From the Webmaster...

Submitting Website Articles

Members who are logged into the ASN website are able to submit articles for publishing.  Some of these articles will be included in the ASN's newsletter, The Asteroid.  Before you submit an article, however, you should ask yourself the following question:

Should I submit an article or post to the forums?

If you wish to share information that 1) you believe is of value to a large number of people, 2) you do not necessarily care to get a response to, and 3) you do not want to potentially get lost over time in the sea information that can be the forums, then you should consider submitting an article.  On the other hand, if you want to have a more interactive conversation with other members, then you should post to the forums.

How do I submit an article?

Very easy.  After you log into the website, just click the 'Create New Article' link located on the left side of the page.  A new window should open up with a WYSIWYG ('what you see is what you get') editor where you can create your article.  As you create your article, you can insert a 'Read More' tag and page breaks by clicking on the appropriate link at the bottom of the text entry area. Note: If an article is selected for the newsletter, everything before the 'Read More' tag will display in the newsletter; the user clicks on the 'Read More' link to read the rest of the article on the website.  If you do not include a 'Read More' tag, the newsletter editor may insert one for you to facilitate formatting of the newsletter.

Those of you who have submitted articles before know that we used to suggest, if you were writing a rather long article, to write it in a separate program first, then copy it into the website.  Please, DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT do this!  Unfortunately, many common word processing programs insert their own hidden formatting codes and more often than not the font styles, etc. would differ from that used by the web site and the newsletter.  This often meant the webmaster or newsletter editor needed to spend a significant amount of time diving into the background HTML to remove these hidden formatting codes.  We have increased the website session time to 60 minutes... so you have that much time to type your article before losing your work.  If you absolutely must type your article into another program first, please use Notepad or a similar text-only editor that does not add formatting code.  If your program gives you an option to select a font style, do not use it!      

After you are done composing your article, assign it to the 'Member Articles' section and the appropriate category (for most members this will be the 'Other Members' category).  This category will determine which menu item users will select in order to see your article.  If you want the article to also appear on the home page, select 'yes' for the Front Page option. 

Why doesn't my article appear right away?

Most members are assigned to one of two categories: Authors and Publishers.  By default, most ASN members are assigned to the Authors category.  This allows you to follow the procedures described above for creating an article.  However, the article must be reviewed, approved and published by a member of the Publishers group before it will display to viewers of the website.  ASN officers and a few other select individuals are members of the Publishers group.  If you wish to post something right away without waiting for this review process, you are probably better off posting to the forums.  If you are a publisher and the desired article still doesn't display, verify that the section and category fields have been populated per the instructions in the previous paragraph.

How do I edit an article?

If the article has not been published yet, click the 'Unpublished Articles' link located on the left side of the page (below the 'Create New Article' link).  This will display all of your unpublished articles.  Select the one you wish to modify and click the 'Edit' link.

If the article has already been published, find it in the appropriate 'Member Articles' menu (or the Home page if it displays there).  To the right of the article name you will see several icons for displaying it in pdf format, emailing link, etc.  An additional icon displays for Authors and Publishers to open and edit the article.  

Are there any limitations to what I can place in my article?

Common sense should dictate here.  Please remember that this is a family site oriented towards astronomy and related sciences.  If a publisher feels that some content is inappropriate, he/she will contact you to have you fix the article.  Repeat offenders will have their Author status revoked; while you still will be able to log into the website, you will no longer see the 'Submit Article' menu item.  Gross violators will have their membership to the website revoked. (Note: same rules apply to posts in the forums.)

Most articles are intended to be viewed by the public at large, and may even be included in the ASN newsletter (the newsletter has been morphing recently from a members-only benefit to more of a public outreach tool available to the public at large).  With this in mind, you may wish to omit personal details from your article.  However, when creating your article you also have the option of restricting access to 'Registered' users; i.e., only members of the ASN will be able to see the article when logged into the website.  These articles will not be included in the newsletter. 

I am a Publisher.  How do I approve/publish articles written by others?

If you have been granted Publisher privileges, there are two ways of viewing unpublished articles using the web site's front end:

  1. Within one of the Member Article pages (President, Programs, etc.).  If you see an article will a blue background, that article has not been published yet. The 'Edit Article' icon appears to the right of the title.  Click this icon to edit and/or publish the article.
  2. Click the 'Unpublished Articles' link located on the left side of the login page.  This will display all unpublished articles, regardless of author.  Select the one you wish to modify/publish and click the 'Edit' link.   

What should I look for before publishing an article?

There are several things you should review before publishing articles:

  1. Content.  Is the content appropriate for the website? Is it appropriate as a separate article, or should the author submit it as a forum post instead (because it solicits feedback, etc.)?
  2. Length of article.  If the article is extremely long, maybe you should consider adding a 'Read More' tag and page breaks if appropriate.
  3. Correct Section/Category.  Please verify the correct section and category have been selected.  This is probably going to be the most common mistake of Authors.
  4. Front Page. Is it appropriate for this article to display on the websites home page?  If you turn on this option, the page will display both on the front page and in the appropriate Member Articles category.
  5. Publishing Dates. Should the article have start or end dates (e.g., to advertise time-sensitive events)?
  6. Access level.  a) Public: anyone. b) Registered: any ASN member, regardless of author permissions [even those whose Author privileges have been revoked]. c) Special: any ASN member with Author privileges and above [most ASN members are initially granted Author permissions by default].  
Category: Webmaster