DTN Writing Guide And Thoughts On Visitors

There's been a ton of new folks showing up at DTN and I just wanted to clarify a couple of things.  First and foremost, thank you for continuing to make this a great community, but . . . I also wanted to take the time to make some suggestions regarding how to write FanPosts to include links, formatting, tags, etc.

I've copied the Editor Guide supplied by SB Nation in the following paragraphs and you can find more information on how to write FanPosts here.

A couple of rules that I try and live by as the proprietor of DTN:

  • Copy and Paste.  Never copy and paste an entire article.  This is bad internet mojo.  I've seen this done quite a bit on message boards but the idea behind linking to others work is that they deserve to be linked.  For example, if dedfischer writes something noteworthy on Tortilla Retort, I might blockquote a passage or two, but I would never copy and paste the entirety of his work on DTN.  He deserves your visit and I've never viewed another blog as competition, so don't worry if you link back to someone, it's totally cool.
  • Linking.  Always link back to the original article.  See above.  The original author deserves the visit.  Linking is relatively easy, see below and if you've already copied the link from the other website, you're more than half-way there to actually linking with text.
  • Use Blockquotes.  This one is easy and it's better described in the FanPost link and below, but blockquoting lets everyone know that someone else has written a passage.  I know that no one is trying to take credit for someone's  work, but by blockquoting, you are letting everyone else know that it's someone's work.
  • Leading Titles.  Personally, I do not like leading titles to FanPosts because I think the point is to get people to read what you've written (duh), but keep in mind that it's the content that will get people coming back and commenting, not the fact that the title to a FanPost may imply that "Leach Is Gone" or something like that.  Plus it usually scares the crap out of me and I don't need any further stress in my life.
  • All Caps.  It's standard internet etiquette that using All Caps in a title or in a FanPost is like yelling in real person.  I know that this seems a little silly, but it's just easier to read something when it's not in All Caps.  I realize that I'm getting picky here so I'll stop.

I also wanted to address how I view folks from other schools visiting DTN and how I hope we can all just get along.  First and foremost I've got a ton of family that are Aggies and my little brother is a Longhorn.  This is not about us vs. them.  I'm not going to ban anyone just because they're from another school.  I'm also not going to ban someone for arguing or having a different opinion either.  I've tried to allow a sense of people being able to speak their mind even if that means it's a polar opposite viewpoint to yours.  If Peter Bean from BON shows up here with a viewpoint that's well-reasoned and thoughtful I sure as hope you show him the same type of respect that I would.  Again, this is not about us vs. them.  I do believe that DTN is our little corner of the internet, but the reality of it is that because SB Nation is easy to access the various blogs it makes interaction easier and I think that's a good thing.

My only rule when you signed up is "Don't be mean".  That's all I'm asking.  Be nice to visitors and if you think someone is trolling then send me an email (doubletnation AT gmail DOT com).  Again, I can't moderate every comment, and as much as I'd like for this to be my full time job, it's not.  It's my hobby and I prefer to spend it writing about Texas Tech and not moderating absolutely everything that goes on at DTN.

1. The Creative Basics

The compose screen includes fields for your the Title and body of your entry. Since SB Nation 2.0 blogs use a narrower column on the front page, consider using the Intro Paragraph as a teaser, and extend longer posts into the Entry Body area. Many blogs and news sites have found that this makes your front page more scannable and pulls readers into the community.

You can switch between WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) and HTML editors, explained in further detail below. The auto-save function will save your progress as you compose or edit. Use the bottom row of blue buttons to manually Save your entry, to Preview the final look of the entry, and to Publish to the live site. When editing an existing entry, use Publish to push updates to the world.

2. All Sorts of Inserts

Use these toolbar buttons to insert images, videos, and files into your entry. You can upload these assets from your local machine, or pull them in from elsewhere on the web.

example button toolbar

To insert images, click the picture button on the toolbar. In the blue modal window, type or paste in a URL to an image in the field labeled 'URL', and click the 'Import' button. You may see a progress bar as your image is imported and resized. Once the window closes you'll see your image displayed at the current cursor location.

To add a link, highlight the words that you'd like linked, and click the link button. Type or paste a URL into the small popup window to create the link. Easy as cake!

Widgets are packaged objects that contain statistics, text, or special markup. Press the shuttlecock icon to add a sports data widget to your entry. To insert custom widgets, try the gear icon.

We encourage you to click around and this toolbar to try out different inserts, and check out the results. There's a lot of cool functionality for you to discover and put to use.

3. Good Formatting

example button toolbar

Use the toolbar buttons to apply and remove formatting to text you've highlighted with your cursor—you can even apply multiple styles at once. As you move your cursor around, buttons will light up to show what styles are applied. Use toolbar buttons to create lists, to indent a paragraph, or to make text bold or italicized.

When you quote from another source, press the " quotation button to use blockquote formatting. You can highlight text before hitting this button to wrap a whole passage in a blockquote.

4. Get Your Posts Connected

Use the Tags and Links fields to the right of the editor to connect your post to other entries & info within your blog, to articles elsewhere SB Nation, or to pages anywhere on the web. Attach an existing poll to your entry, or create a new one—you can even choose to share it, so other users can attach it to their own posts.

When appropriate, attach related Teams, Players, and Events to your post. You'll find that doing this promotes your FanPost on the sidebar of other posts, as well as on special event and player pages. This gives you free promotion, and makes it easy for you and your readers to connect to SB Nation's regularly updated stats.

Once an entry has been published, changes to these related fields will be reflected on the live site as soon as the post is saved (through auto-save or a click of the Save button).

5. Easy Editing

In WYSIWYG mode, the editor allows you to edit your entry as it will generally look when published. To see exactly how it will look, use the blue Preview button below.

By default, this editor will add two line breaks (a new paragraph) when you hit the Return key. Should you only want a single line break, use Shift+Return.

Markup created through either HTML or WYSIWYG view will be formatted and checked for errors once saved into the system. In some rare cases you may encounter strange behavior when switching views. Using valid markup as described in the XHTML tab will help prevent this.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Viva The Matadors' writers or editors.