saga: (badtouch || SEXY POUTS YEAH)
saga ([personal profile] saga) wrote in [community profile] tofuhouse2015-09-26 12:11 am
Entry tags:

dreamwidth 101: the (sort of) fast version

A few of my friends have recently gotten into Dreamwidth, but without having been in blogging sites before. Dreamwidth itself is a pretty special kind of blogging platform that is different to the likes of Wordpress, in that it has a way better subscription service and community tool than Wordpress. It's more focused on building communities around blogging. If you've used Livejournal before (or still are), you're pretty good to go. If you've only been on microblogs, then this is for You. I'm just gonna go through really basic stuff. It gets easier in the finer details after. It's way easy to get into this site, and way convenient!

Dreamwidth 101


Firstly, there's two types of journals in Dreamwidth: Personal and Communities. A personal is obvious: it's your account. You can make many personal accounts on one email address. Nice. Communities are like groups: you use a personal account to join a community. Likewise, you can also make communities using a personal account (Create → Create Community).
--- This is why some communities like fandom or roleplay have mod accounts (which is just a personal account made specially for it) just to keep things organised, even if many accounts are admins and moderators. Anyone can post in a community as long as the administrators allow you too. Sometimes posts are moderated. It's like a forum, in that sense, or a news site where there are lots of writers (but at a centralised website instead so it's easier to navigate around with one account. Like facebook but blog version so you can ignore your families [wait]).

What can you post? Anything really. Personal blogs are there for you to do whatever the heck you want, and you can lock it in whatever privacy setting (basically what Google+ attempted but failed on). Communities can be massive (for fandoms, characters, random talks, social agendas, the news!!!) or small (your very own fanfic archive, art dump, group translations, etc).
--- Anyone can have access to post into these things as long as they are a member, and thus you are able to discuss in each of these posts. You can also lock these posts, so if anything is private OR can be nsfw, It keeps it together and has a great sense of community once you get the ball rolling.

But need to freaking subscribe.

This blogging service uses Subscriptions. So pretty much, this will show up on your journal's Reading Page, as long as you subscribed to a journal or community (or even joined that community). The reading page is like your dashboard or homepage, it shows all the new posts these journals and communities have come up with. Easy!
--- Seeing all those nice posts there, you can instantly reply to them by hitting "Reply" and a form appears, or you can click the link to take you to the whole post, in which you can also read all the comments already there (and then reply however you please).

Now, subscribing is easy and all, but then there's also this thing called Access. By granting access to a journal, you are allowing them to access your locked posts, anyone on your Access List will now be able to see it.
--- NOTE: You can actually set custom access lists as well. Manage your Circle and Access List by going to "Organize → Manage Circle". Managing custom filters for your access list? Manage Access Filters. You can also Manage Subscription Filters.

How do you subscribe or grant access? Many ways, but the easiest is going through their Profile, and granting them access through there.
--- The other is hover over their icon, and you will see a little window appear: the hover menu. Just click those links and it'll do it automatically. This is the same with joining communities.

With Dreamwidth, you have almost full control of the HTML and CSS ot a post, to a degree. Obviously, there's limitations, but if you check out places like [community profile] dreamcodes, you can see that it's really awesome and you can do almost anything in a post as long as you have the creativity. The limitation? Javascript is restricted. But that's okay we don't actually need that unless you wanna embed a few things (you can embed most things, like Youtube and Vines).

In fact, I'm gonna put this section in div codes to show you what I mean with HTML control. Remember to click the links for each section because there are more explanations, and you'll stay in this window, I promise. Now onto explaining more things, especially since you wanna know about tags, I bet.

look at this fancy header
post editors

Two types of post editors: Rich Text or HTML. I prefer HTML cos I get full control. It's just a matter of preference! If you wanna do fancy html and css, it's better to use the HTML editor.

NOTE: HTML editors also come with Auto-Formatting, which means line breaks are automatically done. You can turn that off in HTML mode too. If you wanna temporarily turn off Auto-Formatting for advanced HTML and CSS, look here in the FAQ. It's just HTML tags, but I'm sending you here for other things too. It's basically just raw-code. I'm actually using it right now for this div code.

Now click on "tags" up there.


Tags: Tags work in Dreamwidth like Categories in Wordpress does. It's not like searchable tags in Pixiv or Tumblr, or hashtags. These are to organise your posts in your journal and community through use of categories. This is just a jargon thing, really. You will notice this when you go "Read → Tags", or hit up any Tags page in any journal/community. It's like a bunch of categories. Here's mine for this community.

That being said, you can search Tags using Latest Things (Explore → Latest things). If you want to search a tag in particular, go to your url bar, and change your url to with the + being a link for spacing. It's unfortunately not as staying as other tag searching places like pixiv or tumblr, as the posts won't stay there permanently. Use your communities and subscriptions over this, seriously.

Now click "Memories + Tracking" cos you need to know it for Likes/Favourites and stuff!

memories + tracking

Finishing/Reading a Post: you'll notice you can do a few things: Edit your own post (NICE, very important), as well as Memories, and Track.

Memories is like Favourites and Likes; you store that for later reference, except you can actually organise it through Keywords, which is a way to categorise your Memories, so you know what you wanna go back to (like say, the Keyword is Icons, and thats where you mem'd all your favourite icon posts). You can access your memories through your Profile, it's near your icon.

Tracking allows you to know when comments come into the post, and it notifies you. You don't have to track your own post as all the notifications will pop up (in your inbox and email), but you might want to for someone else's post. Tracking can be edited from "Account Settings → Notifications" and you just scroll down.

Here's more on tracking cos you can track tags in an account or community too.

Onwards to comment options for your posts!

comment options + screening

While you're making a post, you see a few Comment options + Comment Screening too: Disabled obviously means you turned off the option to comment, Don't Email means that while you would like comments to still be activated that post, you don't want to be notified by email (it will appear in your DW inbox). Comment Screening is a beautiful technique that hides all the comments in that post. Whoever comments into that post will see their own screened comment, and your replies to that thread only. You'll be able to see all screened comments in that post cos it's your post. More on that later when I get to comments.

Finally, to Cuts! Click above.


Cut. Cutting a post is pretty much just hiding most of it until they access the full post, or on their reading page, expand it to read it straight there. Whatever you want to hide behind a cut, just <cut>STUFF TO BE HIDDEN</cut> and you can put whatever behind it, it's just your exact same post. Alternatively: <cut text="Fancy link words that isn't Read More cos that's automatic">STUFFFFFF</cut> By hiding it behind a cut like this, you can slim down the size of your text heavy post on your journal and a reading page, hide huge images, avoid revealing spoilers your on friends' reading pages, or hiding nsfw stuff. Very nice!

To see them in action, go to the community front page. You'll see most of my stuff is behind a cut. Click the cut to go to the full post, or fiddle with the arrow to expand it.

LAST NOTE, you'll notice that some blogs use the journal style they picked, while others use a site skin. This is a matter of preference. I prefer to use the site skin because it is more mobile friendly, and also you will be able to use the HTML and CSS to your hearts content. All blogs automatically is turned on to use their own style, so if you wanna change this option? "Account SettingsDisplay", and then uncheck "Show my journal's entry pages in my chosen style instead of the site skin".

Dreamwidth, like Wordpress, etc, depends on it's BEAUTIFUL COMMENT SECTION. You converse with each other through Threads, which is basically just tree form and nested. You can jump into each others threads as long as you can see a "reply". It's all pretty fun, because with Notifications, you'll be fine.

NOW, as I was saying, comments are great, there's still a few things you can do. One, you can edit your comment as long as it has not been replied to. Two, those in charge of the post can individually screen your comment, even if the post itself doesn't screen comments. Three, individual threads can also be tracked for comments to be notified, this works best when you have more than one person communicating in a thread, so that subthreads (branched off threads) are occurring. Or there's a particular order. It helps with discussion and roleplays. Freezing stops further replies, though the thread will still exist there. Finally there's deleting, which is obvious.

Here's one of my posts on this comm with some comments, just scroll down and see how they look!

Note also that all comments have permanent links. So you can link back to individual comments (and the comments that subsequently follow it) in. Example like I'm gonna link from the post I linked above, this single thread, but also half way through it. Note from the links they say "thread" in there, that marks where the permanent comment link is.

NOTE: Comments does not have a rich text editor right now, but it still has auto-formatting so that's cool. Since it has no RTE, though, you can't embed in comments. You can still use advanced HTML/CSS, so images and links are totally fine.

You've noticed by now that making posts and replying to posts and comments, you're allowed to choose icons. All standard free accounts let you upload 15 icons (Create → Upload Icons). So during your discussion, you can choose these fantastic icons to make your conversation look lively. In roleplays, you can use them for expression. Go to the Shop, and you can buy yourselves a Paid Account (100 icons) or a Premium Paid (250 icons). Paid Accounts actually give you more things though: Icon Browser, more Tracking options, etc. It's actually pretty good. Also affordable.

Some facts about icons: Keywords is the name of the icon, it is what will describe it in your choice lists. Comments is just extra stuff you wanna talk about for your icon: credits, etc. Description will appear if you hover over the icon, and it is there if you want to describe what the icon looks like for people who can't differentiate. Deleting an icon will have that space replaced by the Default icon in all your posts and threads.
--- NOTE: If you delete an icon, upload a new one, give it the exact same Keyword as the old deleted icon? The new icon will appear in place of the old icon in all your posts and threads instead of the default.
--- NOTE: changing your keywords will have the default appear instead because icon and old keywords are now unlinked in your old posts and threads. In order to make sure this doesn't happen, you have to Check "Rename Keywords" while you edit. You can only do this one icon at a time.

Inbox is where you can get all your notifications, and you can turn whatever you want to see in there through Manage Settings in the Inbox. You'll also notice you can send messages to other accounts, so that part works like email and every other social media website ever. You can also access sending them a new message through their Profile page.

I see you using <user name="accountnamehere"> for dreamwidth users, but what about users outside of dreamwidth, like say twitter?
<user name="accountnamehere" site="sitename"> There's plenty in here on how the names work. HERE'S AN EXAMPLE:
<user name="RobertDowneyJr" site="twitter"> to become [ profile] RobertDowneyJr

Dilemma! I have many accounts and I want to change through them quickly.
So I already mentioned that you only need one email address for many accounts (which is way easier than what most websites do). You can login and logout, which doesn't take long, but say you're constantly needing to change (example: from a personal account to a fanfiction account if you made a personal account for it instead of a community)...
- Firefox: LJ-Login
- Chrome: LJ-Juggler
And then just pick the Dreamwidth options.
--- For Chrome users, if you like roleplaying (or just want to use a few of its functions), there's also Dreamwidth Tools.

I can't reblog/retweet/replurk/re-etc.
This isn't a microblog, it's an extensive blog. Again, you have to think of it like Wordpress: all about large bodies of text, but unlike Wordpress, has a huge community option. If you want to save an important post for later, remember to put it in Memories. You share through communities to people who are members because they are like minded. It's a bit like following a tumblr/twitter/etc, but you also get to contribute! If you love the place, then by all means, subscribe to your favourite, or join! Pretty much like following, right? And if you like what they wrote, leave a comment! It really makes you get out there to talk and make friends. Nice.

So, first thing: what to do when you're on DW and you wanna retweet/reblog/replurk/etc. Just link it in a new blog post, honestly. "Hey, I just saw this really cool post and image by (etc)". The power remains in their hands, and you just did something cool for them. Same deal as re(something)'ing seriously.

The best thing to do is also to work with an extensive blog and a microblog together. Microblogs give very fast search options: so if you wanna flaunt your fanfic or a very important post, just throw a link to it on your microblog. You can edit a DW post freely: reblogging a link won't suddenly make you lose power of the original DW post, whereas you will lose such power with Tumblr, and while twitter and plurk's systems are tighter, you have character limitations. You can also host discussions in the blog now without it being lost in microblogs because their commenting system doesn't quite exist (even you, twitter and plurk). And plurk's commenting system is pretty impressive in its own right, but a good solid blog post can't be beat for something super wordy or requires discussion. I have about 500+ accounts in every website, they all work hand in hand (okay not that many but you know.) The idea is not to ditch a website for another website, but to augment them. For example, a lot of Dreamwidth roleplayers use Plurk to augment communication and replurking.

btw, searching in DW involves Interests, so add those into your profiles, even in communities! It's best to utilise your communities! Once a community gets really big for fandom/fic/scanlations/graphics/whatever stuff, it's not hard to find, and with Tags, everything is categorised for easy searching. There's also Archives in every journal type. These are actually great.

Also, when it comes to say, creations: Cross-posting, my friend. Post something in a community, with a link to your post/community posts. It's actually standard practice to link to a fanfic/art/graphics/whatever community that you have for yourself. For example, I post all my junk here (like layouts) in tofuhouse to organise what I have. Then I crosspost the link to [community profile] dreamwidthlayouts to share what I made. The easiest places to see all of this in action is [community profile] icons | [community profile] iconic and [community profile] dreamcodes as well. You can do the same in fandom communities, crossposting a great piece of art or fic you did! I can't stress enough how to do tags right in these comms too, cos they're your categories for people to find you and your stuff!

tl;dr: let microblogs be microblogs, larger blogs be larger blogs, and then use the two together and you've covered both their weaknesses with their strengths.

This is all about experimenting: Organize → Select Style that is right for you, and then Organise → Customize Style however you like. If not, there's always [community profile] dreamwidthlayouts and some LJ style imports. If you wanna code your own layouts, just know that if you can code for one DW style, you can code for most DW styles: they share the same css ids and classes.
--- I would recommend you to stick with DW layouts for as much as you can over LJ imports: the reason being is that LJ is very outdated, and DW styles are a lot more semi-responsive than LJ's ones. If you're able to code and you like LJ's custom styles, then you can actually easily style them from a DW one: by appearance, closest one to LJ's Flexible Squares and Mixit is DW's Five AM, the closest to LJ's Smooth Sailing is DW's Tectonic, and I've tried and tested them. Just mess around with the CSS here (which is way easier than LJ's css).

Can I talk shit when making posts, no matter the length?
You bet you can, it's your own blog. Obviously for communities, follow the rules. But it's like discussions and forums. Get into it. NGL, when I used to actively document and blog about my life, one post can have a grand total of one line. That's right, I was microblogging on a blog site because friends-list are way tidy and easy.

I got your back, friend.

There's a file uploader in beta mode but I'm not sure if we can say anything about it yet. Just that it preserves your filename like Photobucket does but better. Watch this space!
EDIT: It looks like an uploader has been in place for a while that worked, but it was uploading through email. So the page to upload via the internet is new, but that means that image hosting has been working for a while now. So I'll link the two for easy reference:
- Upload a New file:
- Manage files:

Create → Upload Images. It's accessible now! And you can manage too. The links are the same as what I struck out, it's just that it's accessible from the main menu now.

If you want a more mobile friendly way to post and edit your entries, Turn On Beta Testing. The post and edit entries now look a lot more like something you'd find in Wordpress, including panels. You can turn these panels on and off in Settings, and while in settings, move them around so that they are more intuitive to yourself. Additionally, you can make permalinks that aren't just a string of numbers, like this: to become and as you can see, they both work.
--- Just note that as it is in beta mode, it's still got some bugs and errors, but it's mostly usable.


Like with every website ever, if you're going to use all of these hand in hand, just remember the following!
- Icons + Codes: If they're not shareable by the person who made it, don't use them (in Dreamwidth, it's easy to make a note to "do not take" on the icon comments/descriptions, so look for those). If you are unsure, just ask. Sometimes they will make it shareable.
- Graphics: Unless explicitly said that it is a base, do not edit made graphics. This doesn't go for just Tumblr and Dreamwidth, but other places too: twitter, forums, etc. (usage is different of course, make it a habit to check too.)
- Credit: Try to make a habit of crediting the original source. It's actually helps the rest of us find where it's from!

Now you should be pretty good for skipping around in the world of extensive blogging. It's actually pretty nice! Gather your friends and you can discover things together. It's easy as shit if you like structure, the ability to control and edit your posts even after they are shared, easy access communities, and glorious commenting. And importantly: icon space. Wait what.

Kelsey @ [personal profile] mosasaur, because she was planning on doing one so I really only just lent my hand, she also dug deep and made suggestions.
--- Kelsey's tumblr post that links to this, if you wanna reblog (see we're using a big blog and a microblog hand in hand!)
All my new frands from, well, everywhere.
All my frands in general.
Dreamwidth for forking this platform.

Extra Links:
That I stumbled across:
- 7 basic bits about Dreamwidth @ [personal profile] carmenta
- [community profile] omnomnom I was looking in FAQs and this community was used as an example. It's a community for food. This is amazing.
- Dreamwidth and Tumblr's Crossposting Guide @ [personal profile] morgandawn
- [community profile] tutorialbox: A Dreamwidth Roleplay Tutorial Community. Here's the introduction and examples, practical and visual.
- Dreamwidth Roleplay Q & A @ [community profile] chavaniac by [personal profile] swagu (also got rp resources.)
- Tumblr specific: [community profile] tumblr_refugees and [ profile] dreamwidth-help
- DWRP advertising and tutorials in a tumblr source: [ profile] dreamwidthrps by [personal profile] dreamwidthrps

- [site community profile] dw_news and [site community profile] dw_maintenance for more news
- [site community profile] dw_suggestions if there's anything you'd like to see in Dreamwidth.
- Shop: Paid Account Points Conversion because for some reason I still haven't figured out how to get to it from the shop links.

This section will always be updated so check back.