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Writing Guide

This writing guide is adapted from IPFS's "writing guide" rules.

This guide explains how to write an article. While the grammar, formatting, and style guide lets you know the rules you should follow, this guide will help you to properly structure your writing and choose the correct tone for your audience.

Walkthroughs

The purpose of a walkthrough is to tell the user how to do something. They do not need to convince the reader of something or explain a concept. Walkthroughs are a list of steps the reader must follow to achieve a process or function.

Goals

Use the following goals when writing walkthroughs:

GoalKeywordExplanation
AudienceGeneralEasy for anyone to read with minimal effort.
FormalityNeutralSlang is restricted, but standard casual expressions are allowed.
DomainTechnicalAcronyms and tech-specific language is used and expected.
ToneNeutralWriting contains little to no emotion.
IntentInstructTell the reader how to do something.

Function or process

The end goal of a walkthrough is for the reader to achieve a very particular function. Mannually upgrading the FxBlox firmware_ is an example. Following this walkthrough isn't going to teach the reader much about working with the decentralized web or what Fula is. Still, by the end, they would have successfully upgraded the firmware on their FxBlox.

Short length

Since walkthroughs cover one particular function or process, they tend to be quite short. The estimated reading time of a walkthrough is somewhere between 2 and 10 minutes. Most of the time, the most critical content in a walkthrough is presented in a numbered list. Images and GIFs can help the reader understand what they should be doing.

If a walkthrough is converted into a video, that video should be no longer than 5 minutes.

Walkthrough structure

Walkthroughs are split into three major sections:

  1. What we're about to do.
  2. The steps we need to do.
  3. Summary of what we just did and potential next steps.

Conceptual articles

Articles are written with the intent to inform and explain something. These articles don't contain any steps or actions that the reader has to perform right now.

These articles are vastly different in tone when compared to walkthroughs. Some topics and concepts can be challenging to understand, so creative writing and interesting diagrams are highly sought-after for these articles; whatever writers can do to make a subject more understandable, the better.

Article goals

Use the following goals when writing conceptual articles:

GoalKeywordExplanation
AudienceKnowledgeableRequires a certain amount of focus to understand.
FormalityNeutralSlang is restricted, but standard casual expressions are allowed.
DomainAnyUsually technical, but it depends on the article.
ToneConfident and friendlyThe reader must feel confident that the writer knows what they're talking about.
IntentDescribeTell the reader why something does the thing that it does, or why it exists.

Article structure

Articles are separated into five major sections:

  1. Introduction to the thing we're about to explain.
  2. What the thing is.
  3. Why it's essential.
  4. What other topics it relates to.
  5. Summary review of what we just read.

Tutorials

When writing a tutorial, you're teaching a reader how to achieve a complex end-goal. Tutorials are a mix of walkthroughs and conceptual articles. Most tutorials will span several pages and contain multiple walkthroughs within them.

Take the hypothetical tutorial Store on Fula net with Fula API, for example. This tutorial will likely have the following pages:

  1. A brief introduction to what the Fula net is and what Fula API can achieve.
  2. Download and introduce template code for uploading files.
  3. Upload and serve a file through the Fula API.
  4. Search, Filter, and update files with Fula API.
  5. Pinning and why it's useful.
  6. How to view and share files with Fula API.

Pages 1 and 6 are conceptual articles, describing particular design patterns and ideas to the reader. All the other pages are walkthroughs instructing the user how to perform one specific action.

When designing a tutorial, keep in mind the walkthroughs and articles that already exist, and note down any additional content items that would need to be completed before creating the tutorial.