The following are the posting guidelines for all Fatal Downflaw contributors. Please give them a look-over before posting your first article. If there are any questions, email Andy or Zac, who will be more than happy to confuse the matter further.
- All Administrative control of the website will fall to Zachary Holman and Andrew Nienaber. While it is not expected that this control will need to be exercised beyond the occasional recategorizing of a post and picking featured posts, we retain final authority because it was our idea.
- Best foot forward. We hope to have people other than our immediate circle of friends read this, so posts should reflect that. Though the unique sense of humor of the people involved in the blog should by all means be retained, inside jokes are to be discouraged in favor of – dare I say it – more mature material.
- Profanity is dandy.
- For the love of god, proofread your posts before submitting them. Bad grammar, improper punctuation and lack of capitalization are inexcusable from a group of highly intelligent people. Please don’t bring down the quality of the whole blog by posting something that looks like it was written by an English-as-a-second-language elementary school dropout. And since every program you ever use on your computer has a built-in spellchecker nowadays, your spelling had better be impeccable.
- Have fun, but also have a purpose.
- Submitted articles need to have an associated image. Use an original image, a public domain image, or, if you are going to steal something, try not to make it too blatant. If you do steal an image, download it to your hard drive then upload it to our site (you can do this in LiveWriter or WordPress by simply inserting a picture into your post) – do not link to an offsite image. Not only does this make the page load faster, it also makes it less likely for people to come after us for stealing their shit.The first image in any article should have a width of at least 640 pixels to assure that it doesn’t get stretched to fit in the slide show on the splash page and look terrible (see “Banner Image” below) .
- Submitted articles should have a reasonable length. It’s unlikely that you are going to submit something too long – in which case an article should be formatted to be posted into multiple parts – Top 5 Widgets, part 1 & Top 5 Widgets, part 2, for example. The primary concern here is articles being too short. Articles should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. If you can get that done and make it well-written and worth reading in four paragraphs, good on you.
- Remember to post an excerpt for your article. This will always show up beneath the article title in the slide show and in the sidebar of posts, and will encourage people to read your article. It can be a line from the article or a description, but it should be catchy. Try to keep it to one sentence if possible.
- Posting interesting bits from other sources along with your own commentary is fine, but you absolutely must cite your sources with links.
- We have found that Windows Live Writer is extremely useful for posting blog entries, and is free. If you allow it to download the blog’s format (it will ask you if it can post a sample entry to get the format – tell it yes) it will take care of all of the niggling little format issues for you. Believe me when I tell you, Zac and Andy spent hours trying to fix formatting problems that didn’t even appear when using Live Writer.
- When you have a moment, go to the “your profile” link under the “users” tab in the WordPress dashboard and write yourself a little bio. The “about the author” info shows up at the end of each post, so this is a good place to plug your other projects, or just tell the world how awesome you are. Bios need not necessarily be truthful.
- You should probably make a Gravatar account. It will then add an avatar of your choice to everything you post, which makes it look all professional and whatnot. Make your account at http://gravatar.com Alternately, you can also use your Twitter avatar, if you prefer.
- We consider it good form to post a draft of your article to the WordPress dashboard before publishing so that Andy, Zac and Sarah can give it a once-over to fix any typos or formatting problems, and to give helpful suggestions about content. Let one of us know when your draft is posted, and we will tell the others. Also, we have somewhat of a publishing schedule, and if you go publishing your stuff rogue-style it may screw up our carefully-laid plans.
Post TitlesPost titles should be in the format of Series: EpisodeExamples:
Ask a Jackass: Denny vs. Japan
Ask a Jackass: Romance
Profiles in DickBaggery: Jack Scott
Profiles in DickBaggery: The Tea Party Patriots
Music for… Badassery (No colon for this series)
Music for… Nostalgia (Again, no colon)Banner image Posts should begin with a banner image that reflects the series that the post is part of. Make sure the banner image is sized to 640 pixels across. Occasionally a post will not fall into any pre-existing series, and either a new series can be created for it, or it can fall under one of the broad, catch-all series.Series:
Ask a Jackass
Totalitarian Top Ten
Profiles in DickBaggery
Drug of the Nation (Television)Catch-alls:
STFU (Content that is generally abrasive)
OMGWTFBBQESPIONAGE (Seriously doesn’t fit anywhere else)
Politics As UsualAs you will have noticed if you’ve looked at the site at all, the banners we use have a very distinctive style. Unless you really have your heart set on making the banner yourself – in which case you should get the template in PSA format – you can email Zac (or secondarily, Andy) with a description of what you want and let one of us make it for you. We’re working hard to make the site as cohesive as something this ridiculous can possibly be, and the banners are a big part of that.Post Images/VideosAs a guideline, a post should feature enough images or videos to keep things visually interesting and break up huge blocks of text. One image or video every other paragraph or so should be fine, but more or less are situationaly appropriate. Embedded media should be right- or left-aligned, usually alternating, but this guideline can be broken as needed when the situation calls for such.Image Margins: Give them a margin of 6px top/bottom and 10px right/left, using “Margins” under Format > Picture Tools in Live Writer as seen below.
- Image Attributes: Under Format >Picture tools, Link to: None unless you want the image to link to a source (like another website). Alt Text/Title (under the “Alt Text” button) should be set to the same thing, ideally something descriptive, or clever, or meaningful in some fashion.
- You should also use drop-shadow on any pictures you post.
- Once you have set the margins and attributes, you can click the “Set to default” button, which will lock them in for all future picture insertions, saving you from the agony of having to go through the process again.
- Tags & Categories
- All posts must be tagged appropriately and/or foolishly, but they must be tagged. Authors can create their own tags as they so choose, or use pre-exisiting tags, which wordpress can list, or Live Writer can auto-suggest. Tags can be added through either publishing tool. Always tag your post with the name of the series it belongs to, if it in fact belongs to a series. This makes it easier for people to search by series. Categories must *not* be added by authors, and are an integral part of site management. Categories are typically determined by post series, though deviations from this guideline are possible on a case-by-case basis. All posts must be categorized appropriately.
- Excerpt & “More” Tags
- The Excerpt of your post is the short, one sentence description or summary – ideally clever - that shows up on the front page of the site. An Excerpt must be added to each post.To add an excerpt in Live Writer, click on “View all” on the far right side of the menu bar that contains the fields for Tags & Categories. Then scroll to the bottom of the “Post Properties” box that pops up, and use the “Excerpt” field.
- “More” Tags: “More” tags can be added either in WordPress by hitting the button in the tool bar that looks like two sheets of paper with a horizontal dotted line between them -…or using “alt+shift+t” or in LiveWriter under the “insert” tab, on the left-hand side, the button that says “split post”: