Explanations and instructions of all things Writing.Com.
In & Outs are a simplified version of the Message Forum and are available to every member of Writing.Com. In & Outs are used to create interactive lists or rolling stories. The purpose of an In & Out is to allow new additions to replace old additions. This not only keeps your board fresh, but keeps your readers coming back for more. Examples of In & Outs include the site plug pages, such as "Writing Contests @ Writing.Com" and "Please Review" . Other ideas for an In & Out include member sign-in or greeting boards, contest entries, review requests or reports, recruiting for groups, and the ever popular ask-and-answer board.
Creating Your In & Out
In & Out Items are created just like any other item type on Writing.Com. There are two methods for creating and saving In & Outs. You can click on either Portfolio/Create New Item or on Create New Item in the left navigation menu, and on the new page, scroll down and click on In & Out. Or you can go to your Portfolio and select Create Item just below your Portfolio tab, and click on In & Out in the drop menu. In either case, follow the instructions in the Create an In & Out Item window. For a detailed explanation of creating an In & Out item, please see "Create/Edit an In & Out" , which is linked at the upper right of the create page.
Customizing Your In & Out
The advantage of the In & Out is that you can set up a template that automatically formats each addition in the same way. An addition consists of a text up to 255 characters and an item or entry ID number. When creating or editing your In & Out, the item-specific area below the standard item options allows you to customize your In & Out formatting. The preset formats allow a variety of formatting styles, and the Custom option allows you to compose your own format.
Each submitted addition is formatted to include whatever other information about the item and/or about the addition itself that you choose from the available options. You can display up to 10, 25, 50, 75, or 100 additions in your In & Out, and they will all be displayed on one page. You can choose whether new entries will be listed first or last, depending on which direction works best for your purposes. The option to include a time stamp for each addition shows how long it has been there. If you don't like the way it turns out the first time, you can edit the item and change the format as many times as needed, and the updated formatting will apply to all existing displayed additions. For complete information on various formatting options for your In & Out, see "Preset In & Out Display Formats" and "Custom In & Out Display Formats" .
Managing an In & Out
Once you have set up an In & Out, it can require little or no maintenance beyond monitoring the item for content rating violations. The additions themselves require no immediate response from you. Every time a new addition is made to the list, the oldest addition on the page is bumped off. As a new one comes in, an old one goes out.
Additions cannot be edited. If a mistake is made, the addition in question must be deleted and resubmitted.
If WML is allowed and an addition contains a paired WML tag that is not closed in the addition, the formatting will carry over to the rest of the page. The only way to fix the problem is to delete the addition that created the problem.
When an addition is deleted, the most recent addition to roll off (if there is one) is displayed again when the page is reloaded. If the In & Out is set to not allow duplicate additions, the system does not check whether rolling an addition back onto the page will result in duplicate additions.
The Group editing feature can be used to allow other group members to delete additions.
The exported data includes all the additions that have rolled off the page. Deleted additions and purged additions are not included. The exported data consists of the unformatted submission text and ID number.
Participating in an In & Out
Adding to an In & Out occurs at the bottom of the page. The entry or item ID number consists of 6 or 7 digits without any spaces or #, and goes in the small upper text box if it is included. The text component of an addition consists of 255 characters -- not words. A live character counter is provided under the text box. Hard returns within the text are ignored when the text is displayed.
An In & Out can allow the use of WritingML. When this option is available, it is indicated in the submissions area by (WritingML is allowed and will be processed.). The characters of the writingml tags count against the 255-character limit. If you use any paired writingml tags, you must include the close tag of the pair. Tagging within an In & Out addition does not result in a tagging notification.
Proofread your text before submitting your addition. There is no preview function, but if you need to preview your text, you can use the Scratchpad page in your Notepad. While allowing participants to delete their own additions is an option the item owner can choose from, it may not have been made available for a particular In & Out. If available, a Delete button will be displayed as part of your formatted addition. A confirmation is required, which occurs in a pop-up window. This option and any other submission restrictions are noted below the Add button.1