Welcome to the EVDC Blog FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). If you have a question not on the list, feel free to contact the Blogmother.
- What’s this “blog” thing?
A blog (short for weblog) is basically an online diary. Originally used to air random musings and thoughts with an eye for feedback, blogs have become best known as the latest front in the political wars that dominate American discourse. Unlike most such arenas, however, liberals have overtaken conservatives and now dominate the “blogosphere.” Blogs now represent one of the major tools for sharing information and organizing for the left.
- Why a blog for the EVDC?
There are two basic reasons. First, some members are not as familiar with the blogosphere and the information to be found within it, and the EVDC blog will allow those with more or different information to share it. Second, blogs are a way of getting our message out, and if we can promote ours, the club can spread the word about what the GOP is doing both locally and nationally, and provide an alternative.
- What are some of the important blogs on our side?
Check out our blogroll, which you can find on the right sidebar. The biggest gun is Daily Kos, aka “Big Orange” or “the Orange Mothership.” With dozens of diaries a day and major roundups on the main page, it’s not hard to make DKos your one-stop blogging shop. Some other major players include Atrios’ Eschaton, Digby’s Hullabaloo, and Political Animal, the blog that dominates Washington Monthly’s main page.
- Okay, it sounds great. How do I get started?
To register, click the “Register” link in the right-hand column and fill in your desired name and password (please don’t use spaces in your user name — see below). You have to be pre-approved to post “front page” entries, but anyone who registers may comment.
To post or comment, you must log in. The “login” link is also in the right-hand column. This will bring you to the Dashboard.
To post, click on “Write.” Enter the title and post content, using the “more” tag if desired (see below). If you click the “advanced editing” button, you can scroll down to see a preview. You can also select categories for your post (to suggest new categories, contact the Blogmother). Click “publish” when you’re done.
Once you’ve posted, you can edit your posts by clicking “Manage” on the main menu bar. To edit your profile, go to “Users.”
To comment on a specific post, click on the “comments” link after that entry. You should see the name you’re logged in under and a “Leave a comment” box. Enter your comments (please follow the guidelines in the FAQ) and click the “submit comment” button. You can edit or delete your own comments by clicking the “Edit This” link.
Your first comment will be moderated. Once it’s been approved, you should be able to comment freely. Abuse will get you reset to moderated status or banned at the discretion of the Blogmother.
- FAQ links:
A lot of the information in the WordPress “help” section is for people managing the blog. For those who only plan to post and/or comment, the following links may be helpful. Some may still go into more depth than you need.
- Introduction to Blogging
- Writing Posts: (Note that “Excerpt” is currently giving me grief, so the “more” tag is more useful.)
- User Levels: Due to concerns with spam and trolls, all users wishing to post comments must register. New members are at Level 0, which allows you to post comments and to edit your own profile. If you’d like a higher level, write to The Blogmother and let us know what level you want and why you think you should have it.
- User names:
The system seems to choke on user names with spaces in them, so for your own sake please don’t put spaces in your user name. Use a hyphen or underscore between words if you don’t want to run them together.
- The “More” Tag:
When posting something long, put “<!–more–>” at the end of the part you want to appear on the front page (you can also get this by clicking the “more” button on the quicktag bar). The words “Read the rest…” will appear at the end of this text, with a link to the page with the full post.
- Entry (and comment) content:
As this is our own blog, entries that are primarily derived from another blog are acceptable, but there are two primary rules to keep in mind here:
- Every entry should have some substance of its own, even if that substance is minimal and/or comes from quoted material, and
- Keep copyright in mind when quoting. While most other blogs let you quote anything you want, as much as you want, check first. Actual news services are another story — three paragraphs for a regular article is usually a good maximum to keep in mind, but be judicious if that seems particularly long. You can always link to the whole thing. ALWAYS set off quoted material to show that it is someone else’s work. If you’re not familiar with basic HTML tags, you can highlight the text you want to set off and click the “b-quote” button on the Quicktags bar.
Linking is, in fact, the next major guideline: source all factual statements, particularly accusations. With blogging, this is as easy as turning a few words into a link to your source. If you have trouble with the coding, your friendly neighborhood bloggers (us) will be happy to help you. :-)
As a website that represents the Democratic party, profanity, hateful/defamatory language and personal attacks on fellow Democrats are prohibited. Criticism is allowed, of course, but we must do it mindfully, with an emphasis on facts. While we shouldn’t pull our punches against Republicans — the entire point is to take the fight to them — our official blog should conform to a higher standard than personal blogs (or the Republican slime machine, for that matter). If anyone wants help/advice on creating their own, personal blogs, we’ll be happy to help (and link).
Opinions are welcome — indeed, desired — but we should make clear to our readers the difference between our statements of fact and our ‘editorializing.’ For example, “Congressman Baca doesn’t really care about working people” is an opinion; “Congressman Baca voted for the ‘Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act'” is a fact (see http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2005/roll108.xml).
Have fun, play nice, and enjoy your visit :-).