First, always use the reply button when appropriate
It's pretty easy to just copy and paste the url into the comment box, but there are some times when that ends up not working. If the URL contains some characters that break the auto markup of SBN, then the link gets broken. Furthermore, if it's a really long URL, it looks pretty messy being pasted in full. This is why I highly encourage you to make use of the link button at all times.
Now, I know for quick commenting within a thread, it's not always great and sometimes the URL is short and validly formatted. It's not going to be against the rules to simply paste the URL in comments. However, please refer back to the first paragraph when utilizing this exception. If the URL is long or contains non-standard characters in it, please consider using the link button.
For fanPosts, I would like the link button to be mandatory. You should be putting some effort into making fanPosts and the extra 15 seconds it takes to use the link button is part of that. This is going to be enforced.
So, how do you use it? Let's start with the making a fanPost part. The link button is located here:
I've helpfully circled it in red. There are two options you have. If you click it without any text highlighted, you get this popup:
Paste the URL where it says to, and enter the text that you want to be displayed instead of the URL where it says and make sure to check the "Open in New Window?" option. Filling it out like this:
Gets you this: A very good stout
On the other hand, if you highlight text and then click the link button, you'll get a popup that looks like this:
Thee highlighted text is automatically entered as the display text for the URL.
When entering links as a reply in a comment, the button moves slightly to here:
And you'll get the second version of the popup regardless of whether you have preselected text or not. However, it still works in the same fashion, if you have preselected text, that will be used as the display text. If not, you'll have to manually enter the display text. The cursor will default to the correct place to do so, but if you move it and forget, it's after the > and before the </a>.
Just to the right of the of the link button is the image button, which automatically wraps the HTML around your image URL. I think we all have a pretty good grasp of getting pictures to post, but there are three very important pieces to re-mention.
1. Images must be appropriately sized. This cannot be stressed enough. If you violate this, your comment will be hidden and you will be warned. What's an appropriate size? Generally we are more concerned with height than width. For width, just make sure it doesn't overflow the screen. For height, there's no need for the picture to be taller than 300 pixels at the absolute maximum. If you need to, post the shrunk down version and have it link to the full-sized one.
Here's how you shrink a picture down. When you first click okay on the picture button, you'll see it enter this:
Change it to this:
Or smaller if you can. You can also restrict the width instead by replacing "height" with "width" or you can use both to resize the dimensions of the picture to your discretion. After resizing it to an appropriate level comes the second important part to posting images.
2. PREVIEW YOUR POST. Whenever you use an image, preview it. Doing this makes sure you didn't muck up the HTML, it makes sure your image can be hotlinked (if you are hotlinking) and it forces you to take an extra two seconds to make sure you have everything as you want it to be. For instance, did you
3. INCLUDE A SUBJECT LINE. If you do not include something on the subject line of your comment, then users are prevented from collapsing the comment should they not want to view the image and, more importantly to us, it greatly hinders our moderation since everything in our mod queues is tied to the subject line. If you fail to include a subject on your comment, it will be hidden and you will be given a warning. No exceptions. You don't need to think of something to say on the subject line, I frequently just enter a ` symbol. There's no excuse to not including one.