Qntra Style and Draft Content Guide

Please see: http://trilema.com/2015/lacessiveram-editor/

Now that Qntra has just a bit more than a year's worth of content behind it and processed a number of submissions, there's a more solid idea of just what Qntra is about. This guide is going to cover two subjects: the formatting of submissions and the content of submissions. The guidelines for formatting submissions are open to comment and effective immediately. The content guidelines are open for comment and will go into effect after there has been time for the dragons of #bitcoin-assets to mull them over.

Formatting for Submission

  1. Submissions are to be made as plain text with html markup. The submission ought to be GPG encrypted, but the payload ought to be plainly visible in any text editor. The best way to preserve the formatting of a your submission from mutilation in transit is GPG encrypting it.
  2. Each paragraph should present as a single line of text, and paragraphs should be separated by two line breaks1. If your text editor makes this a pain, you probably ought to consider a different one or learn how to make it do this.
  3. Content should be linked with <a href="the url">the text</a> without further modifiers such as where the link ought to open. Links to sources out of Level 1 of assbots Web or Trust and links to dynamic pages that change content as a function of their nature should be followed with a link to an archive.is snapshot of the page in the form (<a href="http://archive.is/OMGBBQ">archived</a>). At the editor's discretion links to particularly disreputable sources will be replaced a published piece entirely with the archive.is snapshot.
  4. Any quote from another source longer than a few words is to be contained in <blockquote></blockquote> tags. The plaintext of entire primary source documents may be inserted into these tags. Whenever possible inserting whole documents in these tags is encouraged.
  5. Numbered and bulleted lists are fine formating. markup to use is using a numbered list as an example:<ol><li>item 1</li><li>item 2</li></ol>For readability you may insert line breaks between items. If you use some other tool to generate html automatically and its lists do anything else, stop using MS Frontpage. Or Word, or…
  6. Quotation Marks and apostrophes are the straight version. "Smart Quotes" or "Fancy Quotes" and other similar trash is right out.
  7. Footnotes go inline surrounded by double parenthesis like:2 Footnotes further do not belong in the first or only paragraph of a submission. It ruins the appearance of pieces on the Qntra front page. Find another way to present it. Please use footnotes sparingly, in excess they hurt readability.
  8. <b></b> for bold and <i></i> for italic. Try to use sparingly and appropriately.
  9. Send code snippets and GPG signed material in separate GPG encrypted blocks. This protects them from painful mutilation.
  10. Images are fine. Send each as an email attachment. At this time it seems safe to handle images this way. In the future this may change.
  11. Other formatting options may be available on request. Comments and title suggestions may be contained underneath the body of the article in some sort of HTML or C comment tags.

Sticking to this limited set of markup ensures that the your submission will play well in any reasonable web browser and most of the unreasonable ones as well. It also allows for time to be spent reviewing your submission instead of beating it into shape. If your submission is .doc, .docx, .rtf, or machine generated html is will henceforth be discarded.

Content Guidelines

This section is not final and is open to comment. Some version of this is likely to go into effect following the publication of the October 2015 statement.

Qntra pieces fall into one of three categories: News, Indictments, and Commentary.

News comprises the bulk of Qntra's material. News suitable for Qntra is timely and relevant. News should be sourced and driven by data. When writing up a news item you should strive to link the most local coverage possible. News may be relevant directly to Bitcoin, or more generally to the environment surrounding Bitcoin. Here is an example of news directly relevant to Bitcoin. By contrast here is a piece which concerns the environment around Bitcoin. News also overlaps with Indictments.

Indictments are reports on things being done by bad actors. Think things Preet Bharara does as well as things Law enforcement does in general to make the world a worse place for Bitcoin and for actual people. This also includes document dumps on fringe parties and scammers. In the event a shitcoin scam makes it onto Qntra it is going to be in this capacity, but a shitcoin story isn't generally going to merit coverage unless the hype and hazard get to the scale they negatively impact the environment around Bitcoin. GAW and Ethereum meet this test of scale. Litecoin, just doesn't anymore. Further with indictments when something has been indicted already bias towards linking to or blockquote the previous indictments. Preet Bharara being a turd in a human costume is known, add the new charges and link to the old.

Commentary is the last category of material that fits Qntra. These pieces explain how the world is, in relation to Bitcoin. The canonical example is thestringpuller's piece on the Hard Fork Missile Crisis. It can also include gloating over things fiat ventures are failing to do that Bitcoin ventures are succeeding at. The standards for commentary are more stringent than for news.  It should still be relatively timely, commentary pieces on the Hardfork Crisis and the general suck of XTCoin were timely in relation to debates being started by dangerous idiots. Any submitter attempting a commentary piece should already be well versed in historical #bitcoin-assets writings. This means at least six months to a year of log readings3 and a broad reading of material posted in blogs by #bitcoin-assets members.4 Commentary should be able to stand on its own, but there are going to nearly always be chances to bring in historical writings from the corpus for support.5

All content should strive for a few things:

  1. Terseness: This doesn't need to be the old joke about the pre-News Corp Wall Street Journal condensing World War III to a paragraph, but that is a target. News pieces probably ought to target 50-350 words. Adding a new indictment to news 200-700 words. Multiple indictments can climb from there. There is no hard cap, if the quality, urgency and relevance of the information support it. More words are fine when those words are working presenting new information.
  2. Accuracy: Drive your writing and coverage with data and support it with history.
  3. Insiders and Mystery sources: A large part of the ongoing credibility of Qntra has been basing select stories on clandestine insider sources. Far more credibility has come from not directly indicting those sources. Any mystery or insider source cited must be credible, AND they must consent to being cited. A substantial value proposition for Qntra which is trying to be cultivated is Qntra as an actual safe space for insiders and leakers to report malfeasance. This means verifying both the source and their consent is critical. It also means that if any other source is possible they are cited. So far this worked in covering BitPay and other actors around Bitcoin.

Not Qntra Material

The following is material that just doesn't fit Qntra. Like the content guide this is also open to comments:

  1. Raw Press Releases: Criticism and commentary on press releases is welcome. Whole press releases may even be block quoted. Qntra is however not a venue for strangers to get their press releases published for free. Entities in level one and occasionally level 2 of the #bitcoin-assets Web of Trust can get press releases covered as news without a need for criticism. Strangers whoever don't get free publicity for merely announcing things.
  2. Most Altcoin Drama: At the point a particular bad actor gets too big, knocking them down can be Qntra material but never in a way that portrays other bad actors favourably. As time goes on the size threshold to count will only go up. At Qntra's inception Darkcoin/Dash was big enough relative to Qntra to get the beat down. Now it would take them doing something very stupid to get coverage, and that might not be enough.
  3. Anything without backing. As in the discussion of seekrit sources not all backing must be public, but something must be known to the person hitting the publish button.

Coda

This draft is now open to comments. Tear it up. If I personally deviate from this please call me out. There is no better corrective measure than shame.


  1. Plaintext linebreaks, not the <br> tag 

  2. ((This, except closed  

  3. The inception of Bitcoin assets logs in 2013 to a year from then is a great starting point.  

  4. Trilema over 2013 along with all of mike_c's and ben_vulpes's blogs, asciilifeform's entire blog and every third past contravex post article keeping up with the news ones is a good starting point. From there this entire blog and the rest of the corpus ought to be consumed.  

  5. There actually is an astounding amount of history here. The move from "this happened" or "this is bad" to proposing reasons why is not a small jump. To take it lightly without referencing the corpus is a danger. In the fiat world people suppose "fake it until you make it" but the Qntra readership will catch the fake if I fail to.  

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