A cartoon diagram of the steps for jarring potatoes which looks like it's from the 1950s. There's a stereotypical pair of women in aprons, moving through the steps and a diagram of the necessary implements at the bottom.

One thing I want you to do:

  • I talked in class today about this system where my post will be “pinged” when you link to it. In order for that to work, you need to turn notifications on in the settings of your dashboard (at least for your subdomain). Go to Settings > Discussion and the first check box, which is probably unchecked, says “Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the article.” Check that box, then save your settings.

And a couple of things I want to explain to you, just so you know.

  • I changed up the format of Student Posts. The widget this theme uses to generate that grid wasn’t pulling featured images the way I want it to and it is not really designed to handle multiple authors. I might come back to it later and hack the theme’s code to get it to add in a user field, but for right now I don’t think it’s worth that time and it’s too confusing to have the grid showing all your work without names attached to them. So, for now, student posts show up in a category page–which makes things easier on you because now you just need to make sure that every one of your posts includes an image someplace, without necessarily needing that image to be a featured image.
  • I’ve added a tag cloud to the sidebar on some of the pages on my site. Tags in the cloud are bigger if they’ve been applied to more posts, so the size of a tag gives you a sense of how frequently it’s been used. When your posts are syndicated, any categories or tags that you apply to your posts are (supposed to be) turned into tags on my site. If you add tags to your posts, then, they’ll show up in the tag cloud and readers can use those to sort. So if you add the tag “A Softer World” to your posts someone can click on the tag to see all the syndicated posts with that in common (capitalization doesn’t matter, but spacing does, so “ASofterWorld” will show up as a separate tag). How many posts will include fart jokes by the end of the semester? Do we even want to know?


(image credit: “Housekeeping” by Flickr user Fabian Mohr.)

What’s the difference between URLs and links?

Red typewriter with sheet of paper and the url "" typed

URLs are for computers. They are specific addresses that tell the web browser where to go to fetch data and show it to you in one form or another. The URL for the FAQ page on this site is The URL for the oldest post on the course blog is With a little awareness of the syntax, you can decode that information. If you wanted to read the page or post that I just referenced, you could copy that code and paste it into your browser to get there.

Sometimes people just paste URLs into emails or pages that they’re writing, and some applications will convert those URLs into links so that you at least don’t have to go to the trouble of copying and pasting the code as separate steps to get to the pages referenced. For example, one way to show you Gavin Aung Than’s comic adaptation of a quote by Jim Henson would be to just do this: However, most of the time readers will find URLs confusing and uninviting, and it’s difficult for you to effectively contextualize that information smoothly.

Links are for humans. Links use HTML code to turn URLs into something that is readable and clear for humans. One way to create a link is manually by inserting some HTML code around text, making that text into a link, so

Check out Gavin Aung Than’s <a href=””>brilliant comic adaptation</a> of a quote by Jim Henson.

looks like this in your browser

Check out Gavin Aung Than’s brilliant comic adaptation of a quote by Jim Henson.

Most of the time, though, you don’t need insert links manually. When you’re in your WordPress post editor, you can create a link by highlighting the text or image that you want to become a link and selecting the button that looks like the links of a chain, then pasting the URL into the dialog box. (The general rule of thumb, by the way, is that when you are linking to another page or post on your own site, you should have your link open in the same tab but when you are linking to something outside of your own site, have the link open in a new tab.)

This distinction between URLs and links is important for our class because our learning objectives state that over the course of the semester, you will “demonstrate understanding of audience” and learn to “use and adapt generic conventions, including organization, development, and style” and using links instead of URLs is an important first step in understanding the reading needs of your audience and is an important stylistic and generic convention of writing for the web.

This distinction is also important because using links opens up a whole range of more interesting options for you that are unavailable when you merely drop URLs into your work. Jokes can be goofy commentaries or can offer useful insight on the topic at hand.


(image credit: “Unclickable Link” by Flickr user quinnanya)

Looking ahead to week 2

I hope you had a happy Martin Luther King, Jr holiday!

Remember that your first short assignment is due by Tuesday. Once you’ve created your badge, upload it to your blog.

Come to class on Wednesday having read Persepolis pages 3-32 (“The Veil” through “Persepolis”) and bring your book with you.

On Friday, you’ll need to come to class having read the first chapter of Writer/Designer. We’ll spend the class session going over plans for your web sites and will discuss the reading.

When I was showing you the course site on the first day, I explained briefly the relationship between my primary domain and this subdomain that I’ve created for this course and I mentioned that you’d be creating your own subdomains too. The time for that is this week.

By Friday, I want you to create a course subdomain (you can call it what you like, but is a sensible choice) and install WordPress again, this time into the subdomain. [N.B. The second time you install WordPress in Installatron, the location field will autofill directory as “blog.” Make sure to delete that line. If you leave “blog” there, then your site address will be instead of]

Repeat the process of configuring your WordPress on the subdomain, just like you did on the primary domain. Give your subdomain a title that is not “My blog.” Create a static front page and designate a posts page.

Create a menu on your subdomain and add a link in the menu back to your primary domain. Create a page on your primary domain called “Courses” and add a link to your subdomain for my class, either on the page itself, as a menu subpage, or both.

Most of the work that I explicitly assign you over the rest of the semester, starting on Friday, will go on your subdomain.

By Sunday, you’ll post your second Sunday Funnies assignment, as a blog post on your subdomain. Note that I’m switching around the order I was planning to do Sunday Funnies #2 and #3. Look for a blog post with the assignment to go up very soon.

(image credit: “Obscurae Gallery’s 2nd Annual Art Lottery” by Flickr user hrckyowian.)