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Tips to Enhance Your LHH Experience: Have a laugh

<em>Everybody's learnin' a brand new dance now / Come on baby, do the P-Parenteau.</em>
Everybody's learnin' a brand new dance now / Come on baby, do the P-Parenteau.

As an Islanders fan, you exhibit an admirable resistance to pain. As a Lighthouse Hockey visitor, you exhibit questionable discretion with your office free time. This place has grown steadily in its two-plus years, so gone are the days of just WebBard and me talking to one another about how much gas Doug Weight has left in his tank. Now there's a myriad of us talking about how much gas Weight has left in his tank.

With growth comes growing pains, and it occurs to me I should apologize if I'm at times overbearing as a moderator/manager/monkey at the keyboard. I've noticed a lot of fascinating debates happen lately when I just stay out of it and let it breathe, which is an adjustment I need to make given our growth. I know you don't visit LHH for me (some might even visit despite me) but for any variety of contributors and humorists who view this game from several different perspectives.

Just know that whenever I do play moderator, it's with the goal of not losing what we have built. Which, by my definition and goal is: To have some fun while following Islanders hockey.

As many Isles fans and most LHH visitors know, if you can't have a frivolous laugh while following this club's ups and downs, you're only doubling your misery.

So with the power vested in me by the sponsor of our last three Fridays, here are 10 tips on how to better enjoy enhance your Lighthouse Hockey experience (that includes you lurkers):


10. Create a User ID.

I mention this not because I have an incentive to create more registered members (I don't; this is a hobby for me), but because having a user ID actually makes it a lot easier to find what's new on the site. If you like to read comments, or only like to read some comments, logging in gives you an immediate view of what comments and posts have been added since you last chimed in. Way before LHH began, I lurked for a year and a half at an SB Nation site without realizing this helpful little tool. Creating a User ID doesn't mean you ever have to comment, but if you get the wild hair one day, it's there. Speaking of which...

9. Comment before You FanPost.

In my heavy-handedness lately I've been hard on people who drift in, sign up, and post a FanPost before they've ever even commented on the site. If I could control it, I'd put a minimum on the number of comments you'd have to leave before being able to add a FanPost.

It's not that I don't welcome essays from out of the blue, but when no one knows anything about your perspective (because you've never shared it until now) and then you leave an abridged or rambling, poorly organized, obliviously punctuated FanPost as your first contribution, it leaves a very strange first impression: "This person is upset/passionate/drunk, cannot really write, and just had to get something off their chest without organizing it first." Unless you're Hemingway -- and unless you've commented before the regulars who might respond to your post have no way of knowing you're Hemingway -- we just have no way of knowing what you're about. So your rant might be one regulars have heard before -- from others -- and thus the initial reaction is: "Why is this newb just rehashing the same topic?" You don't want that; no one wants that.

I'm not a stickler for punctuation -- some regulars here type like their keyboard is missing a few pieces -- but the difference is they're around a lot so we have a sense of what they're about. But if you're new and jumping into FanPosts right away, you obviously feel strongly that your view should be read and respected. Why not take care to make that view as coherent as possible then?

8. Adore Frans Nielsen, or Face Consequences in the Next Life.

That one's pretty self-explanatory. Jeez. But there are others:

  • Don't ask WebBard a question about anything between 1993-2006 unless you are prepared for the answer to segue into a Milbury exorcism.
  • Don't ask JPinVA a question you're not prepared to have answered in list form, with one item being Sean Bergenheim.
  • Don't ask TMC her true thoughts on Sean Avery or Henrik Lundqvist because the answer might unsettle you.
  • Ask David Hanssen a question, just know that the answer might be in Biblical Greek.
  • Ask me a question if you want a hedged, ambiguous answer that tries to find 15 sides to a simple query like "Do you like chocolate -- Yes or no?" and probably will only stop once it ends up back at how quietly good Frans Nielsen is. Actually, wait, that might not be right. I can see another side to that one; let me think about it...
  • Don't take any personal mentions or omissions by me "personally." All in good fun. Just glad to be here. Take it one game at a time, and God willing...

7. Have a Sense of Humor.

See #8. Humor is a matter of taste, and humor in an online forum via text communication can be hard. Nuances slip through the cracks. My biggest mistakes are when I completely misinterpret someone. Suffice to say sports are entertainment, a forum like this is a diversion to banter about said entertainment, so might as well seize it to entertain ourselves. Sometimes jokes fall flat. Sometimes they offend. Some days we take ourselves or the team too seriously.

Point is, this game and this site works better when you can find levity.

6. Rec Comments, Rec FanPosts: Rec Rec Rec!

A good way for this community to give itself (silent) feedback is to use the "Rec" button at the bottom of posts and under "actions" in each comment. Enough rec's promotes a FanPost on the right margin (there are five recommended ones over there as I write this) and keeps it up on the front page for longer than it otherwise would. Enough rec's of a comment in any single thread gives that comment the esteemed "turn it green!" status. Like this well-researched comment by mikb.

5. Post Photos with Concern for Your Fellow Reader

Most images here make me laugh, personally, but just to be clear we don't want any photos that would get you (or me. Especially me.) arrested. Dodgy ones, you might put a NSFW label on (Not Safe For Work). Most importantly, if you're posting a photo in a comment thread, do three things:

  • 1) Enter a subject line in your comment (this allows people to collapse the comment if they don't want to see it or your photo slows their load time down. This is a courtesy to your fellow readers).
  • 2) Control the size of your photo. You can do this by inserting "height=175" in between img and source in your photo link. You don't have to choose 175, but generally 150-250 gets the point across (depending on the image) without filling up the whole screen.
  • 3) PREVIEW! You should preview most detailed comments anyway, but especially when trying to post a pic or link. As we all know, SBN gremlins can get you when you least expect it.

4. Oppose One-Piece Composite Sticks

Not to go all Howie on you, but they break, they break, they break. At the stupidest times. How often does the extra 1-2 mph (alleged) on a shot really make it worth seeing them break at critical moments in every. single. game.? You know those things are a net loss when Frans Nielsen is breaking them on his not-exactly-hurricane-force one-timer.

Thus concludes the What Really Grinds My Gears portion of this post. Carry on.

3. Do You Do the Twitter?

If you are on Facebook or Twitter, you can find this site's barely inspired presence on both. Follow us on Twitter at @LHHockey. You can also like-like-like our Facebook page. That's how the youngfolk do it these days. As for me, why used to be people wrote letters, and put stamps on them, with wax seals. Why, used to be the Mail Express train ran every day and could have your memorandum delivered from New York to Lynchburg by the next afternoon! So, that's all I'm gonna say about that whole deal there.

2. Share Your Links in FanShots and Such

There is a full guide to FanShots and FanPosts here. But my main point is that if you see interesting news, videos, quotes, or pictures, you can post them for the rest of us via FanShot. FanShots have different tabs at the top for what works best. Play around with it; if you messed up, you can edit your FanShot. (i.e. Don't just post a duplicate with your corrections.) And remember: The more context you provide, the more likely people are to see and respond.

1. Stick Around.

One day, some day, our luck will change. I almost promise. Then these days of rebuild pain and losing streak misery will all be worth it. Maybe.