Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

User Guide


Now I'm a member:

I want to post something:


How do I find my way round the site?

ET's home page (or front page) has three columns:

On the left, beneath the European Tribune logo, are featured articles and commentary.

In the middle, in the News & Views column:

  • General discussion takes place in the Open Threads under A Place To Talk
  • The Newsroom offers for critical discussion a selection of excerpts from online news media
  • ET Series links to an index of past contributions on specific topics
  • The thirsty masses receive guidance from a specialist in Helen's Beer Blog

Above the News & Views column, on a blue background, is the user console.

  • If you're not a member, it invites you to register.
  • If you're logged out, it's the login box.
  • For a logged-in member, it looks like this:

The Profile button takes you to your user pages. See How do my User Settings work? and What can I put in my User Page?.

The Diary button opens the page on which all your diaries are listed. It's your personal blog index page.

New Diary opens an edit page for you to post a new diary. See How do I post a diary?

Comments lists the comments you have made, most recent at the top.

Ratings lists the ratings you have given, most recent at the top.

Logout... logs you out.

In the righthand column are user posts, called diaries in the Scoop software ET runs on.

The upper list, Top Diaries, contains those that have been most recommended by other users.

Below it, Recent Diaries are listed in order of posting, latest at the top.

To open a diary, click on its title.

Only registered members can post or recommend diaries.

The block above the righthand column is for other information and links.

At the top of the screen is a menu bar:

Since you're in the User Guide, you're already using this bar. There are however options that are not self-explanatory:

  • Booman Tribune is an American blog from which the European Tribune was a spin-off
  • Recent Comments opens a page listing the 20 most recent comments on the European Tribune
  • Diaries opens, as a full page, the list of user posts, beginning with the most recent
  • Search takes you to a Google search of the European Tribune. You can also access the (more unwieldy) Scoop site search.


What are the rules?

The ETiquette lays out some advice about how to best engage in exchanges with other users here.

Please also see ET Editorial Guidelines for a discussion of subject matter and treatment.


What are comment ratings and how should I use them?

You will see some variation on this at the end of the title of each comment:

Variations may include, for instance, (none/0), (none/1), (4.00/3), (2.33/6)...

This displays the rating of the comment by other users. You can click on it to see which users have given which rating. The number given on the left is the average rating; on the right, the number of raters.

The average is only calculated from two ratings and above. When there are fewer raters than 2, you will either see (none/0) - no one has rated - or (none/1) - one person has rated. NB: this does not mean you have necessarily received a troll rating.

These are the available ratings:

The "Up" ratings

4 is used to reward a comment that you find particularly good (whether you agree with it or not). It may be informative, useful, intelligent, well-argued, funny. It also encourages commenters by showing that they have been read. It is a social device for the community. On ET, the 4 is the generally-used "like" or "thumbs-up" rating.

3 was originally intended to show approval of interesting, but less excellent comments. However, it has practically gone out of use on ET, and may be the cause of misunderstanding - so it is better avoided altogether.

The "Down" ratings

2 is rarely used. It may be used as a warning for comments that are unnecessarily aggressive, personal or disruptive in their tone.

1 is used to rate a comment "trollish", i.e. appears calculated to provoke angry reactions, is grossly aggressive or insulting, or really inappropriate. Even more rarely used than 2.

"Down" ratings should never be used to indicate that you disagree with the comment. If in doubt, wait and see what other members do. Remember that you or the commenter might be having a bad day, you or the commenter might have misinterpreted something or missed a joke (very easy on a forum in English where many don't have English as first language). Use without thought may send the wrong signals and tends to produce overheated discussion.

Count to 10 and think before using. Or ignore. Also read the The ETiquette.

How to rate a comment

In order to rate a comment, use the small menu at the bottom of each comment (shown above).

Choose the rating you want to allocate in the dropdown menu. You can do this on several comments if you wish. However, to apply the ratings, you need to click on the "Rate All" button. Your ratings will be applied, and you will be sent back to the top of the diary.

Warning: if you decide to post a comment before you have applied your choice of ratings by pressing "Rate All", your ratings will be lost. Remember to hit "Rate All" before commenting.

You can modify a rating you have given simply by going to the dropdown menu on that comment, changing the rating and pressing the "Rate All" button. It is not possible to delete a rating completely.

You can check the past ratings you have given by using the "Ratings" button in your user console.


How do I recommend a diary?

You can only recommend a diary once you have become a member.

To recommend a diary: open the diary by clicking on its title. Below the text of the diary, click on the button reading "Recommend this diary".

You can also unrecommend a diary by clicking again on the same button.

You can see who has recommended a diary before or after recommending it by clicking on the link "Who has recommended this diary?" just below the Recommend button.


What can I put in my User Page?

To see your User Page, click the Profile button in the user console.

The details you see were first taken from the information you provided on sign-up.

You may also see that you are a trusted user. This means that the frequency of your contributions and the appreciation of other users shown through ratings have prompted the software to name you "trusted user". In that case, you will see a link to an explanatory page.

If you wish to change or add to your info, click on the Settings tab.

You can post a (garbled) e-mail address and a homepage, modify the country you indicated when registering (please don't leave it on the default "United States" unless that really is the country you want to indicate...). You can also add a biographical note if you wish. A signature can be added to your comments.

Put in your public key if applicable. Below, you can change the e-mail address at which you will receive notice of a forgotten password. You can also change your password.

Don't forget to click "Save Preferences" at the bottom of the page.


How do my User Settings work?

Below the line of tabs, there are two options, Interface Preferences, and Comment Preferences.

Interface Preferences

The choices greyed out are either no longer operative or without interest. With those that remain:

  1. You can choose your time zone in the drop-down menu.
  2. Set the width of the edit box in which you type comments
  3. Set the height of the edit box in which you type comments
  4. Set the page you land on when coming to the European Tribune site

Don't forget to click Save Preferences if you have made changes.

Comment Preferences

If you want a quick look at what these comment display options mean, open a diary with comments in it, and use the dropdown menu at the bottom of the diary (it will only affect the diary you have opened).

Choose each option in turn, click "Set" to see the result.

You may well decide, as most users do, that Nested (which shows which comments reply to which) gives the liveliest presentation of the discussion. It is, in any case, the default, and if you do nothing to the Display Options in your Comment Preferences, you'll still have Nested, which most people are quite happy with.

Sometimes, however, comment threads get very long, and difficult to follow if all is displayed in full and nested. A way to deal with this is to specify a comment number limit for Nested. So, the box for "Nested up to" could be set for, say, 250 or 300. Then you could choose to put a + sign in the Dynamic Threaded box. The effect of this will be that, if a thread has under 250 (or 300...) comments, the display will be nested. Once the limit passed, the display will (entirely) become Dynamic Threaded, much easier to scroll and find new comments.

Further options for the way comments are presented:

View: You can leave this one on Mixed, which is the default. The other types offered are not used on ET.

Sort: If you wish, you may choose to have comments sorted by the user ratings they have received, according to the different options offered in the dropdown menu. The default is Ignore Ratings, which means that top-level comments are sorted by their timeline. If you choose this, the second dropdown menu allows you to choose between oldest comments at the top, and most recent comments at the top.

Rate comments? Most people want to be able to rate other users' comments, so they say Yes.

Post mode: If, for some reason, you always want to do your own HTML in your comments, or always post them in plain text, you can choose that here. The default is Auto Format, meaning that the software takes charge of most ordinary formatting of comments without you having to think about it.

Signature type: If you have a signature line at the foot of your comments (see User Page), you can decide how it applies by using the dropdown menu.

  • Retroactive means your current signature will be displayed on all your past comments (including if you had a different sig in the past).
  • Sticky means your current signature applies to the new comments you make after choosing it, but will not overwrite previous sigs on previous comments.
  • Never Apply Sig means what it says.

NB: These posting options (Post Mode and Signature Type) are also available beneath the comment edit box of each comment you make.


How do I post a comment?

To respond to a diary, click on "Post A Comment".

To respond to another user's comment, click on "Reply to This".

This will open a comment edit page. You can edit the automatically generated comment title ("Re: [diary title]" or "Re: [title of comment you respond to]"). Put the body of your comment in the large box.

You are not obliged to use the Preview button before Post, but it's advisable. Once your comment is posted, there's no going back on it.


What about HTML in comments?

Comments are auto-formatted. You don't have to worry about paragraphs, just use the Enter key as usual.

But, to be clear when you're quoting someone else, it's preferable to put quotes into a block in this way: <blockquote>text of your quote here</blockquote>.

And please embed your links.

Should you need further markup, there's a list of allowed html beneath the comment edit box. The use of some frequently-used HTML functions (for inserting quote boxes, pictures, tables and bilingual columns) is explained in detail in separate points below.


Can I edit or update a comment?

It's not possible to edit or update a comment. Even site editors cannot do this.


How do I post a diary?

You can only post a diary once you have become a member.

In your user console, click on the "New Diary" button.

You will get a story edit page.

Leave the middle box on "Diary". Leave the righthand box on "Auto Format", unless you want to do your own HTML (See HTML in diaries).

Fill in the title box. Make your title short if possible. Please avoid attention-grabbing elements, particularly FULL CAPITALS, unless you have a really good reason for using them.

Put an introductory paragraph in the "Intro Copy" box. Not too long: this will feature on the Diaries page, and on the front page if your diary is promoted.

Put the bulk of your entry in the "Extended Copy" box.

Don't forget:

If you want to post a poll with your diary, see how do I post a poll?

First, use Preview (obligatory), then, when you're satisfied with the result, click Submit.


What about HTML in diaries?

If you want to do your own HTML, choose "HTML Formatted" in the drop-down menu top right on the edit page, and refer to Allowed HTML below.

If not, leave this menu on the default option, Auto Format. To add markup (for example, quote boxes, embedded links), see HTML in comments.


How do I update/edit a diary?

Above and below the text of your diary you will see "Edit my story..." and "Edit story" links. Clicking on either will open the edit page for you again. Scroll down to the two edit boxes to edit.

If your edit is considerable, or if you want to update with fresh information, for example, please indicate you have done so by inserting a note. You can do this by using [UPDATE] or [ED].

If you type [UPDATE] at the beginning of the text you add, then click on the "Update" button, you'll get:

Update [2013-1-8 10:52:7 by yourusername]: (your text follows)

If you use [ED] in the same way, you'll get:

[editor's note, by yourusername] (your text follows)

Don't worry if you don't get a result on Preview, the magic happens when you click Update.

If you're simply correcting a typo or two, it's not necessary to leave a note.


How do I post a poll?

Polls can only be posted as part of a diary How do I post a diary?

Put your poll question in the title box and the available responses in the answers box.

It's usually better to limit the responses to four to avoid splintering the votes too severely, unless it's just for fun.


Can I post offsite material, or cross-post?

There are three important guidelines on offsite material:

  1. Identify your source - if it is on the web, you should link to it. (Linking is explained in point How do I embed a link? below.)
  2. Put the quoted text in blockquote (for that, see How do I insert a quote box? below), so readers can easily distinguish quotes from your own writing.
  3. Last but not least: keep your quote as short and concise as possible, ideally 3 paragraphs per blockquote or less. Encourage readers to follow your link and read the full article you quote from. A quote should only awaken interest, or show the essential points you want to comment on.

If you are quoting copyrighted material, these guidelines must be strictly followed.

You are welcome to cross-post your own material from another site. Please, in that case, indicate it's a cross-post, from where, and link back to it.


How do I embed a link?

Long URLs can be a pain, they can push the margins wide. A link embedded in your text causes no problems and looks much better. This is how to do it:

<a href="(your URL here)">your text</a>

Sample display:

I wandered lonely as a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing">cloud</a>


I wandered lonely as a cloud


How do I insert a quote box?

Type <blockquote>(your content here)</blockquote>

which produces this:

(your content here)

Alternatively, you can get a different colour scheme like this:

<blockquote class="orange">(your content here)</blockquote>

which produces:

(your content here)


How do I insert a picture?

You can insert pictures in your diaries or your comments. To do this, you need to have the URL, or address, for the location of the picture on the net. As an example, the URL of our site logo is: http://www.eurotrib.com/images/eurotb-logo.png

To get the URL of a picture that is on a web page:

1. Right-click on the picture. A menu appears.

2. Most browsers have an option in the menu, allowing you to copy the "URL", the "address", or the "location" of the picture.

With Microsoft Internet Explorer, it's a little more complicated. Choose "Properties". A box will pop up displaying details about the picture, including its URL. Select the URL with the mouse and right-click to choose "Copy".

3. Now you have the URL in memory, go to your diary or comment and type:

<img src="

then paste in the URL:

<img src="http://www.eurotrib.com/images/eurotb-logo.png

then type:


4. Now you have finished the command that will display the picture in your diary or comment:

<img src="http://www.eurotrib.com/images/eurotb-logo.png">

To post a picture that is on your hard drive (or other memory device):

You need to upload the picture to an image hosting site (google "free image hosting"). Once you have an account open on one of these sites, follow instructions for uploading your picture. Then copy the URL they offer.

Now return to 3. and 4. above.

More about pictures:

If your picture is big, you can scale down its display size by specifying width in this way:

<img src="[insert URL of picture here]" width="400">

(400 is an example). Picture width is limited to 600 pixels by the European Tribune software (more than that can mess the display up on some users' screens).

You can embed a link in the picture by adding an anchor tag around it, see for example the code for an embedding of our site logo linking to our site:

<a href="http://www.eurotrib.com/"><img src="http://www.eurotrib.com/images/eurotb-logo.png"></a>

...which looks like this:

In either a comment or a diary, if you'd like your picture to be centred, use:

<div style="text-align:center"><img src="[your pic's URL]"></div>

If you want the centred image to be a separate paragraph (with empty lines abowe and below it, you can save the double line breaks in the default Auto Format mode (and the extra <p> tags in HTML Formatted mode) by using this:

<p style="text-align:center"><img src="[your pic's URL]">


How do I embed a video?

You can embed videos from vimeo, Youtube, and dailymotion.

Don't use the embed code offered onsite, it won't work. Embedding on the European Tribune is done by means of macro commands.

These have to be placed between double parentheses, thus: ((macro command))

To embed a video, the first half of the macro command is the name of the video site, the second half is the identification (ID) of the precise video. For example, if you want to embed a Youtube video:

((youtube ID))

Note that a space separates the two parts.

How to get the video ID:

When you're on the page of that video on the video site, look at the URL (address) displayed at the top of your browser screen. Part of that URL is the ID code for the video. The IDs are highlighted in the three examples below:







With vimeo, if the URL doesn't show the video ID, a right-click on the Share icon will give you a "Copy video URL" option.

It's a similar procedure for dailymotion, where a right-click on the Export icon will allow you to copy the URL.

Now you have the ID code, you can finish your embed macro at the place you want it to be in your diary or comment:

((youtube jwpO-nnFY9g))

or, ((vimeo 993998))

or, ((dailymotion x47ymf_filmparlement0003_school))

Take care to keep the site names in lower case, and to separate the two parts with a space, but to add no other spaces.

Click Preview to check. You should see:


How do I embed a Tweet?

Use the embed code offered by Twitter (click on the three dots "..." in the tweet, choose Embed from the menu, and copy the code as prompted).

Then paste the code into your ET comment or diary:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">"Lecturing" is a common excuse for shrugging off well-supported arguments that participants are unable to refute. <a href="https://twitter.com/RaoulRuparel">@RaoulRuparel</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/OpenEurope">@OpenEurope</a></p>— Dimitris Yannopoulos (@DimitrisY) <a href="https://twitter.com/DimitrisY/status/614776177782333440">June 27, 2015</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Strip out:

lang="xx" from blockquote and from first paragraph instruction;

dir="xxx" from p ;

entire final script line.

So it looks like this:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>"Lecturing" is a common excuse for shrugging off well-supported arguments that participants are unable to refute. <a href="https://twitter.com/RaoulRuparel">@RaoulRuparel</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/OpenEurope">@OpenEurope</a></p>— Dimitris Yannopoulos (@DimitrisY) <a href="https://twitter.com/DimitrisY/status/614776177782333440">June 27, 2015</a></blockquote>

Then post and hope it works.

As elements of the Twitter embed code may be modified, your embed may not work. Note what html the Scoop parser objects to, and try clearing it out to see if that works.


How do I insert a table?

Tables can be created with normal HTML code, in which the entire table is enclosed by a <table> tag and its closing pair </table>, table rows are enclosed by <tr> tags, and cells in rows are enclosed either by <th> tags (for headers) or <td> tags (for normal cells). For example:

<table><tr><th>Header 1</th><th>Header 2</th></tr><tr><td>Cell content 1</td><td>Cell<br>content<br>2</td></tr></table>

The default formatting of tables on European Tribune lacks any borders, spacing or padding. The above example would look like this:

Header 1Header 2
Cell content 1Cell

If you are familiar with CSS, you can format the table and individual cells by specifying CSS formatting in the style property of <table>, <th> and <td> tags. For example:

<table><tr><th>Header 1</th><th>Header 2</th></tr><tr><td>Cell content 1</td><td style="padding-top:5px;text-align:right;color:red;font-weight:bold;border-top:1px dotted;border-bottom:3px solid">Cell<br>content<br>2</td></tr></table>

...which would look like this:

Header 1Header 2
Cell content 1Cell

To make life easier for users, European Tribune also has a pre-formatted table style that differs from the default look: cells have thin black borders, the content of header cells is centred and bolded, line height is reduced to 120%, and there is an automatic empty line below the table. To use it, add the property "class" with the value "bordered" to the <table> tag, like this:

<table class="bordered"><tr><th>Header 1</th><th>Header 2</th></tr><tr><td>Cell content 1</td><td>Cell<br>content<br>2</td></tr></table>

...which would look like this:

Header 1Header 2
Cell content 1Cell


Editing a bilingual column

Europe has many languages, and so do European Tribune readers. Though English is generally used on the site, posters often quote a news or other article in another language, and put it side-by-side with an English translation.

The formatting of bilingual columns is up to the individual, but EuroTrib users have developed what could be viewed as a non-compulsory standard. Here's an example of how it looks:

Première langue, premier paragrapheSecond language first paragraph
Première langue, paragraphe 2Second language second paragraph

This is the HTML code:

<table style="border-collapse:collapse">
<tr><td width="49%" style="background-color: #ffffe0; color: #992020; padding: 5px">Première langue, premier paragraphe</td><td width="2%"></td><td width="49%" style="background-color: #eaffea; color: #0a6f0a; padding: 5px">Second language first paragraph</td></tr>
<tr><td style="background-color: #ffffe0; color: #992020; padding: 5px">Première langue, paragraphe 2</td><td></td><td style="background-color: #eaffea; color: #0a6f0a; padding: 5px">Second language second paragraph</td></tr>

Explanation of that wodge of HTML:

The bilingual column is made as a table with three columns.

  • The center one only serves for separation. The width of the columns can be given in the cell opening tags of the first column.
  • It is advisable to put each paragraph in a separate cell/row because the length of the same text varies from one language to another.
  • For more than two rows, just copy the code of the second row (from the second <tr> tag to its closing </tr> tag).
  • If you copy-and-paste the above code, don't forget to eliminate line breaks!
  • Colors can differentiate the two languages visually. The background and letter color is defined with style attributes within each cell opening tag.
  • Also in the cell opening tags, the padding attribute defines how much the colored area extends in all directions beyond the text within it.
  • In the opening table tag, the border-collapse style attribute eliminates whitespace between table cells.

If you have Firefox, there is an easier way: download TribExt, ET's own Firefox add-on, which has a neat bilingual column editor feature.


Using macros

Apart from embedding videos, macros are mostly used on the European Tribune to allow users to insert different, mostly humorous tags, without the trouble of typing HTML.

Macros can be placed within a diary or a comment.

See Macros for full instructions and a list of macros you can use.


Using maths

We have MathJax installed, which means you can embed mathematics within diaries and comments. See the MathJax documentation for more details.

We only allow the \ [ \ ] and \ ( \ ) delimiters for TeX, since the usage of $ and $$ is too confusing for normal use.

You also need to set the comment mode to either "Plain Text" or "HTML Formatted" so that Scoop doesn't mess up your \'s.

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