard are becoming less thoughtful and unsupported. Maybe due to the proliferation of 140 character tweets. If I want tweets, I'll check out twitter.
3. This blog gained my loyalty through the data driven arguments of UFR, Kenpom references, Mathlete, etc... Even though I consider myself a stat geek, I have trouble keeping up with the advanced metric references. I'm not suggesting dumbing down the posts but provide links, hover, or fine print reference to what the stats convey. I can imagine that if I'm having trouble keeping up, so are a lot of other people.
4. Brian's knowledge of the Michigan Football team including player strengths/ weaknesses and offensive / defensive strategy is huge competitive advantage over anything else out there. I highly regard Brian's opinions of the players and coaches and would love to see more content on how to best utilize are talent.
5. I love reading Brian's post during the football season from both an analytics and prose perspective. The UVs I've read less and less over the years since I rarely click through to the article and have trouble discerning the topic Brian is responding to.
6. Love the Hello: posts. The team does a great job of aggregating the info from across the web. In a rush, I skim the prospects other offers and read the fantastic summaries provided by the mgoteam.
Hope this is helpful and not to negative. Easily the best blog on the web and I find myself checking the site about once a day.
I posted using the new mgodroid app.
I think there are a few reasons why the blog seems to have changed, and most of them are the result of the growing popularity of the blog.
Brian does not have the time to write as much anymore because he must spend more time on the administrative aspects- security/malware issues, finances, etc.- of the blog.
The football team has returned to its baseline state: minimum 8-9 win seasons with better seasons sprinkled in. I joined because I was in the UNACCEPTABLE faction. I came to appreciate some of the points from the other side, but the strongly held emotional positions people took during the tenure of RR contributed to the strength of the blog.
Writing is very time-consuming. When I first came upon the blog, I could not believe that people would spend that much time on FREE content. I think the writers are great, but I do not read every post. Personally, I do not care much for the recruiting info except for the Hello posts, but clearly I am in a minority there. I like TomVH, but the thing about his posts were that we got the scoop on these recruits. Now, those on Twitter have usurped the scoops. I do not think that TomVH would still seem to have the same insider information were he still here. Not many criticized Heiko, but he is a good example to use. He is in the MD/PhD program at Michigan. Do you understand how difficult and time-consuming that is? He explained that he was doing research that semester, so he could carry out his MGoBlog functions. What that means is that while you were reading his press conference transcripts and banter with Borges and commenting in the drinking threads, he was in the lab doing his research to keep up. He did the Blog work because he loves Michigan football, like we all do. Few of the writers make a living at this, and none are getting rich.
I won't tell who I tend to read and who I don't, becuase it really doesn't matter. Brian is extremely talented, and could easily write for one of the "big boys." He is a hard act to "follow. When it comes to MgoBlog, Brian is Elvis (or MJ), and anyone eise who writes is the Jordanaires.
It is unrealistic to expect anyone to be Brian II. Sometimes, you resonate with someone's style. Sometimes you don't. I say, "Give them a chance to adjust and find their own writing styles."
Besides, anyone who thinks the writing is bad has plenty of opportunty to start writing diaries and show everyone how they can "do it better."
This thread is a trip!
I don't have a problem with the writing style of the front page, although my first reaction to The Muppets was, "What is this crap?" And I'm a fan of Miss Piggy under other circumstances. Anyway, Mgo.licio.us is the only section of the blog that I ignore (without good reason). I guess it's easy to forget about and not updated often. Plus, quite of few of those links end up being discussed on the board.
Personally, I would enjoy reading more interviews and general information about U-M sports (past and present), but even that's not a big deal. After all, this isn't my blog where I expect everything to be done to my liking. Dare I say it, the wiggling Kate Upton fascination by some users is far more annoying than any of the jokes that I don't get. Ladies, how about posting some candidates for a hunky male mascot of MGoBlog? Just kiddin'. That would be tacky as well.
Edit: Just wanted to add that I enjoy hearing the band play the Hawaiian War Chant and Temptation. Sorry, The Muppets just don't have the same affect on me.
What an interesting and surprisingly critical thread. I had no idea that there were so many people out there who felt entitled not just to free content or free entertaining content, but to free entertaining content that exactly matched their intellectual capacity and aesthetic tastes.
Couple of bullets:
- Those of you complaining about the Muppets are just... wrong. If you don't understand why the notion of Muppets singing Hawaiian War Chant and Temptation is simultaneously bizarre, hilarious, and evocative of the tradition of Michigan athletics (which, by the way, pretty much sums up the whole raison d'etre of MGoBlog), then I don't know what to tell you.
- The complaint that "I don't like Seth's jokes because I don't understand them so he should write easier so I can understand him" makes me figuratively insane. Is it even possible that you could be sitting at a computer (or on a smart phone) and reading something you don't understand, and then not think to LOOK IT UP ON YOUR COMPUTER OR SMART PHONE? / ~ Herm
This sums it up. The "make it easier for me to understand" crowd mystities me.
It's fair to provide some feedback of this sort once in a while. I find myself needing to do some web research now and again on certain memes and cultural references (e.g., "Game, Blouses" came up about 10 times before I Googled it to find out what the hell), but that's fine. Brian and I are around the same age and I get most of his dated allusions that many younger readers probably miss, so it balances out. His writing and analysis are brilliant, in my opinion.
The other writers are often fantastic, sometimes a little too cute (the OP probably identified a fair example of such), baseline droll, but I know what I'm getting when I come here. I have a Rivals subscription and think the two sources complement each other wonderfully. I go there for straight news and analysis like I'd get from an Uncle who's a company man. It's boring, but it's clear and insightful.
I come here because it's quirky and eccentric, and the analysis of football has improved my insider knowledge of Xs and Os by leaps and bounds the past few years. And the discussion boards here are 100x better, funnier, and full of characters I've come to know.
[edit: after re-reading this post, I decided I really like the phrase "baseline droll" and my goal is to use it in casual conversation at some point later today]
I just try to get past the fact that this site is written by a handful of faux-ironic reddit reading hipsters (have you heard the songs they put on the podcasts?) that probably don't agree with me politically, and just take it for what it is; sometimes funny, but always informative "tounge and cheekish" writing.
Sometimes their humor really gets through to me and I find myself laughing very hard (i.e., the post-game analysis of the 2011 Illinois game), and other times it falls painfully short (i.e., yesterday's Beyonce fiasco), but I will read this site all the same. What is truly great about this site is its constant on point statistcal analysis, its mostly knowledgable posters and up/down-vote system, and its great recruiting analysis, allowing me not have to ever have go to rivals or scout.
I live in Lexington, KY and have to hear about the mighty C-A-T-S CATS! CATS! CATS! all the time, which is beyond irritating. Every once in a while I read their blog site just for the sake of keeping up with the city's interests, and I must say that Mgoblog is far superior, and we should be thankful for this great, informative site. Most of the posts on their site are worthless drivell and horribly bias un-analysis written by college interns. The senior writers ar e frat-tastic douchebags on top of that. If you want to appreciate Mgoblog, please go to http://kentuckysportsradio.com and
I read MGoBlog every day. Some articles are better than others, but it is still the best source for Michigan info.
I wish Herm would've responded to this post. He is, after all, the truth. It would've saved me from reading five pages.
This site faces is the democratic and entitled mass-ownership ideals that come hand in hand with user-generated content. The blog is, by Brian's at least partial design (more or less), for Michigan Men by Michigan Men, and as the readership continues to grow and grow, so too does the belief that 'hey, we're all a part of it' and deserve to get what we want from it. It's becoming increasingly hard to satisfy the diversity of such a huge following without moving away from the niche content source that made MGoBlog emerge in the first place. So what's a shaggy blog dude to do?
In other words, dude creates blog with unique writing style and perspective. It blows up, and millions of readers descend upon dude's blog. Dude invites the readers to contribute openly and freely to make site more autonomous and interesting. Finally, dude gets criticized for the blog's original style?
Yes, not all of the writers are Brian... But it's his choice to make them official contributors, so consider them fully endorsed by the site's creator. I don't think the site has evolved as much as the readers have evolved, and not necessarily for the better. Since I started reading this site it's always baffled me why so many celebrated members and blog personalities disappear. They don't stop being Michigan fans, and more often than not they still devote the same amount of time at other destinations. So what is it then? It's the mass readership here. It changes, and it affects the overall climate, content, and quality of MGoBlog from time to time.
In other words, it's not Seth, it's you.
All you need now is a "Blockham's meet Pogo" strip.
I definitely agree with this. It's seems like there is only a handful of posters that are carrying the load of any meaningful or thought provoking content on the board these days. The in depth discussions just aren't there like they used to be. I think some of that has to do with the relatively underwhelming football season and some of it just due to laziness of the posters.
I've been lurking for a long time and was finally moved to make an account because someone ought to mention all of the stuff Seth or Misopogon contributes here. Whenever I tell people about the blog I send them his articles on last year's seniors. When I first started reading this site I was amazed that they were the only people in the fanbase trying to speak intelligently on the disaster that was Rodriguez. I fell in love with mgoblog because of Decimated Defense, not just because it was fantastic analysis that nobody else was looking at, but I loved the Titanic metaphor. I look forward every week to his "Museday" or "Hokepoints" (Note to Seth: just give up on having a name for that feature man) because he almost always finds a way to jump right into whatever I've been worrying about or thinking about.
I think Seth is getting a bad rap because while Heiko and Ace get to report from the pres box, Seth has to handl all of the shit work here. Lately he's been doing the free t-shirts thing but Dear Diary is another thing that I think brings a benefit to the blog but isn't going to be as useful as recruiting info or basketball game writeups. There are a lot of inside jokes on the boards, too many for me to keep up with, and Seth usually does a good job explaining those. He should stop posting those highlight videos. I don't know if that's a deal they have or something but I can find better on YouTube.
Each of the writers here are great at what they do. I miss TomVH and yes Ace isn't a perfect replacement because he doesn't have the relationship with the recruits, but then Ace is a better blogger than TomVH was, and I appreciate that we have a real basketball fan.
Anyway this is getting long but I just wanted to make sure somebody was thanking Seth specifically for all of the awesome work he does. I don't get all of his jokes, but the ones I do get are always on point and I like that he usually gives each post a theme. He comes across as "trying too hard" because of all the writers on mgoblog he's obviously the one trying the hardest. As other folks mentioned people need to stop whining about a guy for putting too much effort toward giving us free information, especially when the complaint basically boils down to "he's only my THIRD-favorite writer on the internet!"
I admit that naming the Tuesday thing was a conceit. It made more sense when there wasn't as much stuff by me on the front page--it's a little fear I have that people attribute anything good I do to Brian and then come down on me for not being Brian.
Sadly yes the videos are a contractual obligation.
"my perception is that the front page content has become increasingly more difficult to read with numerous bizarre allusions."
I'm 25 and have been reading this blog since the beginning of undergrad. My perception is that little is stylistically different. Brian is still busting out constant, hilarious content.
Citing one headline you don't understand as evidence of "numerous bizarre illusions"
makes me want to punch you in the face is not evidence. If you want all your content delivered as flavorless mush because you lost your tastebuds years ago then go somewhere else. If you're so intellectually lazy and devoid of humor that jokes and illusions prohibit you from understanding the article then go somewhere else.
The style of this blog is EVERYTHING and you are not allowed to groundlessly attack it. Your decreased consumption is a good thing.
"Look guys, you don't know what it's like - I'm the one out there every day putting his ass on the line. And I'm not out of order. You're out of order. The whole freakin' system is out of order. You want the truth? You want the truth? You can't HANDLE the truth. 'Cause when you reach over and put your hand into a pile of goo that was your best friend's face, you'll know what to do. Forget it, guys, it's Chinatown."
Then again, about 50% of my sense of humor is based on The Simpsons. Another 25% is based off of other movies. The other 25% is kind of a sarcastic asshole that doesn't really translate to the internet.
My point is, everyone has their own writing style, presentation style, etc. As an engineer, I've gotten some feedback that sometimes during my presentations I lean on the sarcastic joke style a little heavily, but usually I get some laughs and I don't think everything should be a dull, straight-forward go at it. But there is a time and a place, and there is a limit. I am cognizant of that fact, and I think sometimes this blog gets a little unaware of it (because it's previously been successful and is the reason this blog has gained many of its readers). I think the humor has become a bit more forced lately, the references a bit more dense, and all that. I skip over more content now than I used to. I love the UVs, I think those are well done, but some of the other stuff just isn't as straight forward as I would like to receive my information. So maybe that's why I've gotten some of the criticism I have gotten for my presentation style, and yet I haven't really changed it, because in the past it has been successful for me and it's what I'm comfortable doing.
Also, I've struggled with that when writing blogs. I try to infuse my sense of humor into my posts and I think sometimes it doesn't translate, and many more times it's just not funny. Simpsons references don't always combine when talking about football x's and o's. In the end, with my types of blog posts, I've found being straight forward is the best approach for conveying the information, but also by far the least risky and the easiest, and maybe not the most engaging or reader friendly.
So I see both sides of the issue. Yeah, I don't get some of the references made here. I do get most, but I don't necessarily find them funny and increasingly have found them a bit distracting. Frankly, most of what I read is historical fiction about WWII and what-not, and I honestly don't really like David Foster Wallace (I'm more of a Hemingway guy personally). So when those references are made, I kind of tone it out and try to figure out simply the facts. At other times I like the fact that it's a bit more intelligent, but it's all a fine line, and I think Brian and co. run just as much of a risk of running too straight-forward as they are going the other way. I hope they can bring it back a bit and get to the level I have loved in the past, but I understand the difficulty in doing that.
This post rambled a lot and isn't very coherent, but hopefully something can be taken from it.
FWIW I discussed this thread with Brian and asked for his feedback on the OP's assertion. His response below:
Brian Cook =/= Jack Nicholson.
This has been a pretty amazing thread. I'll admit - when I first saw it and opened it I was already pissed and ready to neg everyone. But then I started reading and began to realize:
1. Its tremendous that the contributors are in positions that they can actually get constructive criticism from fans/readers that plan on continuing to read rather than having to turn in a work product that is judged on its own merits (e.g. legal briefs, midterm exam responses, etc.). Readers seem to care more about the body of work which is a testiment to the roots this site has in all of us. Either way you look at it, most of us are and will likely be committed readers and you all are just looking to enhance your visits.
2. I was very pleasantly surprised at the amount of truly constructive criticism and the lack of unhelpful criticism. I should have expected it since our Board is pretty darn good (if I do say so myself) but it surprised me. It just goes to show you that we all have a vested interest in the site succeeding and that fact alone must be somewhat comforting to Brian.
I want to thank everyone in this thread who provided their honest feedback, and it is a tribute to this internet community that such a conversation can be had with civility. I can't really change who I am, how I write, or where that overlaps with Brian. We have four times the front-page content that used to be posted here in 2008. Is it better to have 1 or 2 articles per day that are all Brian, or 5 or 6 articles per day where just 3 or 4 are going to relevent to any one given reader? It's been our experience that the more content the greater the readership; obviously there's going to be some people who will read all of it, some people who are just here for a certain thing, and a lot of folks somewhere between those extremes who will have to pick through more content to find the stuff they want.
Writing on another guy's site means you're always going to be compared to him: If you stray too far from what people like about it you're not giving readers what they came for; if you come too close you're a mimic. I brought this thread to Brian's attention this morning, but he's not exactly a fountain of feedback. He doesn't think I need to change anything; I think the existence of this thread proves otherwise.
What I can do is be better about explaining references. The failure of the Montgomery post that sparked this thread was not, I believe, stylistic--love it or hate it this blog does have a voice that people come for and that isn't going to change. I've always put themes into my posts as a way of letting readers know what frame of mind to be in, and if you don't want your news about a DL coach leaving without having to think about what that could have to do with a Rogers & Hammerstein play, threre's plenty of internet out there that will leave your cortexes the hell alone.
No, the failure was you had to have remembered an article from 2011 (or found the link I originally buried half-way through the text) to get what "The Beyonce" is. I didn't explain the reference, therefore it had no value other than to be more words to get through on your way to information.
My favorite way I've seen this done is Grantland's margins but that's not feasible for us. What I've done instead is download a plugin for the abbr tag, and I will encourage the other writers here to use that as well. Brian uses these for the UFR headers already. It's basically mouseover text. Here, try it. When I make references that some people may not get, I'll try to include one of these tags so everyone's up to speed with the 'bizarre allusions'. Look for underlined text and put your mouse over it. Give us time to get used it it.
Though maybe you can take it as something you can't do because you're different people. I don't think Brian cares. Not because he doesn't give a hoot about his readers, but because he got into this doing something he liked, his way, with no one telling him what to do. Which is why he's never "sold out" to one of the "big boys." And along the way, he found out it worked. And he does things his way, because that's how he gets enjoyment out of doing it. He never intended to be all things to all people, and if that costs him some readers, so be it. It's not a project to sell more and more widgets; it's make enough that this can be a living. Expanding to a staff was a blessing and a curse to him; there was enough coming in to expand coverage into areas he didn't have time to really give detail to, but it also made it a bit more of a business, because he has salaries to support.
That's not to say some tweeks here and there can't be ideas that can be helpful. But they have to be things one believes in rather than what the masses want for it to work in this kind of situation. If one isn't behind it, it comes off as false. Yeah, even I find sometimes your posts are like reading metaphorical novels, but if that's who you are, and not something you're trying to do, then you gotta be you. (My bigger gripe on the post was that it seemed like old news by the time it was posted, and maybe should have been a "RUMOR post much earlier, with a "CONFIRMED" edit/add on later). Take as much of it to heart as you can, but don't try and follow the masses....that won't be personally satisfying, or successful.
(Besides, are you not enough like Brian, or TOO much like Brian? I can't tell from this thread....)
We aren't going to post rumors unless we've confirmed from 3 independent sources--these articles were all going off the same source. That means by the time we have 3 confirms or an official confirmation it's old news to anybody who reads places who don't hold to that standard (including places that knock "blogs" for not holding to journalistic standards). Since we don't want to be rumor pushers, we need to be able to provide something else. When it's breaking, it's probably not going to be on here first unless it's REALLY important and we start tapping Brian's sources. Otherwise wait a bit and come here for perspective.
I could do without all of the MGoJargon. You can be witty and use plain English. "Meh," "THIS," "howeva," etc. add nothing and are beaten into the ground at this point. That's not specific to the content generators (e.g., Brian, Seth, etc.); that applies to the community as well. Producing content on a regular basis is extremely difficult. Brian, Seth, and others do a terrific job at that overall. This was a good discussion to have and hope Brian et al. take the useful constructive criticism to heart, while discarding the rest.
Breathe. Adjust. Consume.