The Hot Stove Fanpost was established at the beginning of the offseason, as it was last offseason, in order to work as a catch-all for Cardinal and other baseball related rumors that we wanted to discuss. We did this primarily so as to prevent us from having a new FanPost every time there was a rumor about a person the Cards were interested in signing or whenever someone had a trade they wanted to propose. Why do we care about all those FanPosts? First of all, it's extremely difficult to maintain any kind of cohesive discussion if you're commenting on 1 rumor in one FanPost and then you have to say the same thing in another FanPost. The primary purpose, then, of the Hot Stove FanPost is to facilitate conversation about rumors or trade ideas or suggestions. It's just very difficult to follow if they're all broken up into separate FanPosts.
The other problem w/ all those separate FanPosts is that it pushes legitimate, well-researched FanPosts down the page and, eventually off the page b/c someone wants others to comment on their idea of trading Chris Duncan for Matt Cain. We have a lot of excellent writers here at VEB, many of whom have great ideas and do considerable research and deserve better than to have their excellent FanPosts pushed off the page before many of our members have an opportunity to even read it. The bottom line is that those miscellaneous trade ideas or rumors for which there are separate FanPosts clutter up the section, so we would like to condense all those rumors to that Hot Stove catch-all.
As I said, rumors and suggestions belong in that catch-all thread. This includes rumors that we hear about on the radio or read in some column or find on mlbtraderumors. Until something happens, it's not yet news. When the Cards sign someone -- even if it's a relatively minor signing -- a new, separate FanPost is appropriate. I don't expect wyld stallyns Royce Ring FanPost to get a lot of traffic since it's a relatively minor signing but it is news. He's a new Cardinal and this development is worthy of a separate discussion from a rumor about our interest in someone else. The Brian Fuentes FanPost was appropriate b/c there had been considerable discussion, both on the main page and in the Hot Stove thread, about the rumors he might be headed our way. When he signed w/ the Angels, therefore, it was appropriate to have a separate FanPost there as well. So the general "guidelines" we should all use is that rumors and suggestions belong in the Hot Stove FanPost and news is worthy of a separate FanPost.
Some have, legitimately, commented that there are other FanPosts about rumors and people, particularly new members, may not be familiar with the way we do things at VEB. I'll take some of the blame for that. For one, I've been out of town and my access to a computer for about a week was limited to catching a 16 year old away from his XBox Live for 15 minutes. I simply was unable to patrol the FanPosts to the extent that I normally do. Additionally, as one of the administrators here, I really don't want to be the kind of administrator who's perceived to be always on people's cases. I'd simply prefer to have our discussions be about baseball and the Cardinals and not this sort of administrative stuff. I let a few slide. That's my fault. I realize that we have to do it from time to time and I understood that when I took on this responsibility so that's what I'm doing.
I'll also add that, while I have no intention of creating any sort of guideline against 3 sentence FanPosts, we can do better. I've been critical of a couple of FanPosts here b/c they provided little in the way of substance. Imagine a new FanPost that said "I think Troy Glaus is the best 3rd baseman in the NL. What do you think?" There's a lot of brainpower and baseball knowledge in this community and our members frequently put together some well-researched, cogent arguments, either in a FanPost or simply as a comment in the main thread. I'd like for that to be the standard for our FanPosts. If you want to argue about how great Troy Glaus is, I'm asking you to put together some research and explain why you think he's that great. Compare him to some of the others using data to back it up, for example. None of us have any intention of forbidding vapid FanPosts, but we're capable of doing so much more with them. Generally speaking, a FanPost should take more than 2 minutes to create. Otherwise, it's nothing more than a comment that belongs in the main thread or the Hot Stove catch-all thread.
Finally, none of us here wants to be the FanPost fascist or anything of that nature. We simply want to provide a better forum for more cohesive discussions w/o deleting every other FanPost from the screen. I hope that you'll all do your best to follow these guidelines and that, when someone doesn't, you'll handle it courteously -- w/o scolding the person. We all make mistakes from time to time and I don't intend this to become a site whose administrators dogmatically enforce their "rules." We are a community and while we'll experience some growing pains from time to time, we're better for it. Thanks for all that each of you does to make VEB the community it is.