Technical requirements

This page outlines the minimum technical requirements for blogs that contribute to Science Borealis. These requirements safeguard the security and stability of the Science Borealis website. Any contributor site that does not meet these requirements may be removed from Science Borealis until the standards are met.

Requirement 1: Your blog has an RSS feed

Most popular hosted blogging platforms (e.g., WordPress, Blogspot) will create automatic RSS feeds from your posts. Note: if your WordPress implementation is self-hosted (i.e., not actually hosted by WordPress), this may not be true.

You can also manually create your own RSS feed. To ensure that you’re following best practices, use this guide at wikiHow:

How to Create an RSS Feed:

http://www.wikihow.com/Create-an-RSS-Feed

and watch the video How To Make An RSS Feed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTXnmMlipmo

Many available premium services can reliably do this for you:

Feedity: feedity.com

Feed for All; www.feedforall.com

Rapid Feeds: www.rapidfeeds.com

More information about the RSS 2.0 specification can be found at:

http://www.rssboard.org/rss-specification

Requirement 2: Your RSS feed can pass the W3C RSS feed validator

The W3C RSS feed validator is an online tool that translates your site’s RSS feed into code, to make it easier to know when you’re producing RSS correctly, and to help you fix it when you’re not.

To validate your feed, visit: http://validator.w3.org/feed/ and copy/paste your RSS feed URL into the Address: field. Then click the Check button. If your feed is valid, you will get a congratulatory message.

If your feed is not valid, you will see a list of recommendations that need to be implemented to correct the feed.

Requirement 3: Your blog site should not be on Google’s blacklist

To be in good standing with Google Webmaster tools, your site must not contain any malicious code, viruses or malware. Sites that have been blacklisted by Google for these reasons in the past 6 months will not be eligible for inclusion on the Science Borealis site until they have had 6 consecutive months with no blacklisting.

For information on how to avoid Google’s Blacklist, see the post from Website Defender:

http://www.websitedefender.com/web-security/seo-poisoning/avoid-google-blacklist/

Advice on getting off the Google blacklist (3rd party recommendations):

http://blog.sucuri.net/2011/01/what-to-do-when-your-site-gets-blacklisted.html

Requirement 4: Your blog site is running on the most current software

It’s important to ensure that your blog platform is consistently updated whenever new software versions become available, including core software, plugins, and theme updates.

If your blog is hosted by platforms such as Blogspot, Typepad, Squarespace, Blogger, Wix, and WordPress, updates will be automatically looked after for you.

If your blog is a self-hosted WordPress implementation (not hosted by WordPress.com), then you’ll need to ensure that your implementation is updated on your web host’s platform.

For instructions on updating self-hosted WordPress implementations, see:

http://codex.wordpress.org/Updating_WordPress

Requirement 5: Your blog site has comment SPAM protection enabled

Your blog site’s comments must be protected by a SPAM protection engine (e.g., Akismet for WordPress, or by CAPTCHA integration). SPAM comments must be regularly flagged and moderated on your site.

All hosted popular blogging platforms have built­ in SPAM protection which should suffice. TypePad also has a Word and IP Banning page in its settings that can help. Blogger includes a Word­Verification feature, much like CAPTCHA, that can be turned on in the Settings | Posts section.

More resources:

Typepad Word and IP Banning: http://everything.typepad.com/blog/2008/06/more­tools­for.html

Blogger Word­Verification: https://support.google.com/blogger/answer/42520?hl=en

A note about self-hosted WordPress implementations and comment SPAM protection

If your blog is powered by a self-hosted WordPress implementation (i.e., not hosted by WordPress.com), you will have access to a deeper level of customization and can make use of additional plugins such as Akismet (installed by default), reCAPTCHA, and Cookies for Comments. Turning off HTML in the comments area is also a recommended tactic, and can be done using the plugin Peter’s Literal Comments.

Resources for WordPress self-hosted implementations:

WP­reCAPTCHA: http://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-recaptcha/

Cookies for Comments: http://wordpress.org/plugins/cookies-for-comments/

Peter’s Literal Comments: http://wordpress.org/plugins/peters-literal-comments/