Newsies Team: Style Guide

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Newsies Team

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Facilitator: FltAdml. Wolf



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To ensure that all of our posts appear uniform, and of high quality, this style guide will show you the best practices of posting on the site.

Fonts and formats

If you copy and paste text into a post, WordPress will keep whatever font the original source text had. You need to be careful with this, because sometimes you might be copying from a text that looks much different than the font we have on our site.

To avoid this issue, you can use a "text editor pit stop." First, copy text from the source. Next, open Windows "Notepad" (it's important that you use this specific program) and paste the text there. You'll notice that the text appears entirely plain in Notepad. Now, select the text and copy it again. Subsequently, you can paste it into the WordPress post box. This effectively "washes" the text of any extra formats so that all of our posts appear uniform.

Alternatively, on the post editor tool-bar, you can click the last square icon (it says "Show/Hide Kitchen Sink" if you hover over it) to open other editing buttons. Then, click on the eraser button after you've selected text to remove any formatting.

Stripping formats and styling on Mac

If you're using a Mac, follow these instructions:

  1. Highlight the text and hit Control+K to ‘cut’ without formatting (rather than command+c)
  2. Paste in the desired location with Control+Y (rather than command+v)

Grammar and spelling

Bottom line: we won't post anything on our site that has very bad spelling or grammar, so please make every effort to clean it before posting on the site. The better the quality of our writing, the more people will respect us.

If you don't already, you should use a modern browser like Firefox, Chrome, or Safari, all of which provide a built-in spell-check feature, which will underline any misspelled words automatically in a text editing box on your browser.

If this isn't an option for you, copy and paste your text into Microsoft Word (or similar program) and run a spell-check. It will provide full grammar suggestions, as well.

ONE space, not two

The Chicago Manual of Style, among others agree: only one space after a period, not two.

News style, not simming style

See also: Easy interviews

Especially with In Character interviews, there's a tendency to want to sim it out in the news post. But our news is different than a joint point, and simming doesn't come across the same way. That's why it's important to use a more newsy style instead of a simming style. Avoid ::action tags:: and descriptions in favor of an editorial-style introduction and then simple question-and-response.

Post length

If you take a look community news index, you'll notice that most of the posts are about a paragraph in length. This doesn't mean that everything we post on the news has to only be a paragraph, but that we don't want posts on the index to be excessively long, because they push other content down the page.

If you're writing a post that's more than a paragraph or so in length, you'll want to break it up. Here's a video explaining how to use the "more" tag to split up your posts into two parts:

HOWEVER: that video mentions the "excerpt" box. Please disregard that info - our website theme does not support excerpts.

Make your intro enticing!

Don't just slap a "more" tag into your post after the first paragraph. Remember, we're writing for an audience here, and we want to entice our readers to actually continue reading the rest of the post, right? So, make sure when you're create that part of the post that will go on the main index (before the "more" tag) that it actually provides a "hook" or something to get the reader interested!

Prefer linking over duplicating content

We don't want to duplicate content that's already on our website. So, for example, if you wanted to do a profile on a species that's on the ILI, you wouldn't just copy/paste the content from the wiki onto WordPress. Instead, create a news item and link to the profile. Give people a compelling reason to read more by providing an interesting introduction to the species, and anything in particular that readers might want to learn more about. Then, provide a link to that page.

Don't credit yourself

If you've set up your account the right way, your name will appear at the bottom of the post when it's published. There's no need to include a Byline, as WordPress effectively takes care of this for you.

However, in your profile (accessed by clicking on your user name at the top of the page in WordPress) you can add a link to your forum or wiki profile to give people more information about yourself, if you'd like.

Categories and tags

Every post must have ONE, and ONLY ONE category. Choose the category that's most appropriately. If this is your first time scheduling a post, you may want to read them all first, to make sure you're selecting the appropriate one.

Tags

Tags are not required. DO NOT duplicate the category name in the tag. Tags are useful for finding content which pertains to particular topics quickly. For example, if you're writing an interview with FltAdml. Wolf, you'd want to tag the post "Tristan Wolf", so that we can find all posts about FltAdml. Wolf. If you're writing a simple event update (Writing Challenge reminder, monthly chat, etc.) don't bother putting in a tag.

See also

Using sub-headings

If you've opened the extra editor options (ALT+SHIFT+Z in the post editor), you'll see the a drop-down box on the tool-bar which allows you to use sub-headings like "Heading 1" through "Heading 4". If you need to use sub-headings in your text, default to Heading 4. If you need two levels of sub-headings, use Heading 3 and Heading 4.

Also, don't put a sub-heading at the very top of your article. You'll notice that WordPress automatically uses the Title of the post as the subject line at the top of each article. If you use a new sub-heading directly below without any intro text, it will appear strange.

Whenever you're using sub-headings, be sure there's text under it before you use your next sub-heading. Never have two sub-headings together.

i.e.-

  • Sub-heading 1
    • Intro to this section.
  • Sub-heading 2
    • Text

Using media

Every post should have an image. Use the instructional video above to learn more about how to insert a post, and then use the following settings:

  • When it’s time to choose an image, try google images or any image search you prefer and find an image that is at least 710 pixels wide. If it is close, resize it so that it is at least this wide.
  • Scroll down towards the bottom of the posting page and on the right you will see “Featured Image”. Previously we did NOT use this, but now this is how we have to do the post images.
  • Click on “Featured Image” and upload your chosen image.
  • Choose a descriptive name
  • Give credit to where you got the image in the description field. (IE: “Img Cr: siteyougottheimage.com)
  • Preview the post to make sure it looks right
  • Then submit it for review.

Normal columns, such as top sims, writing challenge, the Writer’s Workshop, and others we need on a regular basis already have these images uploaded and you just need to click the featured image link and find them. Make sure the one you use is the big one (710+ pixels wide). Regarding Google Images: Finding bigger images isn’t difficult if you are familiar with Google Images (or Bing/Yahoo image searches). Most of the time, if you simply type what you are looking for in the search box, images that are fairly relevant will pop up. For example, if you are looking for an image for an article about the Fleetwide chat, searching for “Star Trek chat” may allow you to find the perfect pictures. Just give it a try by starting here: https://www.google.com/imghp?hl=en&tab=wi

When you mouse over an image in this kind of search, it will tell you the dimensions. Remember you are looking for larger images, that are at least 710 pixels wide. Once you find one, click on it, then click on ‘view original image’ to get the larger version to save to your computer. It is this image you’ll then upload to wordpress and set as the featured image.

You can also use images found from a few other places, like http://www.trekcore.com and various wallpaper sites.

When uploading images to the site:

  • link: do not include a link at all, unless the image is from another site. In that case, include a link to exactly where you found it.
  • name: use a descriptive name.
    • if you found the image on another site, INCLUDE THE SITE NAME, like so: "Nebula, from NASA.gov."