How to Post Articles

So you have an amazing idea for an article and want to share it with the Squad. Here’s how to go about it.

Those of you who are already on the “Roster” at the side of the page are trusted members of the Squad, and already have “Author” access to this WordPress page. This means you’re ready to start posting articles right now if you’ve got a great idea. To get started, simply log in to the WordPress Dashboard, choose “Add New” from the Posts menu and you’re good to go.

WordPress itself is pretty straightforward to use, though a basic tutorial is a little beyond the scope of this post. If you’ve ever used a word processor, you should find things pretty simple. Here are a few guidelines to ensure our articles look neat and consistent — and, more to the point, are categorised correctly.

  • The top of the post should include a title (entered into the separate “Title” box), an image (see below) and a quick intro/lede written in “Heading 3” beneath the image. If you can’t see the option for “Heading 3”, click the “kitchen sink” button on the right of the post editor toolbar. Paragraph formats can then be found in the “Format” dropdown menu.
  • Add a “More” tag immediately after your intro using the appropriate button.
  • Images should be 632 pixels in width and centred. Images bigger than this will be auto-resized down by WordPress, but anything smaller won’t be scaled up automatically. Try and find a decent-quality image rather than blowing up a tiny one to look all blurry and crap. Don’t put a caption on the top image, but put captions on all other images.
  • Italicise game titles to make them stand out.
  • To add a YouTube video, type “youtube=http://youtubeURLgoeshere” surrounded by square brackets (and without quotes) on its own line.
  • To add an inline audio player, type “audio http:// URLofaudiofilegoeshere” surrounded by square brackets (and without quotes) on its own line. Note that you can’t host audio files on the Squad site at present.
  • Aside from the above, style is entirely up to you — use your own distinctive authorial voice, and American/British English as you see fit. Make sure it’s readable, though — no spelling or grammatical errors, and for heaven’s sake use paragraphs.
  • When you’ve finished your article, make sure the “Allow comments” box underneath the main post editor is ticked so we can discuss it.
  • Categorise your article appropriately by ticking the boxes in the Categories window to the right of the page. All articles should have “Articles” ticked as a bare minimum, but use one of the following too:
    • News: Interesting, timely stories that may be of note to the Squad and our broader audience. Please include a link to the source — or mention that it was from a press release if you used one. Also ensure that you use the appropriate platform categories to help filter things in the future — for example, a story about an upcoming PlayStation 3 release would be categorised under Articles, News, Console and PS3.
    • Culture: Articles about gaming or geek culture at large. This could be a report from a fighting game tournament you attended, thoughts on a show you’ve been to or your take on the latest Video Games Live concert.
    • Opinion: Editorial pieces giving your thoughts on a specific topic relating to gaming or geek culture at large. This could be everything from your take on sexism in gaming to an impassioned plea for people to make fewer brown first-person shooters… or simply a well-considered piece where you point out how right you are and how wrong, in fact, everyone else is. (If you’re writing a piece as a response to someone else, please be respectful.)
    • Review: Your scoreless take on a specific game. Use the title format “[Game Name] ([Platform]) — Review”. Beyond that, however you wish to tackle the “review” is up to you — but try and make it a personal response opinion piece that explains why the Squad should care about this game. We’re not here to review every big new title — those are well-covered by the big gaming sites, so unless there’s something really interesting to say that other sites aren’t covering, avoid the things that everyone is already talking about. Try and find something interesting and distinctive that no-one knows about. Like with News posts, also ensure you use the appropriate platform categories. For example, a review of an iOS game would be categorised under Articles, Reviews, Portable and iOS.
  • Add some tags to your article to help SearchBot out. As a minimum, include the game name, the developer, the publisher and the platform — assuming you’re talking about a specific game. You may also wish to include the genre and what type of article you have written.
  • Hit Publish if you’re happy with your article and want it to go live straight away (you can always log in and re-edit it later) or click the “Edit” button next the words “Status: Draft”, choose Pending Review, click OK and then Save as Pending if you’d rather it get edited first. At the time of writing, the only “Editors” are the Administrators of the site, but over time if anyone wants to step forward and take on peer editing responsibilities, make yourself known.

Questions? Suggestions? Speak up in the comments below — or if not, we all look forward to seeing what spews forth from our various gathered intellects and tastes as time goes on.

Good luck, soldier.