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|17th Sep 2009, 12:36 PM||Guideline: How to post articles/tutorials #1|
We appreciate when people post articles and tutorials here. However, in order to make your post actually useful and easy to follow for everyone, please try and have the perspective of your readers in mind. We've put together this guideline to make this easier for you – please read it before you start working on your article. If you already have a tutorial posted somewhere, please also check whether you can improve it to meet these guidelines. If you have any questions or suggestions, please post in this thread. Thank you.
Before you post
Before posting a new article, please make sure that the subject isn't already covered. Use the forum search and the wiki to find existing articles on your topic:
Wiki: TS2 Tutorials Index
Wiki: TS3 Tutorials Index
TS2 Build Mode Tutorials forum
TS3 Build Mode Tutorials forum
If you just want to add a comment, a hint, or an alternative technique to an existing tutorial, please post in the original thread instead of making a new one. If you mainly want to showcase your own work, or want to share your excitement about something that's new for you personally, please use your journal for that. Only post a new article if yours is significantly improved or updated, broader in scope, or otherwise better than or different from existing ones; make sure you point out in your post what exactly the difference/improvement is.
Please give your article a descriptive title – if it's aimed at a specific audience (beginners, intermediate, experts only) or written for a particular software or operating system, please make sure to include that information in the title.
Please try to reflect the scope of your article in the title as well: is it a full-on tutorial – something that covers a complex task from beginning to end (à la "How to make hair")? Or is it rather a "tiptorial" – a collection of tips and tricks on a general topic (à la "Landscaping 101")? Or a "walkthrough"/"how-to" focused on one very specific thing ("Exporting Stuff From Blender 2.6")? These aren't strict categories of course, but it would be good if people could tell from your title whether the article will take them half a day to work through, or five minutes.
Make sure you include important information right at the beginning of your post – what is the topic of the article? What problem does it solve? What previous knowledge does it require, and where can people find that? Which tools will people need, and where can they find them? Please include links to those prerequisites wherever possible, don't just mention them.
Tutorials need to be written in a way that is easy to follow – have in mind that not everyone speaks English as a first language. Colloquialisms, typos, or incomplete sentences are a major hindrance for those users, so please be considerate and spell check before you post. If you don't speak English very well yourself, ask someone to proofread your article before you post (if you don't know anyone else, you can always ask a moderator).
Please post text as actual text – don't write everything on top of your pictures. Not everybody has perfect eyesight (text can easily be enlarged, but pictures will become blurry when zoomed in), pictures in general will appear smaller on high-resolution screens which may render the text on them illegible, and actual text can easily be quoted or copied into an online translator, which is not possible with a picture. Text-on-pics is good for small labels ("Click This!") and such, but not for the actual content of your article.
If you're writing a long article, you may want to subdivide it somehow – either just use subheadlines, or split it up into several posts. For multi-post articles, the post titles will show up as a neat "Table of contents" menu in article view (note that you need to give each post a title for this, otherwise it won't show), and your readers will not be confronted with quite so much content at once, which can make a long tutorial a lot easier to digest.
Please make sure all your screenshots are clear, sharp, well lit, and focused on the topic of your article. See this guideline for how to take good, clear screenshots.
Please post pictures inline, alongside the relevant text – don't only attach them to your post. Attachments won't show up in Article view, and even in regular view it makes your article unnecessarily hard to follow when people have to go backwards and forwards between the text and the pictures. There is no hard limit on the number of inline pictures that you can use in an article (still, be considerate of modem users – don't make them larger than necessary).
Tutorials should be posted as text with inline pictures wherever possible. You can provide an additional version for offline reading if you like – preferrably a PDF or a zipped HTML file with pictures. Please don't post proprietary file formats such as .doc (not everyone has Word); also be aware that Word is very bad at exporting a proper PDF or HTML document. Please do not post huge, uncompressed screenshots in a zip/rar – save them as JPEG with proper compression, just like you would with a regular attached picture. About 25% of our users have 1024x768px monitors – do not post/attach anything that needs a larger screen than that, it's going to be useless for them.
A simple way to generate PDFs on windows: http://www.cutepdf.com/ – this adds a new PDF printer driver, so you can use any program capable of printing to write a PDF. OS X has this functionality built in – press Cmd-P (Print), then select "PDF".
Of course you can also post example files, templates and the like. Whenever you attach a or rar, please include a little note that states what exactly is inside the archive (including the file format).
You can use the creation forums to post your tutorial; once it's complete you can PM a moderator of that forum and ask them to approve it and move it to the tutorial section. You can see at the bottom of every forum overview who the moderators are. If you'd prefer to work on your article without other users posting while it's still unfinished, you can also post it in Creator Issues (that way, only you and the staff can access the work-in-progress).
Once your article is in the proper section, it would be nice if you'd add a link to it in the Talk page attached to the appropriate wiki page. You can get there by hitting "View this page on Sims2Wiki" at the bottom of your article.
Some examples for good articles:
Creating Default Replacement Skintones for TS3 (aikea guinea)
Separating patterns without vectors (JaneSamborski)
Creating an Apartment on the Beach or Uneven Terrain (Mootilda)
All of these state right away what the point of the article is, how it's different from existing ones, what you need for it; the text is well-written and the images are clear and to the point.
Again, thank you for sharing your knowledge and taking the time to write up an article. If you need help or have a question/suggestion regarding this guideline, please post here. Thank you!