2/13/2007

Carnival of Brass: FAQ (updated)

What is a "real-time Carnival" and how does it differ from the usual type of blog carnival?

The Carnival of Brass differs from traditional carnivals (like the Carnival of Islam in the West or Nomad Fatwas, both excellent in their own right) in two important ways. First, to submit a link, you don't send an email with the URL, but rather you simply "tag" it. This requires that you sign up for a free account at del.icio.us and add me, user azizhp, to your "network".

Second, to see the links, you don't visit the host website, but instead have a sidebar on your own blog. This means that the Carnival acts like dynamic news headlines, continually updated in real-time. You can even subscribe to it using an RSS reader like Bloglines or in your email client.

What is the feed address for the Carnival?

There are actually two feeds, and you can choose either or both as you see fit. The first one is titled @brass_crescent, and its address is:

http://del.icio.us/rss/azizhp/@brass_crescent

This feed is for blog posts by muslim bloggers and other blogs in the Brass Crescent (aka the Islamsphere). In defining the Islamsphere, we are not relying solely on adherence to the faith, but an affinity for parts of the diverse cultural fabric that Islam embraces and is embraced by worldwide.

The second feed address is here:

http://del.icio.us/rss/azizhp/@cob

This feed is for articles and news items from the mass media, of particular interest to the Islamsphere. Blog posts that comment on these articles belong in the other feed, this is more "news" whereas the other feed is more "opinion".

How do I embed the Carnival on my blog?

The easiest way is to put the following javascript/HTML blocks somewhere in your blog template:


<script type="text/javascript" src="http://del.icio.us/feeds/js/azizhp/%40brass_crescent?extended;count=5;
title=blogs%3A%20%40brass_crescent;icon=rss"></script>

<script type="text/javascript" src="http://del.icio.us/feeds/js/azizhp/%40cob?extended;count=5;
title=media%3A%20%40COB;icon=rss"></script>

<small><a href="http://cityofbrass.blogspot.com/2007/02/carnival-of-brass-faq-updated.html">Join the Carnival of Brass!</a></small>


Note that you can change the number of headlines from 5 to whatever you want - just edit the part in green to your taste. Likewise you can also put any title you want, just edit the part in red (the %3A means a colon, ie : , the %20 means a space, and %40 is the @ symbol). You can also style the feed with CSS to match your blog layout.

Your blog host may not allow javascript in your template. If that is the case, then you should try to add the feed directly. For example, blogs hosted on wordpress.com or new blogspot.com blogs allow easy RSS widgets, so you can add the feed addresses directly. Hosted services such as these may have some lag time, so your sidebar may not update immediately after a new link is approved. Be patient, it will get there.

What if I don't use a feedreader, know nothing about RSS, and I don't have a blog?

You can visit any blog (like City of Brass or Eteraz) that has the sidebar for the Carnival and read the links from there. We also will have a dedicated website for the Carnival as well - stay tuned.

How do I submit a URL to the Carnival?

First, you must register for an account on del.icio.us and add the host of the Carnival, Aziz Poonawalla, to your "network". The steps to do this are:

  1. Go to del.icio.us and register for a new account if you have not yet done so already.
  2. Install the del.icio.us extensions for Firefox or for Internet Explorer, depending on which browser you use to surf the web.
  3. Add user azizhp to your network by clicking here.


The above steps only need to be done once. Then, anytime you want to submit a link, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the URL of the item you wish to submit.
  2. click the "TAG" button on your browser toolbar (which was installed by the browser extension).
  3. Fill out the pop-up form using the following conventions:
    URL
    the actual URL of the post or item. This may already be prefilled out for you.
    Description
    The headline or title of the post.
    Notes
    A brief description or comment on the item. To identify yourself as the submitter, append your initials as follows: -ap
    Tags
    Use either the @brass_crescent tag (if the link is a blog posting) or the @COB tag (if the link is an article from the mass media). Do not forget the @ sign. Do NOT use both tags, only one or the other.


If these steps are followed, then your submission will be made visible to the host automatically. The host will choose the best links as they come in.

How many links can I submit?

Please limit yourself to one link a day.

Can I submit links from my own blog?

Of course! Please choose the best of the best for your submissions. Also, it would be a courtesy to ensure that you have added the Carnival to your own blog sidebar before submitting links to it from your blog. The value of the Carnival to everyone is maximized by having more people host it. Otherwise, if you submit but do not host, you are getting a benefit from the Carnival at the expense of everyone else.

I submitted a link, why didn't it show up?

Please note that not all links submitted can necessarily be approved, especially if many people submit links. The process by which a link is approved is admittedly subjective; I am asking for your trust that I will try and keep the content fresh and diverse.

Why not show all the links from everyone who submits?

Since there is a limited number of links we can display at a given time, if we attempt to show all submissions, then nothing will remain visible for very long. By being more selective and lower frequency, we can take our time to savor the content that flows past.

Isn't all this harder than the traditional method?

After setting up your del.icio.us account, you will see that submitting links is in fact incredibly easy to do. Plus, it requires significantly less effort on the part of the host to maintain. The advantages are there - try it out and you'll see!

This FAQ didn't answer my question. Now what?

Please leave a comment to this post or to apoonawa dash bohra at yahoo dot com.

2 comments:

Tiel Aisha Ansari said...

Salaam Aziz!

I found the signup instructions pretty straightforward, except for one thing: you gave a link to add azizhp to my network, but all that seemed to do was take me back to the City of Brass blog page. I had to add you in del.icio.us, which is very easy to do, but you may need to explain that in the FAQ.

Aziz Poonawalla said...

Hi Tiel, thanks for that clarification. I'll eddit the link so it goes to the help page on adding people. Much appreciated.