The design of this site was developed to provide an easy-to-use interface for the non-blogger, someone not familiar with the interface of a web publishing platform, and to resemble a forum or chat format. The focus of the content is as a conversation rather than just articles and comments.

The design, called a WordPress Theme, was developed by the WordPress development team to facilitate conversations with the volunteers and contributors to WordPress from around the globe, moving away from the live chat or forum standard. It is currently used by Make WordPress, the official volunteer and contributor teams. Clients of the commercial company that supports WordPress development, Automattic, asked if the P2 Theme would be available for them to use for their departments and collaboration teams, so the WordPress dev team cleaned it up and released the Theme under the GPL license for anyone to use.

How P2 Theme Works

The P2 WordPress Theme uses AJAX technology to allow front end posting and comments without interaction with the backend (Administration Panels) of WordPress.

To leave a comment, the site is open to anyone to click the Reply link on any post. Comments are moderated.

To create a post, you must be logged in.

  1. In the form at the top of the front page of the site, set the Post Format:
    • Status Update: A general announcement.
    • Blog Post: An article format, the most common choice.
    • Quote: A quote, typically from an external source. Simply paste the quote in without quote marks in the first form area, paste a link and text in the Citation section to the source and author of the quote (properly formed HTML anchor link accepted and preferred).
    • Link: Post a link. Typically this is just a link or a properly formed HTML anchor link, with little text.
  2. Write in text or HTML whatever you wish to say in the content box.
  3. Tag it: Tags are the index words of the site, micro-navigation that helps to connect related content. See the section below on tagging in WordPress.
  4. Click Post it.

Within a few seconds, the post is live for all to see.

To edit the post, click EDIT in the links to the upper right near the author name of the post.

Writing and Publishing an Article

In general, the P2 Theme is designed for conversations, not great reports or articles.

Here are some basic tips for publishing a post on a P2 Theme:

  • Words: Words are welcome in any form. Just use one of the post formats and go.
  • Video: WordPress.com is set up to support a wide variety of video formats easily. YouTube involves pasting the direct link to the video from the address in the browser. Others may involve an extra step.
  • Images: The P2 Theme’s front end publishing does not support images well. Use the Article publishing steps below to add images.
  • Links: Links may be published as link dumps (links just pasted into the post like http://lorelle.wordpress.com/) but it is highly preferred that they be properly formed HTML anchor link to improve readability.
  • HTML: If you know the five basic HTML tags used by WordPress in the post content area (bold and italic, links, headings, blockquotes, and lists) please use them. The post area on P2 is designed for HTML and is not the Visual Editor (WYSIWYG). If not, just write and paste in link dumps. This is an in-house conversation site, not a commercial or public access site where the rules are different.

Publishing an Article

If you would like to have more control over the content and formatting of your post:

  1. Once logged-in, look across the top for a WordPress.com member bar. To the far right is the name of the site. Hover the mouse over the name and choose: New > Post.
  2. This takes you to the Edit Post Panel on the Administration Panels. You may write in HTML or use the Visual Editor to write a post using images, links, blockquotes, etc.

Posts are required to be in a Category and have related tags. Please see the section below on Categories and Tags.

Categories and Tags

In WordPress, categories are the site’s table of contents, tags are the index words.

It should be as simple as that. Think of these that way and you will be ahead of the game.

Categories are the bodies of work, collecting related content together as they would be in categories of a book, at a macro level.

Tags are micro-navigation, index words, that connect related content together as the micro level.

A well-structured and organized site should have no more than 5-12 categories. It may have thousands of tags.

Categories are displayed in a list as part of the site’s navigation.

Tags are displayed in a tag cloud, the largest tags representing more posts with that tag.

The P2 Theme focuses on tags not categories. Categories may only be added from the Administration Panel interface. Tags are added from both interfaces.

With the emphasis on tags with this Theme, use tags already in use, or consider wisely the tags for each post to choose common terms and phrases for the subject you are posting about. In other words, help the participants in this project find related content easily.

Pages and Posts in WordPress

WordPress features two types of content by default: Pages and Posts.

Pages are timeless content.
Posts are timely content.

Pages are timeless in that they are the static information a site needs such as the About, Contact, Resources, and other “static” content people look for when visiting a site.

Posts are timely as they are articles, information, tips, techniques, the content that keeps someone returning back to the site for more information.

Currently, the site is setup so that only those with Editor or higher user role access have access to Pages, only posts. If you wish to add an informational web page or add to the resources, please post the information in a post or status update and include a note that you wish this to be added to the Resources Page, or use the Contact form or email one of the project administrators and request to have your user role permissions increased.

Administrative Things to Know About This Site

The following information is important for those administrating the site, or considering duplicating the P2 Theme in their Common Read projects.

Site Closed From Public Eyes

The site is set to be hidden from search engines. It is open and accessible by the public, but they should only be able to find the site through a direct link. The site’s purpose is to facilitate a conversation with the college administration and the team working on the Common Read project, not offer a public discourse.

Occasionally someone will randomly stumble on the site through the WordPress.com random site feature, but this is rare.

Comment Spam

Comment spam follows links leading to a site. If no links come directly to this site or its web pages from another publicly accessible site, the chances comment spam is minimal.

By default, all first time comments are moderated, requiring approval, then not moderated.

WordPress.com is backed by the powerful Akismet, a crowd-sourced, comment spam fighting tool.

How to Add New Users

To add a new user to this site, the user must have a WordPress.com account.

You may get a WordPress.com account without a blog by using the sign up for just a username form.

Once signed up, you must notify the administrator of this site using the Contact form.

The email address of the faculty or staff is added via the Administration Panels > Users > Invite New (accessible only by registered and logged-in users) and the new contributor is added. NOTE: Please set all new contributors as Authors for their user role.

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