Site News & Announcements
        by Writing.Com Support   (support@Writing.Com)
Welcome to the official Writing.Com blog for news and announcements about the site. Be sure to add this as a "Favorite" and check back often for updates on new features, changes, events and other site related information. We encourage feedback, so please leave your comments.
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January 22, 2013 at 1:10am
January 22, 2013 at 1:10am
Lots of Forum Updates!
Greetings Folks!

Message forums have seen a variety of changes over the past few days. We've been doing some cleanup and adding *Cool* new stuff. Here's the run down of where we are in that process:

*ButtonB* The general look and layout of forums has been updated (aka cleaned up). In both threaded and un-threaded view, message listings and post content have less "sludge" lying around.

*ButtonBr* For forum owners, a new Manage link resides in the tools line. The manage area provides us an area to expand the tools we offer. The "Purge" link that used to be in the tools line has moved to this new Manage menu.

*ButtonG* In the Manage area, a new tool that provides a Post Count Summary can be found. It provides a tabulation of the posts made by each participant. Both a "from" and "until" date can be set, allowing you to find activity over any given period.

*ButtonR* And, probably super coolest of all - which is why I left it for last - we duplicated the email system's emoticon tagging system in forums! You can now start a message subject with any emoticon. That first emoticon will be shown and any replies in the thread will retain the emoticon. Have an announcement? Tag it with *Exclaim*. Something *Cool* to share? "*Radioactive* Warning" will command attention. "*Plane* Vacation" is pretty clear! And I hope to see a whole lotta "*Bigsmile* I was published" threads.

If you have any feedback, please let us know; feel free to leave a comment!

And if you're a forum leader and you think there's some tools we might be able to create to save you time managing a group or activity, please let us know over in "Suggestion Box. Even if we can't make them happen, it's great to hear how people think about using the tools we do and could possibly give them!

Write on,
January 19, 2013 at 8:19am
January 19, 2013 at 8:19am
What A Character - December 2012 Winners!
The following winners for the December 2012 running of "What a Character! : Official WDC Contest were chosen from the 17 entries submitted. Each entry was judged based on the criteria provided in "What a Character! : Official WDC Contest. Congratulations to the following three winners:

*Star* First Place - "There and Back"   by Bikerider
*Bullet* Second Place - "The Enigma"   by Oldwarrior - Wounded Veteran
*Bullet* Third Place - "Greatness"   by Mitchopolis


The contest this month is "Dear Me: Official Contest.
January 17, 2013 at 11:24am
January 17, 2013 at 11:24am
Update on the downtime...

Just a quick note that we're back up and running after a roughly 4 hour network outage at our web hosting provider this morning. We did our best to keep news flowing on our Facebook page; ... Here's the final snippet I posted once we returned:

We apologize for the problems at our web host this morning. For over 12 years, they've been a rock solid partner to us and the few hours this morning has been by far the worst of it. We're pretty thankful for the general calm and stability of our online writers' retreat! When problems happen, keeping communication open is one of the most important things and they did just that... keeping us as informed as possible while they searched for, isolated and then corrected the problem.

And, for sure, this was just a networking issue at their main facility. There were no specific issues with Writing.Com's site code, our servers or any of our data. It was purely a larger overall problem that prevented a few of our servers from communicating with each other and the outside world.

(Of course, for those around in the wee hours of last night, this 4 hour downtime did come on the heels of two other smaller issues. One was my fault, while the other was a miscommunication between our host and I on a change I had requested them make. Neither of these two things was related to this morning's occurrence.)

My sincere apologies for the downtime,
January 9, 2013 at 10:44am
January 9, 2013 at 10:44am
Good Deeds Go Noticed - Final Winners!
The following winners for the December 2012 running of Good Deeds Go Noticed were chosen from the 128 entries submitted. Congratulations and thanks to all who entered for reviewing!

*Star* First: Lornda~Back June/July?
*Bullet* Second: Lox: Prayers for Nepal
*Bullet* Third: Word Imperfect

As you may know, this was the final round of this version. In 2013, the new "Good Deeds Get CASH! was created, which no longer requires a tag line on your signature and offers CASH prizes! Enter frequently to increase your chance of winning!

January 1, 2013 at 11:21pm
January 1, 2013 at 11:21pm
Introducing Writing.Com Stock Covers!
Hello, all!

Since our release of Covers a few weeks ago ("Introducing: Cover Images [Beta]), we've been really pleased to see many of you implementing this new feature to your items! I heard from one of our members that she would absolutely love to add some to her portfolio, but didn't have the time or knowledge to deal with making her own covers. So we listened and came up with something for those Upgraded Members who are in the same boat! Smile

:: Writing.Com Stock Covers ::
Introducing Writing.Com Stock Covers  , a dynamic catalog of our very own, original stock covers for you to use and liven up your portfolio items! I went back through six years of my own personal digital photography to find photographs that I felt were interesting enough for someone to consider using as a cover for an item. Each cover is tagged with main words, which will lead you on a journey through the database until you find one you might like.

HOW TO USE: To apply a cover, visit the Create or Edit screen of any of your items and find Section 5: Cover toward the bottom. There you will find a direct link to the Writing.Com Stock Covers. Peruse the database and when you find one you want to use, just copy the C###### ID attached to it and paste it into the text box. Voila! You now have a cover!

IMPORTANT: These are unique images, created by Writing.Com and copyrighted to Writing.Com. We provide free use of these images as cover images to our site members with an Upgraded membership or above. These are for covers ONLY; we do not permit members to download them to their portfolios, use them as personal sigs, etc. No rights of use for these images extend outside of Writing.Com's website.

Currently, there are almost 700 covers in there for you to choose from, but we will be building on this database all the time! We won't be making specific covers for groups, events, etc. but eventually, we will set up a Cover Suggestion Box so you can drop your requests in there (again, generic, not for specific groups, items, names, etc.)

I hope you enjoy these! We look forward to seeing them around the site, as you begin to fill up your ports with color and variety! Smile Check "Site News & Announcements for updates on new Writing.Com stock covers!

Let's keep that creativity going!
Happy New Year!
The StoryMistress
January 1, 2013 at 12:10am
January 1, 2013 at 12:10am
Happy New Year --> WIN in 2013!
Happy New Year!

Let's kick off the new year with a bang! We're giving away *Dollar* CASH *Dollar* just for sending reviews, plus we've got a great motivational contest ready to jumpstart your 2013 resolutions!

:: Good Deeds Get CASH! ::
Our ongoing "Good Deeds Get CASH! review contest has a big surprise for 2013: Cash Prizes!

               First Place:  $250 cash
           Second Place:  $100 cash
              Third Place:  $  50 cash

Authors on Writing.Com are looking for good, useful feedback... and of course, exposure within Writing.Com. Do a good deed by reviewing any qualifying item on Writing.Com and you might win! No limit on the number of times you may enter. Enter as many times as you want to increase your odds of being selected as a prize winner!

No purchase necessary; everyone may enter! For the complete details, rules and terms, please see:
ID: 1908150 (E)
Good Deeds Get CASH! 
Write reviews to win cash prizes!
by Diane

:: Dear Me ::
Do you have big plans for yourself this year? Will you finally finish that story that's been haunting you for so long? Will you try your hand at a brand new genre? Do you want to read and review a certain number of items by April? Will you take that first step toward self-publishing your latest masterpiece? Set your goals and resolutions (writing related or not!) for the new year and you could win big prizes!

The rules are simple: write a letter to yourself and tell you what your goals are for 2013!
ID: 597313 (E)
Dear Me: Official Contest 
What are *your* goals for the new year? Think it over, write a letter and win big prizes!
by The StoryMistress

Thanks for your support and happy 2013!
  ~~ The StoryMistress and
         The StoryMaster
December 17, 2012 at 9:53pm
December 17, 2012 at 9:53pm
Journey Through Genres - November 2012 Winners!
The following winners for the November 2012 running of "Journey Through Genres: Official WDC Contest were chosen from the 15 entries submitted. Each entry was judged based on the criteria provided in "Journey Through Genres: Official WDC Contest. Congratulations to the following three winners:

*Star* First Place - "The Wayward Cataphiles"   by Jeff
*Bullet* Second Place - "Invalid Item"   by A Guest Visitor
*Bullet* Third Place - "Invalid Item"   by A Guest Visitor


*Right*   December's Contest is: "What a Character! : Official WDC Contest
December 14, 2012 at 1:24am
December 14, 2012 at 1:24am
Cover Images - Important Update:

As I've gotten further into implementing Cover Images, I realized a key step was missed in the initial setup for them. (Technically speaking, I wasn't flagging items as having a cover image when storing it to the database and was instead re-checking for a cover image each time the item was referenced. Highly in-efficient!) I've fixed the problem, however, if you've already added any cover images, you need to edit and then re-save their item(s) to apply the fix.

*Right* To be sure this is clear: If your cover is NOT showing, you DO NOT have to re-upload the image to the item. Just open the item's edit screen, and immediately save it again. (Doing this re-save gets the system to see your existing cover image and automatically update the item's "cover image flag" in the database appropriately.)

I apologize for this... I do try to make sure all the setup is done before releasing something into a public Beta testing phase. But it is this beta period that helps us make sure things are right. In this case, all was not perfect. Thanks to all you early-adopters for your help in figuring that out!

*Thumbsup* The good news is that with the update a new feature for Cover Images has been added. Credit to "Cover Images"  , you can choose to use another item's cover image (or an image item) as the cover for an item. One example use might be a Group Item who's cover is used for a variety of Group related activities and items. A group owner can upload the cover image one time, into the group item. That cover image can be referenced in the activity items. If the Group's cover is updated, all of the items sharing that cover will be updated at the same time. Nifty! Smile

Best wishes,
December 13, 2012 at 10:21am
December 13, 2012 at 10:21am
Good Deeds - November 2012 Winners!
The following winners for the November 2012 running of "Good Deeds Go Noticed were chosen from the 144 entries submitted. Thanks to all who reviewed and entered.

*Star* First: Jeff
*Bullet* Second: jonmark
*Bullet* Third: still trying to get internet


Ready to work on character development? Check out "What a Character! : Official WDC Contest, the official site contest for December.
December 7, 2012 at 4:07am
December 7, 2012 at 4:07am
Introducing: Cover Images [Beta]
Greetings and Happy Holidays!

We're opening up a new feature for public beta testing. It's called a Cover Image and it's about to make Writing.Com portfolios a lot more interesting.

Each item type on Writing.Com can now be given a Cover Image which will then be shown by the item's title... instead of the standard Itemicons, like and . They're are shown in your portfolio and at the top of the item where the title and other 'heading' information is.

Cover Images are:
*Bullet* uploaded using the normal item edit forms
*Bullet* bound by the same 100K file size limits as Image Items
*Bullet* bound by the same 400x400 pixel size limits as Image items
*Bullet* square, so until we develop a thumbnail system, use square images for best results
*Bullet* reserved for members with an Upgraded Membership or above, just like Images

Covers are shown on c-item, b-item and other links automatically. In addition, the new WritingML tag {cov-item:} allows you to produce a link showing the cover image, for example:

And, super handy is that covers can be shared and shown with the standard {image:} WritingML tag! Anyone clicking the image is automatically brought to the item itself. For example, {image:186338-40%} will show:

(I used the recently added image scaling to the WritingML above to use less page space with the example.) Wink

We're releasing this to the site at this time as a Beta feature. That means we're still testing it, defining it, figuring up the documentation, etc -- but we'd still like to see you use it and hear your opinions on it.

Have fun and thanks in advance for your feedback!

PS: Image Items can't have separate covers. The cover is the image itself.

PPS: Again, please note that this is an Upgraded Membership and above feature only.

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