Guide to Posting on this Site and HTML Formatting

As requested, I’ve written up a little Guide to Posting for this forum, with tips and tricks for formatting, attractive layout, and what-not.
As the little sidebar says, I want this forum open for people to post anything that’s on their minds. Worst that could happen is no one comments on it. So please, always feel free to post anything that’s not actively illegal.

So, how does one go about posting? First off, you need an account (if you don’t already have one). To get one, e-mail the webmaster and almost invariably, he’ll send you back a username and password with a short turnaround time. You can change the password all you want (more on this later), but you’re not required to change it by any means.

Once you have an account, visit the main page. In the upper left corner, there is a login link. Click on it, and you’ll be taken to the “behind the scenes” portion of the website, run by software called Pivot.

Log on to the site with your username and password, and you should see a screen like this:

This is your Overview mode, which can be returned to at any time by clicking “Overview” in the left menu. It has the options that you’ll want the most prominently displayed: New Entry, My Settings, and Manage Media.

New Entry is where most of the tricks and tips will go, so we’ll hit that last (see below).

Under My Settings, you’ll find the ability to change your password and set up additional information about yourself which will (eventually) be accessible to others, such as e-mail address or AIM ScreenName. Important note: Your e-mail address, whenever displayed on the page, is actually created via a javascript, so most internet-sniffing spam software cannot automatically strip it off the page and spam you. Works well for me, and my e-mail is on the page like 50 times.

Manage Media allows you to see images that have been uploaded to the site, and (in theory) upload images yourself if you’ve requested permission from the admin. We’re working on it. For media that is uploaded, it can automatically generate little thumbnail images, which will factor into the tips for Entries.

So now we come to the meat and potatoes: New Entry, which should look something like this:

The Title field is pretty self-explanatory, but here’s a tip: Try to make it clear from the Title what the post is about. This website can be accessed via RSS (if you don’t know what that means, don’t sweat it), so clear and informative titles are helpful.
The Category label right underneath controls whether your post appear in the middle of the blog (default) or on the little left-hand column (linkdump).
As you can see, their are lots of little widgets and buttons above the entry areas for Introduction and Body. I don’t use them, myself, but in theory they should allow easy point-and-click ability to do things like insert links, make bold text, and all sorts of stuff like that. Try clicking on them and seeing what they do if your interests lie that way.

Tip: Try to make your Introduction two to three sentences or less, so that it doesn’t clog the main page. Ideally, try to give readers the basics of what you’re talking about, but don’t put too many details… This encourages them to click the (more) button and read your whole post, and again, keeps the main page uncluttered. If your post is simply to share a link or something, consider using the Category linkdump.

Big Tip: Use the Preview Entry button early and often– It lets you see how your post will look, and is your most powerful tool.

So, assuming you aren’t using the widget buttons, here’s HTML guides and tips:

  • To make bold text, put <b> at the front of the text you want in bold, and </b> at the end of the text to be bold.
  • Italics works the same way, but with <i> and </i>
  • To insert a link, start of with <a href=”BLANK”> with the 5 letters of blank replaced with the full address of your link, such as
    Then, put the Title you want the link to show, such as Paradoxdruid’s Rants
    Finally, end the link with </a>
    In our example, the whole thing would look like: <a href=””>Paradoxdruid’s Rants</a>
    I strongly encourage “hiding” the normal “http:” links behind descriptive titles. It makes the page look cleaner, and helps people know what to expect when they click on a link
  • Similarly, to insert an image, use <img src=”IMAGE”> with IMAGE replaced by, say
  • You can combine the two, to make an image that can be clicked on, like this example: <a href=””><img src=”></a> which would look like:
  • If you want to make a bulleted list (I love em), you start the list with <ul> (it stands for Unordered List). You then add (without hitting enter) List Items by wrapping them in <li> before the item and </li> after the item, still with no htting of enter. Finally, you use </ul> to end the list and go back to normal text.
    So a list like <ul><li>Item One&#60/li><li>Item Two</li>&#60/ul> would look like:

    • Item One
    • Item Two
  • Lastly, if you want to insert a Table, you use a similar procedure, basically making a “list” for each row. That’s beyond the scope of this lesson right now, but look here for a good cheat-sheet on all sorts of HTML stuff.

Lastly, some style guidelines:

  • Like I said above, try to avoid displaying “raw” addresses, hide them behind descriptive titles.
  • Don’t link to huge files (very large pictures or just about any sort of video or animation) without warning people
  • Try to keep the Introduction text short and meaningful, but feel free to expound for pages and pages in the Body section, should you so desire.
  • Use the Category linkdump for posts which are essentially just to share a neat link you found
  • Don’t play too much with weird text colors, sizes, or fonts. Occasional use is fine, but it can easily make the website look tacky.
  • Be aware, as always, that posting can result in negative comments (especially from complete strangers). The anonymity of the internet makes some people act like jerks, and cold text can make even friends sound like foes. The jerks aren’t worth your time, and usually a harsh sounding comment from a friend wasn’t really meant to sound that harsh.
  • Use the Preview Entry button. It is your friend
  • Enjoy! I keep this site up for everyone to use, and I hope you do. 🙂

3 Responses to “Guide to Posting on this Site and HTML Formatting”

Yeah, it’s long. But I wrote it on request! I hope someone gets use out of it. 😉

Paradoxdruid - September 16th, 2004 at 12:40 am

Tried linking to a site in a comment, but the linking got killed.

Owen - September 17th, 2004 at 10:58 am

Comments use an entirely different process. Because any joe-shmoe can post comments (not just registered users) HTML is disabled in comments, to prevent malicious code from being inserted.

If you click the little “Textile” link right above the comment field, it shows you a quick reference on how to insert links and stuff into the comments.

Paradoxdruid - September 17th, 2004 at 11:16 am

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