MUFON Georgia Content Style Guide
Welcome to our style guide. Adhere or die!
For most questions, refer to the National Geographic Style Guide.
Grammar, punctuation, and capitalization
We practice the serial comma. For list items, place a comma after the second to last item in the list, before the coordinating conjunction. For instance:
a frog, a bog, and a log
NOT a frog, a bog and a log
We use em dashes, not en dashes. When breaking up clauses and phrases, use an em dash with no spaces around it.
These are some crazy em dashes—crazy like a fox.
NOT These are some crazy em dashes — crazy like a fox. (spaces)
NOT These are some crazy em dashes-–crazy like a fox. (en dash)
Spell out all numbers less than 10. Keep all numbers 10 and above as numerals.
I have 11 style guides, four of which are irrelevant.
NOT I have 11 style guides, 4 of which are irrelevant.
NOT I have eleven style guides, four of which are irrelevant.
Exception to the above rule: Any time a number precedes the word “percent,” keep it a numeral.
He has 5 percent body fat. Yikes.
NOT He has five percent body fat. Yikes.
Adhere to the following for abbreviations:
Continued = (Cont.)
Filenames = JPG, GIF, PDF, etc.
Capitalize only the first word and proper nouns in blog post titles.
Style and tone
Internet people do not read. They scan. When composing and formatting your posts, keep this in mind.
- Break up large paragraphs into smaller paragraphs.
- Use headings.
- Use bullets and lists.
Much thought has been put into the overall voice, tone, and stance of MUFON communications. On this site, we follow these Commandments:
- Scientific, not Religious.
Overall, we should remember that we are a scientific organization that focuses on UFO sightings and related phenomenon. Our stance is that 95% of UFO sightings are explainable. Yet there is a fascinating subset of well-documented and reliable cases that point to a real and present UFO phenomenon. We admit that we have no proof that UFOs are of extraterrestrial origin, but we stand firm that, in many cases, an ET origin may be a sensible hypothesis.
- Realistic, not Paranoid.
Evidence points to the fact that the US government knows more than they let on. We applaud governments around the world that openly acknowledge and investigate UFO sightings. That said, we do not endorse highly speculative conspiracies or digress into paranoid conversations.
- Clever, not Cute.
We can (and should) use humor, show our personalities, and show people how much we love geeking out on this subject matter. We are serious about it, but we also know that this stuff is incredibly interesting and exciting. That said, we stay away from emoticons, OMG, WTF, LOL etc. We are clever, witty, and down-to-earth, but mature.
- Enthusiastic, not Fanatical.
Stay neutral in your opinions and implications. We all have strong beliefs on this stuff, but remember that you are representing a larger organization. We do not let our personal beliefs let us get heated our preachy. We stick to the Commandments, even if we are bursting to give someone a piece of our mind! When in doubt, do not engage. If you are having a comments discussion, for example, and you find yourself feeling angered or derisive, simply ignore the discussion.
- Be Welcoming and Tolerant.
We are never rude or dismissive when dealing with people’s beliefs. We are appreciative of any engagement, and do not want to alienate or condescend. That said, if an individual is truly misrepresenting facts, we can gently set them straight, providing ample resources to expert information. If an individual becomes toxic after repeated attempts to meet him or her halfway, then we can begin to block or hide their activity. Again, when in doubt – do not engage.
Specific formatting includes:
- H3 styles for major headings within your article, i.e. <h3>
- H4 styles for every other heading, i.e. <h4>
- No excessive use of bold, i.e. <b>.
- No excessive use of italics, i.e. <i>.
- No all caps. ONE LOOKS LIKE ONE DOES NOT KNOW HOW THE INTERNET WORKS WHEN ONE USES ALL CAPS.
- No strikethrough, i.e. <strike>.
- No custom fonts.
Do not do a Google Image Search for a photo and grab the first thing you see. That is what we call “illegal.” Go to http://photopin.com/ and choose something that does not cost money. Then this is how you cite the source:
Use a caption of “via Flickr” with the word Flickr linked to the source. CSS will handle the fancy caption box.
Underneath the story editor is a box for promoting the post. It is titled “WordPress SEO by Yoast.” It looks something like this:
Completing this box helps the post receive more views in places like Google News, Facebook, and Twitter.
Select a main word or phrase the post is about. For example, if your post deals with an abduction, use the word ‘abduction’ as the Focus Keyword.
You do not need to worry about the SEO Title. The system will handle this for you.
The meta description is often shown as the black text under the title in a search result. For this to work it has to contain the keyword that was searched for. Enter a description that is under 156 characters in length.
On the right side of the editor, you will see a Categories box and a Tags box. These look like this:
Make sure to select a category from the list. Do NOT select ‘uncategorized.’ It looks sloppy.
When selecting tags, do not go overboard, but make sure to add a few tags that relate to your post.
Do NOT add a featured image. Doing so will mess with the site formatting.
At the end of your post, insert the following text:
Please follow MUFON Georgia on Twitter and be our friend on Facebook.
The links should copy and paste automatically. If they do not, here are the links you should insert:
When linking to another site where you found your research, add your link to the words that most accurately describe the content where you are linking. Create a link that makes sense, and don’t be afraid to give the linkee some good SEO juice. We play nice.