- Does it cost money to use this site?
- How can I make sure my writing stays private?
- How are points calculated for a given day's writing?
- What do all the animals mean?
- How do I get my awesome ideas implemented?
- How do I force-save an entry?
- Any secret keyboard shortcuts I should know about?
- Can I format my entries in any special way?
- How do I save extra metadata with my entry?
- What kind of stats do you collect about my usage of the site?
- How do I share stats about my private writing?
- How do I export my entries?
- Why does it say I'm feeling a certain emotion on my stats page?
- What are badges and how do I earn them?
- Can I write my 750 words in full-screen mode?
- How can I advertise on this site?
★ Does it cost money to use this site?
For the first 3 years of this site's existence, 750 Words was free for everyone. However, as it has grown, the cost of maintaining the servers and responding to support requests has grown. Rather than close the site down, we decided to require a small monthly subscription ($5) after a 30 day free trial. All 200,000 people who signed up before that switch over were grandfathered into lifetime free accounts, as thanks for their use and patronage over the years.
★ How can I make sure my writing stays private?
If you share your computer with someone else, and want to make sure you aren't accidentally still logged in to 750 Words when you leave the computer can add an additional "lock" to their words. This lock will require that you enter the secret word or phrase whenever you log in to the site or leave it unattended for 10 or more minutes. You can set your lock from the Settings & Stats page. There's currently no way to retrieve your password though, so be sure to select something that you won't forget.
★ How are points calculated for a given day's writing?
I have a fancy scoring algorithm. The point system is loosely based on how scoring works in bowling. A day is from 12:00am-11:59pm in the time zone that you've set in your settings. During that day, the goal is to write 750 words. That's all you really need to know but here's more if you want to know it all.
1 base point for writing between 100 and 750 words on a given day. 2 base points for writing 750 words or more. In addition to your base 1-2 points per day, if you scored 1 point (think spare), you also add the number of base points you got the previous day. If you score 2 or 3 base points (think strike), you also add on the base points from the previous 2 days. So, basically, if you are on a writing streak, and hitting 750 words 3 or more days in a row (think turkey) you'll get 6 points a day (2 + 2 + 2). If you always write but never get to 750, you'll get 2 points a day (1 + 1). Confusing enough? Just ignore it.
Once you get to 750 words, nothing you do to the entry (including deleting the whole thing for fun) will change your points for the day.
★ What do all the animals mean?
Thanks to the help of Tag Savage, I've started to include little animal badges as rewards for accomplishing various feats on the site. For example, if you write for 5 days in a row, you get a penguin badge, like this:
There are birds associated with long streaks of writing. For writing quickly, or without distraction, many days in a row, you might get a hamster or a cheetah. And there are other ones out there too, for things like completing the One Month Challenge.
★ How do I get my awesome ideas implemented?
I'm only one person, and I'll be the first to admit that most of my ideas come from other people. I love hearing and talking about ideas, even fantastical ones that are impossible. It's entertaining to run with an idea. And every once in a while one of those ideas gets a life of its own and something new is created that never existed before. The place to share your ideas is on my 750 Words Get Satisfaction page. Also linked in the nav at the bottom under Feedback.
★ How do I force-save an entry?
Sure, everything you write on this site should be saved every 10 seconds or so. If that's too long to wait, you can hit Command-s on a Mac or Ctrl-s on a PC. A little green box should appear letting you know that the entry was saved all has resumed to be right in the world.
★ Any other keyboard shortcuts I should know about?
Other than command-s/ctrl-s to force-save (as mentioned above) I haven't added any new keyboard shortcuts. However, I plan to! One minor one to mention is that the tab key works as you'd expect to in a text editor by adding a tab rather than taking you to the next form element on the page. I'm open to ideas for keyboard shortcuts though, so if you have ideas, speak up!
★ Can I format my entries in any special way
Well, when you're writing an entry, I didn't want to add any controls to the page that would get in the way of just writing. However, if you are familiar with Markdown, all of the formatting options given there are supported. Click here to see syntax cheat sheet. This formatting will appear on your pages after midnight of the current day. You can get to them by clicking on days in the past, or the Archive pages for previous months.
★ How do I save extra metadata with my entry?
This is a super-secret feature that I implemented mostly for myself. But, I might as well tell you about it too. If for some reason you want to track things like how happy you are, how much sleep you got, how hung over you are, how many times you have fallen this year so far, or anything else, you can now do so from within your daily 750 words. All you need to do is put something like this on a line all by itself:
WATCHED: The Fantastic Mr. Fox
TODO: Eat breakfast
You get the point. Every few minutes, a script will look for lines that begin with an ALLCAPS word, followed by a colon, and then have some text after it. The script will then store the number and the name of the tag in a separate table that you can then track over time. To prove that this is happening, you'll see a little section on your Entry Stats page with the metadata listed in the left column.
★ What kind of stats do you collect about my usage of the site?
I try to collect as much implicit information about you as I can without asking you to fill out a lot of forms. It's the accidental information that is often the most interesting, I think. That said, here's where I get information about you:
- Your behavior on the page: I watch how quickly you type, how many breaks you take, etc to draw some very general conclusions about how "focused" you are at the moment. I also time how long it takes to get to 750 words.
- Facebook: any general information that you've made public on Facebook is temporarily stored on my servers. For example, things like gender, age, and relationship status.
- Your IP Address: I use Google's Client Location Service to try to see if your IP Address can say anything about your general location. Right now I only use this in order to then try and see what the weather's like where you are. Who knows, maybe there's a correllation between the weather and the emotional content of your daily writings.
Note that I respect the privacy of all information collected, and will not make any information public that can be used to identify you. The primary use of this information is to generate stats for you, and to include them in general aggregates used on the site.
★ How do I share stats about my private writing?
After you reach 750 words on a given day, the word count will be highlighted and the number of words will link directly to your entry's stats page. From there, you'll be given an option to share the stats page with others who use this site, and optionally post a link to Facebook or Twitter.
You will have the choice about what exactly to share, and can also optionally set some defaults for your entries to be shared automatically.
★ How do I export my entries?
If you go to the Search & Export page you'll find links to export, or see all your entries by month.
★ Why does it say I'm feeling a certain emotion on my stats page?
I use a text-analysis system called the Regressive Imagery Dictionary to calculate the various emotional content of each day's entry. It is a pretty simple tool and isn't really all that trust-worthy, but then again sometimes it's right on. Take it with a grain of salt, and enjoy.
★ What are all of the badges and how do I earn them?
Badges are a mystery. They just showed up one day and refuse to go away. In any case, biologists and archeologists have been attempting to create a taxonomy of the badges spotted in the wild. Here's an incomplete and occassionally outdated annotated list.
★ Can I write my 750 words in full-screen mode?
There isn't a way to make a browser go full screen by itself. But the good people at Barbarian Group have created a little app called Plainview that will let you do so. Check it out, it's actually pretty neat.
★ How can I advertise on this site?
I currently have no plans to support advertising on this site.