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Guest Axel

Guidelines for Posters of New Content

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Guest Axel

New content is the lifeblood of Our Beloved Ducks forum and we greatly appreciate all of you who announce breaking news, share articles from other sources, and create original postings.


Thank you for your contributions in helping make the FishDuck Oregon Sports Community thrive.


It is imperative that we maintain very high quality standards in this forum. Your words are scrutinized and judged by readers—throughout Oregon, from coast to coast, and around the globe--and every post is important. With this in mind, please observe the following tips and guidelines, especially if you start new topics.


To help facilitate the viewing and learning of these guidelines, we will republish them at regular intervals.


How to create a good headline


Creating a newsworthy title for your topic is essential. In essence, your title serves the identical purpose as a newspaper headline. Therefore, we will use the term headline rather than title.


You’ve taken the time and expended the effort to create a new topic, so now you want a great many people to read what you’re posting. The cold, hard truth is that if you write a poor headline, you’re going to get poor readership. Fewer people will click on your headline.


The encouraging news is that it’s not difficult to write a good headline. Basically, your headline simply needs to tell readers what’s in your post. Don’t be cutesy or clever. Do be definitive. And informative. And factual.


Broadly, your headline and entire post should follow Associated Press style. There are quick reference guides online and it is advisable to familiarize yourself with AP style.


OBD moderators often edit headlines to make them more newsworthy and specific—your headline should define what your post is about. Don’t make your readers guess about what your headline means. Show them the courtesy of giving them no-nonsense information.


Why good headlines are important


Remember, as a creator of content, your first responsibility is to your readers. We must always value and respect readers by doing our best to inform, entertain, and inspire them.


Good headlines convey key information and therefore save readers’ time.


Good headlines make it easier for readers to select posts that appeal to them.


Good headlines elevate the quality of the website.


Good headlines enhance the overall standing of the website in Google Analytics. If you create quality content and write good headlines, you increase the chances that web surfers will find their way to the forum and become new readers and possibly new members of the community.


Rules for writing quality headlines


Avoid “cute” or “clever” headlines that tease the reader without conveying definitive information. Those kinds of headlines generally frustrate and annoy readers.


When referring to the Oregon Ducks in a headline, it is not necessary to include “Oregon.” It is assumed that “Ducks” refers to the Oregon Ducks.


Preferred: Ducks Win

Not preferred: Oregon Ducks Win


In headlines, use single-quotation marks, not double-quotation marks. This is AP Style for headline writing.


Correct: Lanning: ‘Our Goal is a Championship’

Incorrect: Lanning: “Our Goal is a Championship”


In the post itself, use double-quotation marks as you normally would in everyday writing. In headlines, use single-quotation marks.


Pac-12 is hyphenated.


Correct: Pac-12

Incorrect: Pac 12

Incorrect: PAC


In headline writing, the word “the” can usually be omitted.


Preferred: Huskies Lose Game

Not preferred: Huskies Lose the Game


In headline writing, the word “and” can often be replaced with a comma.


Preferred: Oregon, Alabama Play for Title

Not preferred: Oregon and Alabama Play for Title


Know the difference between a hyphen and a dash. A hyphen joins two words together to create an adjective or a noun.


Hyphen example: Ducks Passing-Yardage Stats for 2021

The hyphen connects “Passing” and “Yardage”, creating an adjective to modify “Stats”


Connecting these two words makes the headline easier to understand. Without the hyphen, the headline would read: Ducks Passing Yardage Stats for 2021


A dash interrupts a thought or creates emphasis. Create a dash by typing two hyphens—with no spaces before or after.


Dash, correct example: Breaking News—USC, UCLA to Leave Pac-12

Dash, correct example: George Kliavkoff—Completely Blindsided?

Dash, incorrect example:  Breaking News - USC, UCLA to Leave Pac-12

Dash, incorrect example:  Breaking News -- USC, UCLA to Leave Pac-12


Important reminder:  Close up those spaces when using dashes—and use two hyphens for a dash, not one


Capitalize all words in a headline, except for small words like “a,” “an,” “it,” “for,” etc.  


An ellipsis is three dots only, not four, not five: …


In a headline, an ellipsis leads one idea to another.

Ellipsis, correct example: Canzano: Pac-12 + Big 12 Doesn’t Work…On to the ACC


Here’s one way to remember the three-dot rule of an ellipsis: an ellipsis is also referred to as a “dot-dot-dot.”


Use exclamation points sparingly or not at all.

NEVER use double exclamation points.

Overusing exclamation points makes content look amateurish.


Limit your headline to one line. If it extends to a second line, cut words from it.


Avoid common writing errors


We’re limiting the discussion to three common errors.


No. 1

Perhaps the most common error is the misuse of “it's” and “its.” 


According to Merriam-Webster, It’s is a contraction and should be used where a sentence would normally read “it is.”


The apostrophe indicates that part of a word has been removed.


Its with no apostrophe, on the other hand, is the possessive word, like “his” and “her” for nouns without gender. For example, “The sun was so bright, its rays blinded me.”


Continuing to quote from Merriam-Webster: The rule is actually pretty simple: use the apostrophe after it only when part of a word has been removed: it’s raining means it is raining; it’s been warm means it has been warm. It’s is a contraction, in the style of can’t for cannot and she’s for she is.


No. 2

A quick reference on properly using you’re and your.


You’re is a contraction for you are.

Correct: You’re welcome, which is short for you are welcome.

Incorrect: Your welcome.


Your indicates possession, as in your car, your house, your success.


No. 3

A quick reference on properly using they’re, there, and their.


They’re is a contraction of they are. Example: They’re running late.

There indicates place. Example: The book is there on the table.

Their indicates possession. Example: Their car is brand new.


And an added reminder…Please do not misspell names.


Former coach Chris Petersen frequently had his name wrongly spelled as “Peterson.” In the days before the Internet, it was somewhat understandable when names were misspelled.


Today, there is no excuse for misspelling names. It takes just a few seconds to check the spelling of someone’s name online. 


If you’re unsure of the spelling of any word, please consult one of many online dictionaries.


Is it really a big deal if just one or two words are misspelled in a post? After all, nobody’s perfect; we’re not English experts--we’re college football fans.


But yes, it’s a big deal. Using words correctly—proper grammar, error-free spelling, cogent writing—makes your discussions credible and respectable. Conversely, content that is rife with mistakes is not taken seriously. When you receive mail in which your name is misspelled, where do you file that mail? Mostly likely, in the garbage.


In closing, two important ways to respect readers.


1. Break up blocks of text to make your posts easier to read and comprehend. Try to limit paragraphs to three lines. Never post blocks of text longer than four lines.


2. You should not have any extra spaces after the final period in your post. To ensure that your post does not feature extra empty spaces or lines, use the backspace key to erase any possible extra spaces.


Thank you, everyone, for your kind attention. And once again, thank you for your positive contributions to making Our Beloved Ducks forum one of the very best.


As previously stated, to facilitate maximum learning of these guidelines, they will be republished at regular intervals.


If you have questions or comments, please feel free to post them in this thread.

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Theys gonna be som D meruts comin” mys a-ways. Aye poli-gise head o” Tyme. 

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You know....we really needed this, and yours-truly certainly has to take some notes here. 


                          Thanks to Axel!


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Mr. FishDuck

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Could you please make this page always readily available? I would find this most helpful and refer to it often.



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On 7/22/2022 at 3:10 PM, Pennsylvania Duck said:

Could you please make this page always readily available? I would find this most helpful and refer to it often.



We are going to have it posted up here for a while, and we will bring it back often.  I will later also copy-and-paste it into the "Directions" that are at the top of the forum below the logo.  (On mobile, it is the three lateral lines on the upper left)  Really great information in that post.


And to me, this part of this forum is what makes it a bit more high-brow than other places, as it is so refreshing to read a post that is well written, has great punctuation and has a great opinion offered. 

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Mr. FishDuck

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Super helpful Charles. I usually consult Schoolhouse Rock. This will be way faster.



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I like the "OR" car is yellow lettering on the green hopper car!

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Great points @Axel!


One more might be the use of TLA's and FLA's.


What are those? TLA = three letter acronym, while FLA = four letter acronym. (or other variants)


Please define your acronym in your post before using it.


Yes, I know how to look those up on the internet, but please be proactive in clearly defining what your message is meant to convey.


For example, check out the 111 variations for "DMA"


What does DMA stand for?


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On 7/22/2022 at 3:46 PM, ICamel said:

I like the "OR" car is yellow lettering on the green hopper car!

Great catch

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On 7/22/2022 at 3:17 PM, Charles Fischer said:

We are going to have it posted up here for a while, and we will bring it back often.

Charles promises that there will not be a test at 11.

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Could've, would've, should've, not could of, would of,  should of.

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Charles, I think it would be a good idea to have Axel's post, just as it is, available at all times. It can be added to as necessary.

Maybe include as "Posting Guidelines" at the top. We need to remember that new posters come on all the time.

I have found myself referring to proper headline writing with each new post. Also, I think it makes new posters more comfortable with posting.


Thanks to Axel for taking time to help us become better writers. I like how you wrote out examples for us.

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