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Fanpop User Guide: Creating a club

Guide by harold posted over a year ago
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This section of my Fanpop User Guide describes how to create a club on Fanpop, and was last substantively edited on 4 June 2013.

Covered in this article:
Determining need
Creating a club

Determining need
So, you are a fan of some topic and want to post a bunch of links for it, right? Before you create a club for it, you need to make sure that there isn't already a club that covers that territory. Duplicate clubs get reported and may eventually be removed from the site, so this is important: always perform a thorough search for your topic before you create a new club!

Click here to review how search works in the Fanpop Us...cle

At least two searches should be conducted before you create a new club: a search for keywords for the club itself, and a search for keywords on a key link you want to add to the club. For example, if you wanted to create a spot for the punk band 'The Dead Kennedys', you should first search for the most common terms associated with the topic (in this example, it might be 'dead' 'kennedy' 'punk' 'Jello' and 'Biafra'). You'll get one of three types of results: either the list of results will show a 'Dead Kennedys' club (in which case you don't create another one), the list of results will show no clubs that match those search terms, or the site will report "we couldn't find any exact matches." If some of the search terms you entered do match material on the site, this will be followed by "Here are the results for:" and a list of results that match those terms. If you don't get any matches, is it time to create the club? The answer is NO - you do not create a new club before making sure that the content you wish to add isn't already in some other club that duplicates that content without using the same keywords you thought to use. Conduct that second search first. Say you want to add a video for "California Über Alles": search for 'california' 'Über' 'Alles' and 'Uber' (many users will not use the extended character set). It might show up in a club for "Hardcore music", and if you don't have a lot more Dead Kennedys-specific content to add, posting what you do have to the "Hardcore music" club probably works just as well.

But, if you do have a lot of content and/or the search results show that there isn't a club that adequately covers what you want to post, then create your club!

Note: before you create a new club, it is best to have the logo and banner images ready in advance. More on that below.

Creating a club
To create a club, go to the top page of the site, scroll down to the 'browse content' section and click on the link just above it labeled 'Create a New Club'. As an alternative, you can click on one of the content categories at the top (Television, Movies, Music, and so on) - it doesn't matter which one you click - and then you'll find the same 'Create a New Club' button in the upper right. Finally, you can just go to the "add club" form directly (astute users will note the mention of "spot" in that URL: "clubs" were called "spots" until late 2007). Finally, if you don't find any matches in your searches (described above), you will be presented with a form to create a new club there.

The form presents you with "Step 1: Choose Topic", followed by six fields for information on your new club.

Choose Topic: this should be the title of your club. You should make the title as specific as possible and not use acronyms. Consider: the title should have no ambiguity as to what the club is intended for, and acronyms or too-general titles cause confusion leading to content being posted to a spot inappropriately. This is VERY IMPORTANT, because the name of the club is the one thing that can never be edited after it is created. For example, here are two clubs where the creators would have done better to come up with more specific names:

* The JDM spot uses a common acronym for its name. A quick online search reveals that there are dozens of different uses for the acronym "JDM", from computer programming, database management to various church ministries. The possibilities for content related to an acronym such as "JDM" are endless, and users are completely justified in posting content relating to any of the many topics in a club with such a vague name.

* The Enigma spot uses a common word for its name, without any attempt to explain which meaning is intended. Is it intended for unanswered questions? For the musical group Enigma? The title gives no indication that it is intended for fans of World War II cryptographic machines, and so the club has become muddled with all kinds of content unrelated to what its creator originally intended.

The users who created those clubs could, with a bit more forethought, have avoided all the confusion by spelling out the acronym (the first club could have been called "Japanese Domestic Market") and adding a word for specificity (the second club could have been called "Enigma machines").

Another thing to avoid in club naming is the use of punctuation. Some types of punctuation have caused errors in the resulting clubs, so avoid using commas, semi-colons, apostrophes, quote marks and parentheses when naming your club. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't...it's better to be on the safe side and avoid them altogether.

So please name your club carefully. Again, you will not be able to change the name once it is created...ever.

Club Motto: This should be a brief sentence describing the club (it used to be called "Club Description"). The Club Motto, along with the club's logo, is the primary means you have for attracting users to your club, as the logo, title and motto are what appear as results when users perform searches. If the motto is descriptive, users will be inclined to take a look.

However, note that the motto is one of the primary ways that Fanpop searches the site. So don't get cute and write a motto that is just a funny phrase. This will be useless for people looking for your content. The motto should be a clear description of what the club's topic is. For example, a club devoted to a model should NOT have a motto like "For everybody who thinks she's great" or "Yowza!", but instead have a motto like "Everything to do with the talented supermodel Adriana Lima". Such a descriptive motto presents both the topic of the club (Adriana Lima), and explains why it might be of interest (she's an international model).

Channel selections: These are the next three fields, which represent the channels or categories into which your club will be sorted. Only the first channel selection, the 'primary channel', is required, and this will be used to determine how the breadcrumbing works for your club. Thus, to continue with our example, if you used the three pull-down menus to put the Dead Kennedys spot into the 'Arts & Culture', 'Music' and 'Society & Lifestyle' channels (in that order), the breadcrumbing would be displayed as:

fanpop home > arts & culture > dead kennedys

when perhaps you wanted

fanpop home > music > dead kennedys

instead. Whichever you list first, in the 'primary channel' field, is what will be listed in the breadcrumbing. The other two selections will cause your club to be listed under those channels, when users browse them.

Club keywords:
These are the key terms for the club that you think people will use in their searches when trying to find your club. Remember, the primary purpose of the keywords is to be found in searches, so that users can find your club.

The keywords should be separated by commas. For example, the Dead Kennedys club might have:

dead, kennedys, jello, biafra, punk, music, california

as keywords. Each club can have ten keywords maximum, so choose carefully.

Once you have filled out each of the required fields, click "submit". If any of the required fields haven't been filled out, the fields exceed the allowed length/number of characters (or allowed number of keywords, in the case of the 'Club Keywords' field), or the club name has already been used, the site will produce an error message prompting you to correct the problem and re-submit.

Once you have successfully submitted, you will get a brief confirmation screen, and then the site will automatically load your new club. Your new, blank, empty club. What next?

Logo and banner
First, you need to create a logo and banner for your club. The club logo is the square image that is rendered as an icon across the site to represent the club, whenever an update or other reference to your club is made. The banner is the long image that goes across the top of the club's page. Providing the logo and banner is important to do now, for two reasons:

1) Clubs without a logo and/or banner don't get as much traffic, since users prefer a good image to the generic fanpop images that appear on all new clubs.

2) Your newly created club is considered a pending or upcoming club as soon as it is created. Pending bears little significance to how the club appears to users (though savvy fanpop users do check the 'pending spots' list occasionally to see what's new on the site), since users can immediately join your club and/or add links and other content to your club the moment it is created. There is a complicated algorithm that determines whether a club is 'promoted' from the pending status, based on the number of fans of that club, the amount of links in the club, how many ratings there are in the club, and whether there is a logo and banner for the club. However, while having fans join your club will not immediately elevate it from the 'pending' status, it will prevent you from editing the logo and banner. This bears repeating: once other fans join your club, you can't edit the club without moderator privileges. So, as I mentioned earlier, it is best for you to have your logo and banner ready before you even create the club, so that you can load them in the often-narrow time window while you still can.

Creating the club logo and banner
For a club to be promoted from the 'pending' status, it needs to have both a logo and a banner.

The logo should be a perfectly square image of at least 100 pixels across by 100 pixels high. While you can use a smaller square image, it is not recommended, as smaller images than the minimum size get inflated to fill the minimum size, and that can lead to blocky 'pixelized' pictures. The other consideration for a logo is that it read well...by that I mean that the image should be fairly simple and should well represent the topic of the club. Users should be able to look at the icon and immediately be able to tell what the club is (or at least have a fair guess at it) without even reading the club title. A good example would be the microphone image for the Stand-up Comedy spot - it's a simple image which conveys the essence of the stand-up set-up. I won't bother pointing out bad examples, as any icon is better than the default fanpop icon which doesn't indicate anything for a club other than that you are on the fanpop web site (and hopefully we all know this). But I do encourage users to try for images that are universal rather than specific to your country (bad examples: a phone booth, a toilet, or a taxi, all of which have very different appearances in various countries). Finally, you should consider that the club's logo is used all over Fanpop, scaled to various sizes...therefore you should try to come up with an image that reads well even at a miniscule size.
For an example of what to avoid, there's this image. It may read well at 100x100, but at this size, what is it? An hostile alien? A fractal? A masterpiece of Cubism? Similarly, logos with small text should be avoided, as they are illegible at small sizes. Try to make sure that your logo is simple and represents the club topic well.

The banner is a little more difficult to create than the logo, as the minimum dimensions for that are 800 pixels wide by 100 pixels tall, an 8:1 ratio that can be difficult to accommodate with typical publicity pictures and the like. Again, you can use a larger image (which will scale down) or a smaller one (which will expand with the same pixelation problem mentioned before), as long as the dimensions remain in the 8:1 ratio.

Note: whenever you submit an image to fanpop that must be of certain dimensions (your portrait picture, pictures for picks, club logos and banners) but your image does not meet those dimensions, the site will expand and/or crop your image in new and exciting ways in order to make it fit. For example, for a club banner you could submit an image that is 400x50 pixels, and Fanpop would expand it to the 800x100 dimensions. You can use this in a pinch, but it's better to prepare your images to be the correct dimensions before you submit them...if you want the images to look good.

Because it can often be difficult to find an image in the public domain that is 800 or more pixels wide, you will probably have to use image editing software in order to combine multiple images into something that fits the 800x100 dimensions. Everyone has his/her favorite image editing software. Many people use Photoshop; myself I use GIMP.

In contrast to the concerns about the logo, the banner can be any kind of image you like (as long as it doesn't violate the Fanpop Terms of Use, of course!), directly related to the club's subject, or only indirectly related. The purpose of the banner is to provide some personalized visual interest to the club, making it unique. Ideally, that image would also serve to tell the user where he/she is, but if it is distinctive enough it can work regardless of the image's subject. It should be said, too, that the banner can be much more visually complicated than the logo, as users will likely look at the banner much longer than they do at the logo. I've seen spots for TV shows with a banner of pretty flowers shot against a blue sky. Having been to those, I would recognize where I was again just by glancing up and seeing the image, it was that distinctive.

For a more in-depth description of how to create a banner, try reading fanfly's "How to Make a Banner" article.

Once you've created the club, you add the logo and banner by clicking the "edit club" link in the upper right of the club page, in the right column just under the banner and the green "1 Fan: You're a fan!" counter. This will load a form where you can edit the motto and keywords of the spot, as well as upload forms to submit your logo and banner. Note: fanpop's site takes issue with some anti-virus/firewall combinations, causing the 'banner upload' portion of the form to disappear. If that is the case, you will have to either use a different system or manually de-activate your anti-virus/firewall software, then making sure to reactivate it as soon as the form is submitted.

Your new logo and banner should appear as soon as the page reloads.

'Seeding' the club
The last thing you do for a new club (aside from inviting your friends to check it out) is to submit some initial links and other content for the site. This works just the way it would on another club, regardless of how it was created or by whom it was created. You can submit links, videos, images, polls, write articles, start a quiz, create picks and forum threads, or even write on the wall. Each type of content you add will update the list of "recent content" of that type, linked from the top page of the site (www.fanpop.com). It used to be that the top page of the site actually promoted user content. But now, we just have the second-level listings of "Browse most recent content" (most recent videos, most recent images, most recent articles, et cetera). So, to increase the likelihood that people will find your club, you should post quality content in each of those categories.

Here's links to other parts of the guide for your quick reference:

* The Table of Contents of my Fanpop User Guide

* 1: Getting Started/the basics: ratings, fans, favorites, ...ing

* 2: Creating a spot: how to check if a spot is needed and ... is.

* 3: Links: what links are and how to add them to a spot

* 4: Picks: this is the generic name both for the poll questions that you see on the site and for the answers you can pick to that question. Papa has created a detailed guide to picks here.

* 5: How to use text formatting in your posts

* 6:
Ratings: How to rate and why ratings are important

* 7: Reporting: How to file reports and what they mean

You may also want to see:

* Dave's article on how to use the invite a friend feature

* Dave's article on how to use the profile image gallery...ure


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42 comments

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cressida said:
Great article Harold! An amazingly detailed but easily understandable discussion of spot creation -- a perfect guide.

-----

One thing I would like to warn future creators about is possible possessiveness. While we (spot creators) do have the special privilege in creating, modifying, and decorating the spot via banner, icon & keywords, it is important to recognize that once the spot has been created it has been 'released into the wild'. By this I mean that fellow Fanpop users have just as much right to add content they find appropriate to the Spot as the creator does -- possessiveness certainly is tempting but must be resisted.
posted over a year ago.
 
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harold said:
Definitely true, cressida - creating spots is a bit like having kids. You can make them, but after you do your best to shape them into something fine, you can't control them as they go out into the world. Spots are made to be shared with others, and (aside from breaches of the terms of use) you cannot prevent or really even take umbrage at any content posted by other users.
posted over a year ago.
 
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michael said:
Just a note about Fanpop search (for spots) - we do search against title, keywords, and description (not just title and keywords) when you're searching for a spot.
posted over a year ago.
 
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harold said:
And I do mention that later in the article. It's just that, in my experience, search does not always hit on words in the description, so my feeling has been that it's better to concentrate the search stuff in the title and keywords and for the description concentrate on composing it so it's interesting to people who read it. But it may be that it's a recent enhancement of search, in which case I'll correct the article. I haven't updated it since the beginning of July, after all.
posted over a year ago.
 
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Most Helpful!
posted over a year ago.
 
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cressida said:
Also, make sure the spot name doesn't have a comma in it, like: "Fresno, CA". The comma makes the code all wonky and fanpoppers will be unable to enter the spot. So either make it "Fresno", "Fresno CA" or "Fresno California" (as examples).
posted over a year ago.
 
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omg this article is great

i really needed the pixel size for the banner, thanks!
posted over a year ago.
 
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harold said:
I should point out that the staff can change the name of a spot, if you really make an error (such as putting an apostrophe in the 70s spot or misspelling an actor's name). But they're very busy; it's best to get it right the first time.
posted over a year ago.
 
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deathnote said:
wOW! if only I would have seen this earlyer....
When I was new in Fanpop, I really needed with info!
posted over a year ago.
 
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I should've given latinlover the link to this before making the Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe spot for her!
posted over a year ago.
 
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big smile
Thanks for that advice!!!!!
posted over a year ago.
 
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cool
totally helpful
THANKS
posted over a year ago.
 
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big smile
thanks helped
posted over a year ago.
 
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hmmm
justinbf1 said:
how do you make a club for ncis i checked if there was one already
posted over a year ago.
 
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harold said:
The NCIS club is here: http://www.fanpop.com/spots/ncis
posted over a year ago.
 
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big smile
megsn said:
thanks this has really helped me on my way
posted over a year ago.
 
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heart
love your article
posted over a year ago.
 
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rainy
SYDOODIE said:
um i did not read it
posted over a year ago.
 
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heart
i love sex


posted over a year ago.
 
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heart
me and my friends club is the H.T.E club
posted over a year ago.
 
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heart
Ania16 said:
Thanks you helped me make a club very easy irections to read
posted over a year ago.
 
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surprise
illovejbsooomuch u love SEX!!!!!!!!!!!!!?????????????
posted over a year ago.
 
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smile
blazeroxs said:
thnx so much for da help!
posted over a year ago.
 
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laugh
thx so much
posted over a year ago.
 
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crying
im still confused
posted over a year ago.
 
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How do you get to the top page though!
posted over a year ago.
 
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harold said:
The top page is http://www.fanpop.com. You can get there by clicking on the Fanpop logo on any page.
posted over a year ago.
 
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hmmm
this awsome i just made one
posted over a year ago.
 
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big smile
Thanks that was helpfull!
posted over a year ago.
 
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heart
THX U ROCK PS. INVADER ZIM ROCKS
posted over a year ago.
 
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heart
friend me plz plz ilu
posted over a year ago.
 
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big smile
Nice Job Harold :>
posted over a year ago.
 
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ecpjll said:
alot of hassle. not worth the effort. ever1 else can do the work ...not me.
posted over a year ago.
 
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smile
tis is rlly good advice
posted over a year ago.
 
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laugh
I'll try that... Even though I skimmed over almost everything... lol
posted over a year ago.
 
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wink
Thank you for creating this Harold. I made my club with no problem, and this was still helpful to read-up on this aforehand so that I would have the icon and banner ready & know what to expect;) Thanks again.
posted over a year ago.
 
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smirk
wolfking6 said:
That helps a lot !!!!
posted over a year ago.
 
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big smile
Oh, thank you so much! I made a club a while ago and I want to start another one but I couldn't remember how! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!
posted over a year ago.
 
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can't find the browse spots section.
posted over a year ago.
 
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crying
I cant find this anymore...
posted over a year ago.
 
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heart
I am fan number 115!... WooHoo! I saved this a long time ago and I forgot to FAN! BAD SINNA! I did now :)

GO TO: Fanpop Home page ~ Look for the green bar that says: "CREATE A CLUB"
posted 12 months ago.
 
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sad
There isn't any Create A Club icon over the browse content section for me! Please help!
posted 6 months ago.