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RR Tech Tips: Enhancing Your Reading Experience

I've noticed a lot of questions over the last couple of days about what this means or how to do that, so I figured I'd compile them all into a few posts for reference later on in life.

Today we'll start with the basics, reading the site and commenting.

When you come to Red Reporter you will see a 3 column set up, with links to various items on the left and and right sides and the primary site content down the middle.  That middle area is where the magic happens.  That is where you'll find our daily updates as well Game Threads, Reviews, and other fun stuff like this article.  Okay, it probably doesn't need to be this dumbed down, does it?

One thing you may find in an article on the front page is a link that says "Continue reading this post »" at the end.  Be sure to click that to get to the remainder of the article.  If you miss it, you may miss the key to life.

If the link is not there, just click the "Comments" link to start reading the comments.  In this article's case, click the "Continue reading this post »" link.

Navigating Comments

Before you get into the actual comments section, there is a section that looks like this:


Display lets you change the view of the comments from Expanded (subjects and text) to Collapsed (just subjects are visible).

Checking the Auto-refresh box will toggle on and off the auto-refresh feature in the comments section.  When checked on, new comments added to the thread will magically appear with a little note popping up in the corner saying who posted the latest comment.

Below those two boxes you'll see keyboard commands for navigating a thread.  Personally, I find these very help for jumping around in a thread to new comments.  They work thusly:

c - using the c key will take you to the first unread comment in the thread.  This key does not mark a comment as read.

x - using the x key will mark the current comment with focus as read.  I typically use c and x in tandem to navigate to new comments and mark them as read once I've read them.

z - the z key will combine the actions of c and x.  One word of caution though.  Often, if a new comment is added above the comment currently with focus, using z or x will actually mark that comment as read before you've read it.  I suggest that whenever you see a new comment box pop up in the corner, pushing the c-button before hitting z or x to make sure you don't mark comments above your current point as read.

r - to reply to the current comment with focus, simply press the r key and a reply box will appear.


Reading Comments

When you get into the comments section, you'll likely see a bunch of comments like this:


The subject line - the bolded area is the subject line.  Clicking the subject will collapse the text below it down, for some reason.

Username/avatar - you can click the commenter's username or their avatar on the far right of the screen and it will take you to that person's SBN profile page.

Date/time - after the username is the date/time of the comment.  This is also where you will find a link for that specific comment.  If you want to refer to a comment in another place, copy the link from the date of the comment and use that URL for your reference.

up - the up link only appears for comments that are a reply to another comment.  Clicking up will take you to the "parent" comment to which the current comment is a reply.  This is particularly useful in a long thread with many replies to a single comment.

reply - use this link to reply to that comment.  Your response will be indented one level and put below the comment you reply to in order based on when responses happened.

actions - this is a special link that allows you to recommend or flag a post.  When you click actions, two more links should become visible that look like this:


The Flag link should be used if you find something offensive or if the commenter is being a troll or posting spam.  Hopefully you won't use this button too much.

The Rec link allows you to recognize a post that you particularly enjoy.  It can be something funny, a well-thought out response, or just something that makes you feel all warm and gooey inside. 

At the end of the commenter's line, you'll see a rec count (e.g. 0 Recs above).  Each time a comment receives a rec, this number will increment.  Once a comment receives 3 recs it will turn green, recognizing it as one of the many greatest comments of all time on the site.

Posting Comments

When it comes time for you to finally say something within a thread, you can do so via the comment box.  This box is the bottom of every thread, or if you'd like to respond to a specific comment, it will magically appear when you click the reply link.


The first line is a subject line.  This can be a summary of your comment, an intro to your comment, or anything really.  It is not required, but the style on RR is to use the subject line so that we can more cleanly see the breaks between comments.

Below the subject you'll see six buttons.  The B button allows you to make text within your post bold.  Type your text, select it, and hit the B (or type Ctrl-B) and the system will the HTML tags to make that text bold.

The I button will make your text italic.  The S will strikethrough your selected text.  Use each of these the same way you'd use the B button.

If you are quoting a large portion of text from another source, I suggest that you use the quote button, the next button on the list.  Clicking that button will add blockquote tags to your comment.  Add those and then paste your commented text in between them and it will identify that text as a quote from elsewhere.

Clicking the link button will allow you to paste a nicely formatted link within your comment.  My suggestion would be to type some reference text (i.e. via Fay or Check out this story) and then select that text.  Next click the link button and this box will pop up:


Enter the URL in the specified box.  It is also recommended that you click the Open in New Window? check box since this will prevent you from taking the reader away from Red Reporter.  Click submit and the proper HTML tags will be added to your comment.

The final thing you may want to add to your comment is an image.  All images used in comments must be hosted somewhere on the internet already.  If you find an image you'd like to share with the group, copy the entire URL location of the image.  Then click the image button and a box will pop up:


Paste the image URL in the box and click OK.  The proper HTML to display the image will be added to your post wherever your cursor is.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please try to avoid posting images over 60 KB in game threads.  Large images slow down threads and make them a pain to follow.  If an image in a game thread is too large, the comment will be deleted by an admin  And please try to avoid posting images over 100 KB at all times.  It's a common courtesy to those with slower connections.

If your image takes up a lot of the screen, I suggest you add a HEIGHT or WIDTH attribute to the image tag.  Something like this will prevent your image from taking up an ungodly amount of the screen.

<img src="http://yourimageurl" height="300" / >

NOTE: This does not change the KB size of your image, just the display size.

Now, after you have typed up your opus in a comment box, you should preview it to make sure it looks okay.  The PREVIEW button will show you just what your post will look like once you add it to the site.  It's a good way to make sure your formatting looks the way you expected and that your URL's point to the right place and that your images actually display.  I suggest you use preview as much as possible as it can help save you from an embarrassing malapropism.

Finally, you are ready to click POST and share your wisdom with the world.  Good luck!

Let me know if there is anything I missed.  I will cover FanPosts and FanShots in another installment.  Until then, happy commenting!