What makes a good fan post?

Everybody needs to quit fretting about Brandon.  Injuries happen, we've got good doctors and good depth.

I'd like to discuss something completely different -- what makes a good fan post?  Many times, in the comments, people will say, "This was a really good post."  Why?

I would suggest that any good fan post will have some of the following elements.  No fan post will have all of them, but to be a good one, it will have some of these elements.

  1. Factual analysis.  Taking actual facts and presenting them in a way that sheds additional light on a situation.  "Brandon Roy is the greatest, YAY!" is not factual analysis.  It's fun to say, and there is nothing wrong with saying it, but it isn't what I'm talking about here.  "Brandon's ability to penetrate and score against almost anyone provides a threat to which teams must respond, giving more opportunities for our shooters to knock down open shots."  That's factual analysis.  If you want to know what I mean, perhaps you could just read through some of jksnake99's posts.
  2. Thinking outside the box.  This is coming up with suggestions that haven't been discussed before, because they are so far removed from the way people have been thinking that it really is a new idea, but one which might have some merit.  Josh Childress' agent apparently thought outside the box, negotiating a very high salary AND an opt out for Childress each year.  Was his agent thinking about Portland's cap space for next year when he negotiated that opt out?  That question is thinking outside the box, too -- I haven't noticed anyone talking about Childress and the Blazers since he signed, but I think it is more likely now than it was before.
  3. Respect for your readers.  Don't write in a way that conveys that you think you are better, smarter, or superior in any other way to your readers.  The fact is, some of them are probably a lot smarter than you, know basketball better than you, have a better sense of humor than you, etc.  Even I, the future ruler of the world, know I'm not the smartest person in the world, though when I rule the world, it might be dangerous to claim to be smarter.  But that's off-topic (for now).
  4. Humor.  Everyone likes humor.  One of the best kinds is self-deprecating humor, where you poke fun at yourself.  You don't have to have it in a fan post, but if a fan post is a fun post, it helps. 
  5. Personality.  This is a community of real people.  A fan post that reveals a little bit of your personality is appealing, because people like to know each other to some extent.  I won't give examples because there are too many.
  6. Good grammar and spelling.  No, these aren't necessary for a good fan post, but they help.  Why?  Because the purpose of a fan post is to communicate something, and the rules of grammar and spelling, while quite arbitrary, are established to assist communication and help remove barriers to efficient communication.  When I visit the continent, I try to speak a little bit in the language of the people whose country I am visiting.  Why?  Because it is showing some respect to them by communicating in the terms that are familiar to them.  Using good grammar and spelling, to the best of one's ability, shows that same respect.
  7. Quality writing.  This is NOT the same as grammar and spelling.  This is organizing related thoughts into paragraphs (and not horribly long ones), organizing the paragraphs into an order so that there is a reasonable progression of thought through the fan post, etc.  Read Dave's writing if you want to know what I'm discussing here.  Read some of knickfan's posts.
  8. Creative writing.  This is using an unusual turn of phrase, or a creative way of expressing things.  Mortimer comes up with some classics.  Some of Dave's analogies are priceless.  Most of us just can't come up with the kind of stuff that just rolls off their fingertips, these guys have a gift.  But if you can find unusual and creative ways to express yourself, it really adds to the enjoyment of reading the fan post.
  9. A good poll.  If you can come up with a good poll related to your fan post that makes people think, and provides them with enough choices to fully express their opinion on the matter, that helps, too.  I've provided an example.
    That's my list.  I'm sure it isn't complete.  What else, to you, makes a good fan post?  If there are really good suggestions in the comments, and they turn green, I might even bestir myself to edit this and add them to the main fanpost.  If I'm not too lazy, that is, and if I like the person who wrote them enough.
    Later additions:

    A. Based on comments by 12sharks and Dave:  Stimulates conversation.  Something that will make the readers want to comment.

    B. Based on a comment by KP Corleone:  Use of effects such as numbers, bullet points, headings in bold font, etc. makes a fan post more enjoyable to read.

    C. Based on a comment by KP Corleone:  An effective title, snappy/succinct, that reasonable conveys what you are discussing.  If it is creative, all the better.

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