State of the Blog, Addressing Complaints, Etc.

Ten days after the blog upgrade and facelift, we answer a few questions and explain some features. Non-urgent and not directly related to Bayern game play.

Good evening, all. This post is only for regular readers, commentors, and participants. If you just come here to read Bayern news and analysis, and haven't had any tech problems or issues with the various changes this site has gone through over the past 2 years, awesome - feel free to ignore and come back tomorrow (we should have Bundesliga News and Notes by tomorrow night or Sunday morning).

* * * *

Hey, guys. As you regulars and semi-regulars have noticed, this site underwent an upgrade over the past couple weeks that involves a new logo, new layout and design, and some other changes. A lot of the changes are going to end up being very beneficial, but it will involve (and has involved) some short-term frustration for some people, and for that I apologize unreservedly. We're eager to take everyone's opinion into account, and I want everyone to know that your opinions really do matter, and do influence what we do with the sites (not just me, but even the higher-ups at SB Nation). The following is an attempt to address problems and maybe offer some explanations.

I guess a brief run on the memory carousel would be helpful to those who are newly on board. Here are the phases / events related to this blog and its ancestors, as best as I remember them - feel free to fill in details or provide your opinion as available:

- The Offside - Bayern Munich (Angela's Reign)

I don't have any memory of the old blog when Angela was writing it. Supposedly, she was very smart and did a good job. Does anyone who's reading now know anything about her, or what happened to her?

- The Offside - Bayern Munich (Luke's Reign)

For those who are new readers, Luke was the guy who ran the old blog before I did. He was funny as hell and knew a ton about Bayern and German football. He also picked up stories really fast - like, if you saw something related to Bayern and thought "I'll go over to The Offside and tell people about it," you'd go there and he would already have a story up about it.

In answer to a question I've been asked several times: I don't know why Luke left, and I don't know where he is now. Someone commented once, pretty recently, and said they had seen him in person and he was doing well. I hope that's true. Luke, if you're reading this, your old readers miss you.

- The Offside - Bayern Munich (Phil's Phase - Diqsus Period)

The halcyon days. This period lasted from March, 2011, until the Great Disqus Hate-in of January, 2012.

- The Offside - Bayern Munich (Phil's Phase - Non-Disqus Period)

We eventually had to change commenting systems, which opened up the comment section to spammers and bots. This was weird, because I would basically have to copy all the real comments from our crowd and paste them into the body of the post (lest they be buried in an avalanche of spam). I probably would have quit myself at this stage, except I knew we were moving towards ...

- Bavarian Football Works on SB Nation

This went from maybe March (or April?) until last week. A new site with new features. One of the annoying things is that people had to enable cookies and log in if they wanted to participate. I think we lost about 20 to 30 percent of our regular commentors due to that move and/or the new need to create an account and log in. Again, for that, I offer my sincerest apologies (though it's not like I really had a choice).

There were some real improvements made in this move, though: a better, fresher look; access to the AP-Getty photo files (which gives us professional-grade pictures from virtually every match, press conference, and event); an interface that was easier to post videos into; and a comment system that allowed real-time updating and indented conversations.

- Bavarian Football Works on SB Nation United

Where we find ourselves now. I know early last week, the site was loading very slowly and inconsistently. This has improved on laptops and desktops, and supposedly on some mobile devices. However, I know that certain mobile phones and tablets are still having trouble loading. Don't worry, you are not forsaken - the tech guys are aware of this and striving to fix it. Soon, this site should be loading faster than it ever has before, even when the front page is full of high-res pictures and videos.

Other issues people have raised:

- The old site was simple - it allowed readers to easily see what the most recent story was, as the newest ones were up top and they got older as you went down

This is essentially the way things are done, just starting beneath the top section (the one with 3 or 5 pictures on the cover). Everything below that is just a reverse-chronological roster of past stories, previews, and videos, just like the old site.

- The new fonts look weird

Font and type appearance are now uniform across all 316 SB Nation United blogs, so I can't directly change this myself. Nonetheless, if you send along a complaint or suggestion to support@sbnation.com, they might take your opinion into account. Also, not to sound dismissive, but I feel like it will feel perfectly normal after people take 2-3 weeks to get used to it.

- The FanPosts and FanShots are harder to find / are buried on the bottom corners

This, unfortunately, I can't do anything about. But if you write a particularly cool FanPost or FanShot, feel free to email me and I'll send out a tweet or link to it from a front page post. And, again, I feel like people will get used to looking down through the whole site.

- I've had trouble logging in, my account password isn't working, the front page isn't properly showing the number of new comments, or there is some other tech glitch.

As with any major upgrade and layout replacement, there will be tech problems when first unveiled. The best thing to do when something like this happens is email me at bayern.offside@yahoo.com and let me know what's going on. If it's not something I can fix, I will send it directly upstream to our tech staff, who take complaints of this nature seriously and will do whatever they can.

Otherwise, I just hope people hang around and see what we have in store for the coming months. I really appreciate everyone who reads, leaves comments, writes to our e-mail account, participates in the various pick-em contests we have (and especially Kate L for keeping track of numbers, which is huge), and otherwise takes part in the community. I don't intend to do this kind of site meta-analysis very often, because the focus should be on FC Bayern, the Bundesliga, the players, and the competitions, and not on the state of the website. But after the 3rd or 4th major change we've put you through in the past 2 years, I thought people were entitled to a bit of reassurance. As always, thanks for reading.

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