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As someone recently pointed out, figuring out how to do things at DKos can be confusing and time-consuming, even when one knows where to begin looking for instructions! So this diary updates last June's Resources for All post to include recent efforts showing how to use HTML and other tools that the site provides to enhance our diaries. We're hoping that this updated list of resources will come in handy for experienced as well as beginning diarists.

Diaries Explaining the New Diarists Group and Offering Advice for Writers

The diaries in this chart explain how the New Diarists group works and offer a variety of perspectives regarding writing issues. As you can see, many anxieties regarding writing and posting that beginning diarists experience are shared by other kossacks.

Diary Title Topic(s) Diarist
New Diarists: How to Collaborate with Us on a Diary
Essential reading for New Diarists: explains the process for getting help on a draft from the New Diarists group
'Buddy System' another example of Daily Kos community at its best
describes benefits of the New Diarists group for new diary-writers as well as their mentors
Meteor Blades
Nurse Kelley Sez: What makes a diarist successful?
offers advice to diarists who wish to attract a broader audience
So, you are not one of the "Rec List Cool Kidz®" - Never fear, you are in the majority
offers encouragement to diarists
New Diarists: From My Back Porch... The Voice I Found
shares thoughts on writing and encourages others to take the plunge
dear occupant
New Diarists: Scratch Paper, Widgets, and Future Blues
explains various uses of drafts
ZIPs: Post Title and First Words: Apr 21-27
explains the importance of your post's diary's title and first few lines when attracting readers

Resource Diaries for Formatting and Mechanics of the Site

This list is organized to feature basic tutorials first, then increasingly geeky tutorials, and finally comprehensive how-to diaries. (The categories represent my assessment of the difficulty levels - obviously, ymmv.) Please don't allow this list to overwhelm you! Beginning diarists will probably only need to know the skills in the first two diaries listed.

Diary Title Topic(s) Diarist
New Diarists: After You Publish
Basics: explains how to edit and update a diary after it has been published (as well as how to set up a custom tip jar before publishing)
belinda ridgewood
New Diarists: Links & Blockquotes
Basics: explains how to create links & blockquotes to acknowledge source materials (edited to add: as well as how to make links automatically open in a new tab or window)
New Diarists: Formatting Text with HTML Tags
Baby Geek: explains how to use HTML tags to boldface, italicize, underline, and strikethrough text; to create headers, larger text, smaller text, superscript, subscript, teletype, and right-to-left text
New Diarists: Using Special Characters
Baby Geek: explains how to use ampersand codes to post a wide assortment of symbols (♥ © ™ ° ✲ ∞)
belinda ridgewood
New Diarists: Layout & Lists
Geek: explains how to use HTML tags for layout (headers, centering, paragraph breaks, line breaks) and lists (ordered, unordered, dropdown menu)
New Diarists: Lines & Color
Geek: explains how to use HTML to create horizontal lines as well as how to judiciously choose HTML color codes
belinda ridgewood
New Diarists: Creating Boxes Using HTML Tags
Geek: explains how to use HTML to create boxes with borders and/or colorful backgrounds
New Diarists: Tables
Advanced Geek: explains how to use HTML to create tables with multiple cells (rows and columns)
belinda ridgewood
New Diarists: Diary Layout Using Tables in Markos Markup Language ☺
Extra Geeky: explains how to create super tables using more advanced HTML to create grids and to align text and images (horizontally and/or vertically)
HTML Magic for Diarists - Image Mapping with Anchors or Links
Extra Geeky: explains how to create an image map
Diary Guide to Formatting, Linking, Images, Embedding, and Tables
Comprehensive (brief instructions): explains how to format text, create headers, blockquote, create lists, create links, add images, embed videos, create tables
The Elements of Style: Tips, Tricks and Regrouping News
Comprehensive (brief instructions): explains how to create headers, format images, format text, create tables
ePluribus Media

Resource Diaries for Posting Images

Diary Title Topic(s) Diarist
Cranky Users & KosAbility: Image Metadata
explains how to add an alt tag description when posting images and stresses the importance of doing so for those using screen readers
belinda ridgewood
Kos for Beginners: images
explains how to use Flickr to post an image
Julie Waters
New Diarists: Using Photobucket
explains how to use Photobucket to post an image
Want to use our super cool new image uploader and library? Of course you do! Find out how
explains how to use the new DK Image Library
Kaili Joy Gray
For those who may be stressing out over all of this, I always highly recommend reading BentLiberal's This is a Test Diary.

Advice regarding Working with Groups/Series and Interacting with Commenters

Every day, a number of community diaries are posted for groups and series, many of which actively recruit volunteer diarists. If you're interested in posting for one or more communities or series here, the following diaries offer some advice:

Diary Title Topic(s) Diarist
New Diarists: Find a Group, Find Some Readers
lists groups and series that are willing to work with new diarists
Books That Changed My Life Open Forum— “Writing Scares Me”
offers sound drafting and revising advice coupled with an invitation to post for the Books That Changed My Life series
Diana in NoVa
New Diarists Open Thread: Testing, Testing 123 this mic on?
open thread explaining how open thread diaries work
New Diarists: The Spinning Top
explains the importance of comments in a diary and recommends submitting to Top Comments
The Unrav'ling Thread: Thoughts on the Art of Commenting
stresses the importance of interacting with commenters in your diary

Helpful Groups and Series for New Diarists

Group/Series Purpose Featured Diary
Cranky Users
informative diary series explaining how things work (and sometimes don't work) in DK4
Cranky Users: Our Story So Far
High Impact Posts
community recognition of posts diaries and readers (daily and weekly)
most recent HIPs diary
Top Comments
community recognition of top comments (daily)
Top Comments - Don't Read Top Comments!
Welcome New Users
help with how the site works
Welcome New Users: Introducing the Buddy System for New Diarists
Zero Impact Posts
series explores why some posts diaries receive zero rec's and comments
Raison D'etre for the ZIP Series: Mar 17-23
New Diarists
features diaries that New Diarists helped with during our first year
Celebrating New Diarists' 1st Year
Knowledge Base
Help Desk provides video tutorials and explains how to do a variety of things here
Tutorial: reading and writing diaries and comments
Update: Community Guidelines
site's founder explains Do's and Don'ts when posting at Daily Kos
New community guidelines, final draft
If you have questions about posting diaries, feel free to ask them in this diary. As always, experienced kossacks are welcome to post advice for New Diarists as well.

UPDATE: The comment period for all of these diaries, including this one, has expired. If you have questions, please message New Diarists.

New Diarists is a safe place to practice diary writing skills with a mentor's guiding hand. Experienced diarists are invited to join and buddy up with new diarists, and new diarists are welcome to join and to ask for help. The group's Publication Manager provides a space where we can collaborate on diaries and help with everything from revising to formatting your diary before you publish it to the site.

Ready to play? Send a private message to nomandates for an invitation to join the group. And remember that you must follow us by clicking on the little ♥ next to New Diarists to get our diaries in your stream.

Originally posted to New Diarists on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 04:00 PM PST.

Also republished by KosBusters!, J Town, Meta Groupies, and Welcome New Users.

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More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

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