GV Posting Guide
From Global Voices Wiki
Welcome to the Global Voices Posting Guide. This is designed to help you with the more technical side of creating GV content.
Other important documents:
- Style Guide Information about our stylistic standards like tone of voice.
- Lingua Translators Guide Technical information about using the Lingua system to translate posts.
- Lingua Editors Guide Information for Lingua Translation Managers about administrating a site.
If you are not a Global Voices contributor yes please see the Get Involved page to learn how to become an author or translator.
GV WordPress System
To write for Global Voices you have to log in to the GV WordPress installation. WordPress is software we run on our server that makes it easy to write posts. Your unique login allows any changes you make to be tracked, in case you need to go back to earlier versions of an article.
Authors should have received login information allowing them to write posts from their editor.
If you want to learn more about WordPress there's good documentation on their wiki.
The system login page for WordPress is always available by adding /wp-admin/ after the URL, for Global Voices in English it's: http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/wp-admin
Generally speaking, the main task you'll be using WordPress for is creating posts. To get started with a new post click Posts in the sidebar, and choose New Post.
Using an offline blog editor
The post editor in WordPress is fully functional and even includes a Visual (WYSIWYG) editor as well as a HTML version. That said, it is a good idea to also use a text editor on your local computer as well. Regularly copying your post into a text file and saving it is insurance against a mishap with the website that could potentially lose all your hard work.
Never copy directly from Microsoft Word!" Pasting text from MS Word into WordPress will cause many formatting problems that can be a disaster to fix. If possible avoid MS Word entirely, if you must use it always paste the text into a simple plaintext editor, then copy it again before pasting to WordPress (this will remove the bad formatting of MS Word).
On Global Voices there are several "types" of post that we create. Each has particular needs and standards.
"Stories" are the main content of GV, full-length articles with several quotes from multiple sources. Typically, they are detailed explanations of one big idea or several related ideas between 200-1000 words long.
They normally make use of links, quotes and images from a variety of citizen media about the subject covered, which are displayed in ‘block quote’ sections or ‘translation boxes’.
Stories are displayed as excerpts on the left-hand side of GV, with their thumbnail and a short description that was entered in the "Optional Excerpt" box in wp-admin. Any GV author is welcome to create posts.
Aside from the "Quick Reads" section below, the rest of this document explains the formatting and metadata that should be used for "Long Stories".
See the Style Guide for stylistic (tone, ethics, grammar) considerations to keep in mind when writing posts on Global Voices.
"Quick Reads" are what we call short GV articles that integrate hyperlinks within a brief explanatory text, around 30-35 words (two short or one long sentence). Quick Reads are displayed in the right-side of GV and are defined by the fact that the entire post content is always shown, not an excerpt. This means they must be short and quick to read and ultimately they should take up equal space to the excerpt of a "Story".
You may also integrate an image or blockquote into each Quick Read, read the sections below for details.
Quick Reads are mostly written by editors but in certain regions/languages may be written by authors too. If you want to start creating Updates you must speak with your editor first.
The way to make a post a Quick Read is to check the following category: TYPE -> Updates
Keep Quick Read headlines short!
Headlines for all updates should be as short as possible (6 words maximum) because they show in a very thin column. Please write them so that they are accurate, catchy and 'tease the content' rather than give it all away. The headline needs to invite our readers to read the Quick Read, but if the headline gives it all away, than the reader might feel cheated.
Please see the Headlines section of the Style Guide for general headline writing advice, just remember that with Updates is extra important to keep it brief, ideally less than 45 characters.
Use the <!--more--> tag to add more detail
We don't use the <!--more--> for GV's Long Story posts but it is a built-in feature of WordPress that lets you break the post into two parts, one before the visitors clicks a "more" link, and one that only shows on the single-post (permalink) page for the post.
On Quick Read posts we use the <!--more--> tag instead of excerpts. You should always try to keep your updates as short and snappy as possible, inserting the <!--more--> tag after the first, short version, then adding more detail after. This will keep the sidebar looking clean while offering more details to visitors if they are interested.
Ideally please place the update source link after the <!--more--> tag, to ensure readers click through to read more.
Quick Reads with Images
An image can be used at the start of a Quick Read as it's main focus. There should be only one image per Quick Read and all text should come after the image.
Keep images small and wide Images in updates will be resized automatically to fit in the narrow column, but if they are vertically tall they will take up too much space, so the ideal images are wide and short, "banner shaped" ones. If the image you want to use is tall rather than wide you should attempt to crop it to be more squat, preferably less tall than it is wide.
Image alignment (right/left) will be ignored in the updates column, leave them as no-alignment.
Set post thumbnail but never insert it into the content. You should never use the "thumbnail" size of image in Quick Reads, the "medium" size always fits better. That said, if you add a photo to an update always set it as the Thumbnail for the post in the "'GV Thumbnail Chooser"' box. Even though it won't show on the site it will be used by Facebook/G+ when people share the post.
The image caption should include as much attribution for the original author as possible, including links and CC license if applicable, and be descriptive of what is in the photo. See the general section on inserting images for more details.Now, directly after the image, paste the code
This breaks off the Quick Read and means that only the image shows up on the homepage with a 'More>>' link below it to the actual Quick Read post.
You can now add any further information you want below this code to show up when readers click through for 'more'. Remember that although you can add more, to keep things concise and not exceed the 50 word limit for updates.
Please follow usual GV format rules on images for updates. Here's a quick reminder:
- Do you have permission for use?
- Does it fit the dimensions i.e. wide and short, "banner shaped" - if not can you crop it?
- When you save the image to your computer for upload, change the name to something relevant that may show up in search engines.
- Remember to provide a caption and copy/paste this into the alternative text and title fields as well.
- Provide a url link to the original image.
Quote-led Quick Reads
For a quote-led Quick Read pick a snappy sentence or two of quote (around 20 words) and insert it as a blockquote in your Update like you would in a normal post, with the exception that if there is an original language you should only include the translation in the main update text.
Below the quote add a short credit and link to the source of the quote, optionally adding a brief explanation. e.g.
Syrian rebel sympathiser Tommy Bilbo on his blog RebelSympathy, reacting to recent attacks.
If you wish to add more context or link to the post, use the <!--more--> tag so that everything after will only be shown if the visitor clicks on a "More" link below the quote. Keep in mind that Quick Read posts should still be fairly short, even if they use the <!--more--> tag. If your post has a lot of details make it a regular story!
Remember that all quotes must be accompanied by a link to their source, this applies to Quick Reads just as much as any other story.
Be creative when writing quote-based updates and try to make sure it flows well. The writing style is very different than when it’s all in a paragraph!
Sometimes GV posts are based on an interview. Please use the following format:
Format interview questions as bold text and place interview responses in blockquote format.
Write out the name of the interviewer and interviewee at the first mention. Add an abbreviation afterwards in brackets (parentheses) and used the abbreviation for the rest of the interview.
Format the name/abbreviation of the interviewee in bold text in the blockquote responses.
Global Voices (GV): Why do you like to blog?
<blockquote><strong>Shobam Guri (SG)</strong>: Blogging is an important part of my life...</blockquote>
GV: How do you stay safe?
<blockquote><strong>SG</strong>: I have a great support network...</blockquote>
HTML blockquotes should be used for any text taken directly from an external source.
In the WordPress "HTML" editor you can either type the <blockquote> tag directly or select the quote text and press the b-quote button.
In the "Visual" editor you can use the quote button (giant " marks) to convert the paragraph you currently have selected into a blockquote.
Remember you don't need quotemarks around the text in a blockquote!
If you're quoting a comment within the main written text just use double or single quotemarks, depending on what punctuation system you are using. Please be consistent.
Short, direct quotes from people or reports etc, can be enclosed in either double "..." or single '...' quotemarks, depending on whether you are using UK or US spelling and grammar.
Any quote longer than a sentence should be enclosed in a blockquote tag on it's own line.
Remember to '"always'" provide hyperlinks for direct quotes if possible.
When a post contains a long quote in a different language you should always include both the original text in a blockquote (see above) and the translated text in a Translation Quote. Translation quotes are powered by the .translation class, which changes the style of a quote so that when a normal blockquote and a Translation Quote are one after the other, the relationship is clear from how they are designed.
<blockquote>Original Text</blockquote> <blockquote class="translation">Translated Text</blockquote>
In the HTML editor you can use the .translation button to wrap the currently-selected text in a translation quote.
In the Visual editor you can use the .translation choice in the Styles pulldown menu on the second row of buttons (if there is only one row use the last button on the right to open the second). This will convert the currently selected paragraph or blockquote into a Translation Quote.
Right-to-left Language Quotes
Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, Urdu and other languages are written from right-to-left, so they need a special .rtl class that fixes how they are displayed when we quote them.
<blockquote class="rtl">بدأت تتوالى</blockquote>
In the HTML editor of the system there is a .rtl button that will wrap the currently-selected text in a right-to-left blockquote.
In the Visual editor you can use the .rtl choice in the Styles pulldown menu on the second row of buttons (if there is only one row use the last button on the right to open the second). This will convert the currently selected paragraph or blockquote into a right-to-left blockquote.
Left-to-right Language Quotes
When writing in or translating to a right-to-left language the opposite class, .ltr, is needed so that quotes in English or other LTR languages display appropriately. The process is the same as described above for RTL, but use the .ltr class and buttons in the different editors.
It is important to credit everyone who helped create a post, not just the main author. We do this by listing additional contributors at the end of the post as there can only be one author per post in the system. A contributor could be someone who helped translate the post, did a lot of sub-editing, or helped in any other way.
Place the contributors paragraph at the very end of every post, under even any ‘Extra Notes’ (see below) added. This allows it to match the author credit directly below.
<p class="contributors">This post was proofread in English by <a href="http://globalvoicesonline.org/author/solana-larsen/">Solana Larsen</a>.</p>
If you are listing the name of someone who is part of Global Voices, please always link to their GV profile page (like this one) so that people can find their posts and bio information easily.
In the HTML editor of the system there is a .contributors button that will wrap the currently-selected text with a .contributors tag.
In the Visual editor you can use the .contributors choice in the Styles pulldown menu on the second row of buttons (if there is only one row use the last button on the right to open the second). This will convert the currently selected paragraph into a contributors paragraph.
Extra notes can be used at the end of posts to add necessary context or information for readers, as well as to give a special style to updates to the post added after publishing.
The display and functioning of the .notes class is exactly the same as the .contributors class outlined above. All instructions apply, just use the .notes buttons and/or CSS class in either the Visual or HTML editor.
For all long stories you should write a short, compelling excerpt in the Excerpt box in the WordPress post editor. If you forget the system will automatically generate an excerpt from the first lines of your post, but it will not be as good as if you had chosen it manually.
The excerpt appears on the homepage to tempt people to read your post, so it's important to make it interesting and catchy!
Global Voices posts are sorted into many different categories so that visitors can find posts about specific places and topics. It takes time because there are so many, but it’s important to ensure all the categories relevant to a post are selected before publishing.
For a list of current GV categories see here. Authors should never add categories, we carefully select each one to avoid making the list any longer.
In the WordPress post editor the category box is in the right sidebar. Categories are sorted by their types (WORLD, TOPIC) then alphabetically within each type. =
Regions and countries
Select the geographical region and country relevant to your post.
If your post covers more than one region/country you can select more, but consider whether your post would look out of place if a reader landed on the page for that country or region. It's better only to pick the main ones.
If you select a country, please always select the matching region too.
If your post is about a regional issue only, you do not have to chose a country.
If your post is about a "Global" topic only, you need neither select region nor country since ALL posts on GV enter the global newsfeed as soon as they are published. There is no "global" category other than the default.
Select as many topic categories as are specifically relevant to your post. Check to see what topic categories have been selected for previous posts on the topic/issue/event you are writing about if you are uncertain.
GV uses language categories to indicate that a post contains quotes and references to citizen media in that language.
If a post was written in English but had translated Chinese blockquotes and links to a Spanish news story, the Chinese and Spanish language categories should be selected. Note, these aren’t the same as the country categories - it depends on what the language of the source material is.
Remember the language the post is written in should not be checked as a category, only the languages of the external content being linked to.
GV uses type categories to help users find posts with a particular type of content.
- Update posts are short posts that link away from GV. See the Brief Updates section of this page for details.
- Photo posts contain several compelling photos, and have those photos or photography as a central topic. (i.e. not just an example photo to illustrate the topic, but photos that are the topic).
- Video posts contain video of some kind.
- Podcast posts are about a podcast online and preferably have links to listen to audio.
- Featured posts are chosen by the managing editors to be promoted to users. Authors should not use this category.
Some multimedia should always be added to GV posts. It makes them much more appealing and interesting to the reader.
Multimedia can take the form of images, illustrations, videos or audio.
The most important thing to remember regarding any use of multimedia in GV posts, is that a credit of some sort is required every time.
Copyright and Attribution
Copyright - or permission for use - is the most important thing to consider about any multimedia added to GV posts. Editors have to check all the images that authors use, so please ensure all copyright questions are answered before submitting any posts.
Any multimedia included in a GV post must have a clear credit (and permission for use). Below is some information on copyright and how to credit different types of multimedia:
Copyright refers to the rights of the creators of original pieces of work, including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work. More info
Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that creates legal and technical infrastructure to maximize creativity, sharing, and innovation.
Its license system has been adopted by a lot of multimedia and photo sharing sites and for a nonprofit organisation such as Global Voices, the content is often freely available for non-commercial use.
It is always very important to check the license of every image that you consider, and to indicate in the image's caption its source and copyright status, for example:
Book covers, movie posters, logos and adverts can often be used without permission when the post discusses them, because they are designed to be distributed widely and it can count as a fair use “citation”.
Many governments or intergovernmental organizations such as the US government or the United Nations also license their images freely as “public domain”. After a certain period of time in most countries, images become freely available to the public domain. Check the specific image’s copyright to be certain.
Some countries like China or Iran have never signed international copyright treaties and it can be OK to reuse images from state media to help illustrate a story. In all cases, the original source and photographer/creator should still be identified whenever possible.
Requesting permission for use
If the multimedia content you wish to use in your post is not Creative Commons-licensed, you should first request permission from the owner. Use the email template below to do so:
I am a volunteer contributor for Global Voices, a website that reports on blogs and online activity around the world. The organisation brings together more than 300 bloggers and translators from around the world, emphasising voices that are not normally heard in international mainstream media.
Global Voices often includes multimedia within its feature posts and I would love to feature your photo of [...] in an article I am writing for the site about [...].
May I have your permission to do so? I will of course include full credit to you and link to the original source.
I am looking forward to hearing from you.
Best regards, [...] Global Voices Author www.globalvoicesonline.org
Images make a great addition to any GV post, and there are many ways to find photos to spice up any post. There are also many things to watch out for and manage when using images, outlined below.
Category note: Remember that if images are the focus of your post, select the ‘Photos’ category.
Every time an image is used, be sure to check the copyright/credit/permission for use!
Also make sure you rename any image you intend to use on your computer to a relevant file name before you upload it to the GV system - this is important because search engines like Google look at image names when ranking websites.
Uploading and inserting images
You should always re-upload images from other sites to our WordPress installation before inserting them in a post. While it's possible to insert them using the image URL from another site (commonly referred to as "hotlinking") it is never a good idea.
Steps to upload and insert an image:
- Ensure you have permission to use the image.
- Download the file to your own computer.
- Rename the file so that it is descriptive, especially so that Google will help people find it with keywords.
- Upload the file to WordPress using the Upload/Insert button above the post editor.
- Fill out the metadata fields for the post in as much detail as possible.
- Choose the settings you want (usually medium size and no alignment)
- Insert the image at the desired point in your post.
- Screencast: Images and thumbnails in posts on Global Voices
- Screencast: Links in images and image captions on Global Voices
- Screencast: Copyright and Creative Commons Basics on Global Voices
For each image you upload please look through all of the fields and settings before inserting it into a post.
- Title: Short text identifying the photo, like a headline just for this image. If the image is a link people will see the title when they hover over the image.
- Alternate Text: Usually the same as Title. Should describe what the photo shows, this is used for visually impaired people to know what is in the image.
- Caption: Text that shows below the image. Should summarize the content briefly and attribute the author and source of the photo. See Image Captions section below.
- Description (OPTIONAL): This isn't really used by Global Voices, but can be a more-detailed explanation of the photo if you want.
- Link URL: Where the visitor is taken when they click the photo. Usually the photo at it's source location. You can use the "File URL" button below the field to link to the largest version of the image, but if you do so add "(Click to enlarge) to the caption.
- Alignment: Whether the image will float to the center, left or right. Large images work well center-aligned, while small images can be right-aligned to float next to text. When in doubt use no alignment or center alignment as these are the safest.
- Size: Usually "Medium" size works best with the GV theme. If the image is small then "Full Size" will be okay as well. "Thumbnail" should never be inserted into posts, see the Thumbnails section below for how we use them.
Avoid images at the start of posts
An image early on in the post can help draw your reader on to read more, but it's a good idea to have 1 or 2 paragraphs of text before any image because the social sharing box (Facebook/Twitter) can interfere with image layout in unexpected ways.
If an image is really good quality and striking, then place it full sized, centrally aligned. If however, an image only adds a little information or is not a major consideration of the story, then it is better to make it a smaller size and right align it.
Left alignment can interfere with the reading of section headlines and rarely looks good, center, right or no-alignment are usually preferable.
Always check how images look using the Preview button
Image embeds can have strange interactions with text site styles that aren't obvious from the post editor. Before publishing always check the post preview to make sure everything looks right.
If you want to include an image in a post that is graphic or violent, please be sure to review our Obscene, Offensive & Graphic Content Guidelines.
Thumbnails are the small 100px by 100px images that show in all archives next to the post excerpt.
Thumbnails should be within the body of the post so as to provide a credit source. If you want to use an image as a thumbnail but don't want to include it in the post, you can add a credit note at the end of the post formatted as a note.
Setting a thumbnail for your post is easy. Once you have uploaded some images to your post you just need to go to the GV Post Thumbnail Chooser box below the post content box and click on the thumbnail you want to use. You may need to 'save as pending' before they appear. Once you save the post that thumbnail will be chosen and appear alongside the image.
If you want a thumbnail that isn't an uploaded image you can enter the url directly in the box below. Be careful though, in most cases it is better to upload the image and use the uploaded version just to be safe.
Sometimes a thumbnail doesn't look good because the things in it have been shrunk too much. If this happens you should try to crop the image so that only one small interesting part of it is showing. You can do this with an editor on your local computer then re-upload the image. You can also use the image editing tool inside the WordPress uploader, though you should re-upload your image before doing so to avoid changing the original image that you inserted into a post.
Featured images on GV are similar to thumbnails but much larger (400px wide by 300px high). They are only used if the post is featured by an Editor so that is shows in the blue features box on the homepage, country and region pages.
Featured images must be in the body of the text, so as to provide a proper credit.
Before adding a featured image, check the size is 400 x 300px, otherwise it won't fit. Also, remember the top fifth of the image will be covered by the headline area, so bear this in mind when selecting an image to feature.
To add a featured image use the Featured Image box in the right sidebar of the WordPress post editor: Click "Add Featured Image" to open the image uploader popup. Either upload a new image or go to the Gallery tab at the top to see a list of photos you already uploaded.
If you are using an already uploaded image click the "Show" link on the right to view its settings. At the bottom of the settings click the link that says "Use as featured image".
You need to add the credit information in the 'caption field' of the image system.
With Creative Commons licensed images, make sure you include the CC credit in parentheses. There are different types of CC licenses, so check it carefully. GV is a non-profit organisation and the images will not be used commercially.
Examples of image credits
Choose to search by 'Creative Commons attributed' work only - it'll save disappointment; often you see an image you like, but it is not CC so you won't be able to use it.
Make sure you specify the TYPE of CC license. Get this info by clicking on the 'License' link to the bottom right of the image on the Flickr website.
- Rioting crowds in Bahrain capital Manama, March 13, 2011. Image by Flickr user @emmab33 (CC BY-SA 2.0).
Demotix example (click for more guidelines)
GV has permission to use Demotix images. You can search the portfolio and send your image request in to your editor, whenever you submit a story.
- Haitian presidential candidate Michel Martelly in front of thousands of supporters at a rally in capital Port au Prince. Image by Jose Guzman, copyright Demotix (25/11/2010).
Shutterstock has given Global Voices permission to use its images. You can search the portfolio and send your image request in to your editor, whenever you submit a story.
All Shutterstock asks in return is a linked image credit when you use a Shutterstock picture. Handshake photo via Shutterstock (hyperlinked).
Twitpic and other photo services on Twitter often encourage sharing and sometimes add embed codes - but we still need to specify a credit and ask permission.
A nice format for these images, is to use the tweet text as the caption, linking through to the original tweet (which will have the Twitpic link within it).
- Injured protestors in hospital, Cairo, Egypt. Image by Twitpic user @fzzzKhan.
Note: We cannot use images posted via social media sites that are not the property of the tweep and are actually reproductions of copyrighted images! Remember to check for the source...
General example of direct permission for use
- Cartoon of Barack Obama. Image by Abdel Farsel, used with permission.
Screenshot from video example
If a video is uploaded to YouTube it is accessible to everyone, so we can use stills/screenshots; we do need to add a credit though.
If a video screenshot comes from a source that is not in the public domain, you need to get permission for use.
- Screenshot from video, 'Libyan Citizen Reporters', uploaded 12 March, 2011, by Youtube user @jamil.
Linking in image captions
When you put a photo in a post you always want to include a link to the blog post, Flickr user or website you got the photo from. It's good for readers to find the source, it's good to link to the person who did the work and its good for our reputation to cite sources.
But when you use the 'Caption' feature of WordPress by adding caption text its not clear how you can include a link in the grey caption box where it obviously belongs.
In the uploader window that pops up when you upload an image, before you click 'Insert into post' you can just copy the url of the original source of the image (Flickr, Twitpic, Demotix, etc) and paste it in the 'link url' field. This is the link that people will go to if they click the image directly. By default it leads to a bigger version on our site, but its much better to have it lead directly to the individual photo page on Flickr or to the place you found the photo. If you've already inserted a photo into your post you can look at it in HTML mode and change this link. Just look for the <a> tag around the <img> tag.
Videos make a great addition to any GV post, and there are plenty of resources for obtaining material online. They give a great interactive element to our content, as readers can watch, as well as read.
We don't usually create original video at Global Voices and our site is not set up to actually host custom video. We do however encourage you to include embedded YouTube (and similar sites) video when it is relevant to your story.
Always link to the video as well as embedding it
Note that because YouTube videos (or any other embedded content) can be deleted at the source you should always include a brief explanation of what the video will be and a link to it at the source. This ensures that if a visitor sees an old post with a broken video they at least know what the video was supposed to be about, and if the source video still works despite the broken embed, they can still find it and watch it.
If you want to include a video in a post that is graphic or violent, please be sure to review our Obscene, Offensive & Graphic Content Guidelines.
Embedding YouTube videos
Embedding a YouTube video is easy, but it's important you do it the right way. The HTML code you can copy on the YouTube site is very finnicky and can break when viewed in the Visual Editor and/or when it is imported for translation. To avoid this issue you should always use the simplified WordPress Embed system.
The process is simple, just get the URL of the video/object you want to embed and paste it into your article on it's own line, like this:
Here is a video that illustrates my point: [embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0jNwMR9FiM[/embed] There you have it, what a great video explanation!
This system is great because if the video or the embedding system ever break your visitors will still see the link to the video!
It will still work if you skip the [embed] and [/embed] tags, but if the embed ever stops working those tags will help visitors understand what you expected them to see.
Embedding other kinds of Video
The YouTube embedding system is actually very general (based on a standard called oEmbed), and a lot of other kinds of videos can be embedded the same way.
The full list is very long but here are some of the popular services that should work with the [embed] tags: Vimeo, Flickr, DailyMotion, Viddler.
If you try the [embed] method and it doesn't work then you can use whatever HTML the video site gives you for embedding, but please be careful and make sure that the embed code works well with both the HTML and Visual editors in the WordPress admin.
Note on the Visual Editor
When editing a post in WordPress there are two editors, the HTML editor which shows you the raw code and the Visual editor which shows you what the post will look like (WYSIWYG, What You See Is What You Get).
The Visual editor is very useful but it often breaks complex HTML like video or other embed codes because of the ways that it filters content.
When the Visual editor breaks a certain kind of embed code you can avoid the problem by just not using the Visual editor but this is a bad idea! At some point someone will try to edit your post with the visual editor, and suddenly all the embeds will dissappear! Lingua translators usually use the Visual editor too, so if your embed code doesn't work in the Visual editor then people translating your posts will be very confused.
So please test any custom embeds with both the HTML and Visual editors before publishing your post!
If the embed just won't work
If an embed does not work with both the HTML and Visual editors (or if it doesn't work with either) you can always just take a screenshot of the video/thing and embed that in your post instead. Add a link to the video/object on it's homepage to the image so that when people click it they will be taken to the video. For bonus points get a screenshot with the big "Play" button visible, so that people click it before they realize it's just a screenshot ;)
That is a foolproof method when things get too complicated, and is not likely to cause any problems during saving or translation.
Amara (previously Universal Subtitles)
The GV sites have support for embedding videos with Universal Subtitles/Amara support so that they can be subtitled by translators. This uses the normal [embed] system, but with the unisubs attribute set to 1.
Note: Currently Universal Subtitles is unable to handle the YouTube short URLs with the domain youtu.be. You must always use the full youtube.com version of the URL instead.
Global Voices Amara Team
Global Voices has a team you can join on Amara, where videos that need subtitles can be added and worked on. Read the Using Amara To Subtitle Videos guide to learn how to become a member of the team and use Amara to add subtitles to videos.
Videos are normally credited in the text just before the actual video url is embedded. Make sure you include information on:
- WHO uploaded it;
- WHERE they uploaded it to;
- WHEN they uploaded it;
- WHAT it shows (a brief description, in case the embedding is disabled).
- Infodabidjan.net [fr], a news website, posted on its YouTube profile this citizen videoshot on April 1, 2011:
As usual with copyright there is some fuzziness as to what is allowed when embedding YouTube and other videos. A trailer is intended for promotional distribution and there should be no problem (especially if the filmmakers themselves have uploaded to YouTube and enabled embedding).
Adding Social Media
Don't add tweets as images, add them as blockquote text with a translation below if necessary.
Many people prefer images, because they look nice, but the screen-captures are not always good quality, the text can not be copied and pasted and is not legible in text to audio software (useful for blind readers). Importantly, they make life more complicated for GV translators.
Quoting Tweets Here is an example of the ideal tweet text format, followed by an explanation of suggested formatting. N.B. The tweet would ordinarily be enclosed in blockquotes code:
Meanwhile, echoing the sentiments of Mirlande Manigat and of many Haitians, Radio France International (RFI) correspondent Amelie Baron (@Ameliebaron) in capital Port au Prince tweeted on March 16, 2011:
<blockquote>[https://twitter.com/Ameliebaron/status/48030684941524992 @Ameliebaron]: [https://twitter.com/#!/mirlandemanigat @mirlandemanigat] warning "a pink milice [militia] (Martelly's color) is in formation & that's how a dictatorship starts, with a youth brigade" [https://twitter.com/search?q=%23haiti #haiti]</blockquote>
It's important to always link to the specific tweet rather than the general '@...' Twitter user's handle. Unlike a lot of other web content, tweets have an expiration date; they are archived after a certain amount of time, which makes them hard to find again.
- You need to indicate the tweet date in the introductory text, and even time if it's relevant to the post.
- Identify the people whose tweets you are quoting by their name or Twitter handle rather than the term "Twitter user". "tweeter" or "tweep". You can also define Twitter is you think it's necessary for the audience, e.g: said on social microblogging website Twitter...
- Don't cite RTs (re-tweets) - always go back to the original tweet.
- Always try to include the real name of Twitter users when introducing their tweet as a way to add more credibility to the source; add their Twitter handle in parentheses after. If you don't know their real name, use the '@...' Twitter handle.
- If you haven't made a note of your direct tweet links, don't worry! There are a number of third party tools for finding old tweets - including SnapBird and Topsy. Just search for the tweet and click on the date and time link (e.g. 10:33 PM Mar 16th) to go to the direct link.
Add your direct tweet link to your tweet in the tweep handle at the start of the tweet, e.g. @emmab33: ...
- Make sure you include any links mentioned in the original tweet: hashtags, mentions, RT indications, urls, etc. You don't need to link to anything in the translation - all the links should be in the original blockquote.
- Split tweets up into individual blockquotes - one per tweet - rather than a bundle of tweets.
- If you want to indicate a spelling mistake in an original English tweet, you can add the word "sic" in square brackets after it to inform readers that any errors or apparent errors in the copied material are not from transcription - i.e. that they are reproducced [sic] exactly from the original writer or printer.
Always add original tweets as blockquotes if they require translation: add the translation text below.
Use the whole tweet in the translation, but don't translate hashtags!
You can add an editor's note into the tweet to translate or explain anything in square brackets such as abbreviations [...]. Don't use round brackets (...) to explain things in tweets as these are for translations in the posts generally, so it might get confusing.
Please use correct English (US or UK, depending on the post) spelling and grammar in all English tweet translations. If there is a spelling mistake in the original language of a tweet, you can correct it in the translation, if the spelling mistake itself does not indicate anything important in the tweet.
Add any links in the translation that are in the original tweet blockquote text. You can add a note translating hashtags if necessary [...] but keep them in the original language.
Example of intro to tweet, then tweet blockquote followed by translation:
Kreyol Essence (@Sonoude) [fr], a self-proclaimed Haiti lover, who has donned the signature pink Martelly Twibbon in supporter of the presidential candidate, seemed incredulous on March 16, 2011 on Twitter:
<blockquote>[https://twitter.com/sonoude/status/47808931376017408 @Sonoude]: Jan Ayisien bon nan tire roch. M kwe si yo te anvi lage madan manigat ate vre yo tap fe li. Tchuip.</blockquote>
<div class="translation">[https://twitter.com/sonoude/status/47808931376017408 @Sonoude]: Haitians are very good at throwing stones. I think if they really wanted to throw Mrs. Manigat to the ground, they would have done it. Puh-leeze.</div>
When including information taken from Facebook, try to include as many relevant details as possible.
These might include:
- user's profile name;
- date published;
- direct link to wall post/status/photo/video etc (this is found in the 'timestamp';
- name of group/page plus translation if in another language;
- background information on the source - who are they?
Social Media Fair Usage
Images circulated on social networks such as Weibo, Livejournal, Facebook, or Twitter do not automatically count as being in the public domain. It all depends on the context and who the original photographer is.
Some countries have lax copyright policy, so it is common for people to circulate images from even mainstream media.
In some cases, the original photographer may not want to be identified if there is a free speech issue, and it might be clear from context that the person intends for the photo to be widely distributed without identification.
Certain photo sharing services on Twitter, like Twitpic, have in their terms in conditions that the photos are intended for sharing and they even include an embed code. But sometimes users aren't aware of this and it's good to ask just in case.
Photos posted on either Facebook or Livejournal (in some ways, an ordinary blogging service just like Wordpress or Tumblr) wouldn't automatically mean you could republish unless indicated. You'd have to ask first. But again, sometimes there is some context that indicates it would be OK to do it, or maybe everyone is already doing it with the approval of the source and we could too.
It's always a bit tricky to decide so feel free to discuss with your editor if in doubt.
It's getting increasingly common for GV posts to include quotes or items from social media sources like Twitter and Facebook.
Don't quote from a Twitter account with protected/private updates; be aware that Storify may bypass this.
Be aware of what tweets you include - make sure you don't violate anyone's right to privacy.
Some tweets have to be anonymous to protect the Twitter user concerned. Try in these cases to give a little context if it will not impact the user, e.g. "@anon_China, an anonymous Twitter user from Kunming province, China, tweeted on Friday March 18:"
Posting material from Facebook pages, groups, or individual profiles is tricky, as sometimes content that might once have been publicly available is sometimes subsequently made private by the user.
There is also an ethical perspective to consider. Many people using Facebook still don't realise that their images and content may be taken and used in a news/media context. You may need to consider the implications of including an individual's name and comments made on Facebook in a GV post - will it put them in danger or affect them at all?
A good rule of thumb is to only use content that is freely available in the public domain; i.e. that can be viewed by anybody and is not viewable only by Facebook friends of the individual. Always try and link directly to the comment or comment thread.
However, if news is broken on Facebook then it is permissable to use information or material from a personal profile. Please discuss with your editor.
Groups and pages are different. If anyone can join, then the content is in the public domain. Bear in mind that some Facebook groups need approval to join, in which case use of information/material may need discussing with your editor.
Note on Storify.com
Storify is a social media aggregation tool we sometimes use to quickly assemble stories from Twitter and Facebook. We only use it in breaking news situations where the increased speed is vital.
Bear in mind that "Storified" posts can not be translated directly because it stores the tweets in a locked-up format, so to facilitate translation all posts will have to be manually "de-storified" by an editor, with tweets broken out into text blockquotes, which is quite time-consuming.
Get Your Content Translated
Everyone loves seeing their posts translated and featured on the Today on GV Lingua daily newsletter, which showcases the various posts made available into many languages and published on the Lingua Project sites.
But what makes your writing appealing to translators?
In this section, you will see a few tips on how to write posts that are easier to translate – and therefore more attractive to the Lingua volunteers. The starting point is to bear in mind that clear writing is what makes good translations. By writing well, not only do you help to reduce the potential amount of translation errors, but you also make your original posts more understandable for the global community of GV readers whose mother tongue is not necessarily English.
All of these tips are easier said than done, but the most important tip of all, however, is also the easiest to achieve: let yourself be reachable and make yourself available to promptly answer queries that a translator may have when working on your post.
This is not just about the length of your article – arguably the main source of motivation or discouragement when a translator chooses a post – but also about the way you organize your piece. Avoid long and complex sentences and adopt a uncluttered style. Use short, punchy, well punctuated phrases to make your text much easier to be understood.
According to the Plain English Campaign, "clear writing should have an average sentence length of 15 to 20 words".
In order to write shorter articles, it is a good idea to pick the most relevant part of a blog post to quote, instead of quoting the whole paragraph, especially if it repeats information already provided by you in the introduction or mentioned by other bloggers you quoted.
On the other hand, don't confuse being succinct with being extremely economic with the language. The best way of writing in "telegraphic English" – and therefore making yourself misunderstood – is to omit words that help to clarify the meaning of a sentence: articles, prepositions and verbs used with gerunds. Don't [do it]!
In other words, KISS -> Keep It Short and Simple (also "translated" as Keep It Short and Sweet or Keep It Simple Stupid!, it all depends on context!)
Background info and context
Talking about context, never forget that when it comes to translation context is everything! The word table in Portuguese can be translated into two different words, if it is related to the piece of furniture (mesa) or the graphic with rows and columns, how would the translator know which one to choose? The answer is: through context.
When writing, have this cultural diversity in mind. Never assume that every translator – in fact every reader – will know the context or background of the issue you are reporting. This doesn't mean that you need to write long, extensive posts: linking to further sources of information is an easy way to provide extra info for those who need it.
Whenever possible and appropriate, if you link to Wikipedia or other multilingual sources such as the BBC or Reuters websites, there is even a chance that the translator will find a same source article on the same subject in the language they are translating your post into, and linking to them, giving the Lingua reader the chance to delve further into the issue your are reporting on.
Standard English word order
While we do want you to be creative when writing for Global Voices, instead of "dubbing" your English down unnecessarily, writing in a standard English word order is a good basic piece of advice: go for the subject + verb + object order.
You may need to use the passive voice, with the object + verb + (subject order), which is perfectly fine to use when the subject is unknown – or there is a need to make a situation sound less hostile.
However, in general and if you don't have a good reason to use the passive voice, it is clearer (and often shorter) to use active verbs, instead of passive ones.
English is a language already ambiguous enough, but there are ways to make clear what you want to say apart from keeping to everyday English. Please avoid:
- Homographs: those words that are spelled in the same way but have different meanings; Also, try to use words with their primary dictionary meanings.
- Slang, technical jargon and neologisms: whenever possible, unless you are sure they are fairly established in English. Local slang is a no-no-please.
- Metaphors and culturally specific allusions: they might work fantastically in one language but make no sense whatsoever in another.
- Gibberish: this can be only understood, if at all, in English!
Having said that, if the blogs you quote have a colourful language and you want to reflect this, especially if you are translating them into English, it may suffice if you provide "Translator's/Author's Notes", or just offer a bracketed equivalent or explanation that a non-technical person should reasonably understand. This, in turn, would get translated too and everyone would happily understand.
Making Changes After Publication
Occasionally changes have to be made to GV posts after they have been published.
Minor errors and mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes! Sometimes, readers will flag errors in comments, other times bloggers mentioned in posts will spot an error or misquote, or sometimes GV authors and editors might spot something.
If the error is minor, like a spelling mistake or misquote, authors should go into the post and edit it themselves. It's important to notify your editor of these changes, as a request may have to be made to also make your new changes in translations of the post.
Changes to translated posts use this form to request the amendments. It automatically sends a notification of the request to GV's Multi-Lingual Editor.
If something in the "meaning" of the post or the "situation" has changed, it merits an update note in the post. Please contact your editor to discuss this step.
Updates should be placed at the top of the post for maximum visibility, in the following format (in bold):
Update (27 February, 2011):
The situation in Bahraini capital Manama has worsened significantly since this report was published...
Occasionally, it may be relevant to offer an apology for an error or misquote. Often this will be in response to a comment pointing out the change required. Authors can reply to comments as a means to address issues in a post.
If a more substantial is necessary, please speak to your editor. These type of apologies should be placed at the base of the text, formatted as 'Contributors Notes', and may require translating into other languages in translated versions of the post.
Before submitting your Global Voices article for review, have you...
- Run a spellcheck
- Checked your word count - between 500-1,000 words (if more contact your editor)
- Made sure your name is selected as the author
- Have you prepared an enticing summary of your article and pasted it into the “Optional Excerpt” box? (Note: If you don’t paste anything into the “Optional Excerpt” box, an excerpt comprising the first 50 words of your article appears on the GV front page.)
- Added any notes required in note format at bottom of post
- Checked the relevant categories: Topics, Country, Region, Languages, Photo/Video, Weblog or Update (See Categories Index for guidance)
- Please do NOT check the “Feature” box, as this is your editor's role
- Checked the Style Guide for any queries you have: see Style Guide
- Prepared a concise, compelling and descriptive headline, spelt correctly
- Fits on one line if possible (maximum 8-10 words)
- All quotes have a hyperlink that goes directly to post or comment (not homepage)
- All hyperlinks work and you added language codes if necessary. If your post links to or quotes non-English language sources, have you included lower case, two letter language tags (e.g. [zh], [es], [ar]) and formatted both the non-English language block quotes and translations appropriately?
- Ensured links only encompass a few words, not whole sentences
- Linked to other GV content if relevant
- All blockquote/translation formatting is correct
- Explained any unusual/locally specific concepts or words for a global audience. If your post mentions public figures, past events or other terms that may not be familiar to the average reader, have you explained these in the text, or included an explanatory link (eg Wikipedia)?
- Date formats are correct: 12 February, 2012, (year at first mention)
- Added in section headers (recommended - bold font, caps proper nouns)
- Added special coverage text if relevant (top and bottom)
- Added at least one image or video to the piece (non-compulsory, but advised)
- Saved any images used as descriptively named files (for example: Bahrain_protest.jpg) before uploading to WordPress
- Put image in top part of post, visible when first opened (recommended)
- Right aligned any small images, centre aligned large ones
- Descriptive caption including source/credit
- Clear copyright /permission to use is obtained and detailed
- Source link url
- Alternative text
- Title text (shows with mouse over)
- Selected a good thumbnail image from one of the options given OR created one for better image (150x150 px) and uploaded it instead
- Added featured image (recommended). Have you looked on Demotix for your images - GV has an agreement whereby we can use any image (see Demotix Image Guidelines)
- Checked your featured image is the right size (400x300 px)
- Ensured composition of featured image works - no faces in top 1/4, no text (bad for translations), optimised colour, image included in post or credited at bottom in a note
- Used [embed][/embed] code for video urls
- Centre aligned videos
- Added [WARNING: Graphic content] if relevent
- Formatted tweets correctly (as text not screenshots)
- Linked @... handle at start of tweet quote
- Include all original tweet text - links, picture links, hashtags
- Blockquote tweet formatting - not screenshots
- Separated out individual tweets/translations - not put them all as one block
- Saved copy of html post in text editor prior to submitting in case of tech errors
- Notified your regional or language editor that your post is ready for review
If you need any extra help, check out the Global Voices video tutorials.