You might remember that here at HLS, MQ launched our own forum called The Sideline. We’ve tried to update it and freshen it up as much as possible, but the fact of the matter was that no matter what we did, we were stuck with a clunky, terrible interface that people hated. With all kinds of other great ND forum communities out there, the Sidelines turned into a ghost town.
So I made the decision to take the forums down and try to rebuild from scratch. My plans were going to result in one hell of an undertaking and I racked my brain to try to find a simple way to deliver a good forum experience.
Thankfully, I’ve been able to accomplish this without having to write or modify a single line of code!
A group reached out to us to discuss their discussion app, coincidentally enough called The Sidelines, and discussed their unique discussion platform. After a few calls with them and getting to experience their community first hand, I was sold.
The app though is so different from what we, or any other ND discussion forum, has done before. Below every HLS post and just above the Disqus comment section, you will see various elements served to us by The Sidelines. You will get internal links within HLS to check out some of our other great material; however, the true magic is what The Sidelines does to deliver discussion topics. The app will crawl every HLS post and, if they find a relevant discussion, they will display it.
For example, on our Arizona State opponent preview, they’ve served a discussion about Notre Dame’s toughest opponent for 2014 (which you will see me participating in). If they don’t find a relevant discussion, they won’t force fit topics onto our site and just continue to serve HLS links.
What we love about this is the chance to connect to an entirely different pool of not just Notre Dame fans, but college football fans in general. Further, The Sidelines works to curate and filter discussions to keep the quality as high as they can. So if someone wants to make a post saying Notre Dame sucks, they better give a good reason as to why (even if it’s completely wrong so we can educate them as good ND fans should!). The Sidelines also works on an upvote/downvote rep system to further keep the discussion quality as high as possible. This rep isn’t just a number either, high rep helps The Sidelines find their next contributors who get some pretty great rewards for rising up the ranks.
So how do you, the Loyal Reader, get involved? Simply use the the reply box. From there, all you need is a Twitter of Facebook account to sign in. Once you do that, you will start earning you rep. Impress enough people and don’t be surprised if staff from The Sidelines reaches out to contact you to join in as a contributor. So feel free to jump right in!
Of course, our Disqus commenting system will remain as well if you wish to discuss posts within just the HLS community. It’ll be at the same place it always has, at the bottom of every post.
If you have any questions about The Sidelines, don’t be afraid to ask. If I can’t find the answer, I’ll make sure to reach out to The Sidelines staff and get one.