The Liveblog Conundrum

Submitted by Brian on August 2nd, 2012 at 3:17 PM


After exploring the world of available chat software I've come to a surprising conclusion: a moderated chat room is really expensive. I know. I don't know how this is the case either. Our main options are…

Cover It Live

Status quo on software. Price: suddenly massive. The 61,000 "clicks" registered by CIL last November would run us 840 dollars. If the site really needs it I guess that's something we can afford, but that money would be better spent on a dozen other things instead of moderated chat software.

Scribble Live

Different software that may or may not work as well but probably works just fine because it's moderated chat software. Pricing: slightly less massive but asking for a year commitment, which makes it still eye-blinkingly expensive. Like, the amount of money the companies want here is on the order of running the server for a year.


So… this would be slightly hacky but I'm intrigued at the idea of creating an mgotwitter that acts as the user moderation system. You tweet at it, it retweets you if you're the one of the first couple to go "WOOOOO" or "AAARRGH" or says something funny or smart. We bundle those into a twitter list and embed it on the site:

[ED: hmmm. hopefully in a fashion that, you know, works.]

[ED: This is the same stuff that's on the list on twitter itself so I assume it'll work itself out once the thing is older than a few minutes.]

This has the attractive feature of not costing multiple thousands of dollars a year for moderated chat, but does require anyone who wants to participate to have a twitter account.

On the other hand, that could actually be a benefit. People who aren't sitting at their computers could participate by following the list and we could take tweets from the stands (when they get out). We probably add the list to the mobile app as part of an as-yet fuzzy initiative to have a "live" tab on those apps. And it would be nice to have people's avatars and usernames connected to something instead of being essentially anonymous. We can keep the content of the liveblog in a permanent fashion by using Storify, and we could even add in some images/videos to help provide context for the WOOS and ARGHS. Those could be provided by the readers as well—twitter would allow the contributions on the site to be more than just text.

So… what I'm asking is if this sounds cool to the people who were Cover It Live regulars last year. It'll be a different window you type into, but I think it'll be pretty much the same otherwise.

Anyone have:

  • potential downsides
  • cool ideas not yet thought of
  • gibbering rage at the very idea?

Hit the comments.



August 3rd, 2012 at 1:04 AM ^

donate $5/game on CiL. if i am at a game, I'll eat the $5. but lower level games, the live blog is one of several windows I have open and it definitely does add to the overall home-viewing experience.

call it $50 for the year (hopefully 14 games this year) or $5 for any particular game.

hell, you can keep up with the AD and charge $6 for ND and MSU and $7 for Ohio. haha

but yeah, let us show you how much we're willing to pay for the liveblog as it is..if it works it works. if it doesnt go another route.


August 2nd, 2012 at 3:46 PM ^

Yes you can. And I know it's possible to even carry over forum logins I beleave, but that was with different forum software when I saw that done.

Might require some customer programing of the web client to fit our needs but I'm sure there are many opennsourse options out there to serve as the base


August 2nd, 2012 at 6:44 PM ^

IRC is by far the best and easiest and free-est way to accomplish this goal.

Brian: If you are interested I have access to a private IRC network that would be open to this.  WebClient already made, or you can download one of the many IRC clients for any particular OS you might run.


August 2nd, 2012 at 3:35 PM ^

Downside: requires a twitter username to take part

I like it; if it were me in your place I'd try to implement a system for logged-in users of mgoblog to enter a post in a form and the 'bot' can "re"tweet it if it's viable, appending their username.


August 2nd, 2012 at 3:35 PM ^

IRC or a Justin.TV stream.  You dont need to show the game on the JustinTV stream, you could literally show nothing, the chats work even though nothing is showing.  I guess you could just use it for updates for the games like you do now on the mgoblog chat.


August 2nd, 2012 at 5:39 PM ^

There is a free version and a pay version.  The pay is like $50, not a big deal.  Xplit isnt NEEDED, it would just be used if you wanted to have something shown on the screen next to chat.  If i remember correctly the free version just has a watermark.  It would be free for all users and only one mod would need xsplit.  All other mods could just be modded in chat.


August 2nd, 2012 at 3:35 PM ^

I like it a lot -- I often found myself torn between tweeting my Michigan observations and sending them into the liveblog. This would let me do both. 

Benoit Balls

August 2nd, 2012 at 3:41 PM ^

for a kickstarter contribution, whatever the decision may be. I live in Columbus, away from my good friends, and generally cannot watch a Michigan game with anyone other than Michigan fans, so I needs me some live blog.

I'd say "Cover it live" just because I'm not used to the others, and my lawn looks fantastic without all those damn kids getting their footprints all over it


August 2nd, 2012 at 3:41 PM ^

with the twitters.  i will be in dallas and like the idea of "WOOOO"ing and "ARGHH"ing from the stands, assuming i can get a signal...


August 2nd, 2012 at 3:42 PM ^

I actually kind of like the Twitter idea a lot. The one downside I can think of is that it'll be open to like, anyone on Twitter, so there will probably be lots of trolling and junk tweets to sort through. I never moderated one of the CIL ones last year, so I'm not sure how annoying that was to deal with, but yeah.

Also, CIL felt like a community last year and was fun to participate in. Felt like you were watching the game with a virtual group of dudes, and that was fun. The twitter thing may feel less inclusive, if that makes any sense.


August 2nd, 2012 at 3:42 PM ^

The issue of Twitter is it is detached from the username. I like being fairly anonymous on MGoBlog. Since my Twitter account is also for professional use, I don't like the idea of people connecting the dots of why I was late to that meeting (we were on commit watch, what was I supposed to do?).


August 2nd, 2012 at 3:56 PM ^

Another, kinda similar, possible issue with the Twitter method: Would my tweets towards the mgotwitter be published to my timeline? It would probably be annoying for my followers (all eight of them!) to be subjected to random comments from a chat they aren't participating in. Probably even more so for participants with an actual Twitter following.


August 2nd, 2012 at 3:44 PM ^

I'm trying Scribble Live for my Fantasy College Football Drafts on the free trial, so I can report back small scale results in a couple of weeks.

To me, I appreciate that people want a MGoBlog LiveBlog as it fosters the sense of community during game day.  I wouldn't use it, but I appreciate it.  To that end, I agree with those who have suggested a fundraiser for CiL if people are CiL inclined.

NOLA Wolverine

August 2nd, 2012 at 3:48 PM ^

Seems like the trend at the end of the season last year (well, I should say SINCE) has been to make open threads for everything. It seems like unless those get locked a lot of people will just end up in those next season. 

As far as a solution that keeps a "live blog" of sorts, I'd vote for the Twitter solution.


August 2nd, 2012 at 3:58 PM ^

as has already been mentioned, is that it is wide open and subject to trolls. You can protect your tweets, but then the only people that can see them are those that are following you, which kind of defeats the purpose of trying to do a liveblog on twitter.


That being said, twitter seems like the best option at this point. Those that don't want to mix their professional accounts with MGoBlog could just open a second twitter for MGoBlog purposes.