Author Topic: Rules for composing and formatting posts so nobody goes crazy reading them!  (Read 3663 times)

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Rottweiler

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This is an article I posted at Debtor Talk last July, and removed for awhile (don't ask me why).  Flyingifr's post, "Want No Responses to Your Post?  Here's How."  [  http://www.debtorboards.com/smf/index.php?topic=3745.0  ] provides some coverage on how to format a post.  However there are a lot of other ways that the MISformatting of your posts can drive others nuts;  how to avoid that problem.  (Newly added comments are in BLUE font.)

http://debtortalk.net/forums/index.php?topic=74.0

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How to compose a post so everyone can read and follow it:

1.) Make it clear what material is yours:  This should be made to stand out, either in a colored font,  and/or bolding the text, and/or using italics and/or underlining the text, and/or putting any quotes in separate boxes, with the commentary preceding or following the box.  The method of using the quote box for the quote itself, separating the commentary from the quote entirely-- is preferred.

2.)  If you do add commentary within quotes, make a notation at the start of the post such as "Commentary by XXXX" or "Comments and emphasis are mine".

3.)  Be sure ALL quoted material is within quote boxes if you are using them! This is, too often, not done. This not only makes quotes from other users or sources hard to pick out, but makes your own commentary "disappear" into the text block.  You need to do this even if the quoted material is the entire post, with no commentary present of your own.  This will make it clear that the material came from an outside source.  Include any copyright notices and/or citations to the source.

(Think of the quote box as the equivalent of set-off,  indented quotations in a printed document,  Word document or typed manuscript.)

I have not used the quote box here, although this post IS quoted from another board,  because this material is all my own.

3a.) If the material is not yours, you need to properly cite it; a link for materials found on the 'Web serves the purpose.  And, do your darndest to make sure the material used is within the bounds of the "Fair Use Doctrine"  (see this thread:  http://debtortalk.net/forums/index.php?topic=15.0   ).

The next point--proper use of BBCode-- is all too often not dealt with...and can REALLY drive users batty, never mind that it looks positively "amateur" if you don't use code properly:

4.)  How to use BB Code: There are various commands--called "tags"--that enable the user to format text so that, when posted, it displays properly (Similar in nature to HTML tags, which I have not enabled here.)

To use them, the text (link) in question must appear BETWEEN the opening and closing tags.   Both "tags" are command words that appear in square brackets; the closing tag has a "/" (remove the quotes) between the open bracket and the first letter of the command.  This must be done for the command to parse (execute) correctly.  If you use the button, press it first, then put the cursor in between the "open" tag and the "close" tag.  Then type away.

These tags can also be manually inserted; if you do a lot of "fancy" formatting,this allows for reliable, precise placement of the tags.  Takes longer, though.

I recommend you hold the "fancy" formatting to a minimum.  I used to do it extensively, and drove people nuts.

If you don't want to use emoticons ("smileys"), there is an option to not use them in the post.  Check it off before you put the post up.

This is recommended if you are posting, let's say, text of a statute.  Some character combinations parse out as emoticons; 8 ) parsing out as 8) is all too common--you don't want that in such a case.   Selecting the "Don't use smileys" option prevents that.  So does adding an extra space, but that requires you know which combinations parse out as which smileys!

5.)  Use the "Preview" button!  Take a look at your post before you put it up, and make changes or corrections then.

6.)  If you miss an error, there is the "Modify" (edit) button.  It's there for a good reason.  Use it.

A note here:  DT allows most users to edit posts at any time.  Here at DB, most users are limited to 120 minutes (2 hours) from the time the post is originally put up on the board.

7.)  One more thing:  Unless this is the way the original quote is presented....DO NOT USE ALL-CAPS IN YOUR TEXT!  That is considered shouting on the Internet, and is considered to be a major "Netiquette" blunder.  It's also positively annoying!   
« Last Edit: August 05, 2007 04:16:46 AM by Admin9999 »
“This is a court of law, young man, not a court of justice."
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Rottweiler

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An update to the above post:  I did have a thread re: Fair Use (copyright).  It is currently removed from public view because I am working on an update of the article.  I should have the post back up soon; I will provide an updated link to the thread at that time if necessary.

Sorry for the inconvenience. 

In the meantime, here are some reference materials on the subject:

Copyright law pertaining to "Fair Use" (U.S. only) as posted on the U.S. Copyright Office website.  This is directly  from the U.S. Code:

http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107

Some basics re:  "Fair Use":

http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

Also, you are not seeing things:  The author of the post at "Debtor Talk" is actually me; it's an old account I used to use that is now inactive.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2011 08:07:39 AM by Rottweiler »
“This is a court of law, young man, not a court of justice."
~ Olver Wendell Holmes

duh

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Thank you very much for this all inclusive ppost.

I am going to apologize in advance for any infractions I may
inadvertantly commit in my posting because, while you have
 been very precise and consise with your links and explanations,
some of them I do not understand.

Sorry.

I have no idea what a BB code is. Nor how to use tags.
I do not know HTML...

I am certain you all are laughing at this, but you young folks
know all this stuff. We older folks are trying to learn.

But I will try better in the future.

Thanks again.
I am not an attorney. My posts about my experiences are for entertainment and  possibly educational purposes only.

If you need legal help, you should seek legal counsel.

maylaur

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You don't have to know the BB codes to use them.  There are icons above the text box when typing a post - just hover your mouse over one and a 1-3 word description will appear.  Click the icon you want, and the code will be inserted into the text box where your cursor is.
Anything I post is from my own personal experience, and might not apply to your own situation. 
I do not offer legal advice; for that, please consult a lawyer.

Rottweiler

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Note:  Be prepared to do some reading; this is a long post.

Thank you very much for this all inclusive ppost.

I am going to apologize in advance for any infractions I may
inadvertantly commit in my posting because, while you have
 been very precise and consise with your links and explanations,
some of them I do not understand.

Sorry.

I have no idea what a BB code is. Nor how to use tags.
I do not know HTML...

I am NOT all that young! :vbrofl:  Honest.  I also was where you were a few years ago, not knowing what a BB Code tag is (or even BB Code).  I will describe this; it's NOT nearly as hard as it looks:

1.) Maylaur has pointed our one way to access them, by using the buttons.

a.) If you add the tags before you type the section you want to enclose? Put the text in between the tags (a word or abbreviation between square brackets.  When you start to type, the cursor (blinking vertical line) should be between the open tag (just the BB Code inside of square brackets) and the close tag (where the BB Code tag word is preceded by a forward slash ("/") just after the first of the square brackets that form the tag.

b.)  If you decide to format after you have typed a section?  Just use your mouse to highlight (click left mouse button at the start of the word/section and drag, releasing at the end of what you want to format).  This will color the words; choose the tag from the selection and press that button.  That will then add the tags in the proper locations.

2.)  If you decide to form the tag manually?  Just type the tags where they should be!  But do remember that ALL of the elements (parts) of BOTH tags MUST be complete and accurate in order to have the command execute properly.  That is what the tags form:  A command that tells the software what it must do to show the page as the webmaster wants it to.

A general list of BB Code tags: http://www.bbcode.org/reference.php

Some sites also use custom tags, not a problem here as far as I can see; the ones we have pretty much are covered by the buttons.

HTML?  I believe it has been disabled here, so it won't work at DB (or on most bulletin boards since most board Admins disable it by default). Ask one of the Admins here if you want to know for sure if HTML is disabled or not.

More information:  Both BBCode and HTML are markup languages.  These languages are the equivalent of a printer's compositor's notes (markups) on a traditional printer's galley/draft:  They are there to tell the computer how to format the text when it displays in the browser, just as the printer's markup of a printed book's proof tell the typesetter (compositor) how to set up the printed page. 

BBCode really is a simplified form of HTML for bulletin boards and other similar sites, designed to be easier to use and perhaps a bit more secure (since it's more limited in scope) than HTML. If you are curious and want to see an example of HTML?  Just go to the browser "view
menu" or the equivalent and ask to see the page source (or the equivalent) of the page you are looking at at the moment.  In turn, that will display the HTML used (HTML means "Hyper Text Mark-Up Language").

Did you see some words in lighter colors (light blue) in this post?  Words that then go to another web page when clicked?  That's a neat trick, a "hidden" link.  To form it, one needs to enclose the text in modified "url" tags like this:

a.)   The first "url" tag (the "open" tag) is not closed immediately, but is followed by an equals sign ("="), no space;

b.)  Then without spacing, add the URL to the page, followed by the end bracket;

c.)  That is immediately followed by the text that will "hide" the hyperlink;

d.)  Then the whole thing is finished by adding the close tag in its normal form.

The "hidden" link makes the text easier to read although it has the disadvantage of making the user go to the link (or look at the taskbar in their browser) to see the actual hyperlink.
“This is a court of law, young man, not a court of justice."
~ Olver Wendell Holmes

hurricane1

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Did you see some words in lighter colors (light blue) in this post?  Words that then go to another web page when clicked?  That's a neat trick, a "hidden" link.  To form it, one needs to enclose the text in modified "url" tags like this:

a.)   The first "url" tag (the "open" tag) is not closed immediately, but is followed by an equals sign ("="), no space;

b.)  Then without spacing, add the URL to the page, followed by the end bracket;

c.)  That is immediately followed by the text that will "hide" the hyperlink;

d.)  Then the whole thing is finished by adding the close tag in its normal form.

The "hidden" link makes the text easier to read although it has the disadvantage of making the user go to the link (or look at the taskbar in their browser) to see the actual hyperlink.

I have tried to figure out how people do this so thank you for the tutorial, but I have a question. In your source code, there is some code after the URL and before the hyperlink text. This is your source for the hyperlink for the word HTML:
<a href="http://www.w3schools.com/html/html_intro.asp" class="bbc_link new_win" target="_blank">HTML</a>
I have attempted to mark in red the part that I don't believe is explained in your list of steps.
Please explain what this does and is it necessary? Also, is there anything in that html that tells the hyperlink to show up as blue, or did you just change the color using the change color choices? Thank you in advance.
I suspect that the part "new_win" tells it to open in a new window.

dseils

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As a new reader to this forum, I am bumping iinto many abbreviations used to designate different parties to a dispute, or different filings in court cases. I suppose after reading many posts, I will eventually figure them out, but that presumes I read in some sort of order and read posts that originally introduced them.

Two things would be very helpful to all of us new to this community.

1. It would be a wonderful gift if someone began a post that was dedicated to creating a glossary of terms and abbreviations. At least there would be a place to look up various things that are used often. It may exist already, but I have not found it yet.

2. Even better would be that within a post, if you are using an abbreviation for the first time, please define it and set it off in parentheses. It would really make what you are saying a lot more comprehensible to those who need your wisdom even if new.

I appreciate the educational value of the experiences shared here and hope the knowledge only gets better!

debtfree2b

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1. It would be a wonderful gift if someone began a post that was dedicated to creating a glossary of terms and abbreviations. At least there would be a place to look up various things that are used often. It may exist already, but I have not found it yet.

http://www.debtorboards.com/index.php?topic=80.0

Using the abbreviations at the beginning of a post would take way too much time. This handy list should get you going. You'll catch on! :-)

And for other helps, click through the different forums and read the sticky posts at the tops of the forums. Those are usually filled with the goodies like the abbreviation list or introduce you to a general overview of that part of the forum.