Welcome, New Users, to Daily Kos. This Diary is intended to help you orient yourself to the site and ask questions about how to use it.
In the Body of this diary you will find some links intended to get you participating more effectively. Feel free to ask me any questions you want. If I don't have the answers you seek I'll go out and find 'em and bring 'em back to ya (wink, wink).
In this edition I'll have a basic beginner's guide on how to find, store and embed pictures and images in your diaries and comments. And, before HuffPo can leak horrified and misleading headlines decrying it, I will reveal one of the small changes I like about the upcoming Dk4, the newest version of DailyKos currently under beta testing, which will be unveiled.....well, whenever it's unveiled.
But first: Who are the co-hosts of this series?
Laughing Planet and I take turns hosting the revived Welcome New Users diary series. Before we begin with new material, I encourage everyone here to review some of the previously written goodness that survives here in the DKos archives.
And, if you're new, don't miss The Welcome New Users dKosopedia page.
Of the two humble hosts of this series, Laughing Planet is the one with the many mad skills at searching and tagging and coding and everything else. I (clearly) didn't join this series because of my tremendous longevity on the site or any mad technical skills of my own.
I joined LP in welcoming new users because from the moment I discovered DailyKos I have wandered through it in a nearly constant state of curious befuddlement. My frequent and dumb questions about how things work and how to achieve the most minor of technical feats have been graciously answered by any number of generous elder kossacks. (My first question was a head-scratching, What's a kossack?) In gratitude I like to return those many favors by passing along bits of very basic knowledge that many a lurker is too shy or embarrassed to ask about, so today I'm going to cover some very basic principles for finding and sharing pictures and images on dkos.
If you're new here: Feel free to ask anything!
If you're an old hand: Feel free to tell anything!
There are legions of us among the perenially befuddled class who are either too shy to ask or don't know what to ask!
At last week's Netroots Nation gathering in San Francisco I heard a Front Pager say that DK4 (the next incarnation of DailyKos currently in beta testing) will be unveiled next month. I suspect this is true because now that all the early and mid-level beta testers have done the major debugging the creators are finally asking the less technically informed yet frequent flyers like me to give it a test drive, apparently figuring that if I can stumble my way around halfway coherently without breaking anything it must be ready to go. Fortunately, Laughing Planet has next month's Welcome New Users duty, so he can be the one to explain how it all works.
In the spirit of the intense divisiveness currently sweeping the site, I predict equally dramatic responses to our new DK4 overlords. There will be those who will find the new DK4 entity as overwhelming intimidating as the unpronounceable Cthulhu, and some may freak out and flee for the exits. Change is hard.
Others will embrace its new features as the next manifestation of manna with meatballs from the Flying Spaghetti Monster. (Has anyone ever noticed how Chtulhu and the FSM sorta resemble each other?)
Since I don't mind being befuddled when something is new, and since I enjoy poking around and figuring things out, I already like the new DK4 incarnation, which will make it easier to find communities of like-minded kossacks. I've already posted dumb navigational questions and gotten patient answers. The transition will doubtless result in much wailing of teeth and gnashing of garments but we will survive.
Here's one thing I saw over there that immediately gladdened my heart: You will be able to directly and privately message another user on the site. When you log in under your user name, you will be notified of any direct messages. As a privacy fanatic, this means I can remove my email address from my profile and chat directly with those who don't include their email addresses (please feel free to ignore me, of course).
The FAQs on Pictures and Images section is your guide. I know, how obvious! but many new people don't think to check the FAQ's, and this section will walk you through the technicalities of embedding pictures into diaries. I just copy their HTML code, delete the address of their image, and paste in the address of my own.
First, Open an Account with a Web Hosting Image Provider
You cannot "hotlink" images on Daily Kos. This means you are not allowed to copy the location of a photograph you see in a diary or on the web somewhere and then directly paste it into your own diary or comment.
What you are allowed to do is place the image on a website that provides image hosting services. The most common ones seen here are flickr, photobucket, and imageshack. (How do I know this? Right-click on any image in a comment or diary, choose View Image Info, and you will see where that image is stored.) If you have another one you use and like better, jump in and tell us why. Knowing what you know now would you still use the same host? You generally can start an account for free on any of the sites and they will have instructions for how to upload an image from your home computer or from elsewhere on the web.
I started with photobucket before I knew it was owned by Rupert Murdoch (it was sold off in December of 2009). An embedding problem I call photobucket Fail ended up driving me to flickr, but no worries, the antidote to photobucket Fail is listed below if you don't want to move your images.
These can be pictures uploaded from your own camera to your computer or directly to your host, or they can be stolen. As a dedicated image thief, here's the simple way to steal any image that's not copyrighted on the internet:
Hover your mouse over the image, right click, and select either Save Picture As (Internet Explorer) or Save Image As (Firefox). If your online host allows it, save it directly to their site. If not, save it to a folder on your hard drive (mine is called dkos images, and is on an external hard drive so it doesn't clutter up my laptop). If the image name is a jumble of letters and numbers I'll give it a more descriptive name, like Cthulha. Now go to your online account, click Upload Images, browse to your image folder, click on your image name and it is now stored online for your permanent use.
Check your Image Size: A width of 500 is the largest image that can be used here, but even that size uses up too much bandwidth. Smaller images are easier on everyone, especially those with dial-up connections. You have two choices:
Decrease the image size to as small as is practical, using your own image software like Paintshop Pro before uploading it to your online host; or
Decrease the image size, using the simple resizing software that's part of your online image host.
If you are embedding images in a diary you can resize them first as above, or add a width=300 (or whatever width you choose) as the last piece in your code, as shown in the FAQ's.
Google Images is a remarkable repository of steal-able images for the imaginative.
Homework: As La Gitane did during a Hate Mail-a-palooza frenzy when kos was called a most interesting name other than the customary "faggot", google the image for "mousetits" and embed it in the comments. Credit will only be given if you haven't already found and previously displayed it. We know who you are.
My favorite source for images has long been troll diaries. They just bring out the best in people.
Embedding an Image in a Comment:
To post the image in a comment, click on Share This, then copy the HTML code and paste it into the comment space. When you click Preview your image should appear....unless you're using Photobucket and get Photobucket Fail.
What is the cause of Photobucket Fail?
One day my Photobucket images would not show up in comments, giving me this error instead. I contacted a techie who ruefully admitted that in the course of fixing another bug this new one was created. Another helpful kossack taught me to direct link the image instead of pasting in the HTML code.
What this means:
Instead of cutting and pasting the HTML code, copy the Direct Link Code instead, located directly above it.
In your Post Comment box click on link.
Paste your Direct Link Code into the URL box.
Leave the Label box blank.
Check the Image box to the right of the Label Box and then click Add.
And then, as a musician friend of mine often mistakenly types, Viola!
In another bit of good news about DK4, the Photobucket Fail problem has been eliminated.
Which One is Easiest to Read?
Unless you add an align code your image will automatically show on the left side of the page with your text below it, like this. To make the text wrap around your image, add align=left or align=right after your image code. See FAQ's for exactly how this looks.
This image added the align=left code to place the image to the left with the text wrapping around it. In this example, though, the text is flush with the image, making it hard to read. I often see this, especially in comments, but fortunately it's easy to fix with one more little command.
In this example, a simple addition to the code has been made at the very end of the string before the last > that reads hspace="5", which adds a horizontal buffer between the image and text and makes it much easier on the eye. Sancho, by the way, thanks you for listening. Another tip: The easiest way to play with these codes is in an HTML Test Box, where you can paste your attempts in the left side and then see what they'll actually look like on the right side.
All righty, then! Feel free to wade into the adult swim, ask any questions, share any tips, tell us your beta-testing experiences with DK4, post pictures, tell jokes, and be generally welcoming to the shy, the timid, and the newcomers. Many of you lurk for a very long time and this has traditionally been a safe place to surface, introduce yourself, and get help figuring things out. And remember to leave a comment...