streets.mn Writers’ Guide and Stylesheets

Below are the Writers’ Guide and Stylesheets. These complement the official Editorial Policy:  https://streets.mn/streets-mn-editorial-policy/

 

Writers’ Expectations (Note: Exceptions to these expectations are perfectly normal.)

  • If you are on the calendar, try to post on your appointed day. If you aren’t, feel free to put something up whenever you like. Visit the streets.mn Scribblers Schedule Signup Sheet to sign-up for a day on the calendar.
  • Posts should have about 500-1000 words. (Note: There are many exceptions to this rule, i.e. photo/video/chart posts.)
  • There must be a meaningful photo, uploaded to the ‘featured’ box on the bottom right of the WordPress post editor page. If you can’t find a photo, email the writers list (streetsmn-writers@googlegroups.com), or take one from the streets.mn Flickr pool (located on the sidebar of the home page).
  • At this time, streets.mn does not heavily edit posts. However, if you want someone to look at your writing or if you have a question, email Bill (blindeke@gmail.com) or the writers list (streetsmn-writers@googlegroups.com).
  • Add an author biography and photo to appear at the bottom of your posts. Feel free to embed links (e.g. Twitter) into your author biography.
  • If you miss most of your scheduled post days, please email the calendar editor (blindeke@gmail.com) to remove your name or adjust your schedule. If possible, let the writers list (streetsmn-writers@googlegroups.com) know a day or two in advance, as someone might have a replacement handy.

Stylesheet

  • streets.mn is all lowercase.
  • Key Words in Titles are Capitalized.
  • Titles should be descriptive and precise, and typically no more than eight words.
  • All acronyms should be written out in full the first time you use them; e.g. level of service (LOS).
  • Add links to references when possible.
  • If possible, include subheadings (HTML: use <h3> </h3>) every few paragraphs; these should be Capitalized and in bold.
  • Avoid or explain jargon.
  • Please aim your post at a non-technical audience. (Caveat: Some posts are just fine aimed at a technical audience.) Ideally, most posts on streets.mn should be interesting to people who aren’t already working in the land use or transportation fields. We want the site to appeal to a broad cross-section of Minnesotans. This is harder than you think!
  • Please aim your post at a non-Metro Area audience (avoid too much “inside baseball”). (Caveat: Some posts are just fine aimed at a Metro Area audience.) Try not to assume that everyone knows what a particular street or neighborhood looks like. We want the site to appeal to a broad cross-section of Minnesotans. This is harder than you think!
  • Reference other topical streets.mn posts when possible (e.g. skyways).
  • Reference (UrbanMSP) Forum threads on a pending development when possible (e.g. Vikings stadium).
  • Numbers less than ten  (10) should be spelled out.
  • streets.mn does not take a position concerning the Oxford comma. Most of us like it, however.
  • Photos should have descriptive captions.
  • Photos should not be copyright protected, though this is up to the individual author. (All posts are licensed to streets.mn with a Creative Commons license)
  • Photos should be at least 300px wide, and usually placed either centered (with no text wrap) or on the right hand side of the post (with text wrap). Note: for photo heavy posts, other options might be better.
  • For images, it’s usually a good idea to select “link to image file” when you are placing the image in your post.  That way, people can click on the image to get an expanded view.
  • Multi-part posts are rarely completed; avoid posting them until you have written all the parts.
  • All writing must be iambic pentameter. (Except haiku.)
  • Posts should only be titled with questions if the post is actually asking a question.
  • The text: “This was cross/also posted on/from XXXXXX.com” should be a footer at the end of a post, not at the beginning.

Categories  In general, posts with substantial original writing (150 words) will be “featured” in the scrolling headline bar. Please use the “featured” tag for your post if it qualifies to ensure this happens. This does not apply to posts in the following categories, which should not use the “featured tag” and will appear in a sidebar. Therefore, please categorize appropriate posts using these categories (in bold), so they will show up in the correct place on the website: {indicates approximate scheduling}

  • xxxx Voter Guide {Annual} – a voter guide installment
  • Announcements  – site-specific announcements
  • Best of {Annual} – a best of vote or result
  • Chart {Daily} – a chart, or map, with or without discussion
  • children  {Wednesday} – family activities etc.
  • Events {ad hoc} – an event (speech, activity, etc.) with a particular time and place
  • Then and Now {Thursday} – A comparison of some location today with some location at a previous point in time.
  • Maps {Monday} – a map, with or without discussion.
  • News – a factually reported (no opinion/editorializing) news event.
  • Open Thread {ad hoc} – a post with essentially no comment so people can talk in the comments.
  • Photos {Friday} –  (Friday Photo) post featuring a photo or photos from the Flickr pool
  • Podcast – Bill Lindeke’s streets.mn podcast
  • Podcast Network – other podcasts of interest
  • Polls – a poll using the polldaddy plugin
  • Sketches {Sunday} – (Sunday Sketch) drawings
  • streets.mn – Official streets.mn policies, requires approval of the Board.
  • Summary {Sunday} – (Sunday Summary) the weekly summary of on-site posts (Title = Sunday Summary – Month Day, Year)
  • Video {Saturday} – (Saturday Cinema) a weekly video of interest

Tags Tags can be applied liberally. Please attempt to use already existing tags before introducing a new one into the system. In the interest of elegance, please limit yourself to fewer than 7 tags per post.