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August 04, 2007

Open Blog Weekend

I've had this idea for a year. Figure I'll finally do it.

Open Blog weekend. Not open thread. Open blog. You post.

Anyone interested send me an email; I'll send you the login and password (just one for the all the open bloggers to share). Make sure you tell me your screenname. Only people I've known as commenters or tipsters will be allowed; not trying to discriminate against newer people or lurkers, but obviously I don't want JimBimbo and erg blogging here. Addition: If you've never tipped, written, or commented, but have donated, you can blog too. Not because you were nice enough to give me jack (though I appreciate that); just because I know if you've sent me money in the past you are not erg and not JimBimbo. If this is your proof of non-erg-ness, just let me know which email you donated under.


And when you post, make sure you put your name, between square-brackets, at the end of the headline, so everyone can give you proper credit or blame, as the case may be. (You can go by a different name if you want.)


Not sure if this will be a disaster or not. I hope it doesn't get so out of control that techincal problems become rampant.

But I figure it will be an interesting experiment. Blogging really isn't "democratic" if not everybody has a chance to blog, I guess.

It's not really an excuse to take a couple of days off; I'll obviously have to monitor this deal. Just want to see how such a thing would work out.

Big Point: Be logged out almost all of the time. Only log in when you are posting. Too many users logged in could create serious problems -- i.e., a crash of not only this site but all other mu.nu/mee.nu sites.

Log in only when you are about to post (and hopefully you've already drafted and proofread in Word or something and are only cutting and pasting the material quickly), then post, then log out ASAP.

Thanks to Drew for reminding me of this. This is why it's an experiment. Stuff like this you don't realize until you're doing it.

If you do it, make sure you check all previous stories to make sure you're not duplicating anything. And refresh the posting software menu to see if new stories have been added while you're drafting yours. As entries might be flying in, you might want to save yours as "draft" until you're ready to post so that people can see what you're working on (and don't duplicate yours).

No porn, nothing more than the typical PG-13/soft-R rating. Content, generally, should be pretty restrained, okay? This is not the time to unleash your inner Lenny Bruce.

And by "porn," I also mean most girly shots. Really, don't do it. Yes, maybe, you'll guess what level of sexuality I'm comfortable with, but honestly, it's not worth it. Lots of guys put up cheesecake shots; you'll be breaking no new ground with that. And it's mostly against the sort of standards (ahem) for this blog. For whatever reason, I've just decided that such pics don't belong on a blog. So this is pretty much a blanket prohibition.

This is big: The posting window has three boxes: one for headline, one for front-page text, and a third for extended entry text -- text that does not show on the front page unless you click "continue reading." I want to stress: as there will be an awful lot of posts, it is IMPERATIVE that almost the entirety of your post be placed in the "extended entry" box, so it will not show on the front page unless people specifically click on it. I really do not want to see dozens of lengthy stories on the front page; there will be too many of them, and people like to be able to skim headlines quickly on a blog. (I always forget this myself, but really, it's important.)

No YouTube videos on the front page; all must be in extended entries. Some people just like linking videos. If there's too many of them it slows the site's loading time to a c-r-a-w-l. So not a single YouTube embedded video (or any other embedded video) on the front page. All in the extended entry box, so people can click if they're interested.

So on the front page just the headline and a couple of teaser sentences. The rest in the extended entry bit.

Breaking the blog: If you break the blog -- nothing displays, it's all blank -- what you did, to a 99% certainty, was accidentally include question mark inside an html bracket. The system hates that and that breaks the blog. So if that emergency happens, chill out, and just start looking for question marks inside angle brackets (or anything else inside angle brackets that shouldn't be there, for that matter).

Basics of it: You're going to go to a URL I will tell you by email and then enter the login and password. Then you'll select the blog you want to edit, which will probably just be Ace of Spades HQ, no other option. Select that (maybe you'll bypass this step as you have only one blog you have permission to access), and then you'll go to the post-screen. On the left are buttons like "New Post," "Edit Post," etc., which is what they sound like. "New Post" brings up a new posting box, blank. Make sure you've drafted your piece just the way you want it before posting, because, in order to prevent catastrophic errors (like someone deleting every post I've ever written), I'm going to withhold the "Edit Post" permission.

HTML is easy. If you want to use bold, highlight what you want bolded and push the "B" above the post box. To create a link, hit the URL box. If you know basic HTML commands you can just type them in.

Pictures: I'm not going to allow uploading pictures. If you need a picture for a story, first, make sure it's from a big media company, because you're going to hotlink it, and it's not cool to draw bandwidth from a small blogger by hotlinking their pic. Then hit the properties of the picture, select the URL of it, copy it. Use the command [left angle bracket]img src="[the url of the pic]" width="460"[right angle bracket]. That "width" command is in there to make sure huge pictures don't blow out the margins; it limits the picture's width to 460 pixels. If it's a fairly small pic, you don't have to worry about that part.

I also usually use the center command to center the pic. You just put in center (between angle brackets) before the pic command, then /center (between angle brackets) after the pic.

I have to stress that all tags must be closed. All tags. Check, check, check to make sure you've closed tags by selecting "Preview" rather than "Save" at the bottom of the posting display. Please do not leave open tags. Dozens of inexperienced users would turn this into a nightmare. In fact, try to avoid tags altogether; use them only if absolutely necessary.

Quoting like I do with the gray box stuff is done with the blockquote command. Blockquote to start, /blockquote to end. In angle brackets, as usual. Blockquote is the easiest word in the world to misspell and I always blow that command, so again, check to make sure it's accurate and then Preview.

So, that's it. If you're up for this first-time internet experiment/morning-zoo-style ratings stunt, send me an email.

Will You Edit My Post For Me? In almost all circumstances, no. Sorry. It depends on how many people are doing this and how many requests I get, of course. But if it's a lot -- well, imagine if I'm getting thirty emails an hour asking for edits. It's tough to keep up with them.

So please rigorously proofread your post (maybe draft it in word before copying it to the site) before posting. While I'll correct some really gross errors (double posts, slanderous material, highly objectionable material), mostly, you've got one chance to get it right. Because I can't take the chance an erg will slip in an attempt to edit/delete every single post I've written, I can't give you the editing permission. I just can't. So you've got a big disadvantage; you can't revisit a post.

If it helps-- I make typos all the time and no one seems to notice much, except for that sissybitch JeffB.

The big problem will come when you hit post and realize "I just thought of the bestest, funniest exit line!" or "My God, I forgot to include the key argument!" So don't be in a rush to hit post. Mull it over, let it sit, let it breathe. Think about it. Only when you're pretty sure the post is as good as it's likely to get should you hit post.


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posted by Ace at 12:34 AM

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