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The Format Wars - Important for Site Authors to Read


Myr

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1 minute ago, Caz Pedroso said:

Is there a way for author to check their old stories to make sure they comply with the rules, or do we need to go through chapter by chapter? Coz, I'm not sure what settings I had in place for some of my older pieces. 

There is no automated tool in place yet, no.  There will be prior to us pushing the issue further.  It's all manual checking.  The important thing is making sure the text controls work.

If there are indents in the story and the indent button is toggled off, then you have a formatting issue.

 

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44 minutes ago, Myr said:

There is no automated tool in place yet, no.  There will be prior to us pushing the issue further.  It's all manual checking.  The important thing is making sure the text controls work.

If there are indents in the story and the indent button is toggled off, then you have a formatting issue.

 

 

Thanks :)  I'll start checking from the oldest ones on my next day off. 

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Well, it makes it so readers can adjust things so they can see it best.  Think of it as giving yourself more opportunities for a larger audience.

Some authors have some serious issues that break the contrast mode too.  The problem is if we turn on the input filters, it will tear apart existing stuff is someone goes to edit it.  And nothing flips an author's wig like breaking an open story. We try to avoid that.  But then that means we're letting stuff through on new things that we shouldn't it.  It's a rather irritating problem to deal with.

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You say that formatting, putting indents in (which I don't use for paragraphs) cause problems with the system - what problems?

 

On the question of formatting, I have used indenting and background colour as a formatting mode for text (SMS) messages in a story. Before I employed this formatting I looked online to see how to write and format text messages in writing. The kind of thing I am talking about is a long exchange of short mobile texts.

Example:

Hi what you doing

Not much

You want to hang out

Where r u

I'm over with Josh

 

So the obvious question is  - if you don't want any indents how would you format that?

Checking back on a story where I have text formatted as above it causes no problems to toggle on the indent button, it just indents one more tab.

 

Now if you take italics and bold, and you mention pasting in clear text and going through adding the italics and bold back. In order to do that you need to mark those words so as not to miss the formatting. If you are going to mark the words, then you might as well code them with italics and bold  It's a one off use thing because the saving of the pasted text clears out the code, but it does implement it. You can understand, it is hard enough going through chapters checking for errors, without having to use the editor to find and add back in italics and bold, and center text.

 

Of course you may well reply, as you have previously, that everything is designed for using a desktop PC, Windows or Mac. Looking forward, and this is why you have made the site mobile phone friendly, people will not be using desktop PCs, they will be using tablets and phones. Questions have already been posted about - Can I write and publish using my phone? The answer has been, no, we don't recommend it. But why?

 

So in summary:

Are any problems caused by formatting text (coding italics and bold)?

How would you write a mobile text message exchange without formatting?

Can you think about becoming mobile friendly for writers?

 

Thank you,

Will.

 

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2 hours ago, William King said:

Can you think about becoming mobile friendly for writers?

 

I realise that this is a small answer to a much wider post, but in my experience, GA is very iPad friendly as an author, as long as you remember to request the Desktop Site (in Safari hold the refresh icon in the address bar).

 

Sam

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  • Site Administrator
16 hours ago, William King said:

You say that formatting, putting indents in (which I don't use for paragraphs) cause problems with the system - what problems?

This should be obvious... Indents where there should be none and when you use the text controls to add indents, it makes them super indents.  The exact results depend on too many variables (browser, device, word processor, randomness) to give any one answer beyond, the indents are caused by extra code that shouldn't be in there.

 

16 hours ago, William King said:

On the question of formatting, I have used indenting and background colour as a formatting mode for text (SMS) messages in a story. Before I employed this formatting I looked online to see how to write and format text messages in writing. The kind of thing I am talking about is a long exchange of short mobile texts.

This situation makes sense to have indents, yes.  I agree.  Background color is even worse than having indents as it breaks the contrast control, usually.  This makes it difficult for the vision impaired to use the contrast mode to make it easier for them to read.  I don't think it affects the screen readers though.  I read with a dark background, usually.  Especially on mobile devices as that saves battery.

 

16 hours ago, William King said:

So the obvious question is  - if you don't want any indents how would you format that?

Checking back on a story where I have text formatted as above it causes no problems to toggle on the indent button, it just indents one more tab.

The editor is a third party add in to the forums.  We have the ability to add features to it, but it is a bit time consuming.   A mode to make text distinguishable as a letter or IM or texting chain is something we're looking at.  But it is not high on the list given other priorities.  It is on the list though.

 

16 hours ago, William King said:

Now if you take italics and bold, and you mention pasting in clear text and going through adding the italics and bold back. In order to do that you need to mark those words so as not to miss the formatting. If you are going to mark the words, then you might as well code them with italics and bold  It's a one off use thing because the saving of the pasted text clears out the code, but it does implement it. You can understand, it is hard enough going through chapters checking for errors, without having to use the editor to find and add back in italics and bold, and center text.

 

The answers here are not one size fits all.  I post general suggestions that should be able to be grasped by the most people.  In all honesty, there is probably two dozen ways you can do things.  But a lot of people struggle with "Copy" and "Paste".  The easiest way around that is to paste plain text and add the formatting in, if you can't handle any of the other ways.  In theory, pasting from Word into Chome or Firefox or Edge or Safari should just work.  Anything else should work... but doesn't always.  Again, too many variables to say why.

 

16 hours ago, William King said:

Of course you may well reply, as you have previously, that everything is designed for using a desktop PC, Windows or Mac. Looking forward, and this is why you have made the site mobile phone friendly, people will not be using desktop PCs, they will be using tablets and phones. Questions have already been posted about - Can I write and publish using my phone? The answer has been, no, we don't recommend it. But why?

I'm really getting sick and tired of repeating this.  I can post stories from my phone.  I have an Android S7 and use Chrome. I'm copying and pasting out of Word Mobile.   But I've also had issues.  The factor controlling whether is works is the combination of software you are using and the power of the device you're using.  If you paste a large chapter into the editor and especially if it is not 'clean' code, then the editor bogs down as it converts it.  Some times it pukes.  The editor and the software and device combination you use is NOT in our control.  In theory, posting from ANY device should work.  In reality, your mileage may vary.  Content Creation devices, ie actual computers, have more mileage on them and have more bugs worked out.  Once again not in our control.  I choose to simplify because I know for a fact people's eyes glaze over when I get into technical details.  Even the engineers I work with glaze over.  Computers are the devices most likely to work.  And using a mouse to control the copy and paste process is a hell of a lot easier for most people. 

16 hours ago, William King said:

Are any problems caused by formatting text (coding italics and bold)?

No.  I thought that was clear in the original post.  Italics and bold should work fine.

 

16 hours ago, William King said:

How would you write a mobile text message exchange without formatting?

Indenting does make sense here.  We are looking at special formatting tools in the future for things like this and perhaps a 'letter' format.  I know of several stories that use that.

 

17 hours ago, William King said:

Can you think about becoming mobile friendly for writers?

It is if you have the right combination of devices.  None of that stuff is in our control  We follow standards and use a commercial editor software.  How that editor behaves on whatever device you are using is not under our control.  We recommend people use computers simply because that is usually the most successful at posting.  If your device works, great.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Myr said:

This should be obvious... Indents where there should be none and when you use the text controls to add indents, it makes them super indents.  The exact results depend on too many variables (browser, device, word processor, randomness) to give any one answer beyond, the indents are caused by extra code that shouldn't be in there.

 

This situation makes sense to have indents, yes.  I agree.  Background color is even worse than having indents as it breaks the contrast control, usually.  This makes it difficult for the vision impaired to use the contrast mode to make it easier for them to read.  I don't think it affects the screen readers though.  I read with a dark background, usually.  Especially on mobile devices as that saves battery.

 

The editor is a third party add in to the forums.  We have the ability to add features to it, but it is a bit time consuming.   A mode to make text distinguishable as a letter or IM or texting chain is something we're looking at.  But it is not high on the list given other priorities.  It is on the list though.

 

 

The answers here are not one size fits all.  I post general suggestions that should be able to be grasped by the most people.  In all honesty, there is probably two dozen ways you can do things.  But a lot of people struggle with "Copy" and "Paste".  The easiest way around that is to paste plain text and add the formatting in, if you can't handle any of the other ways.  In theory, pasting from Word into Chome or Firefox or Edge or Safari should just work.  Anything else should work... but doesn't always.  Again, too many variables to say why.

 

I'm really getting sick and tired of repeating this.  I can post stories from my phone.  I have an Android S7 and use Chrome. I'm copying and pasting out of Word Mobile.   But I've also had issues.  The factor controlling whether is works is the combination of software you are using and the power of the device you're using.  If you paste a large chapter into the editor and especially if it is not 'clean' code, then the editor bogs down as it converts it.  Some times it pukes.  The editor and the software and device combination you use is NOT in our control.  In theory, posting from ANY device should work.  In reality, your mileage may vary.  Content Creation devices, ie actual computers, have more mileage on them and have more bugs worked out.  Once again not in our control.  I choose to simplify because I know for a fact people's eyes glaze over when I get into technical details.  Even the engineers I work with glaze over.  Computers are the devices most likely to work.  And using a mouse to control the copy and paste process is a hell of a lot easier for most people. 

No.  I thought that was clear in the original post.  Italics and bold should work fine.

 

Indenting does make sense here.  We are looking at special formatting tools in the future for things like this and perhaps a 'letter' format.  I know of several stories that use that.

 

It is if you have the right combination of devices.  None of that stuff is in our control  We follow standards and use a commercial editor software.  How that editor behaves on whatever device you are using is not under our control.  We recommend people use computers simply because that is usually the most successful at posting.  If your device works, great.

 

 

You are correct Myr. This does not affect screen reader users. Only if I was low vision using contrast, magnifier, zoom.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/10/2017 at 5:11 PM, Myr said:

When you post new chapters, post them in clean.  NO INDENTS.  EVER. 

This will make things easier on all of us now and in the future as we work to clean things up.

 

 

I assume doing indents by sticking in a bunch of spaces at the beginning of each paragraph is uncool too ? Here is an example from Black Widow chapter 48.

 

Quote

               “Hello JJ,” I heard the voice say, only it wasn’t Stef, it was Grand.  I so did not want to talk to him.

 

              “Hi,” I said somewhat meekly.  “Is Stef there?  I need to talk to him.” 

 

              “He is not,” Grand said.  “I talked to him before he left, and he told me that if you called, I should instruct you to talk to me.” 

 

              “He knew I was going to call,” I fumed, and that fueled my anger even more.  “He sent Will and Darius here to embarrass me in front of my friends, and to fuck them too, then he doesn’t have the guts to even talk to me?” 

 

              “I find your outrage over their breach of manners to be incredibly hypocritical,” Grand said icily. 

 

This is that it looks like if I paste and ask the editor box to clear format. The extra lines disappear, but the indents stay because they're not indents but spaces.

 

Quote

              “Hello JJ,” I heard the voice say, only it wasn’t Stef, it was Grand.  I so did not want to talk to him.

              “Hi,” I said somewhat meekly.  “Is Stef there?  I need to talk to him.” 

              “He is not,” Grand said.  “I talked to him before he left, and he told me that if you called, I should instruct you to talk to me.” 

              “He knew I was going to call,” I fumed, and that fueled my anger even more.  “He sent Will and Darius here to embarrass me in front of my friends, and to fuck them too, then he doesn’t have the guts to even talk to me?” 

              “I find your outrage over their breach of manners to be incredibly hypocritical,” Grand said icily. 

 

I feel very sorry for Mark, if he has to go back through all his many CAP stories to correct this type of indent. :pinch: So I hope you can find a technical solution if it's needed. 

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On 9/10/2017 at 11:11 AM, Myr said:

When you post new chapters, post them in clean.  NO INDENTS.  EVER.

No means no, Tim.  No indents, period. 

The new tool we're working on for Letter and Texting/IM style makes use of something called a blockquote.  This does indent it, but it is compatible with our indent tool.  You'll be okay to use that when it rolls out.

13 hours ago, Timothy M. said:

I feel very sorry for Mark, if he has to go back through all his many CAP stories to correct this type of indent. :pinch: So I hope you can find a technical solution if it's needed.

We have a tool that addresses Mark's stories with a special output filter.  Eventually, it'll be added to the input filter and spread out to more authors.  It did get zapped in the recent update, so that's getting fixed as I type this.  Thanks for pointing it out.

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@Myr  You gave a very comprehensive reply. I think people will continuely ask technical questions: what is the recommended word processing software? Can I write on my phone? I lose all my formatted text what should I do? etc., etc., it goes on forever.

 

I suggest you have a Technical Questions thread and person. I suggest that you ask everybody to direct any and all technical questions to that thread and that person. I suggest you ask members not to reply directly to technical questions. It is probably not helpful to keep getting questions where people (including myself) reply saying - this works for me, or do this or that. I sympathise with you and the staff continuously answering the same questions in the forum.

 

I suggest you have something in the Technical Questions thread that says: we recommend you use a PC etc. because we are certain this works. You may - example - use a tablet, phone (whatever) to write, copy and paste, but try a short paragraph to check you do not encounter any problems.

 

I believe everybody here is on your side ( and the rest of your team ) and we all want to help. So asking members to refer rather than respond to technical questions could tidy things up, create less work, and end all the debating. For my part I will not reply to those questions, I fully understand things now (I was worried something I had done, might do, with formatting would harm the system). I know what works for copying and pasting chapters from my tablet, there are no problems with the GA editor and I can code the format I need (italics and bold).

 

Thanks again for taking your time to reply at length.

 

PS. To be absolutely clear Technical Questions would appear under HELP but I think it is more obvious than a general help.

Edited by William King
Clarify suggestion
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18 hours ago, Myr said:

No means no, Tim.  No indents, period. 

The new tool we're working on for Letter and Texting/IM style makes use of something called a blockquote.  This does indent it, but it is compatible with our indent tool.  You'll be okay to use that when it rolls out.

 

Luckily, I don't use indents at all, so I'm fine. Indents can be done in many ways and noticing Mark's solution I wanted you to confirm none of them are OK, so people who do use indents aren't tempted to go down that path either. ;) 

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I'll admit, it's a challenge for me, but I'm working on it.

 

I know we talked about Indents, but what about Type Size and Font use? Is there any special concerns with that, and how the system does the Increase/Decrease Font size, and other special goodies?

 

I know when I write, I use a different Font style for each story, and typically keep it at 12pt (to be able to read it at 100% zoom in word).

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5 hours ago, BHopper2 said:

Type Size and Font use

System default is best. 

The absolute best way to handle posting a story?  Paste in as plain text and add back in italics, bold and the special format options we're making for letters and IM's using the editor.  In theory, using BBCode should work. This will guarantee that it works.  No fonts. No colors. No backgrounds. No indents.  It's better to get used to that because when we have a reliable way of properly filtering, it simply won't be a choice.  (By the way, this is how FanFiction/Fictionpress handles it.  They have the largest self-posting story system out there that I've seen.  They allow bold, italics, and nothing else)

BBcode:
to make italics [i]This is italics[/i]
to make bold [b]This is bold[/b]

I tested. if you put the BBcode around your text in Word (or whatever) and paste in as plain text, it will keep that formatting.

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1 minute ago, Myr said:

 


BBcode:
to make italics [i]This is italics[/i]
to make bold [b]This is bold[/b]

to make bold This is bold

 

 

Thanks, I've added this to my notebook (along with Cia's shortcut for taking out extra lines with find and replace) I've been doing this manually after I've copied and pasted. Using this code may make it easier if I have a few longer chapters. 

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Just a bit of info for Mobile Users:

 

I like to use Ulysses as my word processor of choice as it can quickly give me a number of different pubishing options specifically meant for online publishing.

 

For this site I roll an HTML version of my stuff which seems to copy and paste well into the GA Formatting enchanced textboxes. I'll be going back through some of my old text renderings from past entries to clean up formatting that changed from the last version of the Forum API to the current one.

 

Anyways, Ulysses is a nice product. I prefer it to Word for mobile. 

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