2010-09-20 06:25:39Technical Tips & Tricks for authors
John Cook

This thread is for technical tips and tricks if you're writing rebuttals or blog posts and getting used to the quirky WYSIWYG system here at Skeptical Science. Feel free to post your own tricks that may help other authors.
2010-09-20 06:27:35Creating In-line Quotes
John Cook


This comes from Michael Searcy who used in-line quotes effectively in his Should the Earth be cooling thread:

To create the in-line quotes, I created an image (300 pixels wide) for each in Photoshop.  You then just include them in your post and select the option to align each to the right or left.

2010-09-20 06:32:37When italics go rampant
John Cook


Occasionally, the WYSIWYG editor goes a little haywire with italics and suddenly your article is infested with italics and no way to get rid of them. This is what I do when that happens:

  • Click on the HTML icon (next to the Question Mark in a circle)
  • This opens a new window containing the HTML code of your post. Select all then copy (Ctrl + A then Ctrl + C)
  • Open a text editor, paste (Ctrl + V)
  • Use find and replace to delete all occurances of <em>, </em> and <em />
  • Select all, copy
  • Go back to the window containing the HTML code, Replace all the text with your new code
  • Hit Update to come back to the WYSIWYG editor

Yes, I know, a ridiculously complicated method - if you find a better way, let me know.

2010-09-27 11:41:46Re: Creating In-line Quotes
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
The same thing can be done in PowerPoint, if you don't have access to Photoshop. 
1.  Just create a new PowerPoint presentation with one slide.

2.  Add a text box with the text you want.  Pretty it up how you want.

3.  Click File, then Save As.  In the Dialogue Box that appears, name your file with the intended output name.  Then click on the Save As Type drop-down arrow and scroll down until you see the image file of your choice.  In the next Dialogue Box that appears, you'll be asked if you want to export every slide or the current (choose Current).  Done.
Perhaps John can enlighten us as to what specific image file type works best, but .PNG and .GIF should work best.  Avoid .JPG as the file conversion process can badly degrade the text image quality.

I've done this a number of times in my regular work.  Pretty hassle-free.

The Yooper 
2010-09-27 14:04:42GIF or PNG
John Cook

If its a graphic that doesn't have too many colours (as an inline quote should be), a GIF is the best option as you can save a GIF with only a few colours, keeping your filesize down. PNG is the next option but gives bigger files which means the page downloads slower. TIFF is not a good idea as I'm not sure whether any or all browsers support it.
2010-10-05 16:08:50Check older link's to Tamino's Open Mind posts
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

When Tamino's issue with a troll came to a head, Wordpress intervened.  Somewhere along the way, Tamino's posts older than March 1, 2010 were jumped out of the aeroplane.

The Internet Archive Wayback Machine is a very useful tool to reconstruct most of those dead posts.  It can find posts up to around August 22, 2008, leaving only a 16-month gap of posts.

Doesn't help you much if the gap contains the post you wish to link.

Anyone know of another archiving service?

The Yooper

2011-11-04 11:51:23A Users Guide To Importing Graphics and Images Into Blog Posts and Rebuttals
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

Also posted separately here:  http://www.skepticalscience.com/thread.php?t=3340&r=0

A Users Guide To Importing Graphics and Images Into Blog Posts and Rebuttals

We've all been there.  Writing out first blog post or rebuttal.  We've managed to hack out some prose that perhaps someone somewhere can parse.  On a good day it almost reads like Engrish.  But it's missing a certain... je ne sais quoi.

What to do...How about spiffing it up with some graphics or images?  Gee, that's fine to say but how to do it, there's the rub.

Enter a nifty little piece of freeware called MWSnap.  Suffice to say, if you need a screen grab, this baby will be your best friend.  Let's suppose you're perusing a copy of Hansen's latest presentation, Drawing a Line in the Tar Sands: Why Stopping the Pipeline is Vital to the Future of Our Children & Our Planet, and wanted to grab a copy of the timeline available on slide 21.  MWSnap to the rescue!  A quick screengrab, save it to your hard drive, upload it to SkS & then import it here, thusly:


Click for larger image


What?  Slow down you say?  Ok, here goes:

  1. Save the desired graphics/images to your computer hard drive (.png seems to work best, YRMV)
  2. Remember (this is the most important step) where you saved them!
  3. Using the Author Image Upload form, locate the graphics/images where you saved them & upload them one at a time (http://www.skepticalscience.com/admin_author.php?Action=UploadImageForm)
  4. When the upload form gives you each SkS URL, open the SkS URL in a new window (one per graphic/image)
  5. Open the post for editing
  6. Position your cursor within the text where you want the graphic/image to appear and then click on the icon in the WYSIWYG editor panel that looks like a small green maple tree (for any Canucks out there) Insert Image Icon
  7. On the General tab of the dialogue box that appears, paste the SkS URL that you generated for the first graphic/image you uploaded; then in the fields immediately below the URL field, paste any descriptive text that accompanies the graphic/image
  8. On the Appearance tab, in the Dimensions field, if your graphic/image is wider than 500 pixels enter 500.  The Alignment field can be played with to gain experience with the other placement options
  9. Click Insert when done with the dialogue box
  10. With the image still hilited, click on the insert/edit link icon in the WYSIWYG editor panel (HINT: it looks like a section of chain links)  Insert Link Icon
  11. In the dialogue box that appears, insert the URL in the Link URL field and then click Insert (this is mostly useful if you restricted your image size to 500 pixels; by performing this step you make the image clickable, with a click bring up the image in its larger resolution; skip this part if the image is in its native resolution)
  12. Repeat steps 6-11 as necessary for the other graphic/images you may have.

Easy-Peasy, Lemon-Squeezy.