Frequently Asked Questions


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Please see this site's Content Policy which governs the use of this site.

What do I do if I have a technical problem: can't register, sign in, get a password reminder sent to me, etc.?

If you've created a new user account or requested a new password and you don't get an email, check your spam or bulk mail folder.

You can also write to noemie (at) washblog (dot) com.

To see information for your account, use this format: www.washblog.com/user/[your user name]/. So, for example, to see the information for the account with the user name of quip, go to www.washblog.com/user/quip

If you are signed in under your account, you can add the word "prefs", for preferences, to the end of that address to get to the page where you can change your password and other information. For the Quip account, this would look like: www.washblog.com/user/quip/prefs.

Who can post on Washblog?
Anyone who has registered with Washblog and has an account can post a diary or comments. If you are from Washington (or connected with the state in some way this is significant to you) and you value reality-based discourse, we invite you to join in.

What can I post about?
We encourage you to post on anything that you understand to be related to public policy, public life, or politics and to be of interest to people in Washington state. We monitor the site for abusive content and reserve the right to delete material that we feel is outside our scope. It is rare for us to delete anything.

What does "reality-based" mean?
Based on the real-life impacts that public policy has on real people and the environment, rather than on ideology.

The phrase is an implied repudiation of the Bush administration denial of reality as reflected in its policies and described in a comment made by a Bush administration staffer in a 2004 interview quoted in New York Times Magazine. The aide told reporter Ron Suskind that the United States is an empire now, so we create our own reality.

Is Washblog a partisan site?
Sort of. This is a team-moderated site. Each editor on the team has his or her own individual political beliefs and philosophy. However, we are progressive in our beliefs and united in opposition to the corrupt and destructive policies and culture of the current Republican Party leadership and misuse of public resources by politically powerful private interests.

What's the difference between a diary and a story?
A diary shows up on the right hand side of the Washblog page. A story shows up on the front page. There are different links to create these different types of posts. Most users are able to create diaries only. Sometimes editors will "front page" a diary so that it shows up as a story.

Is it possible that my post or comment will be edited or removed?
We can delete comments but we cannot edit them. We will delete what we think are troll comments and ban people whom we think are being repeatedly disruptive.

We reserve the right to remove material we understand to be outside our scope, abusive, or deliberately disruptive. It is rare for us to remove anything. However, we do recommend that you save copies of your work, as we cannot guarantee that editorial decisions or technical problems won't result in its removal.

Do I have to identify who I am before I post or comment?
Anonymous posting of comments and diaries is welcomed. One of the most important contributions that the blogging form offers is that it allows the expression of political opinions and observations without fear of repercussion from work or family, etc. This lets through important political and social information that may not be available elsewhere. Anonymity does not lessen the obligation for honesty and accuracy or the need to comply with our Content Policy. You must provide a valid email account in order to register with Washblog. That email address will be available to the site administrators and editors, but not to the public. That information is confidential and we will not share it. You are not required to provide your name or other information.

When you first apply for an account, Washblog will send you an email. By responding to this email, you will be activating your account. At that time, you will have a chance to set up your publicly available information and can choose to share your name, email address, home page, or other information -- or to keep it private.

Can I edit my own comments or posts?
Comments cannot be edited by anyone -- that's not within the site's capabilities. Posts can be edited by the authors. Site managers can remove comments; most users cannot.

Why do I have to scroll to the right to see the whole page?
Washblog is designed for a screen resolution of 1024x768, which is what most people have their screens set at. If your resolution is something less than that, like 800x600 or 640x480, you may want to consider going into your control panel and resetting the resolution.

How do ratings on comments work -- and what's a trusted or untrusted user?
Our ratings system is currently "under construction". For information on the past system: here and here.




How do I create an account on Washblog?
Click on the link "Make a New Account" and follow the instructions. You'll need to read your email and respond to the message that is sent to you before you can log in for the first time. If you have questions, write us at info@washblog.com.

Do you have user or writer guidelines?
Please see this site's Content Policy and Writer's Page.

How do I make a comment?
If the story has a second page, click on the "full story" link at the bottom. Then scroll down to the bottom and click on "post a comment". Here's a Comment Practice diary. You can go there and practice and make mistakes -- try out some html coding, etc.

How do I post a diary?
Click on "New Diary Entry" on the right-hand column of Washblog. Choose a topic from the pull-down list. Choose a formatting option (html, text, or automatic -- see section below "How do I format"). Type your first 1-3 paragraphs in the top box. Type the rest of your story in the bottom box. Click on "Preview". Edit and check your story. Check to see all your links work and that things are spelled correctly and you like the way it appears on the page. You can click on "preview" as many times as you wish before submitting your story. After clicking on "submit" make sure that there is no error message on the screen. The screen should say that you have successfully posted your entry.

It is recommended that you compose your story in a separate word processing document like Wordpad and that you cut and paste into Washblog. This allows you to save your story frequently and have a copy independently of what is held on Washblog's pages. Be aware that some word processing programs like Microsoft Word will "correct" your html formatting. So you'll need to either correct it back -- or work in a program like Wordpad which does not do this.

How do I take part in a community conversation?

Community conversations are stories posted on Washblog in the usual way -- except with a few small differences. These stories are posted at a scheduled time, typically 7PM on a weeknight. A number of people with interest in the issue have read the story in advance so that they can sign in at the time it is posted to discuss it in the comments section. As with any story, anyone is welcomed to join in the conversation. Here is an example of one of these conversations: Community Conversation: Biofuels in the NW.

Anonymous posting of comments and diaries is welcomed. One of the most important contributions that the blogging form offers is that it allows the expression of political opinions and observations without fear of repercussion from work or family, etc. This lets through important political and social information that may not be available elsewhere. Anonymity does not lessen the obligation for honesty and accuracy or the need to comply with our Content Policy.

If you are commenting on Washblog for the first time, you may want to scan this entire FAQ document. Emails at noemie (at) washblog.com are monitored during conversations and you are welcomed to write for assistance in logging in, making comments, etc.

How do I use html formatting?
When you comment or post a diary, there's a little drop-down box that allows you to choose html, text, or automatic. Choosing the "automatic" option will insert html coding so that your post shows up generally WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get). If you want to to do html editing, change the option to html.

See the Writer's Page for a mini-html cheatsheet. Many code snippets can also be found by searching on Google.

I pushed "Submit". Why didn't my comment or diary show up?
When you click submit, make sure to note whether an error message shows up on the web page. People have lost their work because they thought their story or comment posted but it did not because there was an error. Many people chose to compose in a Word document which they save frequently. Then you can cut and paste that into Washblog.

What title should I give my piece?
Here's a good piece from Politics and Technology on considerations to keep in mind when creating a title.

How long should I make my piece?
Please keep the first part of your post, which shows "above the fold" no longer than 3 medium-sized paragraphs. The rest is up to you.







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