LGF Style Tips Updated
Most News companies adhere to a style book - a reference used for common spelling errors, syntax issues, formatting guidelines, and objective terms to use for descriptives. Since LGF is a news junkie community rather than a news company then trying to enforce a set of rules on the Lizards would be ridiculous, and it’s presumptuous for any lizard to try to enforce rules on others.
That said, the blogosphere is about trust - so setting forth some general guidelines is a good idea to keep people coming here, and this is my humble attempt to collect the general community wisdom and sense about posting in LGF PAGES in one place - please consider yourself a contributor and add to these in comments below. I’ll revisit this and pull it forward as new tips get added.
Update: I added two more tips from comments and feedback.
1. Truth is everything
As noted, the blogosphere is about trust; your reputation relies on your honesty - before you hit “enter” with your post, re-read what you’ve written with empiric truth in mind: can you easily back up everything you’ve stated as fact; is your analysis or speculation reasonable conclusion, or is it far fetched?
2. Use Blockquotes
The blockquote button (the quotation mark button,) is there for a reason - don’t confuse readers by quoting swaths of text from an article without setting it off from your writing — you don’t want others passing off your writing as theirs, so don’t do that to them. Highlight the text that belongs to others and blockquote it before you post it.
3. Limit your fair Use quotes
Quoting too much text from an article could end you in court for copyright violation - if you take the heart and soul of someone’s article and post it whole hog here, then there’s no reason to “read more” or “read the rest”. Make sure you are being fair to the original author. If you are critiquing, commenting, or analyzing another article, use just the segments that cover the points you are talking about. General rule of thumb: For short articles, one para, for medium articles, 2-3 paras, for long articles 3-5.
4. Don’t Link to a Link that Links to a Link About a Newstory
Go to the source - there are literally hundreds of millions of news aggregators and rebroadcasters on the internet and it’s real annoying to users and community to have to click five layers deeper into the net to get to the real information. Make sure you aren’t posting a tweet that leads to a facebook page, that links to a forum where they talk about an article that’s a link buried in one of the messages. Lizards are empiricists, link to the real source, the real skinny, the creator, or the author. If you must, then H/T the others, but… you owe it to your fellow lizards to cut down on the chase when linking - only a few of us have a hundred years to live.
5. Don’t state your opinion as fact
If you are analyzing a news event, opining about a news event, speculating upon a news event, or editorializing about something then please say so. Don’t blur the factual parts into the analysis /speculation /editorializing without a demarc like “If I were to speculate on this then blah blah ” or “IMHO yadda yadda” or “What I think is grrrrr arrrrghhh” This also has the added benefit of keeping you out of court for libel.
6. Don’t link directly to hate sites or those with credibility issues, and always warn
We owe it to the lizards and our readers not to send them unknowing into sewers to swim, we owe it to them not to link to less than credible sites without a warning, we also owe it to our own credibility to disclaim the less than credible sites when we do link there for illustrative reasons. We also shouldn’t link to those sites directly because the less traffic they get the less likely they are to last, and the less likely we are to be associated with them. If you must link there to that ugly site, then link to the google cache.
7. Edit and Trim that headline if you use the Bookmarklet.
Charles did a great job on the bookmarklet that posts pages, however every site has different standards on headlines and headings so what it picks up can be confusing at times. Make sure the headline is trimmed down to just the actual headline, or the headline and byline. Remember if it gets promoted to the sidebar you don’t want it running down half the page…
8. Put in a photo credit if it’s not yours.
Use an asterisk and note the credit at bottom of the post or something.
9. Use Tags
Pick good key words from your post and use them as tags at the bottom. Key words are used by search engines, so you want to use key words that are unique as tags, but you don’t want to use tags or keywords either so unique or so general that people will never search for them. Use the words you would use if you were looking for another article like your post. If it’s mostly about one politician or pundit, make sure their name is a tag. Don’t use the generic header you filed the post under as a tag, but do use related headings as tags. E.G. A story on tax exemptions for churches could be under “Law” but you could also tag it “religion”.
I’m sure there are plenty of other thoughts about pages, what are yours? Please add them in comments.