How to Use the Site

Blog Posts, Articles, and Extra Features, oh my!written by Site Authors
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Recap of the series so far

Blog Posts and Articles

We blogged for several years at www.ldsphilosopher.com on all sorts of subjects related to philosophy and religion. Over time, however, it became clear that we are somewhat perfectionistic when it comes to writing. We kept raising our standards for how good a blog post had to be before we published it. Eventually, we had over a hundred drafts that we wanted to polish and then publish, but didn’t feel as if the ideas were complete or the expressed clearly enough yet. So, we have developed what we call a two-tier publishing system. There are two types of content on this site: (1) blog posts, and (2) articles.

Blog Posts

We have low expectations and standards for blog posts. We’ll publish any random thought as a blog post, however incomplete, partially formed, or poorly expressed. In addition, they don’t represent our final thoughts on an issue. Old blog posts don’t always represent how we see things today. You can consider the blog posts on this site to be kind of like a “thought journal,” where you can witness first-hand the evolution of our ideas.

Articles

In contrast, we have very high expectations and standards for articles. We really want people to read our articles—they represent the best content on our site. They are featured at the top of the home page. We’ll work hard to make them thorough and understandable. We like the ideas in our articles so much that we’ve not only written about them, we’ve made clean PDF versions of them that you can download. Sometimes we’ll include a PowerPoint that you can use to present the ideas to your family and friends. We’ll sometimes even include a quiz that you can use to test how well you understand. Also, unlike blog posts, we’ll constantly update our articles when we learn more, so an article will always represent our latest perspective on an issue.

The Relationship Between Blog Posts and Articles

Often, blog posts will be refined and turned into an article. Sometimes, several blog posts will form the basis for an article. In Hollywood, there are many more movie scripts pitched to producers than are actually made into movies, and in the same way, we suspect there will be many more blog posts than articles. Blog posts can also be compared to the “behind the scenes” footage or even the “outtakes” in the making of a movie. They are where our ideas get formed and tested. Another useful metaphor is that our blog posts are the “restaurant napkins” where we jot down our initial thoughts whenever they come to us, and our articles are the finished product. In summary, read our articles. That’s where the really good stuff is. Our blog posts are just Nathan and Jeffrey thinking out loud (what some might call “thought-vomits”). When you visit a blog post that has been made into an article, you’ll find a link to that article to the right.

Extra Content In Articles and Blog Posts

Most blogs will put their references, related readings, and downloads at end of the content. However, we are both print designers, and we like to keep things as simple and clean as possible. We don’t like distracting clutter. For that reason, we sorted all that extra material into tabs on the side. That way, the footnotes, related readings, and downloads are hidden from immediate view, but they can be easily accessed without leaving the page.

References

There are two ways to find the footnotes. First, you can click on the “references” tab to the right of the content, which will reveal the list references. Or, you can click on the footnote indicator, and that will link you to the references as well. Neither of these actions will take you away from the page. Also, at the end of each reference, there is a link that will take you to the exact point in the content where the reference was made.

Related Material

Most articles and blog posts will include a list of (1) further readings, (2) related articles, and (3) related blog posts. We’ll show you where we learned the ideas we write about. We’ll link you to articles, books, and other material where you can learn more. In addition, we’ll talk about similar ideas and topics multiple times on our site, and we’ll connect you to that content.

Resources

When we publish an article (this likely won’t happen for blog posts), we’ll include a clean PDF version of the article that you can download or print. That way, in case of a global information apocalypse, you’ll still at least have access to Jeffrey and Nathan’s take on life, universe, and everything. Although I suspect that in that scenario, you’ll be preoccupied by much more pressing concerns. However, in the meantime, you could print it off and give it to others.

In addition, we’ll sometimes provide PowerPoint Presentation versions of our articles. This is because we really care about the content of our articles, and want to provide our readers with all the resources they need to not only understand the ideas we write about, but to share them with others. Additionally, we’ll also sometimes provide pedagogical tips that will help you to present and share what you’ve learned with your family and friends.

Quiz

On some of our articles, we’ll include a quiz that you can use to assess how well you understand the ideas we write about. We both consider ourselves educators, and good educators know that assessment is an important component of any instructional material. If we are going to be teaching our readers, we’d love to see if what we write actually works. If you see a quiz on an article, give it a try! All quiz responses are anonymous, and so we’ll only see the scores. We’ll use them to improve our writing and clarify potential misunderstandings.

Messed Up Articles

Sometimes, old blog posts will be a little messed up. This is because we’ve used several different WordPress plugins over the years, and we’ve had to disable some of them. This has messed up the formatting of old posts. If there is a post that you wish were fixed, let us know, and we’ll get right on it.

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