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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/911628-The-Ins-and-Outs-of-In--Outs
Rated: E · Article · Writing.Com · #911628
A guide to the different styles of In & Outs on Writing.Com.
I needed something "new" for the site, something that we hadn't seen before. I stared at a wall for a while, the ceiling, the wall again, got up and walked around for a little. I ended up outside watching cars go by. After you stare long enough, they become dots moving into view and then out of view. A few minutes later, I sat down and started writing the item that we call "In & Outs."

That fascinating tidbit reveals what inspired The ScaryMaster to create the In & Out, a simple yet surprisingly versatile item type on Writing.Com. If you're daunted by all the fields to complete and different styles to choose from, then have no fear. Whether you've never created an In & Out before or just need a refresher course, this item will demonstrate all the possibilities that lie before you. The first section covers pre-set layouts, and the second discusses the more advanced Custom In & Out Formatting.



Pre-Set Formats

If you click on the Writing tab at the top of your screen and follow the link to create an In & Out, you'll notice that Section 5: Item Type Specific Settings features the following ways to customize your item:

*Note* Display Type
*Note* Display Order
*Note* Require Item IDs
*Note* Show How Many Entries
*Note* "Posted By" Text
*Note* "Item Posted" Text
*Note* "Time Posted" Text
*Note* "Post Body" Text
*Note* "One Submission" Text
*Note* Self-Deletion
*Note* Post Limiting
*Note* Custom In & Out Formatting
*Note* Submission Area Message


The first four settings—Display Type, Display Order, Require Item IDs, and Show How Many Entries—each feature a limited number of options, and you must choose one for each setting. Display Order and Show How Many Entries are relatively self-explanatory, so there's no need to go into further detail here.

Display Type is the first and most important choice for you to make. The different styles cover a vast range of tastes and needs, and whether you even have to worry about many of the other settings hinges on the option you select here. This section will provide an overview of the differences between each display type at your disposal, but before doing that, it will describe their common aspects.

If Require Item IDs is set to No, then only a post body will need to be submitted. Change this setting to Yes if you want an item link to accompany each post or Yes, w/no duplicates if you wish to limit each item to one appearance in the In & Out at a time.

The next four fields are optional for every display type. Scattered throughout the examples below, you can see Posted By, Item Posted, Time Posted, and Post Body. If you enter text in the respective field, that is where it will appear. For example, if you write Story in the "Item Posted" Text field, then Story will replace Item Posted. If you enter nothing in a field, then the respective space in your In & Out will simply remain blank. Also, the text will be black, not red; red is merely used to denote text that will be replaced by your inputs.

Out of the eighteen combinations of display types, only one uses what you type in all four of the fields described in the previous paragraph. If the style you wish to use doesn't appear after the title of the following field names, then don't bother entering anything in that field. (Note: "Item Posted" Text assumes that Require Item IDs is set to "Yes.")

"Posted By" Text: Classic, Centered, Detailed, Timed
"Item Posted" Text: Classic, Detailed, Quotation, Timed
"Time Posted" Text: Classic, Graffiti Wall (Timed), List (Timed)
"Post Body" Text: Classic, Detailed, Timed

For example, it's completely unnecessary to write anything in the "Post Body" Text field unless you're using the Classic, Detailed, or Timed Style.

Like the above four fields, entering something in "One Submission" Text is optional, but this one is an important component of every type of In & Out. It is strongly suggested that you not leave it blank; otherwise, your In & Out will seem incomplete. Below the portion of an In & Out displaying the entries is the section to "Submit A One Submission." You are directed to "Enter your One Submission below," and when you're ready to make your entry, there's a button nearby that says "Add One Submission!" So, if you write "Comment" in the "One Submission" Text field, then the following phrases will be the result:

*Note* Submit A Comment:
*Note* Enter your Comment below:
*Note* Add Comment!

Entering nothing, on the other hand, will yield the following:

*Note* Submit A :
*Note* Enter your below:
*Note* Add !

Can you see why it's a good idea to put something in that field?

In the Self-Deletion field, choosing to Allow Self-Deletion means that anyone who posts in your In & Out has the option to delete their own posts. If you Do Not Allow Self Deletion, only you and those to whom you may grant edit access through a Group have the ability to delete posts in your In & Out.

Direct Follow Ups are allowed by default, meaning that a person can make consecutive posts. If you Do Not Allow Follow Ups, then the last person to add to the In & Out will be unable to post again until someone else does.

You may wish to limit the number of posts a person can have showing in your In & Out at a given time. If so, use the Post Limiting field to restrict people to anywhere from a single post to ten. If not, choose No Limit.

The choice you make for the last three settings discussed—Self-Deletion, Direct Follow Ups, and Post Limiting—will be shown publicly at the very bottom of the In & Out.

The box labeled Custom In & Out Formatting is only used if the Display Type is set to * Custom Format *. See the Custom Formatting section of this item for more information.

Finally, you can include a Submission Area Message in your In & Out. This text will appear below the posts and above the submission area. While Section 4: Item Body can be used to explain the In & Out’s purpose and other introductory information, the submission area message is ideal for reminding people of rules or making final remarks they will see before posting.

Now that In & Outs have been explained in general terms, it's time to see each of the specific styles in action. There will be two examples for each type: The first has Require Item IDs set to No, and the second has Require Item IDs set to Yes. If only one example is shown, then changing that setting has no effect. (It should be noted, however, that for all display types, changing from No to Yes will hide all the entries that were created while the setting was No.) For the sake of these examples, assume the following information, however nonsensical it may be:

Posted By: Krak-o'-Lantern
Item Posted: 911628
Time Posted: 3:33pm on March 3, 2005
Post Body: The {i}quick{/i} {c:lkhaki}brown{/c} fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Some formats are anonymous, which means that the names of the people posting entries remains unknown to everyone except Writing.Com Staff and the In & Out’s owner—and, if applicable, those with edit access, but for simplicity’s sake I will henceforth just say “owner.” Also, some formats will process WritingML while others won’t. These two characteristics are noted immediately below each style’s name.



Classic
Anonymous Posts: No
WritingML Processed: No

Classic Style with Require Item IDs set to Yes is the only In & Out type to make use of all the fields in Section 5: Item Type Specific Settings. Each line has a customizable header and lists a different piece of information.

Posted By: Krak-o'-Lantern
Time Posted: 03-03-05 @ 3:33pm
Post Body: The {i}quick{/i} {c:lkhaki}brown{/c} fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Posted By: Krak-o'-Lantern
Item Posted: "The Ins and Outs of In & Outs   (nw)   (Rated: E)
Time Posted: 03-03-05 @ 3:33pm
Post Body: The {i}quick{/i} {c:lkhaki}brown{/c} fox jumps over the lazy dog.


* Custom Format *

Choosing this option allows you to build your own In & Out layout from scratch. See the Custom Formatting section below.


Centered
Anonymous Posts: No
WritingML Processed: Yes

The most distinguishing characteristic of a Centered Style In & Out is in the name: the entries are centered on the page. It displays the same information as a Classic Style In & Out but has a more streamlined appearance.

Posted By: Krak-o'-Lantern @ 03-03-05 @ 3:33pm
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

"The Ins and Outs of In & Outs   (nw)   (Rated: E)
Posted By: Krak-o'-Lantern @ 03-03-05 @ 3:33pm
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.


Conversational
Anonymous Posts: No
WritingML Processed: Yes

A simple type of In & Out, the Conversational Style only displays the name of the person who posted the comment followed by that comment in dialogue format. There is no use in requiring item IDs; they won't be displayed.

Krak-o'-Lantern says "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog."


Detailed
Anonymous Posts: No
WritingML Processed: No

The Detailed Style is specifically designed to require item IDs, and it is by far the preferred choice for "plug" pages. Unlike the Classic, Centered, Graffiti Wall (Timed), and Timed Styles, it doesn't record the time that an entry is posted. (In an actual In & Out, the space to the left of Item Posted, Genre(s), and Description contains a picture and text that shows what type of item has been submitted. If the item type features sub-types, the text will show the sub-type instead.)

Posted By: Krak-o'-Lantern
Post Body: The {i}quick{/i} {c:lkhaki}brown{/c} fox jumps over the lazy dog.
                    Item Posted:   (NW)   ()
                    Genre(s):
                    Description:

Posted By: Krak-o'-Lantern
Post Body: The {i}quick{/i} {c:lkhaki}brown{/c} fox jumps over the lazy dog.
                    Item Posted: "The Ins and Outs of In & Outs   (NW)   (E)
                    Genre(s): Writing.Com :: How-To/Advice :: Community
                    Description: A guide to the different styles of In & Outs on Writing.Com.


Graffiti Wall
Anonymous Posts: Yes
WritingML Processed: Yes

The simplest style of all, Graffiti Wall displays only the post body. If you are the owner of a Graffiti Wall Style In & Out, allowing you to see posters’ names, your view of the entries will be more like that of the Post-Byline Style.

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.


Graffiti Wall (Timed)
Anonymous Posts: Yes
WritingML Processed: Yes

A spin-off of Graffiti Wall, the Graffiti Wall (Timed) Style retains the anonymity and simplicity of its predecessor while adding the time that each entry is posted. This comes in handy when that piece of information is important or you just think it wouldn’t hurt to know.

Time Posted: 03-03-05 @ 3:33pm
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.


List
Anonymous Posts: Yes
WritingML Processed: No

There is no space between posts in a List Style In & Out, and they all have numbers before them. Since the post preceded by 1 is always at the top, Display Order may be more important than usual. If Display Order is set to Newest First, that means the most recent post will always be preceded by 1. If Display Order is set to Newest Last, that means the most recent post will be preceded by the highest number on the list. Once you’ve reached the number of posts selected from Show How Many Entries, numbers will not continue to increase. For example, if you show 10 entries at a time, the posts will always be numbered from 1 to 10; never 11, 12, and so on.

1. The {i}quick{/i} {c:lkhaki}brown{/c} fox jumps over the lazy dog.


List (Timed)
Anonymous Posts: Yes
WritingML Processed: No

Just as the Graffiti Wall Style has Graffiti Wall (Timed), the List Style has List (Timed). The first line looks much the same as the regular List Style, but there is an additional line that includes the time of posting.

1. The {i}quick{/i} {c:lkhaki}brown{/c} fox jumps over the lazy dog.
[Time Posted]: 03-03-05 @ 3:33pm


Quotation
Anonymous Posts: No
WritingML Processed: Yes

Like the Conversational and Post-Byline Styles, a Quotation Style In & Out with Require Item IDs set to No only displays the post body and its author; however, setting Require Item IDs to Yes will have an effect in this case.

"The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog."


"The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog."



Post-Byline
Anonymous Posts: No
WritingML Processed: Yes

Unlike the Conversational and Quotation Styles, the post body in a Post-Byline Style In & Out is not surrounded by quotation marks, more like the Graffiti Wall Style; however, the person who made the entry is identified parenthetically after the post body.

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. (Krak-o'-Lantern )


Timed
Anonymous Posts: No
WritingML Processed: Yes

Like the Centered Style, a Timed Style In & Out displays all the same information as the Classic Style but in a more compact form.

[03-03-05 @ 3:33pm] The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
  Posted By: Krak-o'-Lantern

[03-03-05 @ 3:33pm] The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
Item Posted: "The Ins and Outs of In & Outs (nw)   (E)
  Posted By: Krak-o'-Lantern



Custom Formatting

Can’t find what you’re looking for among the styles above? Using custom formatting will allow you to use WritingML and a list of variables to build just the right In & Out to suit you.

You’ll find the Custom In & Out Formatting area at the bottom of Section 5: Item Type Specific Settings. To activate custom formatting, be sure to select * Custom Format * under Display Type. You’ll also need to make a selection for Display Order, Require Item IDs, and “One Submission” Text in the same way as you would for a pre-set layout. The other four fields—“Posted By” Text, “Item Posted” Text, “Time Posted” Text, and “Post Body” Text—are irrelevant to custom In & Outs, since you’ll add headers and other text directly, where and how you want them.

What follows is the list of variables that are available, along with some explanation of their function. Each of them will be used in at least one of the example In & Outs further below—the colored checkmarks correspond to the color of the title of the example or examples in which the variable appears. For the examples, the entry as it would appear in the In & Out is shown first, and below that is the text that would be input to the custom formatting area to achieve the look; the alternating red and green coloring is only used to differentiate between consecutive lines and highlight where line breaks should be. Notice how each variable is surrounded by two percent symbols on either side; that’s how the formatting area recognizes it as a variable. Not all parts of the examples will function the way they would in an actual In & Out; their main objective is to illustrate the layout, though even the appearance will not always match exactly.

For the purposes of the examples, assume the following information. Most is the same as in the Pre-Set Formats Section, but now, Time of Item’s Creation and Time of Item’s Most Recent Edit are specified. Please note that, for the sake of consistency and clarity, they don’t match the actual information for the submitted item.

Posted By: Krak-o'-Lantern
Item Posted: 911628
         Time of Item’s Creation: 1:11pm on January 1, 2005
         Time of Item’s Most Recent Edit: 2:22pm on February 2, 2005
Time Posted: 3:33pm on March 3, 2005
Post Body: The {i}quick{/i} {c:lkhaki}brown{/c} fox jumps over the lazy dog.


%%blank_line%% *Check3**Check5*
         *Bullet* This variable returns a blank line. Though this can be placed anywhere in the template, it’s intended for the very end, where it’s used to put one or more blank lines between consecutive posts. In most cases, if separate In & Out posts don’t have space between them, the result is incredibly confusing.

%%black_line%% *Check2*
         *Bullet* This variable returns a solid black line. Like the blank line, this can be made to appear anywhere, but it probably makes the most sense at the end, where it can be used to establish a boundary between separate posts.

%%dashed_line%% *Check4*
         *Bullet* This variable returns a thin horizontal line across the post, offering another option for a border.

%%cnt%% *Check2*
         *Bullet* This returns the post’s order in the In & Out. Whether you have Display Order set to Newest First or Newest Last, the output of the variable will be 1 for the top post, 2 for the post below it, etc.

%%delete%% *Check2**Check3**Check4**Check5*
         *Bullet* This variable returns a button that the item’s owner can push to delete any post. This button will actually appear whether you place it or not; however, it’s recommended that you manually set it up so it’s in a logical place. If left to its own devices, the button will appear in the last line of each post, slightly indented from the left side.

%%text_html%% *Check5*
         *Bullet* This variable returns what the poster writes when he or she adds a post to the In & Out, and WritingML and HTML will be processed. This is the only area on Writing.Com besides Web Page Items that will process HTML.

%%text_writingml%% *Check2**Check3*
         *Bullet* This variable returns what the poster writes when he or she adds a post to the In & Out. WritingML will be processed, but HTML will not.

%%text_plain%% *Check4*
         *Bullet* This variable returns what the poster writes when he or she adds a post to the In & Out, and neither WritingML nor HTML will be processed.

%%post_date%% *Check2*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the date, starting with the first three letters of the month’s name, on which the In & Out post was submitted.

%%post_date_num%% *Check4*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the date, starting with the numerical month, on which the In & Out post was submitted.

%%post_time%% *Check2*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the time of day at which the In & Out post was submitted.

%%post_username%% *Check3*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the username of the member who submitted the post to the In & Out. Note that this is simply the username in plain text; to turn it into a user tag showing the member’s portfolio icon, you would need to place the variable where you would normally place a member’s username; for example, {user:%%post_username%%}.

%%post_username_anonymous%% *Check2*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the username of the member who submitted the post to the In & Out, but that username is only visible to the item’s owner. Note that this is simply the username in plain text; to turn it into a user tag showing the member’s portfolio icon, you would need to place the variable where you would normally place a member’s username; for example, {user:%%post_username_anonymous%%}.

%%item_brief%% *Check4*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the submitted item’s brief description.

%%item_content_rating%% *Check4*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the submitted item’s content rating; clicking on the content rating will bring up information outlining what to expect.

%%item_created_date%% *Check5*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the date, starting with the first three letters of the month’s name, on which the submitted item was originally uploaded to Writing.Com.

%%item_created_date_num%% *Check4*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the date, starting with the numerical month, on which the submitted item was originally uploaded to Writing.Com.

%%item_created_time%% *Check5*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the time of day at which the submitted item was originally uploaded to Writing.Com.

%%item_genre_1%% *Check4**Check5*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the submitted item’s primary genre, which must exist.

%%item_genre_2%% *Check5*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the submitted item’s second genre, if it exists.

%%item_genre_2_comma%% *Check4*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the submitted item’s second genre, if it exists, with a comma placed after the first genre in order to separate the two genres. This would be equivalent to writing %%item_genre_1%% with a comma after it as long as a second genre exists, but if a second genre doesn’t exist, then this variable prevents a comma from unnecessarily appearing after the primary genre.

%%item_genre_3%% *Check5*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the submitted item’s third genre, if it exists.

%%item_genre_3_comma%% *Check4*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the submitted item’s third genre, if it exists, with a comma placed after the second genre in order to separate the two genres. This would be equivalent to writing %%item_genre_2%% with a comma after it as long as a third genre exists, but if a third genre doesn’t exist, then this variable prevents a comma from unnecessarily appearing after the second genre.

%%item_id%% *Check4**Check5*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the submitted item’s ID number. Note that this is simply the item number in plain text; to turn it into a working item link, you would need to place the variable where you would normally place an item number; for example, {item:%%item_id%%}.

%%item_icon%% *Check4*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the submitted item’s “itemicon,” which visually reflects its item type. It will be aligned on the left edge of the post; that can’t be changed. To see an example of the itemicon for any item type, scroll to the top of the page and click on the Reading or Writing tabs. "The Ins and Outs of In & Outs [E] is a Static Item, so its itemicon is the sheet of paper on a red background.

%%item_keywords%% *Check5*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the submitted item’s keywords exactly as they appear on the item creation/editing page.

%%item_modified_date%% *Check3*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the date, starting with the first three letters of the month’s name, on which the submitted item was last edited.

%%item_modified_date_num%% *Check4*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the date, starting with the numerical month, on which the submitted item was last edited.

%%item_modified_time%% *Check3*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the time of day at which the submitted item was last edited.

%%item_sub_type%% *Check4*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the item’s subtype, if it exists. Books, Images, and Static Items have sub-types.

%%item_time_since_mod%% *Check3*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the amount of time since the submitted item was last edited. The duration shown in Example Two is what would be returned at the moment of posting, but the timer will continue to increase until the item is edited again.

%%item_title%% *Check3*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the submitted item’s title in plain text.

%%item_type%% *Check3*
         *Bullet* This variable returns the submitted item’s type.


Example One

This In & Out has Require Item IDs set to No. It’s simple, clear, and clean, somewhat resembling a cross between the timed Graffiti Wall and List styles. Note the use of the %%post_username_anonymous%% variable, which will show the poster’s username to the In & Out’s owner but not to the general public, whose view is what is seen below.

1: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. [Delete]
         3:33pm on Mar 3, 2005
|||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||

{b}%%cnt%%:{/b} %%text_writingml%% {suser:%%post_username_anonymous%%} %%delete%%
{indent}{i}%%post_time%% on %%post_date%%{/i}
%%black_line%%


Example Two

Though this In & Out shares more information than the last, the focus is still on the post body, considering its large text. It uses the plain username and title in place of user and item links. The post body is separated from the other information, which is aligned right. Below the bold, red title, the item type is shown in yellow, and information about when the item was last modified is shown in blue. Because there is a blank line between the two parts of the post, two blank lines are added at the end to more clearly separate posts from one another.

kraken: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. [Delete]

The In and Outs of In & Outs
Static Item last modified 2:22pm; Feb 2, 2005 (29 Days 1 Hour 11 Minutes ago)
Blank Line
Blank Line

{font:verdana}{size:4}{b}%%post_username%%:{/b} %%text_writingml%% %%delete%%{/size}

{right}{b}{c:red}%%item_title%%{/b}{/c}
{size:1}{c:yellow}%%item_type%%{/c} last modified {c:blue}%%item_modified_time%%; %%item_modified_date%% (%%item_time_since_mod%% ago){/c}{/size}
%%blank_line%%
%%blank_line%%{/right}{/font}


Example Three

In an actual In & Out, there would be an itemicon in the blank space to the left of the first two lines showing the item type; however, the sub-type appears as well, after the title and before the content rating. The genres and brief description appear next, followed by the submitted item’s creation and editing dates. The post date and body stand out in red.

         "The Ins and Outs of In & Outs Article [E]
         Genres: Writing.Com, How-To/Advice, Community
A guide to the different styles of In & Outs on Writing.Com.
Created: 01-01-05 *Bullet* Last Edited: 02-02-05
On 03-03-05: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. [Delete]
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

%%item_icon%% {b}{size:4}{item:%%item_id%%}{/b}{/size} %%item_sub_type%% [%%item_content_rating%%]
{b}Genres:{/b} %%item_genre_1%%%%item_genre_2_comma%%%%item_genre_3_comma%%
%%item_brief%%
{b}Created:{/b} %%item_created_date_num%% {e:bullet} {b}Last Edited:{/b} %%item_modified_date_num%%
{c:red}{b}On %%post_date_num%%:{/b} %%text_plain%%{/c} %%delete%%
%%dashed_line%%


Example Four

The Comic font, vibrant colors, and use of emoticons give this setup a very casual look. Below the submitted item’s creation date and time are its three genres, each in a different secondary color. Just under that, in smaller type, are the item’s keywords. The arrows next to the post delete button draw attention to the post body at the bottom.

"The Ins and Outs of In & Outs
*Note5* on Writing.Com since Jan 1, 2005 @ 1:11pm *Note5*
Writing.Com How-To/Advice Community
Plug Pages
*Down* [Delete] *Down*
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Blank Line

{center}{font:comic}{size:4}{item:%%item_id%%}{/size}
{e:note5} on Writing.Com since %%item_created_date%% @ %%item_created_time%% {e:note5}
{b}{c:orange}%%item_genre_1%%{/c} {c:green}%%item_genre_2%%{/c} {c:violet}%%item_genre_3%%{/c}{/b}
{c:yellow}{size:2}%%item_keywords%%{/c}{/size}
{e:down} %%delete%% {e:down}
%%text_html%%
%%blank_line%%{/center}{/font}
© Copyright 2004 Krak-o'-Lantern (kraken at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/911628-The-Ins-and-Outs-of-In--Outs