Contributor Guidelines

This site serves the WordPress classes at Clark College. Contributions are made only by the students in current classes.

The site is designed to provide students experience with a multiple contributor, magazine style site, putting into practice what they learn during the course(s). WordPress is now a required course for the Web Design and Web Development degree paths, so contribution to this site is reflective of the student’s work on their chosen degree.

This class site is an experiment, subject to closure at any time, and without notice. Compliance with the guidelines and policies is critical to the success of this project.

This site is a work-in-progress as students move through the WordPress courses at Clark College. Thus, these guidelines may change without notice. It is incumbent upon the student to check these guidelines regularly and adhere to them.

In addition to the policies of this site, the course syllabus, and Clark College rules and guidelines, this site is hosted by and subject to the WordPress.com Terms of Service. Violation of any of these policies will result in penalties appropriate to the violation.

The following are things you must know about this site and its connection with the Clark College WordPress courses.

  1. Contributors agree to comply with the policies of this site, class syllabi, and Clark College.
  2. Contributors currently involved in the WordPress class may be graded for their contributors, which may influence their final grade for the course, and the presentation and opinions found in the articles.
  3. Contributors shall use their own names or a human-sounding name for their identity on the site. As the site is tied to their WordPress.com accounts, so the author profile will be the same across all sites.
  4. Contributors may have limited user roles and access to the site, subject to change at any time.
  5. All notifications, guidelines, rules, and policies are subject to change at any time without notice.

Mission and Purpose

The purpose of this site is to provide a working environment for students in the WordPress, web design, web development, and related students at Clark College.

The site is to serve as a working example of a professional, multi-contributor site, an environment many students may face in their academic and professional career. Accordingly, the highest standards will be maintained in keeping with such a professional magazine size.

The content is to be educational, focused on WordPress, web publishing, web design, social media, and related topics. Assignments are developed by the instructor and students in the WordPress classes.

The content on this site may serve multiple WordPress classes over many years, so it is inherent upon the contributors and the students to ensure the quality of the content is timeless and accurate to the best of their abilities.

Copyright

All contributed content is subject to the copyright policies as set by the site, class, and Clark College. This is a community of contributors as copyright holders. There may be more than one contributor to a single article, thus copyright is shared and all attempts to protect that copyright will be made. Previously published content may be edited without warning by other students, thus may share in the copyright. See the copyright policies for more information.

Audience

The audience for this site are fellow students and educators at Clark, and the general public interested in web publishing with WordPress.

The content and writing style should represent the voice of the student and be representative of the quality and integrity of their education.

In general, the writing should be aimed at college-educated individuals with an interest in WordPress, web design, web programming, and web development, as well as writing for the web in general.

Deadlines

Adherence to deadlines is critical to receipt of a good grade.

  • Editors have the right to set deadlines, as does the instructor.
  • All deadlines are to be met, as you would with a professional magazine or site.
  • Assignment grades may be changed or dropped as a result of a missed assignment.
  • Permission to extend a deadline shall be made by the editorial team and the instructor on a per case basis.

ClarkWP header art.

ClarkWP Writing Styles Guidelines

This is a style guide sheet and checklist for student contributions to the ClarkWP magazine.

Each student is required to read and review this list before submitting their article for review.

Editors will review this list and check it off as they review each submission to ensure compliance.

Voice and Presentation Style

Articles are to be written in a professional tone, though they may represent the character and personality of the author.

This is not an English or Journalism class, but spelling and grammar counts. This is a publicly accessible online magazine. The quality of the content represents you, the course, the department, and the college, as well as sets an example for other students and colleges around the world. Respect that with the delivery of quality content.

As this site serves as an academic resource, discriminating and profane language is not permitted, damn it.

Throughout the course, the instructor will be offering tips and techniques for content development and strategies as well as web design and development. Feel free to edit your published posts even after grading to ensure they represent the best you have to offer. Remember, these articles are published and may be used in resumes and portfolios.

Pronouns and Voice

Articles are to be written in second person unless otherwise directed by the instructor. These articles are not about your experience or opinion. they are about the facts, research, technique, and the reader.

Second person writing means you share the experience with the reader by talking about “how you click this” and “you do that” rather than “how I did this” and “I did that.” Second person is a voice style that speaks generally with authority.

The tone of the articles are to be professional and technical. Your personality may shine through, just remember that many of these articles are designed to replace references in the class notes. Their professional presentation and tone must meet class reference material criteria.

Avoid inserting over-emphasis on emotions with exclamation points, bolds, italics, and forced styles. “WRITERS ON WRITING; Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle” on the New York Times is a great article with tips on how NOT to write an article.

Fact Checking

All claims, references, and resources must be verified, checked for validity. Please link to quality sites and authors.

All claims, code, facts, and representations are to be checked, double checked, and verified as much as possible for accuracy and integrity. Mistakes happen, but our goal is to offer accurate, up-to-date, valid, and relevant content.

Accuracy matters, and may influence grades.

Advertising and Self Promotion

Students are not to promote themselves and their businesses through ClarkWP beyond the information provided in the bio and Gravatar Profiles. Such action may result in academic penalties.

Links, video, citations, images, and external content used on ClarkWP are not to be presented in a way that may appear to be an endorsement.

Link to reference sources and content without blatant commercial marketing. Fairly unbiased, Open Source, royalty free, copyright free, and GPL license sources are preferred when possible.

If in doubt about a source, discuss it with the editors and instructor.

Content Presentation

The guidelines and polices for content found on ClarkWP are designed to ensure quick conversion between WordPress Themes if the current class wishes to do so. Please do not allow any article to be released with unnecessary and unwanted code as that may require individual articles to be edited with each WordPress Theme change or modification.

  • All content must comply with web standards and WordPress practices.
  • All content is to be original and all copyrighted content shall be appropriately credited and cited.
  • Student contributions should not be published on the student site if the assignment requires the article to be published on ClarkWP.
  • Content must be free of word processing HTML and other code. Contributors are not to modify line height, fonts, font colors, paragraph alignment, etc, without the express permission of the editor(s) and instructor.
  • Students are highly encouraged to write and publish their articles in HTML using the WordPress Text Editor, not the Visual Editor. This saves time, energy, and editing work to fix errors commonly created with the Visual Editor. For a list of the most common HTML tags, see “The 10 HTML Tags You Must Know to Blog.”
  • Paragraphs are to be short, one concept or point per paragraph.

Tutorials are to not be written in the narrative but written in a clear, concise, and easy-to-read format, typically using numbered lists to break down the steps. The article may have multiple sets of numbered sets, restarting the number when necessary. Avoid manually adding numbered steps. A post structure and format guide is available as an example.

All WordPress commands are to follow this format:

Go to Appearance > Widgets and search for the Text Widget.

Name the part using the word “WordPress” where appropriate such as WordPress Theme, WordPress Plugin, and WordPress Widget when first starting to talk about the subject matter. It is acceptable to use WordPress Theme multiple times in a paragraph or article about a WordPress Theme, though you may refer to it later in the article as a Theme (note capital letter as it is a proper name). Do not abbreviate WordPress as WP.

Post Titles

Titles of all posts on ClarkWP must be in proper title caps.

  • “This is an Example of a Properly Capitalized Title”
  • “This is not a good example”
  • “THIS IS A TERRIBLE EXAMPLE”

Titles are to be concise and represent the topic. “WordPress Themes” is not an appropriate post title. “WordPress Tips for Themes” is also not appropriate. “10 Things to Know Before You Design Your First WordPress Themes” would be specific and describes the purpose of the article.

Titles do not typically feature links, bold, italic, or punctuation unless absolutely necessary like a question mark, exclamation point, comma, or, on rare occasions, quotes.

Some WordPress Themes convert the post title into all caps, italic, and other font formats, controlling the design elements of the post title. Regardless of the way the WordPress Theme displays the post title, always use proper title capitalization to ensure a smooth transition if the WordPress Theme is changed.

Paragraphs

Paragraphs are to be kept short, one point per paragraph.

Giant blocks of text are hard to read on the web. Many will skip right over them looking for smaller bites to digest on the page.

The rule is “one point per paragraph” rather than a complete thought as in traditional writing.

Another way to do this is to think that every paragraph shouldn’t be longer than 3-4 sentences. If your point is made, new paragraph and new point.

Links

The following are guidelines for using internal (intrasite) and external links on ClarkWP.

  • All links must feature the required HTML anchor tag title attribute in the form of a short properly formed sentence such as “Article by John Smith about web stands in web design.”
  • Links are to be one to four words that represent the content of the destination.
  • Links to article titles are to be in quote marks, the link inside the quotes.
  • Links do not generally include punctuation, saying inside of punctuation marks.
  • Links are to be absolute, not relative, linking directly to the destination source.
  • If the article is considered long, featuring extensive sections, add a table of contents consisting of jump links, using HTML heading IDs.
  • Links must be to qualified, verifiable sources.
  • Jump links are links to a spot on a webpage. These are allowed for long articles requiring a table of contents, and maybe used to jump to areas within an article or from one article to a spot in another. See “Creating and Using HTML Jump-links” for information on creating jump-links.
  • Intrasite links are encouraged, connecting articles across ClarkWP together. It is highly recommended that tutorial articles include a list of related articles at the bottom of the article, including links to previously published articles on ClarkWP.

Lists

Lists are important for conveying information in a form that easily read and digested by readers. Please make lists properly using HTML.

  • Lists are to be numbered or unnumbered using appropriate HTML. They are not to be lists created with line breaks.
  • Use unnumbered lists (UL – unordered) for general lists and collections.
  • Use numbered lists (OL – ordered lists) for sequenced events and numbered items.
  • Nested lists may be the same or alternating list types, UL > OL and UL > UL.
  • Lists may also be created with section headings (heading HTML tags) and images.

For more information on lists, see “How to Make HTML Lists.”

Punctuation, Bold, Italic, and Font Formats

Punctuation is the same for the web as it is for general writing practices and standards:

  • Quote marks are always outside punctuation.
  • Avoid excessive use of exclamation points, ellipses (…), and other emotional punctuation.
  • Air quote are in italics not quotes, however, note that most people read air quotes into the content and rarely does the text require such emphasis. If it does, consider rewriting it to ensure that emphasis is read naturally into the context.
  • All caps are not permitted in post content unless absolutely necessary.
  • Bold is for emphasis on instructional comments such as “Go to Appearance > Widgets to add a Widget to the sidebar of the WordPress Theme.” Do not use bold for section headings. Use HTML headings sized appropriately
  • Restrict bold and italic emphasis to content elements requiring them.
  • Sections in articles are to use properly sized HTML heading tags such as:
    <h1>Heading One</h1>
    <h2>Heading Two</h2>
    <h3>Heading Three</h3>
    See the notes below on this current WordPress Theme specifications and guidelines.

With the 2014 WordPress Theme, past classes have decided to use featured images when appropriate. The images must match the specifications found in the ClarkWP WordPress Theme guide on the student shell.

In Winter 2014, the WordPress I course had a contest to choose default featured images for each major category on ClarkWP. The images have been designed to match the requirements of the 2014 WordPress Theme. The winning images by Nicholas Eli. All future featured images should be designed to match this format until the class decides to replace the Theme or the featured images.

Article Series

Article series may be published by an individual student or team of students covering a WordPress-related topic more comprehensively. These are approved by the instructor and editors in advance.

Articles presented in series are required to feature the following:

  • Mention that this is a series of articles in the introductory paragraph.
  • Links in the first paragraph of subsequent articles to the previously published articles.
  • A link to the next article in the series once that article is live.
  • A heading section titled “Article Series: Title of Series” in the bottom of every post in the series with a list of links to ALL of the posts in the series set in reading order in a unnumbered (bullet) HTML list. Note that the current post must be included in the list.

WordPress Commands and Functions

Most of your articles will be about WordPress and how to use it, especially with tutorials. You are required to use the proper naming conventions for WordPress parts and pieces, as well as follow the standard structure for giving commands in navigation and access.

The following is the proper structure to guide someone through the Administration Panels.

To set the site to prevent search engines from indexing the site, thus keeping the site out of the public eye in search results:

  1. Go to Settings > Reading > Site Visibility.
  2. Check Discourage search engines from indexing this site.
  3. Save the Settings panel.

Administration Panels and Panel features are set in bold. The “greater than” symbol directs the user through the navigation steps. The feature parameters that may be changed are in italics, and rarely quote marks.

When possible, follow the numeric format in tutorials to explain a process or procedure involving navigation and action in WordPress. This makes it easier and faster to digest for readers.

Trademarks and Copyrights

Respect trademarks and brand names. All mention of trademarks, brand names, and product names must be spelled correctly. Proper names are not to be abbreviated such as WP for WordPress.

Registered and Trademark symbols are to be used when required by trademark owner.

  • To add a trademark symbol in WordPress, switch to the Text Editor and use the following HTML Character entity: &trade;
  • To add a registered symbol in WordPress, switch to the Text Editor and use the following HTML Character entity: &reg;
  • To add a copyright symbol in WordPress: &copy;

The WordPress logo may be used in articles with graphics. Please use the correct logo (the “tall and graceful one” says Matt Mullenweg). Official logos are found on WordPress Logos and Graphics. Many fans have contributed WordPress Fan Art that also may be used if appropriate.

Categories and Tags on ClarkWP

All articles on ClarkWP are required to have categories and tags.

The categories and tags must be appropriate to the key subject matter of the article. These are to be set by the author, though the editor may add or remove categories and tags if they are inappropriate.

  • No categories are to be added to ClarkWP without discussion with the class and instructor. Only editors and the instructor may add categories.
  • Categories are proper words and capitalized accordingly.
  • All tags are to be lowercase, including proper names and titles, and “wordpress.”
  • Tags may be added or removed by the author and the editors before or after a post has been published.

Tags represent the key subject matter of the article. Tags for an article about a specific WordPress Plugin for contact forms might have tags such as:

Tags: contact form, contact forms, forms, wordpress plugin, plugins, data entry, contact form wordpress plugin, contact form plugin

If the article uses comic references to how the contact form WordPress Plugin is “not like an ostrich, sticking its head in the sand,” the tags would not include the words “bird, ostrich, africa, sand, desert, flight, head,” and similar words as the article is not about birds nor sand, but about a contact form WordPress Plugin.

In other words, avoid gratuitous tags. Use specific and helpful words people would use to search for such an article.

Web Accessibility

This site honors the US Laws on Web Accessibility and complies with web standards.

This includes compliance with the WebAIM P.O.U.R. guidelines, specifically:

  • All links are required to be in properly formed HTML links featuring titles that define the title of the destination link.
  • All images are required to have a title (WordPress requirement) and clearly stated description in the ALT (Alternative Text) of the HTML IMG tag in the form of a short sentence.
  • Post titles and headings clearly represent the topic and goals of the site.

Writing and Publishing Tips, Techniques, and Resources

The following are articles that may be of value in contributing to this site.

Note: This guide is subject to change throughout the course as the site evolves. Check it frequently for updates. Further specifics are found in the course shell, accessible only to currently enrolled students.

Decisions

This is a class project that will cross multiple quarters, therefore decisions are made based upon a sense of big picture and long-term qualifications.

When possible, all decisions regarding the editorial content and site development and design are to be made by the students for the current quarter in the WordPress classes. Decisions will be made democratically as much as possible, with the editor(s) making the final decision.

The instructor is the next level of decision-making. She holds the right to change, amend, or decline any decision by the editorial team or class.

If arbitration is necessary, the Clark College CTEC and CGT department chairs, department dean(s), and other administrators may be called in to arbitrate. If the issue escalates to the higher administration levels of the college, the site may be shut down, therefore it is incumbent upon all participants and contributors to behave professionally, practice web standards, represent the college well, and to play nice with each other.

Students Serving Up WordPress Tips and Techniques for Clark College Students and the World

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