Welcome Newcomers - RedState Tips and Etiquette Update

By Adam C2 Posted in Comments (7) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

Update [2006-4-21 0:54:50 by Adam C]: Some of these facts are outdated as Redstate.com replaced Redstate.org. Most of the advice is still good, some of the structure has changed.

Over the past few months, we have had many newcomers start commenting and posting diaries here at RedState. Welcome to all of you.

Back in May, I wrote a diary on RedState tips etiquette that many found helpful. Below the fold there is an updated version with tips on how a Scoop format blog works, what makes a good diary, how non-Republicans should approach posting, and other helpful pointers.

Older and younger members alike, please use the comments to add anything you think new readers would find helpful.

I am no authority on these topics, so keep in mind that these are just my personal tips and observations and are not official rules of use at RedState.

When I first encountered a scoop format blog like RedState, it did not make sense to me. There are so many different articles, diaries, stories, and comments that it was hard to sort through it all. Questions came to mind: what is the difference between a story and a diary? What should one write in a diary? Etc, etc.

Basic Setup | Tips | Etiquette


Here is a basic summary of how scoop (and thus RedState) is setup.

Directors - The four directors of the Redstate.org 527 organization.

Editors - These are mainly writers who can post directly to the Front Page and on RedHot. They can also edit stories and diaries after they have been posted.

RedStater - Everyone who signs up for an account.

Trolls - Trolls are posters who come to disrupt the site. Some are straightforward rebel rousers who start fights and arguments through snark and disrespect. Others pose as disaffected Republicans proceeding to repeat Democratic talking point or as extremist Republicans proceeding to bother others through racist, sexist, or other unacceptable and offensive posts. These users are banned from posting on RedState when discovered. Please alert editors to their presence by postsing comments calling them out.

Stories - Also known as the Front Page, stories are written by the editors and appear in the large middle column in the center of the main page.

Diaries - Open to anyone who signs up for an account. Diaries are the meat of the community aspect of the site. By allowing those who don't have the time or know-how to run their own blog a place to start conversations, diaries serve a valuable function in the Republican corner of the blogosphere. All diaries can be recommended by RedStaters. Those with the most and the most recent recommendations appear on the Recommended Diary list on the right bar of the screen. Very high quality diaries that are topical and informative may be "bumped" to the Front Page by the editors.

Recommended Diaries - Any RedStater can recommend a diary by clicking on the "Recommend Diary" button on the right column when reading a diary. The most recommended diaries will stay on the Recommended Diary list for a longer period of time, up to several days. Recommendations lose value over time so the process is dynamic.

RedHot - This is an uncommented, quick post feature for editors. It is modeled after the NRO's The Corner. RedStaters who see things on RedHot that they would like to discuss are encouraged to write up a diary on the issue.

Comment Ratings - These are currently turned off. They can be used for communal policing of conduct and positive feedback for good, thoughtful comments. At present, they do not affect anything and non-editors cannot give a rating to comments.


How to write a good diary - First, let's start with how NOT to make a good diary:

* One or two sentence diaries

* Diaries that are just a link to another story

* Duplicate diaries (i.e. re-posting a diary you already posted)


* Putting more than 3 paragraphs "above the fold"

* Reprinting entire articles from other sources. This is plagiarism.

Now for the positive side of things. There are many types of diaries and no formal structure, so don't take this tips as hard rules. But most good diaries that get recommended have a few common themes.

* They include links to other articles, RedState stories, RedState diaries, or websites. These outside sources serve as supporting evidence or information in a diary

* They include some analysis. If there is an interesting Op-Ed in your local paper which you want others to read, link to it, quote parts of it, and add your personal thoughts about the issue or piece of news.

* They are longer than one paragraph but no longer than a long newspaper article. Exceptions exist, but generally being to longwinded can stop others from reading your whole article. Darn limited attention spans.

* They address a new piece of information (i.e. news) or introduce a new opinion or viewpoint of analysis.

Diary guidelines are here

How to make friends and influence people - Being respectful in disagreements, sincere in questions, and open to new ideas or points of view is the easiest way to gain credibility at RedState. Producing high quality diaries and making high quality comments will also increase one's name recognition.

No one commented on my diary, so it must have stunk - Wrong. Comments are an indication of how controversial a diary or story is, not on its quality. In fact, the perfect diary would leave people so awestruck that they would not be able to type a response even if they so desired. My most commented on diary (and 2nd all time in the Most Comments category (401) was not my best work in any way. Don't take the number of comments as a measure of success. Many recommended diaries have less than 5 comments on them.


Spread out the diaries - Posting 3 or 4 diaries in a short burst (i.e. less than an hour) pushes out older ones and generally means one could have done a better job researching and presenting one diary instead of posting 3 or 4 mediocre ones. Not a hard and fast rule, but some new RedStaters start with an unnecessary flourish of diaries.

Stay on topic - At least make the effort to keep a thread on the topic of the original story. Diversions happen but should be avoided when possible. Similarly, respect the original author. If they are asking specific questions or requesting that people just throw out ideas and not debate, listen to their wishes.

Liberal leanings - This is a Republican home. We welcome those who are not part of the Republican community to read and post here. We expect that you treat it as if you were in our home. Don't track in mud, don't pick fights, don't insult our mothers, and don't enter our home just to sound off. It is not a requirement, but I would generally discourage writing diaries unless they are from a conservative or Republican POV. You will generally be held to a higher standard of behavior because past liberal posters have created disruptions and distractions from the intra-party dialogue. Respect and sincerity will keep one around longer. Disrespect and mudslinging will get one escorted out of our home.

Cross-posting - RedState encourages those who have their own blogs to cross-post some of their material. Do not re-create every post from your personal site in a diary. But if a particular post is well-written and politically focused, cross-posting in a diary is a fine way to increase your readership.

Hat-tips - If you notice an interesting article or issue in the MSM through another blog and then write about the article yourself in a diary, it is customary to end your diary with a line such as this:

(Hat tip: Instapundit)


Acronyms - Always ask if you don't know what an acronym stands for and someone will tell you. Here are a few that are common (along with a few RedState terms that are not acronyms):

IMO - In My Opinion

IMHO - In My Humble Opinion

WRT - With Respect To

IIRC - If I Recall Correctly

FWIW - For What Its Worth

NT or - No Text (often in a comment subject line)

FAIK - Far as I know

BTW - By the way

IOW - In other words

YMMV - Your Mileage May Vary

Known Fact&reg - A repeated "fact" generally from our liberal visitors that reflects partisanship or groupthink from the left more than reality. Spouting of Known Facts often leads to bannings.

Moby - "a particular kind of troll modeled after our favorite musical artist, Moby, who said that liberals should pose on conservative sites as conservatives and generally make us look really, really bad"^

Disclaimer - As stated above, these are my opinions alone and they do not represent the official site position on anything. Please use the comments to add your thoughts about tips and etiquette on RedState.

^-Definition by jadedmara on past Tips and Etiquette thread.

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Welcome Newcomers - RedState Tips and Etiquette Update 7 Comments (0 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

It seems as though you've expanded on it since last I read it.

I just wanted to highlight one item in particular on the list - and that's the "no one or two line diaries" point.

Folks - and we thank you so much for this - our readership over the last three months has grown at a rate that absolutely none of us could have predicted. Yesterday, we had more hits in a single day than we had in the entire month of January. Above and beyond that, every month we shatter our previous record for numbers of hits, and not by small margins. We really do appreciate everyone who is coming here and contributing.

During the last three months, however, we've not added any more moderators. And, in point of fact, the moderators we do have have gotten more busy doing other things (I know I speak for myself and Adam in particular here). So, be a little more patient with us, and feel free to email us individually or at info@redstate.org if someone is trolling - because with the uptick in diaries and comments, we can't guarantee that every one is being read like we used to.

And, along those same lines, a lot of the new folks who are coming here are writing diaries as much as they are commenting. So, often times when I log on, and then log on 12 hours later, a whole new list will be up - which is great in a sense, but the one-or-two liners can bump off really great diaries before others have a chance to read them.

In any event, just thanks everyone who's continuing to make this site great - and thanks to Clayton who somehow manages to absorb all the growth without a glitch.

I can't speak for any other newcomer, but I just wanted to extend my hearty thanks for the warm welcome.


I came over here from PW, after a friend of mine had linked to so many fascinating stories that were originally posted on this website.

I'm not really a fan of the Marquis de Queensbury rules-I have a revised version of Emily Post's Rules For Etiquette sitting on my bookshelf quietly gathering dust-especially when it comes to the art of political warfare.

However, this is your site, and I'll try to conduct myself accordingly. Aside from that one minor reservation, I've enjoyed this site immensely, and wish you all the best in future endeavors. I also can't thank the site's administrators enough for creating "Confirm Them," which has had the most comprehensive, enlightening, incisive news and analysis of the Miers confirmation debacle to be found on the World Wide Web.


Keep up the good work, guys.

-good times, G.J.P. (Jr.)  

And I'd add that, as I'm the guy who puts "thug" in "Rethuglican" around here:

(1) Don't use "Rethuglican," or any parallel or equivalent. That will end your posting here in short order.

(2) The use of Pointy Sticks is highly discouraged. A Pointy Stick is a line, comment, or statement that either goes ad hominem right at another commenter, or a faction of any size of the Republican Party. "Wingers" and "wingnuts," for example, are cues that you want your account disabled. If in doubt, as with the profanity rule, don't say it.

(3) We don't want your talking points if you're a Democrat or liberal or Lefty. We're sure you put a lot of time and effort into them, but we don't care. Engage; argue. Don't trot out talking points or Known Facts (things like "Bush is controlled by Cheney," "Bush rewarded Halliburton with no-bid contracts," etc.), unless you want to cue me in that, again, you want your account disabled.

(4) If we ban you, politely click on the info bar up and to the left and write the directors to tell them that you think you were unfairly banned. Please cc the moderator who did this. Re-registering for a different account will simply leave us to do increasingly ugly things to your ability to reach this site.

(5) Politeness rules. Good snark, if you've built cred around here, comes in a close second.

(6) The Life is Not Fair Principle applies.

The most important rule: DO NOT call Thomas "Mike" just because he quotes Mike in his tagline.

I know you're probably making no attempt to make a "complete" list of acronyms, but I'd thought I'd mention:

ICAM - "I Couldn't Agree More": this is the one that I had trouble with for years (often forgetable). I'm not sure how much I've seen it on RedState, but I think I've seen it more than once.

NT - "No Text": around here, it's more often "N/T" (or "n/t")

AFAIK - "As Far As I Know": this seems much more common than "FAIK". Also common is AFAICT - "As Far As I Can Tell"

5 - from the old rating system: stands for a rating of "5", which was the best possible under the old ratings system (equiv. to "5 stars")

And, finally:

FAQ - for "Frequently Asked Questions": effectively what Adam's entry/story here is!  :)

I'm sure others around here can add to this...

Acronym Finder is a great source to look up (most) Acronyms.

Rebel rouser might/should be rabble rouser instead, methinks.

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