How-To: Writing and Submitting an Article

First Steps

  1. Read the About This Site section and make sure you understand the focus of the site. Ideas or entries which do not firmly fall into this subject matter will not be accepted.

  2. Read the Writer's Guidelines and make sure you can abide by the terms as outlined on that page.

  3. Search the site archives. Make sure that we have not already posted a similar article. Similar topics are fine, as long as the perspective or methodology is a unique one.

  4. Contact Doug Johnston with a query for your idea and treatment. Make sure you include some samples of your writing (links to blog entries are fine, as are HTML, RTF and PDF files). Please be patient as Doug can be quite busy and he may take a few days to respond to your query.

  5. If our editors like your idea and treatment, we may ask you to produce the article. At this stage, no guarantee is implied.

  6. We will then contact you with feedback.

Using the "Story" System uses a content management system called Drupal to maintain the site. In order to publish your story, you must follow this process to the letter:

  1. If you have been accepted as a guest poster, your permissions will be set as "writer", meaning you can now enter a story. From your menu in the top right, you will see a "Create content" link. Click on that, and you should be able to then select "Story". You will see a form.

  2. Give your article a unique title, one that is unlikely to be used for multiple stories. For example, "Using a Calendar" is not preferable. "Five Steps to Managing an Appointment List" is.

  3. Choose one or more topics for your article. Editors may change this, so do not worry too much about this.

  4. The "Body" is where you enter your article You have three choices: Filtered HTML, where you can use a limited number of HTML tags; Full HTML, where you can use the full set of HTML, including image tags; and Marksmarty, a simple markup language that uses, for example, asterisks to denote a bulletted list. If unsure, just enter your article as you would in a normal text editor. Enter a blank line between all paragraphs.

  5. You may use regular HTML links within your text, or use the Marksmarty syntax: [My Link Name](

  6. After you finish editing your article, choose the Input Format, as mentioned above.

  7. If you wish to attach files, you can do so at the bottom of the form. Attach each one separately. Default is for them to be listed. Turn this off if you simply want to use an inline image. (See below for advice about images.)

  8. Hit the Preview button and see if your article and formatting are as you intended. Make any changes and Preview again. When you have it perfect, hit Submit.

  9. An editor will be in charge of editing and publishing the article. You will be notified regarding the date.

Putting Images in the Article

  1. Images must be sized to fit 300px by 300px. In your graphics application, optimise it for the web. (In Photoshop, "Save as Web...".) The image should be less than 30K. If you wish to use a bigger image, talk to Doug and explain why you need a bigger image.

  2. You’ll see a field for attaching a file at the base of the story form. Make sure your story is entered above, and then attach your image. Now, you'll see some checkboxes in front of the image name at the base of the article: deselect the "list" one (since that lists the file as an attachment on the published article). Note the filename (and path).

  3. Using the path and filename of the image, write a regular tag to insert your image into the piece. We suggest:
    <span class="img-left"><img src="/files/filename.jpg" alt="My picture name"></span>. (This uses a style to add a nice dropshadow.)

  4. If you decide you'd like the image at the right, replace "img-left" with "img-right".

If you need further help, please contact Doug Johnston.

Setting Your Teaser

On the main page, and on certain other pages, only the first part of your article is displayed. The system is designed so that you can decide for yourself how much of your article appears. This first part is called the "teaser," and you can specify the break between this and the rest of your article by writing <!--break--> surrounded by blank lines. (Note: that's the word "break" surrounded by two hyphens.)

Please keep your teaser to one medium paragraph, or two short paragraphs. Write your teaser in such a way that it encourages readers to click on the link to read the rest of the article.

Anything Else?

If your question isn't answered by the above procedures, or you need clarification, please contact us.

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