Ground Rules

I read somewhere that you shouldn’t post anything online that you wouldn’t be willing to paint on a sign in your back yard. I follow that advice.

Correct spelling, usage, capitalization, and punctuation are important to me. I silently correct small errors, missing words, bad markup; sometimes I add material to a post after it’s been uploaded. Material corrections made more than a few hours after the initial upload are indicated with strikeouts and other annotations. Nevertheless, no one ought to mistake this blog for a newspaper, nor hold it to strict standards of journalism.

Generally I’m interested in finding something positive to say, whether I’m talking about a theater experience, a scientific development, or a new web site. Therefore, this blog is not a good source of gossip, backbiting, or breast-beating. I post little about politics. Fortunately, I don’t have children to write about, so no one will grow up and be embarrassed by something I posted when he was five years old.

I have little to say about my job and coworkers. Naturally, the opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer, my employer’s clients or customers, or any organization with which I may be affiliated. I sparingly use company resources for online access for both professional and personal purposes (I receive personal phone calls, too, and pay my own professional society dues).

I respect your privacy and your feelings. Personal acquaintances, friends, and loved ones are identified by first name only. Since many of the people I write about are in theater, and thus are fully identified on other web sites, I’m under no illusion that I’m completely concealing identities. But the stalkers out there will have to put the pieces together themselves. And if you want me to omit mentioning you by name, tell me and I will do so.

I do not write full critiques of community theater productions and similar performances, because a lot of people (not everyone) do this for fun and compliments, not criticism. I might remark upon something that I find exceptionally good, but absence of comment doesn’t mean that I dislike your work. If there’s a problem with a production that I’m personally involved in, I am diplomatic.

Professional productions (those done for money) I hold to higher standards, and I withhold neither praise nor criticism. Self-identified professional companies like Quotidian, organizations where I know many of the people involved, are a gray area.

In short, I heed Scalzi’s Law of Online Communication: Anything bad you ever write about someone online will get back to them sooner or later.

I’m writing for an audience of adults. I expect you to cope with remarks on a controversial subject or an occasional four-letter Anglo-Saxonism.

My native language is English, but I try not to assume that yours is, too. To this end, I use scientific names when discussing biological species. I am prone to weird coinages, however, so not every word that I use will be found in a dictionary.

I do not reproduce material that is copyrighted, except for short pull quotes that are accompanied by a link (here’s an exception). I am less likely to link to material that is available to subscribers only or for a fee, or that is available only for a limited time (e.g., parts of The Economist and Nature), but this line is hard to follow, since publishers change access rules frequently (I’m looking at you, New York Times). I do link to material that requires a nominal registration (e.g, the Washington Post).

I give credit for links that I’ve found elsewhere, following Rebecca Blood’s recommendations.

I read a lot through RSS feeds, and it’s difficult to keep blogrolls in multiple places and formats synchronized. So, even though your blog might not be listed in the sidebar, I may still be one of your devoted readers.

Last updated: Sunday, 8 May 2011 17:06

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