Without stepping on anyone’s toes, I will note a process for improvement for the board and create another series of posts. I encourage others to join in.
There are several steps to quality improvement. One is to benchmark one’s self to the best of breed. OCC is a model to emulate, but there are others. Each has their own reason to emulate. Scarlett uses statistics.
One of the real features to emulate is the OCC superhuman capability of churning out posts. It is not just quantity, although OCC has an amazing record of that. The question is how to make that easier for everyone to create their own series of posts and specialties.
You don’t have to recreate the wheel.
The first step in any good research is to know what has already been written on the subject before. In research, we call this the literature review. In order to push the boundaries of knowledge, one should have a good idea of the current thinking. Yet, as folks learn, they tend to forget the efforts it took to absorb their knowledge. Worse, it is easy to assume that others have also made the same journey and have arrived at the same spot at the same time.
A good new article could be nothing more than a summary of what has already been written on a specific topic with links to the earlier articles to make them more accessible to new readers. New readers could easily see the first articles and get up to speed. A good summary also arranges the information so that one can make additional logical advances. This is called synthesis.
For example, one could pick a topic such as the O-ring theory.
Blue-eyed Devil wrote “During the 2010 training camp One.Cool.Customer wrote an article outlining several metrics by which one can predict a team's success in the regular season. The one that stood out to me and one I have written about much since that article was the O-Ring theory. “
In a comment of somebody's article that I cannot remember, I came up with an extension of the O-ring theory. I noted how we have the vicious cycle, where when we have an injury, we replace them with backups, who are slightly less talented. Thus, we tend to change the schemes to work around them, in the process taking away the strengths of the other players and the entire team further degrades. We saw this in spades this year on the Defense.
This also works in reverse as healthier players come back. I called that the virtuous cycle.
This process of search and summary is harder now with the revised board. The search functions are harder to use. I looked up this by the author and what they posted. Then, I expanded the search looking at those articles and what they linked to.
New Data Sources
New information is often a function of the data available. There have been lots of comments about PFF. A full post could be made on how to use their data appropriately and I plan to do so in another article. Yet, I want to make several quick points right now.
PFF is currently about the only source of data rating each player at each position for each game and then providing a cumulative score. Why doesn’t BTB, individually, or with SN as a whole, create its own data bank?
We have talented folks who will spend time, have the skills, and motivation to do a good job. Other teams have their own boards, so we could split up the work. If SN would decide to do so, they could recreate the data internally.
This would have several benefits. One is that folks have to pay for PFF data. Even if SN, BTB, had to charge a fee to pay folks to do the work, it might be cheaper.
Competition is good for the user. Having multiple sources would minimize one of the major complaints which is how PFF grades and in the process it would make the data more transparent and more reliable.
In research we call this process replication. Think about the opposite of small sample bias. By having multiple grading processes, we could compare the internal grades to PFF and get a better picture. Further, competition normally encourages folks to seek out better methods and that would increase their value also.
Failing to create their own data source, SN/BTB ought to investigate linking their operations with PFF to provide each other a mutual benefit. That would increase the reach of both, thought it might impose a small cost.
Creating new data
Imagine a series of 16 posts discussing each game last season. We could create a new data bank for several items in the process. By standardizing the process using the past data, we could create a new data bank for the future that would have new information.
For example, let’s consider the role of inactive players for each game. There are several reasons for a player to be inactive. One is injury.
Let’s us look at the official injury reports for each game and note who is probable, questionable and out and list them for each game. Then combine that list into a yearly cumulative list. Match who is not healthy with a PFF ranking to indicate quality and we can see how much injuries hurt this team.
Do the same with every other team and we have a HEALTH INDEX that can be used for lots of new posts. We can compare how we did to other teams.
Another reason for inactivity is the rawness of some players. Arkin is a good example. Like Free, he was another 4th round player and we knew he would be a project. We could create a development index fro each team.
Imagine another listing of every referee crew for each game. We could match a crew to the amount and type of penalties called. We complain about the replacement referees and the union crews. The NFL grades each crew to assign the best to the playoffs. Yet they keep that information internal.
We might see if a crew will call certain types of penalties more often. If this was again linked to every other team we could see if certain teams had tendencies. Anomalies might become apparent over time.
New data already available
We have the best post of the week to encourage folks to read the best. In one spot we highlight several worthy of reading. As noted earlier, just making it easy to find in one spot encourages folks to read those particular articles.
I have learned a lot in various articles. Yet, there is a world of additional information found in the comments that might get overlooked if folks only read the article. We should find a way to harvest that information to make it easier for the readers.
Let us expand that methodology of the best post of the week to have a best comments article. The quickest way to do that is to link each green highlighted comment of articles for that week. A linking and short blurb on why folks thought those comments were worthy could be both entertaining and informative.
The key to process improvement is to take the best practices of others and internalize them. The next step is to make them easy to use and standardized so that they can be repeated. This in turn will provide clues to other areas to improve.
In the comments section, I would encourage folks to describe their own areas to improve. In particular, one might list the articles that one looks forward to each year. For example, I loved reading about the players to be drafted and their productivity ratios. That would be a clue for readers to jump start the process outlined in this article.