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 2nd, 2012 at 8:39 PM ^

CIL.  Kickstart.  You have the people here who will pay for it.  I'd give the under/over on reaching $1000 about at one hour.  I'll give the first $50.  There you're 5% done.


August 2nd, 2012 at 9:02 PM ^

IMHO I would rather not use twitter as I have no account and don't want to make an account.  I'd be happy to drop $15 or $20 down to liveblog throughout the year.  I am in NY and there are no UM fans in the area that I want to watch the games with.

Zone Left

August 2nd, 2012 at 10:02 PM ^

  1. A standard open thread, which will happen if nothing else is done, will (probably) crash the site by kickoff. The site seems to struggle with high refresh rates.
  2. Twitter eliminates message board anonymity, for good and for bad...lots of responsible people won't want their Twitter account clogged with terrible things during the Alabama game.
  3. Unmoderated commenting will be really, really painful. I can't remember the number of people on those chats, but I think it's in the thousands. Unmoderated chats would be a cascading set of "DENARD!" and "UNACCEPTABLE" type comments that wouldn't really add much to the discussion and seriously clog the pipeline. I wouldn't participate in an unmoderated forum.


August 3rd, 2012 at 1:05 AM ^

I agree with all these points. I hate the flood of meaningless posts that distract from the game at hand. For this reason, restricting the posts to only a handful of the most trusted mgobloggers would be best. There has been way too much garbage that it becomes impossible to sift through it to find the good stuff.

Actually, what I would really like to hear is an audio discussion among the few mgobloggers after each quarter. I think that this would add a lot for those of us who know comparatively little about what is happening. And it would be an improvement over awful tv announcers.


August 3rd, 2012 at 8:47 AM ^

I actually think an audio discussion is a great idea, but not as open on the live blog to all the commenters. If say Brian/Ace/Heiko/Seth/etc. in some combo were watching the games and doing a live audio broadcast and were watching the live chat to take questions and provide better commentary than the actual commentators, that would be awesome.


August 2nd, 2012 at 10:24 PM ^

If a kickstarter campaign could fund projected use for a year (don't shortchange the site), I would be happy to contribute.

Isn't twitter kind of unwieldy for the sheer number of messages involved?  I see the example above, but seems like twitter loads a lot of baggage (such as retweet) on something that's been simple thoughts or questions in previous liveblogs.


August 2nd, 2012 at 10:34 PM ^

Yes to CIL, and as others stated, I would happily contribute to a kick starter campaign. Additionally, I would like to see the CIL available for basketball and other big events involving Michigan sports.


August 3rd, 2012 at 1:13 AM ^

This needs to go to a vote/tally of some sort, after reading the comments there does not seem to be a clear cut favorite option. 

My .02: I do not use livechat for games, but I feel that 10K for 1 football season alone is steep.  I realize a lot of you have stated you'd pay for it, but why not use that potential donation for something else, or give it to Brian as a bonus.

Also, I use twitter and the thought of following this chat through the twit while watching in AA or in a bar is intriguing, although it sounds like more than a few people have stated this wont work based on prior experiences. #bummed


August 3rd, 2012 at 3:56 AM ^

Gibbering rage at the very idea of the Twitter list.

If you want to raise the money to do CIL, fine, but I think that it should be considered a reasonable expense for the traffic received. If the extra 61k hits during CIL sessions doesn't pay for itself, you need to reconsider your advertising.


August 4th, 2012 at 1:16 AM ^

This might have already  been asked but if the majority of people support cover it live.  I would bet we would be willing to pay for it.  How much per year would it cost?  I personally would be happy to contribute to the cause. GO BLUE!


January 27th, 2014 at 6:59 PM ^

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