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Golden State of Mind’s Most Popular of 2016: The 2016 NBA Finals, defending Stephen Curry, and the pursuit of Kevin Durant

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We look back at the top community contributions at Golden State of Mind during 2016 to celebrate the continued growth of the site.

Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

For the last few years, I’ve written an end of year “Best of” post summarizing the top posts of the year for Golden State of MInd and sharing a bit about the community’s growth as a whole.

This year, there has been plenty for our growing staff to celebrate from record-breaking traffic to increasing exposure to an improved social media presence. Yet as I was gathering that data to share with staff, it became quite obvious that the biggest success of 2016 for Golden State of Mind was the revitalization of its community areas, the FanPosts and FanShots.

The decline in content in our “community content” is something we’ve already been over numerous times so I won't bother to belabor the point again. But for those of you who are new to the site, there was a time when GSoM’s community content was the backbone of the site no matter how you quantified it -- whether judging by post frequency, traffic, or comments, that was the site. More subjectively, all of those numbers point to the community content being the reason people came to GSoM.

Long story short, we collectively brainstormed ways to build that up again and I think it’s important to acknowledge that in order to put this year’s growth in context: entering December 2016, the GSoM community had almost doubled its FanPost output compared to 2015 and more than tripled its FanShot output (site regulars can probably guess who’s largely responsible for that FanShot output, but i’ll come back to that later).

We can clearly expect even gaudier numbers once the full report for community content in 2016 comes out (usually within the first 15 days of the new year), but two things stuck out to me when I was looking at the site traffic report: the “FanPosts” main page as a whole jumped to the eighth most frequently visited page on the site in 2016 and the FanShots main page was 21st. That’s a 13 spot jump in ranking for the FanPosts page and 10 spot jump for FanShots — these sections are steadily becoming a bigger part of our community again.

Anyway, in honor of all that success, I decided to look at the best community contributions this year to give the people who put in the time to improve the community recognition for what they’ve done and to set the bar for 2017. So without further ado, the 2016 GSoM Community Superlatives, divided into FanPosts and FanShots.

FanPosts

Most comments: Looking toward the conference finals (bubbalandersIII)

To be quite honest, I was sort of surprised that any FanPost had gotten 598 comments this year and couldn’t quite remember why that happened at first. Then I realized what happened and thought this would be a good way to start our little look back on 2016.

BubbalandersIII posted this FanPost on the morning of Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals series between the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs, which was the night after the Warriors finished off the Portland Trail Blazers. Well, in need of an open thread for that night since I figured people would have interest in the game, I promoted it to the front page.

So this is a good time remind you that we’ll promote breaking news community content or open threads not related to the Warriors’ games (we have to use the internal game threads to activate certain site features) if you can get to it before we can. This happened with a few FanShots as well, but this ended up being the best example. Of course, staff discretion will come into play in terms of what gets promoted and what doesn’t (e.g. Your open thread to watch AMC’s Breaking Bad marathon probably won’t get promoted without you recruiting a few people to rec it for you, despite my agreement with you that it’s the best TV series since The Wire), but open threads about other NBA games on during Warriors off nights will always be welcomed and promoted as soon as I can get to them.

Top FanPost (traffic): How JaVale McGee can succeed on the Warriors (noeyb)

Appearing among the top 30 posts on the entire site (25,138), noeyb’s post describing why JaVale McGee could succeed this season was clearly the most veiwed FanPost of the year. And how appropriate that is for one of the more exciting developments of this season so far, even if McGee’s value is sometimes exaggerated: by keeping things simple, allowing him to use his athleticism, and relying on McGee for rim protection, McGee has indeed come into his own and arguably en route to the best year of his career. The most prescient part: “McGee can catch a few alley oops himself … If all goes well, perhaps JaVale McGee will just be entertaining and sensationalizing with no need for explanation.”

Deserving honorable mention here is ForeverFoyled’s FanPost titled “The Case for David Lee” arguing that the Warriors should have signed David Lee this past summer had the second most views of any FanPost in 2016 (19,129). If nothing else, it demonstrates just how big an impact Lee made on the franchise as the bridge from a dismal past to the success of the present and that there’s still some attachment within the fanbase no matter how much he was panned while actually on the team.

(I especially love that when you google the title of the Lee piece, it shows up first and the second result is NBA.com’s article making the case for Lee as an All-Star...you’re still an All-Star in the hearts of many in Dub Nation, David.)

Top FanPost (most recs): I will remember (Sami Higgins)

As you know, we typically promote FanPosts to the front page after 4 recs and FanShots after 3 recs. But occasionally, the recs keep coming even after someone’s post gets promoted to the front page. And in Sami’s case, she made a habit of it rather quickly.

Sami’s “I will remember” post, written not long after Steve Kerr decided that Anderson Varejao was his best option in the final quarter of a NBA Finals series, received 27 recs. At first I was hesitant to give a staff member the recognition in a post about community contributions, but then I noticed this: Sami’s first five FanPosts earned 67 recs. I just happen to think that's worthy of recognition and a good time for another reminder: if you want to join the Golden State of Mind team, building up a track record in the FanPost section and showing that you can engage the community effectively is a really good start. Makes it really hard for me to say “no”.

Yet sticking to my resolve to not to highlight staff contributions at the expense of community contributions, I have to give JLF03 props for his moving story about the time Stephen Curry called to offer his family condolences after the death of his mother in a FanPost titled, “Not the worst that could happen”. As powerful a story as it was, it would be hard to simply ignore that because it had one rec less than Sami’s post-Finals post -- 26.

To conclude this section, it was a pretty strong year for FanPosts at GSoM.

(The data for who wrote the most FanPosts is data that SB Nation will make available in the annual report released in early January, but I’m sure regulars can guess who might be on the top of that list…)

FanShots

Most comments: Warriors a serious threat to sign Kevin Durant (Critical Roach)

Remember that time when it seemed completely impossible, maybe even ridiculous, that the Warriors would sign Kevin Durant? I mean, I’m pretty sure I didn’t consider it a real possibility until maybe… July 2?

Well, as another example of how posting a somewhat newsy rumor can get you name on the front page, Critical Roach’s rumor FanShot about Durant ended up getting 761 comments. So if you come across a juicy piece of news, create a FanShot for it and watch the comments roll in.

Top FanShot (traffic): Greg Papa goes OFF on Westbrook and Barkley (BornInDaEB); Warriors have interest in Emeka Okafor (CurryUpOffense)

Maybe we should just create a separate award for BornInDaEB for prolific FanShotting, but I digress…

The second most viewed FanShot was BornInDaEB’s FanShot titled “Greg Papa goes OFF on Westbrook and Barkley” during the playoffs (18,617 views). It was a simple linke with the audio of Greg Papa responding to Russell Westbrook and Charles Barkley dissing Curry’s defense. It’s almost eight minutes of Papa going off without interruption about why Curry deserves more respect as a defender. It was impressively coherent for a rant that long and, really, it looks better now that the Warriors did end up on the right end of that 3-1 series tally.

So why am I starting there if it was just the second-most viewed FanShot?

I don't really have an explanation for this, but CurryUpOffense’s FanShot “Warriors have interest in Emeka Okafor” ended up being the most viewed post of any in the SB Nation - NBA network for a day and also ended up in among GSoM’s top posts of the year with 18,625 views, just 8 more views than the Papa rant. We never promoted it more than usual and it started drawing traffic before it ever touched the front page Pretty amazing for something that never happened huh? Again, post those rumors and news items and we’ll promote ‘em.

Top FanShot (recs): Man stuck in traffic practices his handles (BornInDaEB)

Looking back, this is probably my favorite FanShot of the year if one were to judge FanShot quality by “most likely to be the FanShot I choose to watch in a loop for eternity” (I’m trying to resist the decency bias causing me to choose the Kermit vs. Evil Kermit and Curry dropping his mouth piece FanShot instead). It earned the most recs of the year of any FanShot with 7.

This has very little to do with the Warriors and far more to do with putting your commitment to #BallIsLife to the test: would you grab a ball and take the time to work on your handles during a traffic jam or just sit in your car forever LIKE A PUNK? HOW COMMITTED ARE YOU?!?

Ahem...moving right along…

I do also want to give UnRec’able a shout out for his FanShot of Shaun Livingston practicing corner threes …because it had 6 recs...and there are still times when I see Livingston open around the arc and really wish he’d shoot it just for kicks.

Most FanShots: BornInDaEB

I don't really know the best way to put BornInDaEB’s FanShotting prowess in perspective so I’ll share two ways of thinking about it:

  1. In 2015, GSoM had 498 total FanShots; in 2016, BornInDaEB alone had more than 700 FanShots...entering Decemeber…
  2. BornInDaEB’s 700+ FanShots entering Decemebr were more than everyone else who created FanShots combined in 2016.

Need I say more?

We discussed having some kind of GSOM community awards and I think we will set up some kind of more thorough nomination/voting process for that next year, but for this year giving BornInDaEB some recognition seems appropriate.

What were your favorite FanPosts/Shots of the year? And what do you think we can do to make them an even more prominent part of our community? Let us know in the comments and will try to continue our improvement in 2017.