We only received about half the responses we expected, compared to last year, so we'll repost the survey around July for the people that missed it the first time. You can still take the survey here.
I'm a big believer in transparency. I think that, if you're providing a service and rely on other people's support, then it's only fair to value the honest feedback of those you're trying to please. I created this site because I wanted to build a community of Stars fans where people could read entertaining and informative articles and debate and share stories with fellow Stars fans. We're not professionals and we're not perfect, so we rely on you guys to let us know how we're doing.
Last summer we conducted a similar survey and it really gave us a good idea of what our readers were looking for. We changed our approach this past season, added some new writers and new features, trying to do our best to provide the diversity people want. Personally, this was the most fun I've ever had since I started DBD back in 2009. It was an honor to work with Erin and Josh and all they brought to the table and we received better access to the Stars than we ever had enjoyed previously.
But we're not perfect and we're still trying to find the best path. Tomorrow, we'll introduce a new writer on the DBD team, something I'm extremely excited about. But this is about fine-tuning our coverage of the Stars and we received some tremendously good feedback from a lot of people. Many of you took the time to write out detailed and honest answers, and we appreciate that.
After the jump, I address the issues and topics that were mentioned the most often in the survey.
Statistics - This received the most mixed response of any topic or feature from last season. Many of you loved the advanced statistics articles and how they helped provide a different perspective on the sport, while some thought it was hogwash and no place on the site. Some wanted more diversified and more detailed statistical insight while others wanted it to go away entirely.
We're going to continue our advanced statistics coverage on DBD and in fact, we're looking at new ways to analyze the team with different numbers and stats. Some of you wanted more beyond the scoring chance department but you have to remember, what we did last year with scoring chances had never been done before; we were trying something very new and it turned out to be very insightful.
We will also be building a single post explaining most of the stats terms and definitions, which we'll have a link to on the front page and in each post.
More Editorials/Analysis - This was an interesting one, because I felt that were doing too many of these. I tried to keep a good balance between most of our posts and didn't want to overwhelm with our editorials, especially with the stats breakdowns. What we see now is that people want more of these, especially in order to help offset and build upon the advanced stats articles. We will certainly provide more of these in the future and more diversified subjects and topics as well.
Film Breakdowns - I never realized just how popular these posts were. Part of the reason these went away is because there was question over the legalities of such a feature; we've recently learned we have clearance to do these now. Based on the overwhelming response to this, film breakdowns will return very soon.
DBD Video Segments - I didn't think people actually liked these. Unfortunately, we had to put the video project on the backburner for a while. I just don't enough time in my day for these. We hope to get rolling again next season.
More player interaction, Interviews, inside player info, etc - This one is out of our hands. Our access to the players and the team is contingent on the Stars, as well as our availability. Because we all have day jobs, getting to Frisco for practices and to the AAC for morning skates is very tough. This is when most interviews and in-depth profiles will happen, since it's impossible to do that sort of coverage at games. We are certainly looking into how to better use our game-day access, and we're hopeful to have more insight next season.
More head to head Game Preview coverage - We are considering changing the format of the Game Previews.
More prospects/Texas Stars coverage - This was another interesting response because I felt I was doing way too much of this during the season. Every time we'd consider a prospect post we'd hesitate, especially if a few had already been published that week. However, you guys want more prospects coverage -- we are more than happy to oblige. We brought on a new writer (announcement tomorrow), who will be able to provide even more coverage of the prospects and the draft.
More Rumors & Speculation - This is going to tie into another answer later, but this is the fine line we have to walk and one we've chosen for ourselves. DBD is a "blog", but we have also gained a certain amount of integrity and respect because of our objective coverage of the team and our refusal to post baseless rumors. Sports rumors and speculation is the most popular subject in the sports online world and it is very hard for us to resist posting at times. However, we feel that posting rumors from unverified or shady sources is counter to our goal here at DBD. When the trade deadline comes around we like to dabble our toes into the speculation lake, but we also won't be posting rumors just because they're out there. It's a fine line to walk and perhaps we'll walk on that edge a bit more in the future.
Overall Negative Tone On DBD - Some people said we are far too negative and need to be more optimistic about the team. Others were upset that we are not critical enough of the team and aren't negative enough when it's warranted. We attempt to write from as objective a position as possible, when we can, and that is frustrating for some readers. Because of our attempted objectivity, we'll always be middle of the road of the extreme highs and extreme lows that each team suffers through during a season. So, at times we'll appear too negative and other times not negative enough. We are going to do our best to get into more detailed analysis next season, while still maintaining our objectivity.
Not enough humor/personal touch - This is another tough one. When trying to write objectively, inevitably the emotion in the writing will be minimized. There are times when we'll attack a subject from an informed yet emotional position, yet most times we are doing our best to ensure our points and opinions can be substantiated. This is tied to the integrity on the blog that we try to maintain. Some people said we were too "newspaper" and didn't have enough humor in our writing. We're going to try to have more "emotionally" based articles in the future, but we'll still be maintaining our stance that most opinions can be substantiated. As best as we can.
More Retrospectives/History - There will definitely be more of this. Stay tuned.
More Front Office News/Coverage - This is another fine line to walk. We can easily analyze what happens on the ice but when it comes to business and front office coverage, suddenly you enter into dangerous territory. We are going to do our best to get more access to the front office and will be working this summer to get an interview with Jim Lites as well.
Podcast Is Entertaining But Inconsistent - Sometimes, life gets in the way. We all have families and day jobs and when the Stars are playing three days out of the week -- we need a bit of a break that night as well. We are going to work harder at being more consistent with the podcast, especially after seeing just how well-liked it was from the survey. We are also going to do our best to have more special guests.
Hostility In The Comments - I don't want to spend too much time on this, but here is how I feel about it: We have community guidelines and rules that state that debating about the Stars and hockey is encouraged, no matter what your views are. Where we draw the line is on personal attacks, especially attacks related to a contrarian opinion. The other side to this is to remember that just because someone is debating with you about a specific point, and you debate back and forth for an hour, does not mean that he's attacking you personally -- nor you him (or her).
The community is growing on a daily basis and with that comes new and sometimes unpopular opinions. What tends to happen is that a community will debate and debate until everyone agrees with a certain point; a new poster arrives with a different opinion and suddenly the entire community is pointing and laughing at the "wrong" opinion. It's rare, but when it does happen people notice. Several responders stated the are hesitant to comment for fear of attack. This should be a friendly place for Stars fans, regardless of opinions.
Layout - Several of you made note about the layout and some of the features on the sidebar. I don't have any details, but expect big changes to SBN to come in the next few months. We'll have details on that later.
As always, feel free to expand on any of these points in the comments or by emailing us at the addresses listed on the left sidebar.