Style Guide

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GUIDANCE FOR EDITORS

These style guidelines are specific to Our Blocks. We’re evolving; your suggestions are welcome (please reply below):

Themes and tones

  • Please try to be brief, and more or less focused on our fundamental themes: neighbors helping neighbors for their neighborhoods; practicable ideas for neighborhood-based community building; designs that improve interactions among residents; building true community in neighborhoods.
  • We’re focused on the good work good people do, and aren’t keen on criticism (unless it’s self-criticism).
  • We are respectful of diversity, and try to maintain a civil tone.

Technical

  • After registering at Our Blocks and logging in, you’ll see a Tools menu on the left side of your screen. We suggest you install Press This (a bookmarklet that helps you clip text, images and videos from any web page).
  • Use Categories and Tags to help us keep the articles organized.
  • Tags should include name of author, organization, main topics covered by the article. Once you start typing into the Tag box, you’ll see similar tags, and you can just click on them if you want (that’s the preferred method, so we might avoid typical tagging errors such as misspelled and redundant tags). Here’s our full tag list.
  • Each post should include a line that refers to the source, including the name of the author and article, where applicable. Please link back to the original sources whenever possible.
  • In addition to linking to the original material, link to author bios.
  • Link to organizations and other resources from within the text, where applicable.
  • Set links to open in a new window (from the Target dropdown, choose Open in a New Window).
  • When linking to books, videos, etc, use neutral sites like Worldcat, rather than commercial sites.
  • Use graphics that are relevant and that enhance the visual appeal of your post. Link the image to the appropriate source ( f.e the source of the image, the website of the organization, the bio of the author).
  • Break up long articles with the More tag on the toolbar.
  • After summaries are created, link back from the link to the summary rather than to the source – particularly useful when the source is a pdf/doc (ie no summaries were provided by the publisher).
  • Please preview your work before posting. Once you post, your work will be instantly sent out through our RSS feeds.

Some sources for your posts

  • Articles already published by you or your organization that relate to our basic themes. Digest them into highlights, action items, etc, and link back to original material in your sites so readers can go there for more information (f.e the science behind your recommendations, related studies).
  • Browse our Reading Lists for recommended articles that had not yet been processed.
  • Browse our Resources page, and write about those you like and would recommend to a friend.
  • If there’s an article you’d want to work on (or wish someone else would), post it onto the blog, and tag it “todo“. Browse the articles tagged “todo“.
  • Browse readings via Leo’s tweets
  • Browse the Neighborhoodies twitter stream
  • You’re not at all limited to our selections. If you come across articles you want to share, just go ahead and share them.
  • If you want to add to our collection of Community Stories (which are about ordinary people doing extraordinary things for their neighborhoods), search the news with relevant keywords, like these for example:  “help community neighbor“.