The blog is back, too (but it needs love!)

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Re: The blog is back, too (but it needs love!)

Postby emk » Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:07 pm

I'm stuck in a waiting room with no WiFi, so I can't do real work. So while waiting, I'm fixing the formatting of the awesome Finnish profile by Chung (with help from other students of Finnish). Please don't start work on any major overhauls until I say I'm done. :-)
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Re: The blog is back, too (but it needs love!)

Postby emk » Tue Apr 25, 2017 4:54 pm

emk wrote:I'm stuck in a waiting room with no WiFi, so I can't do real work. So while waiting, I'm fixing the formatting of the awesome Finnish profile by Chung (with help from other students of Finnish). Please don't start work on any major overhauls until I say I'm done. :-)

OK, it was a long wait, and I fixed up the formatting on the Chung's Finnish profile. You really ought to check out the profile (and the contributions by other forum members). It is an epic display of language-learning knowledge, including detailed reviews of what seems like it might be basically every Finnish course and dictionary ever, and links to scores of resources.

The Hungarian profile is looking for a volunteer to do something similar. There's a lot of awesome stuff there, but the formatting makes it hard to read. Using the latest Finnish profile as an example, it would be wonderful if somebody could go through and reformat the lists, and put the Hungarian phrases in italics, etc. These language profiles are really quite remarkable, and they deserve to be easy and pleasant to look at, too. :-)
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Re: The blog is back, too (but it needs love!)

Postby neofight78 » Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:34 am

emk wrote:Hey everybody, neofight rules! Feel free to come join the fun.


I continue to see what you are doing ;) :lol: Well I've promised to help out in whatever way I can on numerous occasions, so I shall volunteer to do something which is within the limitations of my technical ability and time constraints. Given that I've managed to fork the blog on github and install Jekyll locally I shall volunteer to do the following (barring objections!)...

I'm happy to take articles in whatever format i.e. forum post, word file etc, and I'll do all the shenanigans necessary to turn them into posts on our blog.

That still leaves the rest of you guys to do the hard stuff i.e. write some articles. There's some great stuff that gets written on the forum here, so we know you guys can produce the good stuff... :D

emk wrote:If we have a more active blog, we can probably eventually get more visitors to the forum.


This is super important, when I started language learning many times I googled a question and it took me to a blog post which got me reading or using the site it was part of.
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Re: The blog is back, too (but it needs love!)

Postby emk » Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:08 am

I've just cleaned up the Spanish profile a bit, and added tables of contents to all the other profiles. There are still about 3 profiles that need substantial formatting improvements: They appear to have been passed through some combination of BBCode, Word docs, WordPress HTML and Markdown.

neofight78 wrote:
emk wrote:Hey everybody, neofight rules! Feel free to come join the fun.

I continue to see what you are doing ;) :lol:

Yes, trying to foist all the hard work off on innocent victimsvolunteers while I live the jet-setting lifestyle of a language forum administrator. Shhhh. ;-)

neofight78 wrote:I'm happy to take articles in whatever format i.e. forum post, word file etc, and I'll do all the shenanigans necessary to turn them into posts on our blog.

This would be super-helpful. Thank you!

neofight78 wrote:
emk wrote:If we have a more active blog, we can probably eventually get more visitors to the forum.

This is super important, when I started language learning many times I googled a question and it took me to a blog post which got me reading or using the site it was part of.

If people were interested, we could have a really cool group blog, easily as good as many of individual polyglot blogs out there. One of the dangers of individual polyglot blogs is that you never get the sheer diversity of experience and learning styles that you get around here.
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Re: The blog is back, too (but it needs love!)

Postby Serpent » Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:36 am

As for the formatting, we need to set some guidelines as well. For example iguanamon's awesome posts have this kind of formatting sometimes:
WARNING- LONG POST FOLLOWS!!! For a more practical demonstration, look at how I applied my approach when I started with Haitian Creole in my log- M ta renmen pale kreyòl ayisyen. Followed by my log here- The iguana’s tale.

(The log names are links) I'm not picky about using proper dashes and hyphens, but there should at least be spaces. (I'd also replace at least one or two of the dashes with a colon but this may be L1 influence :oops:)
On a side note, I'm also not a fan of using "--" to denote dash. I don't remember if I've seen it in some posts :?

Unless there are objections I'm going to fix this :) But we still need consistent guidelines.
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Re: The blog is back, too (but it needs love!)

Postby rdearman » Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:34 am

Serpent wrote:As for the formatting, we need to set some guidelines as well. For example iguanamon's awesome posts have this kind of formatting sometimes:
WARNING- LONG POST FOLLOWS!!! For a more practical demonstration, look at how I applied my approach when I started with Haitian Creole in my log- M ta renmen pale kreyòl ayisyen. Followed by my log here- The iguana’s tale.

(The log names are links) I'm not picky about using proper dashes and hyphens, but there should at least be spaces. (I'd also replace at least one or two of the dashes with a colon but this may be L1 influence :oops:)
On a side note, I'm also not a fan of using "--" to denote dash. I don't remember if I've seen it in some posts :?

Unless there are objections I'm going to fix this :) But we still need consistent guidelines.

You should never put spaces or any other whitespace in a URL. Or do you mean the written portion of the link?
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Re: The blog is back, too (but it needs love!)

Postby Serpent » Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:03 pm

I know :P I'm not emk-level but quite tech-savvy and I've done programming too ;)
I bolded the parts I mean. edit: color-coded because bold isn't noticeable
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Re: The blog is back, too (but it needs love!)

Postby Ani » Mon May 01, 2017 5:09 am

Serpent wrote:(The log names are links) I'm not picky about using proper dashes and hyphens, but there should at least be spaces. (I'd also replace at least one or two of the dashes with a colon but this may be L1 influence :oops:)
On a side note, I'm also not a fan of using "--" to denote dash. I don't remember if I've seen it in some posts :?

Unless there are objections I'm going to fix this :) But we still need consistent guidelines.


The -- is how you make a dash. At least it used to be how you to did it before fancy word processing software changed the length automatically. The single - is a hyphen.

I do see your point on a need for consistency though :)
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Re: The blog is back, too (but it needs love!)

Postby Serpent » Tue May 02, 2017 8:26 am

Yes but -- isn't a dash. If we're so keen on that, we can use proper dashes. Otherwise - is okay. Hyphen or dash depending on whether there are spaces around it.
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Re: The blog is back, too (but it needs love!)

Postby emk » Tue May 02, 2017 4:34 pm

Ani wrote:The -- is how you make a dash. At least it used to be how you to did it before fancy word processing software changed the length automatically. The single - is a hyphen.

Serpent wrote:Yes but -- isn't a dash. If we're so keen on that, we can use proper dashes. Otherwise - is okay. Hyphen or dash depending on whether there are spaces around it.

OK, I'm going to engage in some typography geeking. This is a language-learning blog, so this is almost on topic. :-)

If you're using an actual typewriter, there's just one kind of dash—the hyphen. You can use either one or two of them. You also have option of starting a holy war over whether you should put spaces on either side of "--". (Personally? I think that spaces around double dashes is ugly. But others will disagree. Heatedly.)

But let's assume that you have something better than a typewriter: Either an honest-to-goodness printing press, or a computer less than 20 years old. In this case, there are three main kinds of dashes:

  • The hyphen: "-". (Unicode character U+002D "hyphen-minus". If you're about to object and mention U+2010 "hyphen" or U+2212 "minus", seek help immediately.) The hyphen is normally used to separate the parts of compound words, such as "honest-to-goodness" above.
  • The en dash: "–". (U+2013) This is normally used to specify a range of things: "In the years 2007–2017, we've had 5–10 servers." It can also be used for compound words that are made up of other compound words, such as "Pre–Sarbanes-Oxley, corporate accounting was simpler."
  • The em dash: "—". (U+2014) This is used to separate parts of sentences—like this—or to represent interrupted speech.
For more information, see the Chicago Manual of Style and this article.

Now, assuming you have real em dashes, this leaves the question of whether or not you should surround them with spaces. In many typeset books, you'll see the em dash used without spaces. But if you look at English-language newspapers, you'll typically see spaces on both sides. You can also split the difference and set off your em dashes with either hair spaces (U+200A) or thin spaces (U+2009).

There is also a group of people who replace em dashes with "thin space, en dash, thin space", but they're wild typographic radicals. Personally, I use the basic rules above (which you can also find in the Chicago Manual of Style) and I do not put spaces around my dashes. Someday, I might indulge myself recklessly and see how they look with thin spaces, but let's not overdo it.

Now, for extra fun, these rules are only for English, and may vary in other languages! French actually has different typographical conventions for many sorts of punctuation. For example, you put spaces before exclamation marks, question marks and colons in French. (And yes, I actually looked up French punctuation rules a long time ago. I would never admit that anywhere but on this forum, but I'm willing to confess here.)
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