Suggested guidelines

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Suggested guidelines

Post by Graham on Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:19 am

Some of us may be new to writing forums or even forums and online life in general, so guidelines may be useful. I’ve adapted these from what I remember of the OU writing forum. At this point they are up for discussion. Once we’ve all had a chance to consider them I can (I hope) turn them into a sticky.

General
We are all civilised adults, so I don’t think we need reminding of the need for courtesy. Online remarks deprived of face-to-face contact can be easily misinterpreted so take care, use smilies if that’s your thing and keep an apology handy.

Reading someone’s work
Just read the piece, not other users’ comments. They will affect your judgement. After you’ve posted your own comments is the time to read the others.

Giving feedback
Try to make your post a feedback sandwich. Start with something you like about the piece. Then note one or two things, no more, that don’t work in your opinion. Finish either with suggestions for how it could be developed or made more effective or with an overall positive comment.
Don’t provide what you think are superior amendments. You are not the writer.
Do use specific examples rather than vague comments.

Reacting to feedback
By all means ask for clarification if you don’t understand what someone means. Don’t engage in argument with your critics. Remember these are just their opinions. You are free to disregard them. It is probably not even worth explaining your writing. Unless it is part of a larger work it shouldn’t need it. If several people find the same point obscure, then it probably is.

Posting a piece for comment
It is not obligatory, but I suggest your post title be of the form

First name – Story title

Be kind to your readers. Check for SPAG (spelling, grammar and punctuation) errors before posting.
Preview before Sending your post. You can preview as many times as you like. You can even delete the contents of the post box and X out of the page without posting but once you hit send it is there for all to see.
For a short amount of time after you hit send you may edit your post. Sorry I don’t yet know how long that is.
Format as best you can. All your careful word processor formatting will disappear.
This forum allows you to create blank lines using the return key. You can indent by allowing a blank line before or after the indented line and putting at least 6 spaces before the text. The buttons above the post box allow other formatting like text size, italics, bold, centering (sic) etc.
You may find it easier to copy it into a text editor like notepad first and do the editing there.

Posting a comment
If it is feedback on the original posting, then ensure that is what you reply to. If it is in answer to another comment then reply to that.

Graham
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re Guidelines

Post by Susieflooks on Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:41 pm

This all sounds good Graham. I'd like to suggest another point for discussion/ consideration :
The writer (of the post) is responsible for their own well being when they post something - by that I mean if they are posting a piece that is deeply personal it is up to them to ensure that they are ok about  receiving constructive feedback that may feel critical.

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Re: Suggested guidelines

Post by Graham on Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:18 pm

Absolutely. I'll add that eventually to a revised list.

It's made me think of a  related point:

Nothing every really vanishes from the Internet. Never post anything embarrassing and especially never post your email address. It will get harvested by the spambots.

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Formatting

Post by Graham on Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:08 am

I've discovered another quirk. If you prepare your piece in Notepad first and follow my suggestions for indenting, the first time you preview it the indents will not seem to have taken effect. Just press Preview again and they will.

Others may make formatting discoveries so would it make sense to open a new Formatting topic? For instance you could sprinkle your text with the raw BBcode like
Code:
[center]*[/center]
This would put an asterisk in the centre of a line. For the very adventurous I can turn on HTML which would allow you to format your text like a web page. My gut feel is that no one would be interested in either of these.

What we all want of course is just to copy our Word document in and have the formatting reproduced. Unfortunately it's horses for courses or in this case asking a llama to do a horse's job. I'll research and experiment further.

BBcode (bulletin board code) is the stuff in square brackets, called tags, that gets added to your text to tell the forum how to display it on a variety of screens. It is quite basic. Word uses its own more complex language to handle everything needed for publishing on sheets of paper.

HTML (hypertext markup language) is similar to BBcode but again much more complex because it has been developed to display the rich world of the Internet.

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Re: Suggested guidelines

Post by Graham on Thu Mar 01, 2018 1:14 pm

Posting a comment
The last bit in the guidelines post about choosing where to post your reply is nonsense. Other forums allow you to answer a particular post. This one just adds new posts sequentially.

Word and Formatting
I've found several solutions to this that involve a bit of techie manipulation but one that looks more useful for us is a google docs facility I'll research and report back

New: Posting a rewrite
If we post a rewrite of our piece it would be good to alert the reader to it. The administrator can update the original with something like: This piece has been updated. Please scroll down to Second Draft

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