The Phinsider Guide: An A to Z look at being a part of the Phinsider

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL season starting later tonight, it's time to give everyone a look at the A to Z of being a part of the Phinsider. If you have other things that should be on the list, share them in the comments below.

A - Access - We love your comments and your insight.  No one on this site knows everything about football or the Dolphins.  Conversation and debate only happens when multiple people take part in a thread, sharing their own ideas.  To do that, you need to sign up for access to the comments.  You can do that here, getting your free SB Nation account, allowing you to set up a user name you can use on any SB Nation site.

B -Blog - Yep, that's what we are.  We are a group of fans, from myself on down to those of you who read but don't comment.  We are fans writing for fans.  We are not associated with the team (i.e., we are not The Finsiders radio show), but we try hard to bring you the best coverage of the Dolphins we can.  And we welcome your input.  Check out F for more on how to join in the discussion.

C - Cover - The cover is the area at the top of the front page of the site, with the bigger pictures and story titles.  Typically, our stories proceed through the cover and down into the "river" (the listing of stories below the cover) in reverse chronological order.  However, we also have the option of "pinning" a story into the cover or into the river.  We will usually do that for StoryStreams (which we discuss below), or major stories that we want you to see for longer than just the time it works through the cover and river.  Right now, the NFL Season Preview is pinned into the number one slot - so it doesn't move even when new stories post.  Finally, we can change the look of the cover.  Sometimes, we will have three smaller pictures in it, taking up less space.  Sometimes, we change it to the look with five stories, one big and four smaller.  We tailor the cover to what it on it at the time.

D - Dolphins - Pretty self explanatory isn't it?  This is a Dolphins blog.  We will talk all things Dolphins.  But, at the same time, the Dolphins don't play in a vacuum.  We do discuss other happenings from around the league.  Don't be surprised to see AFC East, NFL, or even non-sports posts pop up on the site.  We primarily stick to the Dolphins, but that doesn't mean we are only Dolphins.

E - Everyone - If you are reading this, you are welcome to join the site.  We try to build a community here.  No matter how you feel about something, and how much you disagree with someone, in the end, we are all Dolphins (and a few fans from other teams).  If you disagree, that's great, but debate the points of the post.  Don't ever get personal.  We want this to be your Miami Dolphins family.  And, just like your real family, you won't always get along.  But, with your family, blood and love brings you back together. Here, aqua and orange love brings you back.  Debating with someone to make them understand why you feel some way is fine.  Repeatedly bashing them or telling them how dumb they are is over the line.

F - FanPosts - See something during the game or something you want to discuss in depth from the site?  That's what the FanPosts are for.  That's your chance to write anything you want, about anything you want. There's a 75 word minimum for FanPosts, so think it out a little bit before you start writing.  But, feel free to talk about what's on your mind (keep it clean, though).  Well written FanPosts will be "FP'd" or front paged, where we slot it among our main articles, giving it better visibility and more reads.  If you have just a link to share, or something less than 75 words you want to share, check out all of the different options in the FanShots.  Something there will probably fit your needs.

G - Goo - You'll see people use the term "Goo" in comments.  That's simply meaning they like your comment.  It comes because when a comment receives enough "recs" or recommendations, they turn a kind of light green, looking like goo is on the comment.  You can rec any comment or post on the site.  There are green buttons on posts, and all you have to do is click that.  On comments, there's a "rec" link for you to click.  Three recs will "goo" the comment.  Six recs will move a FanPost into the recommended list.

H - Hat tips - You will see hat tips given out on some of the stories we write.  That simply means we found out about a story worthy news piece from someone here on the site.  Typically, someone will post a FanShot to a story we did not see.  We will hat tip to that story - but, and this is the part that gets people sometimes, we have to see the story from you.  If you post a FanShot, but we were already writing the story, or we saw it on Twitter and are trying to get more information, your hat tip may not happen, since we got the story from somewhere else, first.  It's not a hard and fast rule, but just so you know why someone got a hat tip and someone else didn't.

I - International - We have many fans here on the site that don't call the United States home.  That causes a bit of an issue every now and then, either with understanding someone who is trying to explain their point, but English is not their first (or maybe second) language.  We also have people who call Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, India, etc. home, where they use the Queen's English - not American English.  That leads to words being spelled differently.  Recognise (wow, that was hard to type without a Z) that what looks wrong to you may be how someone else was taught the language.  Read and respond to the point, not the fact that defense is spelled defence.  And, if you don't understand a point, ask.  Don't ridicule.  (Also, if you are new, or you just never did it, we have a map that lets you put your location on it so we can see how far the Phinsider reaches.  Check it out.)

J - Jets - Yep, we hate the Jets.  We all know it.  They hate us.  It's okay.  But, don't let it get out of control.  Both Jets weeks are always great times here on The Phinsider and over at our sister site Gang Green Nation.  As hard as it is to believe, most of the guys at GGN are actually pretty decent.  Don't go embarrassing yourself or The Phinsider or Dolphins fans by being stupid on their site, and don't be drawn in by trolls (Jets week or any time) here on this site.  It's not worth it.  Jets week is always the time when things get a little more volatile around here - and for good reason - but just make sure you don't take it too far.

K - Keep checking back - We try hard to keep the site up-to-date on the latest news, as well as keep the discussions going.  Check back often to see what's going on, and to see who has replied to your latest comment.

L - Live Threads - For all major events (Dolphins games, Monday Night Football, Sunday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, Playoffs Games, the Super Bowl, Free Agency, the Draft, etc.), we post live threads here on the site.  These are your chance to interact in real time with other Dolphins fans during the event.  They are usually great times, and, if you have been shy about commenting or posting elsewhere, are a great place to jump in and become a part of the community.

M - Moderators - We do have them.  And, we do control things.  While we want this to feel like a family, and we will let you post just about whatever you want, we don't allow personal attacks or inappropriate content.  If you see something before myself or one of the moderators see it, hit the flag link and let us know.  No one else sees the flag, but it will let us address the issue.  In some cases, we may do nothing.  We could get rid of the comment/post.  We could warn the person.  Or, in extreme cases, we may ban them from the site.  If you receive a warning, it's not personal.  We are not out to censor you or personally after you.  Your warning will come with an explanation from the moderator as to why you are being warned.  If you want to discuss it further, feel free to email the moderator or myself and we will be happy to reply.  However, understand that if you are not respectful in your email, we are likely not going to give your email much weight, but if you simply explain your side of the story, you will probably get a better response.

N - Nav Bar - The very top of the page has the nav bar which will take you into different portions of the site.  Hover over "Sections" or "Library" and you will be able to select a specific section, seeing just stories placed in that section, or a posting that we felt was pertinent enough to put in the library for quick reference.  If you move your mouse over the SB Nation link, the left side of the nav bar will change  to a by sport listing of all the other SB Nation blogs, giving you a quick way to jump over to another site, and see what they are discussing.

O - Online streams - There are a few legal ways to watch games on the computer.  The main way is through NFL.com's Game Rewind.  It won't be live, but you will at least be able to see the Dolphins.  You can also watch online through DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket package.  Outside the US, there are other methods that are legal.  We are fully aware that there are tons of ways to watch NFL football game online by less than legal means.  However, we do not allow links to those sites to be posted on our blog.  We also don't allow requests for those links, because that leads to people placing the link.  This is one of our strictest guidelines, so please don't try to be sneaky or think we won't notice.  We will.

P - Pictures - Pictures are worth 1,000 words.  We love pictures.  But, we also love our readers, and making sure that this is a great place for everyone.  Don't post pictures that are in poor taste.  No pornography. No violence.  GIFs are awesome, and can occasionally make a point - but they also use a lot of bandwidth.  Keep them to a minimum in comments, especially in live threads.

Q - Questions - If you have a question about the site, or about anything Dolphins, ask.  We always have a daily live thread in the FanPosts list.  We also have a nightly random live thread whenever there isn't football.  My email address and James McKinney's email address are both listed on the Masthead (there's a link on the right side of the front page in the box headed with "The Phinsider," you can hit "About" in the nav bar dropdown under "More," or you can find the Masthead link at the very bottom of any page), and you can email us at any time.  We will happily help you understand the site better, point you in the right direction if you are trying to post, or can take your question/recommendation and turn it into a full post, given if you have a Dolphins question, there are probably others wondering the same thing.  Also, you can reach me on Twitter, which is discussed below.

R - Reply - All of the comments on the site have a "Reply" link at the bottom of them.  This will let you keep a conversation all together.  Say you absolutely disagree with someone, and you want to explain your side of the debate.  You add, "No, because Mike Wallace is adding 100 receptions this year, and that will take away from Brian Hartline's productivity."  Now, if you hit the reply button, it will appear directly under the comment, "Brian Hartline is going to the Pro Bowl this season." If you don't press it, it will appear at the very bottom of all the comments in the post, and no one will know why you posted it, or what you were trying to counter.  Makes much more sense to use the reply link.

S - StoryStreams - These have been around for SB Nation team blogs for about a year now, and they are awesome additions.  These are a collection of stories about a given, developing, topic.  We use StoryStreams for Game Coverage as well as for things like injuries or other breaking news that may take some time to get all the information.  Typically, if we are using a StoryStream, we will change the cover of the site to where the story stream becomes one big picture on the left, while there are multiple stories still in reverse chronological order on the right.  StoryStreams will have an icon on them that says "Updates" with a number.  One of the nice things about StoryStreams is, not only will you be able to simply click back into it to see the most up to date headlines, but you can subscribe to a StoryStream and get notifications on Facebook whenever a new story comes in.

T - Twitter- @thephinsider.  You can always hit me up there with any questions you may have.  I try to reply as best I can (sometimes, my work won't let me, but even then, I try to go back through the tweets at the end of the day).  We also have a list of the Phinsider contributors' Twitter accounts, as well as the accounts for Dolphins players and beat writers (it's under the "Library" drop down on the nav bar).  Also, since F is already taken, you can also find the site's Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/thephinsider.

U - Up - Another link on the comments, this one goes with the reply link above.  Say a comment has three replies, but then the first of those replies starts a conversation with a dozen subsequent replies.  You are reading the second reply to the original comment, but you don't know exactly to what that reply was actually replying.  That's where the "Up" link comes in.  If you push up, it will slide the comments up to the comment that caused the reply.  Quick easy way to see why someone made that comment, keeping up with the conversation.

V - Videos - We do produce videos as well as the written content.  If you scroll down the front page about half way, you will see "The Phinsider Videos" bar.  Our latest videos that either we produce or interesting videos we want to share with you, will appear there.  You can also check out the videos we produce on our YouTube page.  Our main video is a weekly live video show we embed here on the site every Wednesday night at 9pm ET, and we discuss the past game for the Dolphins, as well as take your questions in the live thread posted with it.

W - Waiting period - Several SB Nation blogs have implemented with a 24 hour waiting period between signing up for their site and being able to comment.  This was done simply to stop spam.  We have turned on that option a few times here on The Phinsider, and will again if spam becomes a big issue.  With that in mind, we recommend you sign up for our site now, even if you don't have a comment in mind, because if you try to sign up when we've put the 24 hour delay back up, you may have to wait to put your comment on the site.  Also, we recommend you check out our Dolphins schedule by SB Nation site, and go ahead and sign up for their sites as well - just in case you want to make a comment before, during, or after the Dolphins game with that opponent.  Just remember to be respectful because you are going to another team's site - and they may allow more or less than we allow, and may use the ban option quicker than we do.

X - Control X - As in "Paste." This will bite a lot of people, causing your FanPosts to look jacked up, especially if it pastes as one giant paragraph.  None of us are professional journalists, and typos are going to be a part of your contribution.  Everyone knows that.  It's when your 1,000 word FanPost has no paragraph marks (or punctuation) that people simply won't read it and the comments will get pretty ugly.  One thing that can help is, if you write your FanPost in Microsoft Word or some other program, then paste it into the FanPost editor, use the "Paste from Word" button on the FanPost editor's toolbar.  It's a clipboard with the Word emblem on it.  This will let the HTML code understand what you are pasting and make it look a lot better.  You could have the greatest post every written, but if it just looks like one giant run on sentence, people won't read it.  Not using "Paste from Word" could be a part of the problem.

Y - You - Let's face it, you make this site what it is.  I can write all day about the Dolphins, but unless you are reading, commenting, and making this place the great community that it is, there's no Phinsider.  You, the person reading this, are the reason I get to write about the Dolphins, and I thank you for that.

Z - The "Z" Button - See that "Z" button on your keyboard.  It is the greatest invention ever.  Seriously, knowing what the Z button does will save you during any live threads on the site.  Pressing Z (when not in the editor to make a comment) will move you from the current comment to the next unread comment in the thread.  It will also mark the comment as read.  So, if you make a comment, then hit Z, it will jump you back to where ever in the thread the conversation is.  Then, if you hit it again, it might move you back to the reply your comment just got.  Awesome.

More Dolphins Coverage:

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