This is a reprint of the FAQ on the WOU blog server. It was originally sent out on Friday, May 13. (And no, I’m not superstitious.)
The Movable Type blog server is now up and running, so this week I’ll talk about how to get started with it. This will be a fairly short FAQ because my week has been filled with other urgent projects, but luckily there’s not much you need to know to get going!
* So what do I do first?
First, you need to send a message to Paul Lambert at firstname.lastname@example.org and request that a blog be created for you. Eventually, we will tie the blog server in with our other systems and automatically create blogs, but for now you must request it.
* Can I choose my username, password, title of my blog, or anything else?
Your username will be the same as your WOU email username, and your password will be a standard one, which you should change as soon as you log in the first time. You can choose whatever title you want for your blog, within reason, and also a short descriptive phrase, one line of text or less. These can be changed later.
* Where do I log in?
Go to https://wou.edu/blogadmin, and enter your username and password. The next screen is the main blog administration page; you will see a list of all the blogs you can post to; at first, this will just be one. Later on, some users may be able to post to multiple blogs; for instance, their own and another one that is written by a group. For now, though, you will see only the blog you just requested.
* How do I change my password?
This is the first thing you should do. Look on the right side of the page, and you will see a box labeled “Shortcuts”. One of the links there is called “Edit your profile”; click on it to go to the profile page. You can change any of the options here, but we do not recommend changing your username. To change your password, enter the new password in both the “Password” and “Confirm Password” boxes.
* Why does it ask me for my birthplace on the profile screen?
If you want, you can enter your birthplace for the purposes of password recovery. If you don’t, the “forgot password” link on the login screen will not work. You must also make sure that your email address is listed correctly in you profile, because the password recovery system sends the password to that address.
* How do I get back to the main page from the profile editing screen?
Click the “Main menu” link near the top, or select your blog’s name from the menu at the top of the screen and click the Go button.
* How do I actually post to my blog?
To the right of the blog name on the main page, you should see a “Create Entry” link. Click it, and it will take you to the “Create New Entry” page. This page has a lot of options on it, but luckily there is a fairly good help page available; just click the question mark button next to some of the field names. I’ll still cover the basics here, though.
* So what are the basics?
You’ll need to fill in the Title and the Entry Body fields; the rest are optional. Notice that you can choose categories for your posts; there’s no need to worry about that now, though. If your entry is long, consider putting the bulk of it in the “Extended Entry” box; that will hide that part Down at the bottom are some more options, but the only one you need to worry about right now is the Post Status menu. When you are done with your entry, you should make sure that menu is set to “Publish” rather than “Draft” or “Future”.
Go ahead and hit the Preview button at the bottom. Naturally enough, this will show you a preview of what your entry will actually look like to readers. You can choose to re-edit the entry if you want to make changes, or save it now if you are done.
* What can I say in my blog?
Pretty much anything you want. Because the blog server (like every everything else here) is owned by the state, blogs are subject to the standard limitations spelled out in the Acceptable Use of Computing Resources Policy, available at https://wou.edu/policy/36. This really isn’t any different from the rules on email or anything else; you just can’t use your blog for any sort of commercial business or criminal activity, and you agree to take sole responsibility for what you say.
* Where do I go to view my blog? Or anyone else’s?
Your blog is stored in the public_html folder on your H: drive in the folder called “blogs”. You should not try to edit anything in this folder by hand, unless you really know what you are doing. Since it is in the public_html folder, it can be accessed at “https://wou.edu/~username/blogs” (substitute your actual network username for the “username” part; and don’t forget the tilde “~” before it!)
This address will be listed below the blog name in the main menu page of the blog server. Anyone else’s blog, if they have one, will have a similar address. If you have a home page, I recommend putting a link to your blog somewhere on it as well. You can find my blog at https://wou.edu/~swartzer/blogs. Feel free to post comments there!
* How do I post a comment?
Click on the “Comments” link at the bottom of any blog entry (that number beside it is the number of comments already left, by the way) and you will be taken to a comment form. Just fill it out, preview it if you like, and save it!
* Where do I go for more information?
Movable Type has a good user manual; you can find it at http://sundown.wou.edu/mtstatic/docs/mtmanual.html.
That’s it for this week; feel free to email me with any questions, or post them as comments on my blog!
Thanks once again for your time and attention!