writing style of front page content

Submitted by karpodiem on February 24th, 2013 at 7:28 PM

has anyone else decreased mgoblog consumption due to the strange writing style of front page content? Beyonce? Oklahoma? Really? Why is this necessary? And this seems to be the normal style for front page content for the last year or so.

Yes, it's February and this is traditionally a slower time of year (hey, basketball!) But in the history of my site patronage, my perception is that the front page content has become increasingly more difficult to read with numerous bizarre allusions. 

And I'm aware that posting this on the board for people who still read the site more frequently will probably generate a chilly response, but I'm ok with that. Just wondering if there are people still lurking around that feel the same way.



February 24th, 2013 at 11:24 PM ^

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.]



February 24th, 2013 at 8:21 PM ^

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).


February 24th, 2013 at 10:03 PM ^

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.

Shop Smart Sho…

February 24th, 2013 at 11:32 PM ^

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.  


February 25th, 2013 at 7:28 AM ^

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.


February 25th, 2013 at 11:19 AM ^

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).


February 24th, 2013 at 7:41 PM ^

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.  

BOX House

February 24th, 2013 at 7:51 PM ^

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.


February 24th, 2013 at 7:52 PM ^

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.


February 24th, 2013 at 8:02 PM ^

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.  


February 24th, 2013 at 8:12 PM ^

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.


February 24th, 2013 at 8:15 PM ^

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.


February 24th, 2013 at 8:52 PM ^

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.


February 24th, 2013 at 7:57 PM ^

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.


February 24th, 2013 at 7:59 PM ^

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.

Sac Fly

February 24th, 2013 at 8:25 PM ^

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.


February 24th, 2013 at 8:31 PM ^

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.


February 24th, 2013 at 7:43 PM ^

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.


February 24th, 2013 at 9:07 PM ^


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.


February 24th, 2013 at 7:41 PM ^

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!


February 24th, 2013 at 8:28 PM ^

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?


February 24th, 2013 at 8:35 PM ^

  • 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.


February 24th, 2013 at 8:39 PM ^

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.


February 24th, 2013 at 7:42 PM ^

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.


February 24th, 2013 at 7:44 PM ^

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.


February 24th, 2013 at 7:44 PM ^

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.


February 24th, 2013 at 7:50 PM ^

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.