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Wed, Feb 25th - 3:34PM

Style Your Site Listing with an Image
You can now choose to spiff up your site's listing in your ring memberships. Simply add a URL image!

Hub Page Changes

We recently made some changes to the sites list of all ring hub pages:

Increased the size of the site description
If you already had a lengthy, well-written description, all of it will now show on the hub page. If you had a brief one, consider pumping up your site's description.

Shortened how many sites show on each page of the sites list
With a lengthier ring description, we had to shorten up the size of the page. We may add the ability for you to determine how many sites are listed in the future.

Provided the ability to show a URL image
You can now upload an image no larger than 100x100 pixels that will display to the left of your site title and description. This is just one more way to personalize your entry and distinguish it from the other ring member's sites. Read on to learn how...

How to Add a URL Image

We made the process for uploading a URL image exceedingly simple.  
  1. Open the "URLs" tab of your My Account page.
  2. Look below your URL for the "upload image" link and click it. The "Global U#/Site Image Upload" page will open.
  3. Browse for the image of your choice, then click the "Apply Changes" button.
  4. Repeat the process for as many of your URLs as you wish.

Why Can't You Upload a URL Image?

This feature is currently only available to premium members - WebRing 2.0! Premium members also get a custom profile page and small icons that display beside all their site listings on WebRing. Consider upgrading today.

As a free member, though, you still have the ability to increase the size of your site's description.  We encourage you to revisit and revise each of your site's membership descriptions.

Comment (4)

Fri, Feb 20th - 5:51PM

Why Did(n't) We Approve Your Question?

The FAQ page is designed to provide answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) regarding the use of WebRing. Therefore, any question that addresses a problem specific to one user will be removed.

Too Specific to You

Remember to pose your questions in a way that speaks to anyone. Hint: If you reference one of your own URLs, you're being too specific.

Here's an example of a question that's far too specific:
"I submitted my site but the default banner is too big for where I want to put it on my site. My third table row is set to 550 pixels wide and my next to last table row is set to 350 pixels wide. Is there another kind of banner that I could put on my site?"

If you have such a specific question, ask someone in the Shoutbox, present your problem in the general member or Ring Manager forums, or submit a support ticket.

Here's an example of how the member could rephrase the question to make it general enough to approve:
"The default NavBar is too wide for my site. Is there a smaller NavBar that I could put on my site?"

Unrelated to WebRing Functions/Features

Here's an example of a question that really doesn't have anything to do with the technical functions of WebRing:
"Why do so many people yammer on about their personal problems in the Shoutbox?"

This question is much better posed to those using the Shoutbox, which is a public venue. We would have approved a similar question had it asked about how to close the Shoutbox to avoid having to read those "personal problems."

Here's an example of a question that is unrelated to the use of WebRing:
"What do I have to do to move my site from one web hosting service to another?"

This question actually relates to the member's web host, not to WebRing. Although someone may have the answer to this question, the FAQ page is not the best place to add this question. Try asking your question in the Shoutbox.

We Edit Questions

If we consider your question a pertinent one but it's written in a very specific way or needs some minor revisions, we will edit the question to make it more general.

Do you have a question you'd like to submit? Click here.

Comment (0)

Thu, Feb 19th - 12:26PM

Why Did(n't) We Approve Your Answer?

We choose only those answers that are concise and easy-to-follow for inclusion on the WebRing FAQ page. Below is a list of some of the reasons that we do not approve an answer.

Incorrect/Incomplete Answer
This is the most obvious reason for an answer not being accepted. We have received many terrific answers, but not all contain all the needed information. If your answer has remained pending for awhile, odds are it's incomplete. You'll know if your answer was incorrect because we will have promptly removed it.

Too Long
You go on and on, attempting to provide every single scrap of information a member could possibly need to resolve their situation. Although this is necessary in some scenarios, it's almost always too much.

As a general rule, once the vertical scroll bar appears in the Answer field, you MAY be making the answer too long.

Some answers require more, but most don't. Also, the appropriate use of bulleted and numbered lists may cause the vertical scroll bar to appear, but that's okay because you're breaking up the information in a way that is easier to read than one long paragraph.

Too Brief
Typically, answers that fall into the "too short" category are ones that assume a high degree of knowledge on the questioner's part. Remember that if the member is consulting the FAQ, you can assume they know little about the ins-and-outs of WebRing.

Too Much Like Our Support Pages
Our main purpose in providing the FAQ page is to empower members to provide answers to questions in a voice that most others can understand. Over the years, we have received much criticism regarding our Help/Support pages. The main complaint: "Your support pages are way too technical. I give up!"

Compare your answer to a similar help page. Does your answer mostly sound like our pre-existing support page? If yes, we'll remove your answer.

Remember, the trick is to provide answers to member's questions in simple English. Typically, it's best to answer the question as though you're answering an elementary school student.

Do your answers fall into any of these categories?

We generally give otherwise good answers about a week before we remove them. This provides contributing members the chance to revise their answer.

We encourage you to revisit the FAQ Submission page often to revise your answers.

Comment (0)

Wed, Feb 18th - 11:16AM

Revising Your Answers - A Case Study
Now that we've presented you with some writing tips, let's apply them to this otherwise good answer to the question "How do I delete my account?"

The Original Answer

Here's how our ever-active and dedicated WebRing Super-user genessa answered the question:

We hope you will not want to delete your WebRing account (and of course we would like to be able to resolve any issues that led you to such a decision), but we understand that you may need to do so.  It is relatively easy.

You must first quit any WebRings in which you are a member.  To do this, log into WebRing and view your account page by memberships.  For each ring, click on your site title to bring up the Edit Site Information page.  In the lefthand column of that page, you will see DELETE SITE FROM RING.  There is no way to do this for all rings at once.  It must be done one ring at a time.

If you manage any rings, you must dispose of them.  You may transfer management to another member, or to someone else, or you may delete a ring that has no members.

Once you are free of all memberships and of all management responsibilities, you will find, upon refreshing your account page, a new link in the lefthand column:  DELETE THIS USER ID.  (You will not see it if you have even one ring under your management, or one ring membership.)  That link will end your membership in WebRing.

NOTE:  Removing code from your website does NOT delete your WebRing membership.  Refraining from logging into your WebRing account does not delete your WebRing membership.  ONLY taking the steps outlined above deletes your WebRing membership.

Writing Guidelines Well Followed

Genessa did a great job following these writing guidelines:
  • No Technobabble - Genessa doesn't attempt to sound smarter than the questioner. With exception to WebRing specific terms, she uses plain language that any English speaker can understand.
  • Avoid first person - Notice how she uses the editorial "we" instead of the first person "I."
  • Break it up - The paragraphs are concise and broken up at the right places to keep each set of instructions nicely contained within their own paragraphs.
  • No need to editorialize - Genessa refrains from infusing this answer with any of her own opinions.

Writing Guidelines to Follow for Revisions

Genessa does make this answer a little more difficult to follow than needed by not following these guidelines:
  • KISS - In choosing to write her instructions in paragraph form, she added more words that were needed. She also provides, perhaps, a little too much information (It's relevant, but just a little more than the answer requires.) Suggested revision: Use numbered lists instead of paragraphs and strip out extra information.
  • Get right to the point - The first paragraph is an obvious preface. Although we at WebRing appreciate this "sorry to see you go" type preface, it doesn't get straight to the answer. Suggested revision: Delete the first paragraph.
  • Use bulleted or numbered lists - Genessa chose to write her answers in paragraph form. Suggested revision: Use numbered lists instead of paragraphs.

The Revised Answer

After incorporating the suggested changes above, here's the revised version of genessa's original answer:

To delete your WebRing account, you must first quit any WebRing Commuities (rings) in which you are a member.  To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Log into WebRing and view your My Account page.
  2. Scroll down and click the Memberships tab to open the list of your ring memberships.
  3. Click on your Site Title(s) to bring up the Edit Site Information page.  
  4. Find and click the "Delete Site from Ring" link in the left column of that page.
  5. Repeat this process until you have deleted your site(s) from all the rings you belong to. (There is no way to do this for all rings at once.  It must be done one ring at a time.)

If you manage any rings, you must dispose of them. You may transfer management to another member of the ring, or to some other WebRing member, or you may delete a ring that has no members.

Once all your memberships are deleted, you will find the "Delete This User ID" link in the left column of your My Account page. Once you click that link, you will end your membership in WebRing.

What Do You Think?

Our editorial department finds the revised version much easier to follow than the original. Do you? Let us know as a comment below.

Comment (3)

Tue, Feb 17th - 2:37PM

Writing Tips for Successful FAQ Submissions

Thank you to those members who have shown such enthusiasm for the FAQ Submission page. In the next few posts, we will offer some writing tips to ensure that your submission is approved, as well as to explain how we process pending questions and answers.

Today, we present some tips you can use to increase the chances of your FAQ submission being approved.

"Keep It Simple, Stupid!" That's the most often cited version of the acronym "KISS," but our editorial department refers the less condescending and grammatically incorrect "Keep It Short and Sweet." Remember to focus directly on the question and to avoid digressing or providing too much information.

Get Right to the Point
When you answer a question, there's no need to preface it with background information or with an apology. Remember to dive right into the answer.

No Technobabble
Okay, so maybe we're misusing the term, but you should avoid using loads of tech-heavy jargon. Our Help/Support pages already offer plenty of technical answers. Remember that members are checking the FAQ to find answers that are easy to understand.

Break It Up
When writing for the Web, it's crucial that you break up your content into relatively short paragraphs. People read differently online than in print, so longer paragraphs usually create an unnecessary obstacle for most. Remember that nothing chases most people away quicker than a wall of text.

Use Bulleted or Numbered Lists
We can't stress this point strongly enough: use bulleted and numbered lists as often as possible. This approach makes your answer extremely easy to follow, especially when giving instructions. Remember to use bullets if you are providing a list and to use numbered lists if you are providing instructions (Step 1, Step 2, Step 3...).

Avoid First Person
In nearly every case, you should refrain from using sentences that use first person. Such an answer might start out "I find that..." Remember that the use of "I" makes your answer more specific than it should be.

No Need to Editorialize, Unless...
...the question is essentially asking for a testimonial. Such a question might be, "What sorts of results can I get from adding the NavBar to my site?" Remember to clearly indicate that you are speaking from your own experience.
All the guidelines presented above not only increase the chance of your FAQ submission being approved, but they are also great rules to follow when writing any copy for the Web.

How WebRing Edits FAQ Submissions

In one word - Lightly. Our goal in creating the FAQ Submission page is to have members create the FAQ. Why? Call it a grass-roots movement of knowledge.

As a member, you speak the same "language" as other members (for the most part). We keep this in mind as we edit any answers or questions, with a focus on primarily breaking up long paragraphs and correcting typos.

If the question or answer requires extensive edits, we leave it for about a week so that you can revise it. If you don't revise it after a week, we will simply remove the answer. 

Did you contribute an answer that's still pending? It's probably in need of some edits. Go revise it right now.

Upcoming Related Posts

Comment (1)

Tue, Feb 10th - 10:39AM

What Was That Noise? Oh, It's a Shoutbox Alert!

Did you sign in to WebRing and suddenly think someone was shooting a laser at you? Don't worry; you didn't pick up some nasty malware or a virus. That's just the sound of an Alert in your Shoutbox.

To help you more easily identify when you have a pending task, like a new ring submission, we've added this nifty little feature to the Shoutbox.

Why the Shoutbox Alert?

Once there is some activity in your account that requires your attention, we send you a notification. Typically, we send you the notification only once a day. In adding the Shoutbox Alert, we hope to provide highly active members with more immediate notifications.

Here's How It Works

It's very simple, really. If we haven't sent out your standard notification yet, you will notice the Alert anytime you access a page with your Shoutbox.

  1. Take note of the Alert if you have one. (For this example, "New submission to: Anything and Everything about Jazz")
  2. Click the My Account link found at the top of every WebRing page, and you should be taken to the task you need to address. If you're already on the My Account page, scroll down; most likely, you're already on the right page.
  3. Click the View Details button to "tell" the Shoutbox that you've seen the Alert, and it will disappear the next time the Shoutbox refreshes. (See image below.)

If you haven't logged in since we last sent you an email or WR Message notification, you will not see any Shoutbox Alert.

What about Privacy?

Only you can view your Shoutbox Alert, so there's no need to worry about others getting a glimpse at your account information.  

How to Turn Off the Alert

Perhaps you are one of the members who find the "laser" annoying? We currently have no way for you to turn off the sound. If you are a premium member (WebRing 2.0), however, you have the ability to stop receiving Shoutbox Alerts.

To do so, you can do one of two things:
  • Adjust your Alert Settings to "Notify Me: Immediately" in the edit your PROFILE & ALERT settings section of your Shoutbox settings. This will still send the notification to either your cell phone or your external email.
  • Adjust your Alert Settings to "Important Alerts: Nothing special, WR Message is fine."

Want to receive your Alerts immediately and/or via text message, upgrade to WebRing 2.0 today!

Comment (13)

Mon, Feb 2nd - 3:49PM

NavBar Help Page Updated
For those of you seeking more information regarding all things related to NavBars, we've just updated the related help page.

The following topics are covered in detail:
  • How do I install the SSNB code, or "WebRing code" as it's sometimes called?
  • SSNB PASSes, but the wrong NavBar(s), NO NavBar, or the default NavBar shows
  • SSNB PASSes, but does not "look right"
  • SSNB PASSes, but stack displays only one NavBar

In particular, we would like members who choose to change their U# to check out "SSNB PASSes, but stack displays only one NavBar." This set of instructions explains what all members should do if they choose to change the U# of their URL's NavBar, which is a rising trend as of late.

To read the updated NavBar related help page, click here

Are the instructions too technical?

Consider using our newly launched FAQ Submission page, where the members of WebRing generate the all-new WebRing FAQ page. To submit a question and/or provide an answer, click here.

Comment (2)

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