Blog, frontpage, diaries, comments -- what do these mean, and how do I find my way around the site?
As explained in the FAQ, European Tribune is a community blog, using the SCOOP software. (If you want to know more about SCOOP, read about it here.)
A normal blog (short for web-log) is a website that is like a personal diary, with entries (e.g. logs or articles, but commonly called "posts") following each other down the homepage. Usually, it is possible for visitors of a blog to append shorter written reactions, comments to each post, which appear in the post's separate web page. Comments can also be a place of lively discussion.
The homepage of a community blog, e.g. the first page you see, called frontpage on SCOOP sites, looks the same. However, on such sites, each registered user can post (e.g. write articles that can be commented by others) in her own separate page. In effect, registered users have their own sub-blogs, which are called diaries on sites using the SCOOP software. In addition, they can track their own comments.
But what makes community blogs really a community thing is links. There is an identical area (usually a column on the right-hand side on a SCOOP site) with links to diary entries on all pages of the site: say, links to the most recent entries in the Recent Diaries list, and links to the diaries recommended by the most fellow users recently in the Recommended Diaries list.
In addition, the editors who have the right to edit the frontpage, though their powers also include the policing of the community, see Ed Team Tasks) can not only write articles directly on the frontpage (these are called stories in SCOOP), but give higher visibility to a user's good diary entry by also moving it to the frontpage (diary promotion).
Regular users may even avoid the frontpage altogether, and navigate around the site using the right-hand diary links, or check the latest of all the comments appended to any of the diaries and frontpage stories (using the Recent Comments link).
How do I post a comment?
You have to register with the site to post comments. You do this simply by following the "New User? Welcome & Click!" link oin the middle of the top of the page, or by clicking "Make a new account" in the Login box (second box below logos in the upper left-hand section of the frontpage).
To post a comment: find the diary or the comment you wish to respond to, then click on "Post A Comment" (to reply to a diary) or "Reply to This" (to reply to a comment) near the bottom of the diary/comment (when there are already comments, the "post A Comment" link is both on top and at the bottom of the comments).
This will open a new comment box. You can edit the automatically generated comment title ("Re: [diary title]" or "Re: [title of comment you respond to]"). Put the body of your comment in the large box. You can use most basic HTML formatting (there will be a list of applicable code on the bottom of the comment edit page).
What are comments' ratings and how do I use them?
You will see at the end of the title of each comment, there are brackets that look like this: (none/0), (none/1), (4.00/3), (2.33/6) or some other variation.
This is the rating of the comment by other users. (You can click on it to see the individual ratings by each user.) It is the average and the total number of the ratings that have been given. (Note: no average is displayed for zero or just one rating, see first examples above.) They reflect what fellow users think of the comment, with the following table of available ratings:
0: Mega Troll
0 is only available to Trusted Users (see FAQ entry to know what that is); the other four are available to all users. If Trusted Users gave enough 0 ratings for the average rating to fall below 1, the comment will be hidden from public view. (Also see "Community Policing" below.)
1 is used to rate a comment "trollish", i.e. disruptive of dialogue, or grossly insulting, or really inappropriate. Such ratings should never be used to indicate that you disagree with the comment. If in doubt, wait until another member uses this thankfully seldom used warning.
2 is a warning that is used for comments that are unnecessarily aggressive or disruptive in their tone. Such ratings should never be used to indicate that you disagree with the comment. Again, if in doubt, wait and see what other members do. There are usually experienced members around to quickly spot such comments. Remember that you or the commenter might be having a bad day, you or the commenter might have misinterpreted something (very easy on a forum in English where many don't have English as first language), you or the commenter might have made a snark or bon mot the other didn't get. Also read the ETiquette. Count to 10 and think before using. Or ignore.
In general, the 2-1-0 ratings are sparingly used on ET. Use without thought may send the wrong signals and tends to produce overheated discussion. Insults beget insults, and a low rating is as much of an insult as anything...
3 is almost never used on European Tribune. It was originally included for interesting, but imperfect comments.
4 is used to reward informative, smart or otherwise useful comments. It also encourages commenters by showing that they have been read. It is a social device for the community.
There is a very practical use of the ratings, which is to get rid of trolls. Comments with an average below a certain value and enough comments will be hidden and only visible thereafter to Trusted Users. This is a very effective way for the community to self-police and avoid disruptions and thread hijackings caused by trolls. However, in the case of more serious misbehavior, or abuse of the rating system, the editors will intervene (see Ed Team Tasks).
There are also "Tip Jars", which are another way for diarists to be rewarded. A number of diarists traditionally write the first comment to their own diary, either with some additional content, or a small comment, or simply with a "Tip Jar" title, and it is traditional to give "4" to that comment to show your appreciation of the diary or the diarist, or to show him/her that you read the diary. This can be done in addition to the recommendation of the diary; or, in the case of frontpage stories that don't have the recommend option, instead of it.
In order to rate a comment, use the small menu at the bottom of each comment. You should see a drop down menu with "none" as a default value, and a Rate All button next to it. Choose the rating you want to allocate in the dropdown menu, and click on the "Rate All" button. You will be sent back to the top of the diary.
You can rate many comments in one go and then only press "Rate All" once. All your ratings will be saved in one go. But if you post a comment in-between, your ratings will not be saved.
You can go modify a rating (but currently not delete) at any time simply by going to the relevant drop down menu, changing the rating and pressing on the "Rate All" button.
What are macros, tags and alerts; which ones can I use on ET and how?
Macros are small routines that spare you the job of typing in some complicated HTML code.
Macros can be used both in diaries and comments. They are called by typing in the macro's name between two pairs of parantheses in the edit field of a comment or diary; the result will appear in the preview or final posted version of the comment/diary.
On ET, the most frequent use of macros is for various tags: little coloured texts meant to highlight or lampoon something about a quoted text, or oneself. Some proved very helpful, others are just for fun. Here is the complete list of such macros normal users can currently use:
Type in this
Result as displayed
For quoted articles following the narrative of interpreting every news from the EU as harbinger of an unstoppable decline (see Europe. Is. Doomed. series)
For eurosceptic news sources
For potentially propagandistic news items quoted from media owned by Rupert Murdoch (persistent use recommended)
For news items with potential right-wing and Eurosceptic spin quoted from the Daily Telegraph
For news items quoted from German news magazine and website DER SPIEGEL, but only in case the new neoliberal economic and neoconservative foreign policy editorial line shines through
[Moustache of Understanding Alert]
Warning that you'll be reading excerpts from a column by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman (infamous in these parts)
[Neocon Moment Alert]
For insanely hawkish comments on foreign policy by mainstream politicians or pundits
To mock frontpager DoDo (who is from and in Hungary) for justified or unjustified Germany-boosterism
For regular user and frequent news-bringer Magnifico
Furthermore, there are a couple of macro tags used by frontpagers:
Macro (tag as it appears)
In the Salons, that is the frontpage stories for daily news roundups, this tag is used in a top-level comment. This comment should be seen as a header: news relating to European politics should be posted as comments "replying" to this one.
Tag for Salon header for news from around the World
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
Tag for Salon header for interesting news not related (directly) to politics
Tag for Salon header for gossip (both about news in the media and private among users)
Tag for Salon header for some much written-about current event (for example an important election)
[ET Moderation Technology™]
Tag to signal that a frontpager is commenting in her 'official' function, to announce some editorial or moderating intervention
[ET Pretty Policing™ Technology]
Milder version of the moderating tag, meant to signal that the comment is no rebuke
When frontpagers promote or edit a diary written by a normal user, they take credit with text typeset this way
What are recommended diaries?
Diaries that you find deserving or more attention, because of their quality, the quality of the debate it has sparked, or because it is a topic or news that you think is important to spread as widely as possible, can be "recommended" (see below on How do I recommend a diary?).
The most recommended diaries appear in the right sidebar, in the "Recommended Diaries" box, and they are thus more visible to site visitors than regular diaries.
All users have the exact same voting power as regards recommendations (no user has extra voting weight), but the timing of recommendations matter, as they "decay" after a certain period of time so that there can be a reasonable rotation of recommended diaries.
How do I recommend a diary?
You have to register with the site to recommend diaries. You do this by clicking “make a new account” in the Login box in the upper right-hand section of the page.
To recommend a diary: on the right sidebar of a diary, you'll see a button reading "Recommend this diary". Click it to recommend the diary.
You can also unrecommend a diary if you change your mind.
You can see who has recommended a diary before or after recommending it by clicking on the link "who has recommended this diary" just below the Recommend button.
How do I post a diary?
You have to register with the site to post diaries. You do this by clicking “make a new account” in the Login box in the upper right-hand section of the page.
If you want to post a diary, first think about whether your thoughts are a good fit for a diary topic. Somebody recently opined that you shouldn't put up a diary unless you'd put about an hour's time into writing it. That may be excessive. But you should be prepared to put in a little more time than a few minutes to make a quality diary entry. If what you want to post isn't worth that kind of time, consider a comment on an open thread or somebody else's diary on the same or similar topic.
With those two caveats in mind, onward to how to post a diary:
1. find the box on the right side of the main page titled with your username
2. click on the "new diary entry" link
3. when you get to the diary page, read the rules! They were all put there for a reason.
4. In particular: if you reference a story, include an embedded link (See "How do you embed a link?" below.)
5. Give you diary a snappy but appropriate title so that people know what they're getting. A deliberately misleading title is uncool. In addition, a title like "Look at this", "Must read", or "How long has this been going on?" is not very helpful. As a general rule, please avoid titles that include "please recommend", "breaking" or that are in full capital letters mode, unless you have a really good reason
6. Put an introductory paragraph in the "Intro Entry" box. This is the only diary text that will appear on the main diaries page.
7. Put the bulk of your entry, including any graphs or pictures, in the "Extended Entry" box.
8. If you want to post a poll, put the poll question in the title box and the available responses in the answers box. It's usually better to limit the responses to four to avoid splintering the votes too severely, unless it's just for fun. Also, you're more likely to get more readers for your diary if you include a poll AND if you include "poll" in your diary title.
How do I update/edit a diary?
Sometimes you’ll find that you need to either add information to your diary, or correct something that is already there. To do this, you don’t need to make out an entirely new diary. Just make sure you are signed in to the site, go to your post, and click “edit”. You will then be able to edit anything in your diary (not the comments though) and, after previewing it, click “update” and have the revised version appear instead.
If you are adding information or correcting misinformation (as opposed to fixing typos), it is good etiquette to show what was updated and why.
How do I embed a link?
Type the following text all on one line:
<a href="http://www.eurotrib.com">The European Tribune</a>
...to create an embedded link that looks like this:
If you have comment and diary editing set to Auto Format (it's the default), you can simply insert a full web address (that is URL; for example: http://www.eurotrib.com), and it will be converted automatically into a link. The text of the link will be identical with the address, for example, the above would look like:
However, commenters and diarists are advised to avoid such 'lazy linking': some web addresses can get quite long, thus printing them out can be too wide for viewing screens. (Even if not for yours, some of your fellow readers can have narrower screens.)
What are the rules for quoting off-site material?
As a general rule, we recommend users to follow three guidelines:
Identify your source - if it is on the web, you should link to it. (Linking is explained in point How do I embed a link? above.)
Put the quoted text in blockquote (for that, see How do I insert a quote box? below). This helps readers to quickly recognise text you didn't author.
Last but not least: try to keep your quote as short and concise as possible, ideally 3 paragraphs per blockquote or less. If readers want to read the full article you quote from, they can do so by following your link. A quote should only incite interest, or show claims you react to/follow up with comments in your own words. The reason you quote a passage can be further emphasized by bolding key words or half-sentences.
The above guidelines are strongly recommended for quotes from anything published off ET, be it a newspaper article or a comment in a discussion forum; or indeed even for quotes from other diaries on ET. However, they should be followed stritly as rules for copyrighted material.
How do I insert a quote box?
Type the following lines above and below what you want to put in the box:
To differentiate sources, you can also use block quotes with a different set of colours. With <blockquote class="orange">, you get:
(your content here)
How do I insert a picture?
You can insert pictures in your diaries or your comments. To do this, you need to have a direct link to the picture on the net. As an example, the URL of our site logo is: http://www.eurotrib.com/images/eurotb-logo.png If you have the URL, to embed the picture in your diary or comment, simply insert the following text:
If your picture is large, you are advised to limit its size as displayed by extending the code thus:
<img src="[insert URL of picture here]" width="400">
This allows to avoid messing up the width of the viewing screens of everybody else. (It's good to limit image width to 400 pixels in diaries, or at least their above-the-fold part. You may use up to 600 pixel widths when posting an image in the comments: if your comment is not a response.)
Getting the URL of an image you see on some webpage goes as follows:
If you use Firefox, just right-click the image itself, and you'll see an option "Copy image URL" - choose that, then move over to the window where you edit your EuroTrib diary or comment. Once there, Edit > Paste the copied URL into the text of your comment.
If you use Microsoft Internet Explorer, also right-click the image, choose "Properties", and you will see a pop-up window with various data, among them the URL. Mark it with your mouse (all of it if there is a line wrap!), then right-click it and choose "Copy". Move over to the window where you edit your EuroTrib diary or comment, and Edit > Paste the copied URL into the text of your comment.
If you wish to post an image on your hard drive, you first have to upload it on the web. There are plenty of free image hosting sites - google "free image hosting". Choose a site and open an account. Upload an image (generally fairly simple) and copy the URL the site will offer. Paste the URL into the appropriate place (see previous paragraph).
How do I centre a picture?
In either a comment or a diary, if you'd like your picture to be centred, use:
Once you hit Post or Preview, the above should produce this:
How do I edit a bilingual column?
Europe has many languages, and so do European Tribune readers. Though the use of English dominates at present, posters often quote a news article in another language, and put it side-by-side with an English translation.
The formatting of bilingual columns is up to the individual, but EuroTrib users developed what could be viewed as a non-compulsory standard. Below you see an example of how it looks, followed by its source code, and a short explanation of its settings. The latter could also give tips to novices of HTML formatting.
Premiére langue, premier paragraphe
Second language first paragraph
Premiére langue, paragraphe 2
Second language second paragraph
<table cellpadding="5" style="border-collapse:collapse"> <tr><td width="49%" style="background-color: #ffffe0; color: #992020">Premiére langue, premier paragraphe</td><td width="2%"></td><td width="49%" style="background-color: #eaffea; color: #0a6f0a">Second language first paragraph</td></tr> <tr><td style="background-color: #ffffe0; color: #992020">Premiére langue, paragraphe 2</td><td></td><td style="background-color: #eaffea; color: #0a6f0a">Second language second paragraph</td></tr> </table>
As can be seen, the bilingual column is made as a table with three columns.
The center one only serves for separation. The width of the columns can be given in the cell opening tags of the first column.
It is advisable to put each paragraph in a separate cell/row because the length of the same text varies from one language to another.
For more than two rows, just copy the code of the second row (from the second <tr> tag to its closing </tr> tag).
If you copy-and-paste the above code, don't forget to eliminate line breaks!
Colors can differentiate the two languages visually. The background and letter color is defined with style attributes within each cell opening tag.
In the opening table tag, the cellpadding attribute defines how much the colored area extends in all directions beyond the text within it, while the border-collapse style attribute eliminates whitespace between table cells.
If you have Firefox, there is an easier way: download TribExt, ET's own Firefox add-on, which has a neat bilingual column editor feature.