CSR How-To Guide For New Members

Over the past few months we've seen an influx of new membership here at CSR (and we couldn't be happier, so thank you all for joining in on the fun), and I've noticed a few commenters asking questions such as "How to I post an image?", or "How do I make blockquote text?", and I felt it was appropriate to make a how-to guide to help educate our newer members who haven't been around that long on the ins and outs of posting comments, fan posts, and fan shots.

If you're a salty old veteran like myself and already know this stuff, then this tutorial really isn't written for you, but if you're unsure of how to add images to comments, make blockquote text, add links to your comments, or when to post a fan shot instead of a fan post, then please continue reading for a brief screen shot tutorial on each of these topics.

The most important thing to know is that when it comes to web forums, the rules aren't always the same. With that being said, please keep in mind that I'm not teaching anyone how to do anything in a general web forum. Instead I'm teaching you how to do things specific to SB Nation's blog sites. (It doesn't matter which fan-site you're on - as long as it's part of the SB Nation blog network, the same commenting and posting rules apply.)

I. How to make blockquote text

Okay, you've been to Panthers.com and you found an interesting article that you want to share a quote from. What do you do? You can utilize the blockquote feature in the comments section to show the rest of the commenters that what you found is something you took from another source. Let's take a look at the images below to see what I'm talking about.

The blockquote feature is also useful if you're quoting a previous comment. This is especially useful in internet fights that have been known to break out from time to time.

II. Posting a link

We all enjoy it when a poster wants to share a link to something that's either interesting, funny, or a combination of the two. You've probably seen a few links shared in your brief time here at CSR. So, how do you share a link so others can just click on it without having to type the link in their URL bar? It's not as hard as you would think it is. Let's look at some pictures to see just how easy it can be to share a link.

I'm assuming you know how to copy a link from a website, since that's a universal practice regardless of where you get the link from. If you don't know how to do this, feel free to ask and someone will gladly walk you through the process.

So you've got your link copied, and you're ready to share it with the rest of us, but you don't know how. Well, take a look at the image below, and you'll see just how to share that link with everyone at CSR.

Once you've clicked the link button, you will get a pop-up window to enter the link, as you can see in the image below:

After you paste the link URL into the box, all you have to do is decide if you want it to open in a new window (read: you should decide that you want it to open in a new window), click submit, and Voila! -- your link will be ready to post.

III. Posting an image

If I had to guess, I would say that "How do I post an image?" is probably the most frequently asked question at CSR. Well, here's a brief summary on how to post images in comments.

First, you have to use an image that is stored somewhere online. You can't use images from your computer unless you post them to a hosting site first to give them a URL (imgur, imageshack, and photobucket are just a few options). Once you have a URL for your image, you need to copy the URL. If you uploaded the image to a photo sharing site you can copy the URL that the site gives you. If you find an image online you like and want to share, then you have to copy the image URL manually. Depending on which web browser you use, you should be able to right-click the image with your mouse and select "Copy image URL" or some form of that phrase.

One thing that isn't used that often (and probably should be) is the use of the image height tag. A lot of times, especially in longer threads, we will see images that are way too large and take up too much space. Of course, you can always click the subject header and hide the image (Which brings me to another point -- please always use a subject line when posting an image, even if it's just "...", so people can hide images if they want.), but it's still nice to keep the images from being too large for those of us who want to enjoy them.

This can be accomplished by scaling the image with the height tag, and it's very simple to do. After you've posted your image URL in the box and clicked "ok", you will see the image "code" in the comment box, as in the image below:

Notice the height tag is before the "/" (aka slash). You must put the height tag before the slash, or your image won't post. Using this height tag shrinks the image down to a more reasonable size. You don't have to put a size for the width, because the SB Nation chat program automatically scales the image based on the height. I used 250 in the example because it's normally the best size for scaling images since it makes it small enough to not take up too much space, yet large enough to actually see the image. Below, you will see an example of a scaled image to a height of 250 pixels.

IV. Recs, Flags, and the Reply Button

If you're in a conversation with a fellow poster, it's helpful to use the reply button when responding to a comment so the thread is easier to read. The reply button is located below the comment box, as you can see in the screenshot below:

Have you ever wondered why there are so many comments with green backgrounds? Those comments are "green" because they received at least three "recs" from fellow posters who thought the comment was either insightful, funny, or a combination of the two. To rec a comment, you just click the actions button below the comment, and select "Rec" from the two choices.

If you find a comment offensive for any reason, you can choose the "Flag" option when clicking the actions button.

The screenshot below shows the choices you have once you click the actions button:

V. Fan Posts and Fan Shots

If you have a story or analysis to share that's 75 words or more in length, then a fan post is the tool you should use. Fan posts are there for fans who aren't members of the Editorial Staff so they can share articles with the rest of CSR. Once the fan post is published, it appears in the fan post section on the right sidebar of the website. Fan posts are listed in chronological order, and the fan posts that receive three or more recs are listed in a separate box at the top of the sidebar. If your fan post is constructed well enough, and has pertinent information about a topic that hasn't already been covered, a member of the Editorial Staff could potentially move it to the front page of the blog. (Note: Each editor has different standards for what goes to the front page, so you're really at the discretion of the Editorial Staff for front page promotion.)

On the other hand, if your fan post isn't 75 words in length, it cannot be posted. If you post nonsense words at the end of your 45 word thought just to meet the minimum word requirement, your fan post will most likely be deleted. (FYI, I always delete them when I see them.) If you don't have at least 75 words to say about a certain topic, then your best course of action would be to use the fan shot option instead, or posting it as a comment on a relevant fan post or front page article.

If you have something you'd like to share, whether it be a link to an article or a funny picture of a Panthers player, and you don't want to post it as a comment in another thread to get mixed in with 500+ other comments, then a fan shot is the appropriate tool to use. Fan shots allow users to share things that don't require a lot of text so the fan post list on the right sidebar isn't overcrowded with things that really don't belong there. There is a section on the right sidebar below the fan post section for fan shots, and they are shown in chronological order just like fan posts are.

Anyway, I've rambled enough. On to the tutorial. (Note: all images can be clicked to enlarge).

a. Posting Fan Posts

Okay, you have a statistical break down of last week's game that you want to share with everyone, but you're not quite sure how to do it. That's where the fan post comes in. To write a fan post, you have to click the fan post link in the upper right corner of the home page, as seen in the picture below:

Once you've clicked the fan post link, you will be taken to a new screen in your browser that will look like the image below:

After you've typed your fan post, if you scroll down to the bottom of the page you will see the Auto Tag & Link button, the Add Poll option, and the Preview/Publish buttons. Below is a screen shot of what you will see when you scroll down:

Now, if you'd like to include a poll, then all you have to do is click "Attach Poll". Once you click it, you'll see a pop up box like the one in the picture below:

When you click "Add new option", you will see a space to add your poll options, as seen in the picture below:

Be sure to click "Save Poll" to ensure that your poll is seen by your readers.

Now, all you have to do is make sure you have everything included in your fan post, and click the publish button. I highly recommend utilizing the preview feature before publishing. You don't know how many times I've previewed a story to find typos and other various errors in my work prior to publishing articles. The preview feature is a lifesaver.

Once you've hit publish, that's it! You've posted a fan post for all of CSR to see! It's really that simple. (The hard part is coming up with something to talk about.)

That's all you need to know about posting fan posts (at least the technical side of it anyway). Now, let's move on to fan shots.

b. Posting Fan Shots

Now that we've covered fan posts, let's take a look at fan shots. If you don't have at least 75 words worth of content, please use the fan shot option instead of the fan post option. To post a fan shot, simply click "Fan Shot" instead of "Fan Post" in the upper right corner of the home page (see Photo 1).

You have several options for posting fan shots: link, quote, image, video, list, and chat. Most people only use the first four choices, and those are the only one's I'm going to cover in this tutorial.

To post a link as a fan shot, click "link" from the choices on the screen. A picture of what you'll see when you're posting a link fan shot is below:

To post a quote as a fan shot, choose "quote" from the choices on the screen. This is what I use when posting quotes from Twitter about player/team updates. A screenshot of what you'll see when you select quote is below:

To post an image as a fan shot, click "image" from the choices on the screen. A picture of what you'll see when you're posting an image fan shot is below: (Note: to post an image, it must be hosted online. You can't post an image from your computer. Also, please do not post an image that would be considered NSFW.)

To post a video as a fan shot, click "video" from the choices on the screen. A picture of what you'll see when you're posting a video fan shot is below: (Note: please do not post a video that would be considered NSFW.)

Once you've posted your link, quote, image, or video; all you have to do is click "publish" and your fan shot will be published for everyone to see. That's it...easy as pie.

VI. CSR Memes

You've probably noticed by now that members of CSR have a lot of inside jokes that we like to frequently employ. I'm sure you've read threads and seen some of these comments and thought to yourself "What are these clowns talking about?" Well, if you find yourself left in the dark when we use terms like (minus Bowers) or tree fiddy, then you might find some useful information in the CSR Glossary.

Hopefully you will find this how-to guide useful as you enjoy your time here at Cat Scratch Reader. If you have any questions about any of the things we've covered in this tutorial, or any questions about anything in general, please feel free to ask someone. We're generally a helpful bunch, and we'll be more than happy to help you along the way.

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