A warm welcome to all of our new members, many of whom have come here from Huffington Post. We know that because HP has generously shared their datamining via Facebook with us.
It can take a bit of time acclimating to a new blog so this post is intended to give those new to the site a quick start on blogging at PlanetPOV, navigating and taking advantage of the many features here. So, let’s get right to it!
OUR KEY RULE -- NO PERSONAL ATTACKS OR HATE SPEECH
At PlanetPOV, we have a great respect for our members and their freedom of speech. There is no standard auto-moderating of comments, no blacklist of words and no delays in publishing your comments. All we ask is that members don’t personally attack other members or express hateful speech, whether towards races, religions, nationalities, etc. You can attack the opinions and comments of other members as passionately as you wish but not the member. We seek substantive arguments and debates, we want those with opinions in the minority to feel just as free and secure to share and discuss their opinions as those who have opinions a majority of members share.
Repeated violation of this rule can result in moderation of a member’s comments on a temporary basis or banning from the site. We also have a zero tolerance for trolls policy, they will be banned immediately. PlanetPOV was founded to be an “adult’s table”, those who see blogging as throwing food and chairs belong at the kid’s table somewhere else (we can suggest a couple of sites).
You can post comments here on any post by clicking the green “Click here to leave a comment” button at the bottom of every post or by scrolling to the comment box at the bottom of every post’s page. Replying to other comments is intuitive, just click the “Reply” button on any comment.
We encourage the following practices when posting comments. If you are responding to someone, try using their name at the beginning of your reply. This makes it easy for them to see at a glance that someone has replied to them, whether when browsing the page or scanning the Recent Comments widget (more on that in a moment).
When quoting an article from a news source or another site, please try to post no more than two or three paragraphs to respect their work and site and always post a link to the article that you’re quoting from just below the quote. It’s always best to present a quote in blockquote form, by placing: <blockquote> at the beginning of the quote and </blockquote> at the end of the quote.
NOTIFICATION AND SEEING A LIST OF REPLIES TO YOUR COMMENTS AND POSTS
We have a new optional feature that allows you to see all the replies you receive from your comments and posts that’s provided by WordPress.com (we’re a WordPress-powered site). In order to use this, you need to go to your Dashboard, click on “Jetpack” then “Jetpack” on the smaller menu. On the screen that comes up is a green button that says “Link Account With WordPress.com”. Click that button then sign in under your WordPress.com acccount (the same one you used to sign into Gravatar). This feature will now be activated for you. If you don’t have a WordPress.com account, you can create one quickly at their site, http://wordpress.com (these are of course anonymous accounts unlike Facebook so no personal data is required).
Once you’ve completed the above steps, on the menu at the very top of the page, to the left of where it says, “Howdy, (your username)” is your notification icon (it looks like a word balloon and lights up orange when you have new replies to view). Click that icon and you can view a list of the latest replies to your comments and posts. A blue dot appears to the left of any reply you haven’t viewed yet. You can reply directly to each or any of them by clicking on them then clicking their “Reply” button. If you click the “View Archive” link on the list, you will be able to view all the replies made to you at PlanetPOV. The full listing of replies will begin as of the date you connect your account.
Also, you automatically receive a notification email each time someone replies to a comment you’ve posted. If you prefer not to receive these emails, just uncheck the “Notify me of replies to my comment via e-mail” check box in the bottom left corner of the comments box each time you comment.
You will find more control and options when commenting at The Planet:
1. ADD A GRAPHIC -- You can display a graphic from the web in your comments by clicking on “Add an image to your comment by clicking here.” which is just below the comment box, and pasting in the link to the graphic.
2. EMBED A YOUTUBE VIDEO -- You can embed a YouTube video quickly by pasting the URL of a video into your comment then adding the letter “v” after the “http” in that URL so it reads “httpv”.
3. FORMAT TEXT -- You can format text as a quote by bracketing it between <blockquote> at the beginning of the text and </blockquote> at the end of the text. You can use the same bracketing on text to make it bold like this: <b> Your text</b>. Italics are <i>Your text</i>
4. EDIT OR DELETE YOUR COMMENT AFTER POSTING IT -- You can revise your own comments at any time by clicking the “Click to Edit” link at the bottom of your comment. If you want to delete your comment, click the “Request Deletion” link.
5. RECENT COMMENTS WIDGET -- Most members check the Recent Comments widget in the right hand column when they first arrive at the site to see who’s commenting most recently and may even be on the site at that time. Also, it’s a quick way to check for recent replies that are addressed to you.
TIME OUT FOR OFF TOPIC -- THE THREAD FOR COMMENTS ABOUT ANY ISSUE
We have a standing post titled, Time Out for Off Topic (or TO/OT) which is our virtual coffee house, where members typically hang out when they aren’t on a topical post. If you want to post a comment on any subject at all or read comments on various issues by members, this is the place to go. To go there, look for its icon in the “Features” 4 square of icons in the right column.
All members at PlanetPOV can post articles on any topic or issue. The posts that are more issue oriented and topical are more likely to appear on the front page and possibly be featured in our slider at the top of the front page. Posts that aren’t about political or news items aren’t typically posted on the front page and are featured in our Speakers Corner section. They are identically promoted to our site’s membership by email notification, to all of our Facebook friends and Twitter followers. Members typically check out the Recent Posts widget to see if there is a new post in Speakers Corner (they also get emails notifying them and providing a link, as mentioned above).
Articles are for writing more lengthy pieces. If one has only a few paragraphs or less to express, they should be posted as a comment on Time Out for Off Topic.
We do ask those drafting articles to fully complete the preparation of their post before they submit it for publication. This includes adding an image at the top of the article, tags, an excerpt, categories and a featured image. These are all quick and easy to do and are fully explained in our “How To Guide For Authors” page under the FAQ menu item.
All members who publish posts are expected to host them, that is, answer the comments of those who have taken the time to read your post and comment on it.
REGULAR FEATURES AT PLANETPOV
In addition to our posts and comments, we have regular features at The Planet.
MORNING BLOG -- Every morning, a rundown of the world’s events are capsulized by Kalima on Morning Blog. It’s a great place to go to start your morning, have a cup of coffee and learn about what’s been going on in the world while you’ve been sleeping. There’s also a fun trivia question every day and occasional contests where you can win things like a free PlanetPOV mug! You can navigate to Morning Blog by clicking on its icon in the Featured 4 square of icons in the right hand column.
VOX POPULI -- Every Friday night at 7:00 pm PST, we host a live, real time to discuss the week’s events. It’s a fast moving, always lively discussion and great fun. All members are invited to join in either using the widget that is set up on Fridays in the right hand column or on the Vox Populi page which can be accessed under the Live Events menu item in the menu above.
WEEKEND MUSIC THREAD -- Beginning each Saturday morning, Killgore Trout is your host and DJ each weekend for a musical playlist where members are encouraged to share their favorite songs that fit that weekend’s theme. Just remember to add the letter “v” after the “http” in your YouTube URL and our site will automatically embed that video into your comment.
THE SUNDAY FUNNIES ON THE PLANET -- Posted on the front page every Sunday, SallyT compiles a selection of political cartoons and graphics from the latest week and seasons it with her wit. A great throwback to sitting on the couch Sunday mornings with the funnies, The Sunday Funnies on The Planet are sure to give you a nod and a smile.
LIVE CHATS FOR LIVE EVENTS -- When there is a national live event of note, PlanetPOV hosts a live chat (just like Vox Populi) for all its members to participate in while they watch the event (we also post a live video feed of the event as long as it’s available so you can watch and live chat here). Share the State of the Union Addresses, debates, elections, political convention speeches and other important political events with your friends here on PlanetPOV in real time, as they are happening. It’s great fun and beats shouting at the tv.
HELP DESK -- If you have a question or there’s an issue about the site with which you could use some help, please don’t hesitate to click the Help Desk button in the Features 4 square of icons in the right hand column.
If you have an idea for a feature you would like to present on a regular or semi-regular basis, please let us know, we’re always looking for great ideas and to offer more to those who want to write as well as read.
We hope this gives you a familiarity about blogging here at PlanetPOV. Please let us know if we can answer any questions. Otherwise, thanks so much for joining and adding to this community of thoughtful and conscientious people.