CFP: The Writing Spaces Web Writing Style Guide Writing Sprint

It’s becoming a common feature in open source project conferences and unconferences alike: the code sprint. Open source unconference attendees get together and produce a much needed programming resource for their community by the end of their conference. Digital rhetoricians can do this, too, by focusing on building teaching resources we could use in the classroom. Instead of a code sprint, we can conduct a writing sprint.

Over the duration of Collaborvention 2011, Writing Spaces will host a collaborative writing event to produce a Creative Commons-licensed web writing guide for undergraduate writers. We invite all writing teachers--graduate students and faculty alike--with experience incorporating writing for the web in their classes (e.g., first year writing, business communication, web design, multimedia writing, etc.) or who write for the web regularly themselves, to participate in the construction of this open educational resource.

What will the focus of this guide be? Our goal won’t be to produce yet another HTML/CSS coding tutorial site like w3schools or HTML Dog. Nor is it to create a full web design manual like Web Style Guide, 3rd edition. Rather, the Writing Spaces Web Writing Style Guide will focus on the writing that writers do when they create content on the web, such as best practices and style rules for writing with social media or creating web page content for an organization. The guide could cover anything from how to write a good blog post; audience and genre considerations for composing tweets; principles for resizing, cropping, and saving visuals; or whether or not to include ending punctuation in a hyperlink (as is the rule with using italics in print). These are only a few ideas about the development of this resource. What the text will ultimately consist of is up to the writers who decide to participate in the project.

During Phase 1: Drafting (April 22-May 2 May 8), we invite the computers and writing community to engage in a garage band style writing jam via Google Docs to create and revise the manuscript. Drop in at anytime. Add some text; revise other text. Revisit the manuscript as many times (or as few) as you like during this drafting phase of the project.

Toward the end of the 2nd week and through the 3rd week of the unconference (May 3-May 13May 9-May 14), we’ll feature freeze the text and invite community review and discussion of the best practices offered in the text for our Phase 2: Refinement & Review. At the end of Phase 2, Janice Walker, the writing sprint’s content editor, will review the discussion and make the call on what passages and best practices from the draft to include in the final version of the text.

Following the f2f confererence, in Phase 3: Copy Editing and Final Production (May 21-May 22), we’ll finish the writing sprint with copy editing and final production, publishing HTML, PDF, and epub versions of the document under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

Assuming this writing sprint is successful in producing a resource useful to teachers in the computers and writing community--whether the final Writing Spaces Web Writing Style Guide is five, ten, or twenty pages--we’ll look forward to hosting a future event to produce new versions.

Thanks for your participation,

Matt Barton, Writing Spaces Web Writing Style Guide Editor

For more information about the Web Writing Style Guide Writing Sprint and to learn how to get started with the writing sprint, visit