Stylebook

In general, Hypergrid Business uses the Associated Press Stylebook for news and feature stories. More stylistic leeway is allowed for first-person columns and editorials.

Types of stories

We accept submissions in the form of briefs, news stories, feature articles, how-tos, opinion essays, and listsicles. Please send story ideas to [email protected] and remember that all stories should be related to business uses of virtual reality, OpenSim, or the hypergrid.

Commonly misspelled grid names

OSgrid, Tangle Grid, DigiWorldz, InWorldz, 3rd Rock Grid, SiringHGpole, Craft World, YrGrid, DreamNation

Overview

persons and tenses

With the exception of opinion columns as mentioned above, Hypergrid Business articles are in the third person, and in the past tense. No honorifics — Mr., Ms., Dr. — are used.

Every vendor and expert source is quoted under their real name, title, and place of work or study whenever possible. Customers and users may be quoted by name, city of residence, and the product they are using.

In-world names may be included in addition to real names.

Examples:

  • John Smith, CEO of Atlanta-based Peach Corp., also known as “Flowers Kittenchops” in-world.
  • New York City resident Mary Doe, who rents land on the Vampire Grid under the in-world name “Elfsong Butterscotch.”

quotes

The heart of any good feature or news story is quotes from real people.

Remember that when it comes to business journalism, there are three sides to every story — the side selling something, the side buying something, and an independent expert or analyst.

Every single quote must have an attribution. Put the attribution after the first logical break of the quote. Please note the punctuation — the first part of the quote ends in a comma inside the quotation marks.

On second reference, use the last name. If the second reference is more than five paragraphs from the first reference, include a company name or title to remind readers who the source is.

If something is inside quotation marks, it should be exactly as the person said it, except for grammatical corrections. If you’re paraphrasing, leave the quotation marks off.

Explain where you got the quote — from an interview, from a press release, from a speech, from a Twitter post. If it’s an online source, include a link to the original quote.

Use only the words “said” or “told.” No synonyms.

Examples:

  • “Our virtual reality headset cures cancer,” John Smith, CEO of Atlanta-based Snake Oil Inc. said in a statement. “And it’s gluten-free.”
  • “Our Kickstarter campaign starts tomorrow,” Smith told Hypergrid Business. “The first ten backers will get X-ray vision powers.”
  • “The regulators are trying to shut us down,” Snake Oil’s Smith said in a Tweet yesterday. “When did good marketing become a criminal offense?”

grammar and punctuation

Spell out “percent” and numbers one through nine.

Leave out out the Oxford comma in a list such as apples, pears and oranges.

Punctuation goes inside quotation marks, as in the quotes above. Do not use quotation marks for emphasis. Do not underline. Use italics only to refer to Hypergrid Business.

Keep sentences and paragraphs short. Avoid the use of special symbols and abbreviations. Avoid jargon and explain technical terms if they are necessary.

images

Most images should be wider than they are tall and inserted with a center alignment and “large” size.

If someone is quoted in an article, and their photograph is available, crop it to a square and insert it with a left alignment and “medium” size of 150 by 150 pixels.

Captions should be written in the following style:

Man on a bike. (Image courtesy ABC Company.)

If an image is sourced from Flickr or another image-sharing site, ensure that the license is Creative Commons. If you don’t see the license terms, or see “all rights reserved,” don’t use the image. After adding the image, make the “via Flickr” words a link to the original source. Caption style:

Man on a bike. (Image courtesy Steve Airey via Flickr.)

The following types of images can be used with stories: Any Creative Commons image, any marketing or product image provided by a company, stills from any video, screenshot of any game or virtual environment or application.

Images from other news sites absolutely cannot be used with Hypergrid Business stories, unless we are writing an article specifically about that other news site. For example, if another publication has an article about virtual reality and includes a photograph their writer took of a headset, we cannot use that photo in our own, unrelated article about virtual reality. However, if we are writing editorial commentary about their article — say, that they’ve got their headset on backwards and that’s why it didn’t work — then we can use that image because it will then fall under the editorial exception or fair use in copyright law.

Vocabulary reference

avatar

A user’s virtual representation in an online environment, which could be anything from a small photo or image, to a realistic three-dimensional representation. Virtual worlds like Second Life allow users to customize their avatars to be very realistic, or very creative and imaginary, and anything in between.

grid

A virtual world organized in the form of squares on a virtual map. Second Life, for example, has a main grid, a beta grid, and, formerly, a teen grid. Today, there are hundreds of grids running on the OpenSim software. In addition to grid-based worlds, there are also scene-based virtual worlds, where users teleport between individual scenes, each of which can be any shape or form. Open Wonderland, ProtoSphere, CloudParty, and all Unity-based virtual worlds are based on scenes.

hypergrid 

Lower-case hypergrid for the collection of grids accessible via inter-grid teleports. Uppercase for the name of the protocol, such as Hypergrid 1.5 or Hypergrid 2.0. Can be abbreviated to HG 1.5 or HG 2.0 on second reference for the protocol only. Individual grids can be hypergrid-enabled. A region’s location is its hypergrid address. To travel from one grid to another is to hypergrid to another grid, or to do a hypergrid teleport. The hypergrid supports hypergrid landmarks, hypergrid friends, hypergrid groups and hypergrid instant messages.

metaverse

The set of all virtual worlds, similar to the way the World Wide Web is the collection of all the webpages. The metaverse is the subset of the Internet that focuses on immersive, avatar-based environments. The connected metaverse is the part of the metaverse where virtual worlds are linked together and users can teleport between them without having to create new accounts. Today, the connected metaverse is limited to hypergrid-enabled OpenSim grids, but is expected to evolve to include more platforms. It is also known as the cyberverse, the hyperverse, and the matrix.

megaregion

A group of regions treated as a single region by the OpenSim server. Megaregions don’t suffer lag or hiccups at the borders between regions. They are commonly used with mini-grids.

mini-grid

A grid small enough to run on one server, in one instance of OpenSim. Mini-grids are typically four, nine, or sixteen regions in size, but can be as small as one region and as large as server capacity allows. Mini-grids are often hypergrid-enabled, to allow for travel to other grids. The Diva Distro is the most common type of mini-grid. A mini-grid is also technically known as a standalone.

OpenSim

Preferred in common use over OpenSimulator, which is the full name of the software. OpenSim is a non-profit, open source project. It is variously described as an open source version of Second Life, or the Apache of the 3D Web. There are currently more than 200 public grids based on the OpenSim software, and an unknown number of private grids. Not to be confused with the physical body simulator of the same name used in medical research.

OpenSimulator

Use OpenSim except in case of proper names, such as the OpenSimulator Community Conference or in reference to the opensimulator.org website.

OSgrid

OSgrid is the largest grid running on the OpenSim software. It is a non-profit, run by volunteers. Users are free to connect their own regions at no charge, or host their regions with any of a number of third-party hosting vendors, at a wide variety of price points. Note that the “g” is lowercase.

NPC

Non-player character. Typically used in video games to refer to automated characters who help players complete quests. NPCs are also used to represent people in disaster simulations, to simulate clerks in virtual stores, to act as tour guides and to staff virtual help desks. Also known as bots in some contexts.

parcel

A parcel is a subdivision of a region. Parcels can be of any size, and are commonly used when a region owner rents out parts of the region to others to use for homesteading, retail locations, or office space.

region

A standard region is one 16-acre square on a grid-based virtual world, or 256 square meters by 256 square meters. A region is the smallest unit of land simulated by Second Life and OpenSim servers and are typically the smallest unit rented by hosting companies. In-world land barons or developers may rent regions in bulk, subdivide them, and sublease individual parcels to end users. Some grids also offer variable-size regions and megaregions, which are usually multiples of a standard region in size. Some also support infinite regions, which are standard regions surrounded by unlimited, undifferentiated water or landscape. A Second Life-style region is one capable of holding up to 15,000 prims and up to 40 simultaneous visitors.

sim

A sim, short for simulation, is often used to mean a single region on a virtual world grid. It is also used to refer to all the regions running under a single instance of a virtual world server application. For example, the OpenSim software can simultaneously run several regions at once in one instance of the simulator. In some contexts, a sim can also refer to simulated persons, cities, businesses, or other processes. Since the word is ambiguous, alternatives should be used when possible, such as region, OpenSim instance, city simulation, or simulated factory.

standalone

Technical name for a mini-grid. Use mini-grid except when referring to the specific technical configuration of OpenSim, since in other contexts the word standalone is ambiguous.

viewer

Software used to access a virtual world. Proprietary platforms like World of Warcraft require users to download and install special viewer software. Second Life has an official viewer and many third-party viewers. Of the alternative viewers, Firestorm is currently the most popular and most stable. Firestorm is also a favorite viewer for OpenSim users. Another popular viewer in OpenSim is Imprudence, which does not support currently mesh or media-on-a-prim, but allows for easy content exports and imports.

virtual world

An immersive environment in which users interact with one another using avatars that appear to be located in the same simulated space. Virtual worlds will typically offer their users the opportunity to personalize their avatars, to create lists of in-world friends, to create landmarks of in-world locations, to trade or buy in-world content, and to walk, fly, or teleport between in-world locations. Virtual worlds can be focused on game playing like World of Warcraft, socializing like IMVU, corporate training, virtual meetings, education, or virtual art and museums.