Ever since our early years at school, our essays would be graded according to certain standards. Content, grammar, presentation, effort (and more) would count cumulatively to an evaluation. Every grade, remark, our teacher's suggestions would help us improve our writing skills, while developing our own personal style.
Some people love it. Other people don't care. Some of them just hate it. It is writing I am referring to ... and I have had the pleasure to discover some fantastic authors during my almost 7 months on steemit.
Many of the amazing authors I have come to meet here, come from @steemstem.
This post is mainly for new steemstem authors (or wanna be ones) but also for other members who would like to try writing in a more constructive way.
The information in this post is meant to be used as suggestions. All the tips and guidelines derive from my experience through the years (loooot of written projects at school and Uni) - my appx 150 posts written at steemit plus my observations on steemit users' posts.
For you who would like to know more info about what it means being a part of the steemstem community [author's note - not only steemstem] you can find here
Please keep in mind that steemit recently hit 1 million users. This can mean different things to different people. In my opinion, it means a raise in the quality of blogs and in many new remarkable steemians! It is important that we keep educating ourselves, in our efforts towards achieving our goals.
Proposed Guidelines, mainly but not exclusively, for SteemSTEM Posts
I am hereby presenting a few factors that in my opinion constitute a quality, well-formatted and thorough post.
(1) The Content
The Content itself should be interesting + original, not a copy-paste from a Wikipedia, or other article. It should have a structure that ideally has a beginning-main-subject-conclusion and it should offer insight, new information and possibly to show the personal opinion of the writer.
As @mobbs has mentioned in the past, creativity & alternative approaches are encouraged. Humor and artistic aspects should not be restrained if you feel that they would fit in your post.
Feel free to express yourself, but then again ask yourself...
- Would you read it if someone else wrote it?
- Read it again; Does the article fulfill your expectations?
- Have you gained and/or offered new insight and/or a new point of view on the subject?
If you are writing about steemstem (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics - is your post related to any of these subjects?)
Some Basics ...
- No, it is not right to copy - paste sentences. Even rewording something that someone else wrote / researched / thought without mentioning the source is considered plagiarism.
If you absolutely must include something from a source, use quotes and the reference to the original source
Of course taking an article of another language and translating is not considered 'writing a post'.
If you wish to write about something, it is usually better to author a post about a subject you have knowledge of. You will find it easier to research & write about something you already know than re-discover the wheel.
Your subject can also be something brand new that excites or interests you. Make sure to read a lot about it and then decide the structure and build around your thematic units.
Note Do not hurry to publish if you feel your post is not ready. Better let it rest, re-read it, make any adjustments and then post it.
Remember your posts are editable 7 days after you publish them
(2) Grammar - Syntax
When we write content, we need to make sure that it is error free. Syntax, grammar, typos should be thoroughly checked prior to hitting the 'publish' button. This means that we respect our readers
You can find online free tools (i.e. grammarly) that will help you refine your text.
Feel free to ask a friend to read your post, and to give you feedback about its clarity and ease of reading.
A few tips:
- Read often articles, books. This will help you put your thoughts in writing more efficiently
- Check synonyms to find other words you might not know (but see carefully how they are used in phrases)
- Whenever you put any punctuation (such as comma, dot etc), you need to leave a space afterwards!
- Important Your need to have good knowledge of a language to start writing articles in it.
The first thing a reader notices is the appearance of the post. Even if your content is good, people may not want to read it if it looks messy.
The headline of the text should be short, to the point, descriptive and without any typos. It is important that it presents the subject of the post in a clear way.
It should also NOT be all Caps. (It should be written in lowercase or only the first letter of a word capitalized)
The post should not be too lengthy and not too short. In my opinion anything from 600 – 1500 words could be an easy-to-read article. This can go a bit up or down depending on its theme.
If your post gets too long, then it is better to divide into parts.
For proper formatting at steemit, one should use markdown properly. Following are some guides for markdown:
Other people's work should be respected. When we use any information we have 'borrowed' from somewhere, we need to (a) have the right to re-distribute the information or the images and (b) to give proper credits.
Images used should not violate any copyright issues
The World Wide Web is full of images! But not all of them are free to use. If you use an image from a website such as National Geographic, it could get you intro trouble!
Everything is covered with certain copyrights and these should be by all means respected.
An important resource about Copyrights is to be found at: https://steemit.com/steemstem/@steemstem/guidelines-on-copyright-standards-in-steemstem
In this post here you can discover ways to find free-to-use & high quality images!
Note: Even if no attribution of the photo is needed (i.e. pixabay, CC0 images), again it is important that it is explicitly mentioned.
Suggested Format for Images: “[Image owner]-[Image Source](Image link]-[License version]”
(5) Citation of Scientific - Credible Sources
Usually Referencing Wikipedia articles (only) does not constitute a scientific article.
The sources should be credible and cited correctly.
When you cite a link, it is important that you add a retrieval date.
When you cite lecture notes, you should include the authors name, lecture title, link if applicable.
When you use a book, you should include information about the pages of the book from where the information you are using derives.
Some information about citing is found here
Thank you very much for reading, it turns out that this came to be a very lengthy article, but I hope it can be used as a reference point.
I will welcome any comments, feedback, corrections, additions as always!
Let's play ... Quiz time!
1. How long do you think it took me to write this post?
2. In percentage, how happy do you believe I am with this posts' outcome in terms of content + quality?
3. How many revisions you think I made after 'finishing' writing this article?
Some extra useful links:
SteemSTEM is a community driven project which seeks to promote well-written and informative Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics posts on Steemit. The project involves curating STEM-related posts through upvoting, resteeming, offering constructive feedback, supporting scientific contests, and other related activities.