Writing.Com 101
        by The StoryMistress   (storymistress@Writing.Com)
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#700180 added July 18, 2010 at 10:53am
Restrictions: None
Create/Edit a User Poll
Any member of Writing.Com may create and host User Polls. The following tutorial has been developed to help guide you through creating a User Poll. When you hit the Save button at the end, you will have created something special that further defines you as an individual on Writing.Com.

Note: Before using this Tutorial, you might want to open a different tab or internet window so you can actually create a User Poll while referring to these steps. To open a separate window right-click on the CREATE link in the main navigation to the left, and select "Open in a New Window" or "Open in a New Tab" so you can have this tutorial and the "create" windows open simultaneously. Click on User Poll to open a window entitled Create a User Poll Item.


Section 1: Basic Item Information
As the name implies, this section contains the basic information about your User Poll. Essentially, this is what people will find when they see your poll listed within a search or on a list.

*Bullet* Item Title: Your title is a critical part of an item's basic information. The name of your User Poll cannot exceed 40 characters. Even more important, this title becomes a clickable window when properly used in one of the many Item Tags offered in WritingML. This clickable link enables anyone searching through various lists to go directly to your poll. Your title should help identify what your Poll is all about.

*Bullet* Folder: You may have created a folder within your port to house your poll items. You can select that folder by clicking on the drop-down list.

*Bullet* Item Type: The User Poll item is already selected.

*Bullet* Brief Description: Displayed in your Portfolio, in public listings and in other places on Writing.Com, this short description can provide additional information about your User Poll. Essentially, you have 90 characters to create a small billboard for your item.

*Bullet* Intro Rating: This rating applies solely to the title and brief description, and allows for one of two options: E and Non-E. An E rating is used when your title and description contain nothing offensive or inappropriate. As the least restrictive rating, it ensures your item can be listed or advertised much more widely across the site.

On the other hand, if you have anything in this section that might be considered inappropriate or offensive to anyone, including our younger members, you must choose "Non-E" for this rating. Since Non-E rated items are not listed in many places, it might be advantageous for you to clean up your title or description so you can assign an E rating and gain a wider listing base. Please read "Content Rating System (CRS) for complete information. If you have questions regarding what rating is warranted for your content, you can always ask a Moderator, Senior Moderator or Staff to assist you.

Section 2: Content and Access Control Settings
This section allows you to identify who will be able to access and edit your Poll items, and to limit that access to any level you desire. You may wish to set up different levels of access to different members of a group. It also allows you to warn people about the content within your item should it be necessary.

*Bullet* Content Rating: Completely separate from your Intro rating, the Content rating pertains to the actual content of your Poll. Even if your Intro Rating is 'E', you can choose whatever is appropriate for the content here. For help understanding the different content ratings, please see "Content Rating System (CRS).

*Bullet* Access Restrictions: These restrictions allow you to choose who can see your item. If you leave this as Make Public, Allow EVERYONE!, anyone, whether a member of Writing.Com or not, will be able to see it. Your item will show up on internet-wide search functions. If you click on the name of a group, only the group's members will be able to view the content of your Poll. Click within the box to see the options available to you.

*Bullet* Membership Restrictions: These options allow you to limit access to your item from within Writing.Com by specifying the membership level needed to view your item. All of the options involve paid memberships so be certain you know what you are limiting here. Click within the box to see the options available to you.

*Bullet*  PassKey: A PassKey option is available to members with an Upgraded membership or above. If you have limited who can view your item in any way, you can set a PassKey that allows others to see your item. For example, you might want selected members to have access to a Poll item you previously set to Keep Private, For My Eyes Only. A PassKey enables this to happen. PassKeys may contain only numbers, must be between 4 and 8 numbers long, and should not begin with a zero. For more information, please see "Passkeys.

*Bullet* Group Edit Access: This option offers you the ability to allow other members to edit your item. Currently only groups of which you are a member are listed here and may have edit access. You cannot give a single person edit access, unless that person is the only member of the group with you. Warning: There is no ability to limit two or more members from editing simultaneously--one edit may override another, so it is advised to come up with a schedule or plan for your multiple-member edits.

*Bullet* Group Edit Level: Not all group members may need all the available edit levels. This option allows you to choose what aspects of the item may be edited by various group members. For more information about the Group Edit Levels and what is authorized at each level, please see "Group Edit for Items.

Section 3: Genres and Keywords
Perhaps this is the most neglected section within any item creation. The genres and keywords you select here set the stage as to how your Poll is found on the internet, or by members on Writing.Com. Search engines and various lists on Writing.Com use these genres and words to highlight this Poll. It also helps people to easily find those specific folders in which they are interested.

*Bullet* Select Genres: You can select up to three different genres to help define your page. Choosing the appropriate genres could get your item more views simply by having people looking for that genre.

*Bullet* Relevant Keywords: Many people search for desired items by typing selected words into a search window that they think may be related to a specific genre or item type. You can be proactive by adding keywords here that relate to your Poll or genres; perhaps you'll gain more views as a result.

Section 4: Item Body
Here is where you enter your complete poll question below. The question should be no more than 500 characters in length. Think your question through before submitting it. Your poll question should be written in a FAIR and UNBIASED manner. You will not attain a realistic response if your question is tainted. To maximize the number of members who vote, be sure to use correct spelling and proper grammar. You can type your text directly into this window, or you can cut and paste your document from another program. Bear in mind that not all formatting may properly transfer from some programs--check carefully to be sure your final item is how you wish it to look.

See the WritingML link at the top of this box to see the special things you can do with your text. Used sparingly, these codes can really enhance your writing. Also, consider that many people will likely read your item online. As such, leave plenty of white space to allow for ease of reading, such as a blank line between paragraphs.

Some helpful WritingML codes for this section include using the opening command {b} and closing command {/b} to make selected words bold; the {i} and {/i} commands to italicize words; and the {u} and {/u} commands to underline words. Just remember, when you open a command, you must close it, and if several commands are used, close them in the reverse order they are opened.

Section 5: Cover
This section allows members to replace the standard itemicons of the Item types with that member's preferred cover image. An item's cover image will be displayed to the left of the title/subtitle and is shown in site listings, within your portfolio and in the item's header.

*Bullet* Cover Image: To update a current item to include a Cover Image, open the item's edit window and scroll down to Section 5: Cover Image. Browse and upload a file image of your own, click on Writing.Com Stock Cover to use one of ours, or use an item's ID.

*Bullet* Image Sharing: Your cover image may be shared with all or selected members using the drop-down box in this section. Or, you may choose the default Do Not Share This Image setting to display the cover image to all, but keep it unsharable.

*Bullet* Remove a Cover: To remove a cover from an item, click into the item's edit screen, scroll to Section 5: Cover and check the box to remove it.

Section 6: Item Type Specific Settings
To make a good, fair and useful poll, it is important that you provide a wide range of choices. You should represent all sides of the question, not just the side you would vote for.

You can enter up to nine (9) choices in your poll. A minimum of two (2) choices are required, and each choice may be up to 125 characters in length.

Choice 1: Enter your choice in the text field provided.

Choice 2: Enter your choice in the text field provided. More choices may be added in subsequent text fields.

Section 7: Item Preferences
This section simply gives you the opportunity to add a few more preferences to your Poll before offering it up for final submission. You can choose how people can review your Poll, and if you'd like to automatically give them gift points when they do.

*Bullet* Preserve Spacing: Do you have it exactly how you want it to look, and you don't want to deal with code? Check this box and your spacing will be preserved exactly as you put it in.

*Bullet* Double Space Paragraphs: Checking this box provides a double space any time you hit the carriage return key. This is convenient for giving you a bit more white space within your item, if you should find it necessary or desirable.

*Bullet* Rating/Reviewing Preference: You can exercise a vast amount of control over the method of feedback you hope to receive on your Poll through one of the available options here. For more information, please see "Rating/Reviewing Preferences.

Unrestricted: Provides for the most feedback possible on your page. The item's average received rating and number of ratings received is publicly displayed to all viewers.

Rating Requires Review: Eliminates feedback from readers who do not wish to provide a written review of your Poll. The item's average rating is shown only to you.

Reviews Only; No Ratings: Allows members to review your Poll, but not rate it numerically.

Email Comments: Removes the rating and review area on your group and replaces it with an email form allowing members to send you comments. No "anonymous" feedback may be sent to you with this option. This option also removes your item from our public listing categories, including our public "Reviewing" page. However, your item is always listed in and accessible directly from your portfolio, direct links to the item, and under Sponsorships.

*Bullet* Auto-Reward Gift Points: This option applies only to reviews you receive on this page. You may wish to entice people to review your item by offering them a reward in Gift Points for their review. If you put an amount here, it will be awarded to anyone who gives a review of 250 characters or more, including WritingML. Remember, this reward is automatically awarded to the reviewer based on achieving that 250 character level. It makes no provision for the quality of the review. For more information, please see "Auto-Rewards.

Section 8: Copyright Information & Save Item
This section is relatively self-explanatory. It provides information about the Copyright and Privacy policies for Writing.Com.

The final part of creating your Poll is saving it. You have three options for saving your work. Your work can only be saved permanently on WdC by using one of these options.

*Bullet* Save Item: Selecting this option saves what you've been working on, and then takes you out of the creation screen and back into your main folder. A link to your item will be provided at the top of the page so you can click on it and see it if you wish. Note: After you save your Poll item for the first time, this button will change to Complete Edit for all subsequent revisions.

*Bullet* Save And Edit: This option allows you to save your work and continue editing. You should use this option frequently, especially when working on longer or more complex items.

*Bullet* Save And View: Clicking this option saves your item, and then moves you into the item itself so you can see what it looks like. To edit further, you'll have to re-open the edit window.

You've just created a User Poll and added it to your portfolio. This item may be edited at any time, and as many times as you wish. Your item now has a unique Item ID number associated with it, which will never change as long as the item exists. This number is located on the line above your title, and may be used to reference this item using WritingML links. See WritingML Help for item for more on linking User Polls.

Remember to save your work before leaving any creation or edit window. Currently there is no automatic save mode on Writing.Com. You may wish to prepare your work in another program and transfer the completed document into theUser Poll. 1

Premium and higher members will notice some additional features in their Edit window. The sections will be re-numbered accordingly.

Section 8: RCS Info
The Revision Control System is another unique tool offered by Writing.Com to enable members to track changes made to the main body of text in items. Using the system, an author can view a copy of the document from any time during its edit history. For complete information on this Premium feature, please read: "Revision Control System (RCS).

Full Screen Edit
The Full Screen edit tool provides a much larger area for the editing of an item's body text. This is the ultimate way to work with your writing on Writing.Com! For complete information on this Premium feature, please read: "Full Screen Edit.

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1  Written by Jace and The StoryMistress

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