Style and Policy Guide

This is an attempt at establishing a consistent style for Derpy Hooves News and Lyra Heartstrings.

They are blogs, on the Internet, so I’m probably the only one who cares, but if you like consistency and if you like Twilight, I hope you’ll like this little style guide.

Here’s also a little bookmarklet that removes extraneous markup, double spacing, etc. from copypasta’d HTML in WordPress’s TinyMCE. Just put it in your bookmarks and use it when you’re on the post editor page with the visual editor visible.

The Foundation

The 16th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style is pretty cool, with a few exceptions, so please fall back on that tome for everything that isn’t covered here. (The AP Stylebook sucks. Well, OK, it’s less cool.)

For questions of usage, please refer to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage—it’s excellent. (And please prefer it over the CMOS in case of conflicts.)

Layout

Header Image

Uploading an imageEach post has a header image, which you can insert via the “Add Media” button, either by uploading or by hotlinking it. Uploading is preferred, because not only is hotlinking rude and doesn’t insure us against deletion on the remote server, but if you hotlink it, you also have to be careful that the image width and height do not exceed 500 and 350 pixels respectively. These dimensions describe the size of the image file itself, irrespective of the size that it is zoomed down to in the browser by means of CSS or HTML attributes. The “medium” size in the WordPress system ensures this. Another advantage is that we are in control over the image; if it is deleted on the originating server, it doesn’t impact your post.

If you a loath to follow the workflow of downloading and re-uploading the file, i.dhne.ws may serve as an alternative, but you have to explicitly specify the dimensions.

It is of paramount importance to credit the artists. Strictly speaking, we are not allowed to use any art unless we have explicit permission from the artist, e.g., in the form of a Creative Commons license. Most artists, however, appreciate the extra exposure they receive from our posts, but to make that symbiosis work, we have to be meticulous about attribution.

  • Add title and caption following the “[image title] by [artist name]” pattern
  • Select the medium size to be inserted into the article
  • Link the image to the image file (a.k.a. media file) itself
  • Link the caption to the source page

Linking the image itself is unintuitive because the standard format on Blogger and various professional news outlets is to either link it to the image file or the attachment page. Moreover, image links are not visually marked as text links are (which are typically blue and underlined). Finally, it leaves the original size of the image orphaned on our server, inaccessible without knowledge of the WordPress file naming scheme. Linking to the attachment page has the disadvantage that it would divide the flow of comments between article and pictures since both allow commenting.

If you choose to right-align the image, please use a width of 250 px or less.

Adding the link

Select the attribution, click the link button, enter the address, optionally check the checkbox, …, profit.

The source of an image—the page the caption is to be linked to—is of course not the source image file but the page the artist chose to present their work. Also please don’t link the image to the DeviantArt page or website of the artist generally, because few people will take to time to scour their often extensive gallery to find it again.

You can edit the image data later with the button in the upper left corner of the image (you may have to click it).

You can edit the image data later with the button in the upper left corner of the image (you may have to click it).

Videos and Other Flash Embeds

Flash sucks. Unless you use it to animate ponies that is, but even then you’ll probably curse it from time to time. To avoid that a Flash embed has to load when someone opens our homepage, please generally hide these behind the page break.

To insert YouTube videos (sometimes via a cool HTML5 player), please use [youtube_sc url="(YouTube ID)" width="580" hd="1"], where you replace “(YouTube ID)” with the cryptic ID you can find in every YouTube URL that points to a video page. The “width” parameter ensures that all our videos have the same size, and the “hd” parameter causes the video to be played in HD if YouTube feels generous.

Spoilers

If you think some people might give us flak for posting something on account of its being a spoiler for them, feel free to use the HTML 5 details and summary tags to hide it. Browser support is still rather lacking, but on Derpy News a jQuery plugin helps the browsers who don’t know what  to do with it. Below an example.

<details>
<summary>Possible “Princess Twilight – Part Two” spoilers</summary>
<blockquote>“Princess Twilight - Part Two” —The ponies need to put the rest
of the puzzle pieces together to find Celestia and Luna before it’s too late.
Their journey becomes even more dangerous when they must travel deep into the
heart of the expanding Everfree Forest and learn stunning news about the
Elements of Harmony, on “My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic,” Saturday,
November 23 at 10:30 a.m. ET/ 7:30 a.m. PT on the Hub Network.</blockquote>
</details>

Please use a descriptive line as summary, so people can make an informed decision whether they want to view the details.

LHS Music Posts

The title format is “[artist name] – [song title]” (that’s a spaced en dash). If it features, e.g., another singer, use “[artist name] – [song title] feat. [singer name]” or if it is a remix “[original artist name] – [song title] ([remixer name] Remix)” (where “remix” is capitalized following the CMOS recommendations for titles).

That’s a story, admittedly.

Please put the name of the musician in a tag. Try to really use the canonical name they prefer. If there are ambiguities, please consult any earlier posts of their music. If the song is a collaboration, just add several tags, however, if the song is a remix of someone else’s song, only put the name of the remixing musician in the tag.

If the musician doesn’t credit the artist who created their cover image, please go to reasonable lengths to find out or use a different picture. The Google reverse image search is often helpful (click the camera).

Text

Space Between Sentences

Use only a single space everywhere, especially following a sentence. Only DerpySquad can double-space. Double-spacing cuts ugly holes into the text and leads to weirdly indented lines if the end of a sentence happens to coincide with the end of a line.

Chicago Manual of Style:

2.9: Word spacing—one space or two?

Like most publishers, Chicago advises leaving a single character space, not two spaces, between sentences and after colons used within a sentence ….

Or take it from Robert Bringhurst (2004):

2.1.4: Use a single word space between sentences

In the nineteenth century, which was a dark and inflationary age in typography and type design, many compositors were encouraged to stuff extra space between sentences. Generations of twentieth century typists were then taught to do the same, by hitting the spacebar twice after every period [full stop]. Your typing as well as your typesetting will benefit from unlearning this quaint Victorian habit. As a general rule, no more than a single space is required after a period, colon or any other mark of punctuation.

Ellipses

Please use U+2026 (…) as ellipsis character. That’s what it’s meant for and what a typographer has crafted it for. The widely-spaced Chicago ellipsis (. . .) looks ugly and causes linebreaking problems. CMOS 16, §13.56 defines a bracketed ellipsis style. Just delete the brackets, and you have a workable style to use with U+2026. (Robert Bringhurst (ibid.) describes the Chicago ellipsis as “another Victorian eccentricity” and “in most contexts … much too wide.”)

Apostrophes, Quotation Marks, and Even Dashes

WordPress automatically replaces dump quotes (e.g., U+0022) with typographic quotation marks and apostrophes. The algorithm is pretty smart, but to be absolutely sure that the post is displayed correctly, it is useful to have these on one’s keyboard: “” ‘’ —. The right single quotation mark is also the preferred apostrophe character. Do not put spaces around the em dash (CMOS 16, §2.13) as you would around an en dash.

Meta Information

Categories

We have one category per show or franchise we cover (e.g., My Little Pony, Wander Over Yonder, Littlest Pet Shop). Typically you should choose precisely one of these categories. If you choose none, “Uncategorized” will be selected. That’s an error. In rare cases an article is relevant to multiple categories (e.g., a hypothetical interview with Lauren Faust about My Little Pony and Wander Over Yonder). In that case, you can legitimately choose multiple categories.

Tags

Feel free to use tags liberally, but be consistent. Please tag at least the following kinds of articles:

  • Editorials as “editorial”
  • Information about the production of a show as “production”
  • Information about members of cast and crew as “cast & crew”
  • Interviews as “interview”
  • Full copies of episodes or links to them as “episode”
  • Charity-related articles as “charity”
  • Gaming-related articles as “game”
  • Reviews as “review”

You can use the tag “skip” to instruct Tumblsync not to post an article to Tumblr.

Enclosures

WordPress, with slight hacks applied to the code, lets you specify enclosures for posts. An enclosure like this one will instruct Tumlsync to create video posts on Tumblr rather than text posts:

http://www.youtube.com/embed/IS_Sxj53GaU
5940
text/html

The first line is the iframe source (the src attribute), the second the size in byte, the third the mime type.

Post Policies

Conventions

The following kinds of convention announcements warrant individual posts.

  • Announcements of show guests
  • Charity announcements
  • Starts of ticket sales
  • Urgent announcements
  • Some composite announcements

Composite announcements need to be posted individually if they also announce the release of, e.g., a major animation piece that itself would warrant a post.

All other announcements are aggregated into Convention Junction posts, preferably on Mondays.

Starting with 2014 conventions, no further convention announcements are to be published. If they relate to charity events, they are published as charity announcements and section 4.3 may apply.

Entertainment

Major events in the entertainment sector that happen only every few months get a post on Derpy Hooves News rather than Lyra Heartstrings. Below a few examples.

  • New Friendship is Witchcraft episode
  • Animation or abridged episode by FiMFlamFilosophy
  • Legends of Equestria announcements
  • etc.

Notable announcements of online events, such as livestreams and contests, that do not warrant individual posts can also be compiled into a “Friday Night Community – Month 0th, 2023” post. Inclusion does not preclude separate treatment on Lyra Heartstrings.

Fundraisers

Necessary condition for a (monetary) fundraiser to be posted is that it benefits an organization with formally registered charitable status in some country. If a Kickstarter, Indiegogo campaign, etc. is merely linked or mentioned in an otherwise unrelated announcement, it does not fall into this category.

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