Ground (breaking) Rules

There comes a point at which academic writing and professional writing converge – often in a space like this, a public, issue-oriented blog. The primary purpose of this blog is to provide a space in which we can engage with and explore a range of topics that we encounter during the course of our readings and in-class discussions.  Closely related to this is to attempt to identify connections between our encounters with digital culture and this year’s theme for the WIIH, which concerns the relationship between new media and new knowledge, between technology and the humanities.

In order to ensure that the result is of some value – both to the authors and the readers  of the blog – we agreed as a class that weekly contributions would adhere to a set of basic guidelines that would help to ensure some consistency from post-to-post without restricting the focus or style of individual contributions.

To that end, below is a summary of the guidelines and expectations generated by the blog’s authors.  Some of these concern fairly specific, concrete writing issues; others are more aptly characterized as having to do with our shared understanding of the general scope and purpose of the blog:

Audience(s) and Purpose(s) of the:

  • We are writing this blog in conjunction with an academic course; however, we aspire to reach a broader audience than members of this class.
  • This means we need to be bridge the gap between the fairly rigid conventions of formal academic writing and the notoriously elastic conventions of blogging.
  • To do this, we will try to approach the blog as a professional or semi-professional writing space, one that requires meeting high standards in terms of the clarity and substance of our posts, but that works to build useful and explicit connections between the academic (i.e., ‘theoretical’) and the non-academic (i.e., ‘practical’) aspects of the issues we are studying.
  • This is a space where ideas can be fostered, explored and expanded, and where knowledge and understanding can be both broadened and deepened.
  • This is also a space to be intellectually curious and courteously critical; play accordingly.

Weekly Posts:  We can publish to the blog as often as we like; however, we need to publish at least one substantive primary post each week.

  • Due dates: Our primary post, therefore, should be published no later than Tuesday night in order to allow time for us to read each other’s posts.
  • Length: Although there are no length requirements, per se, this is a blog, not a micro-blog; that is, we should remember that we are using WordPress, not Tumblr.
  • Style/organization: Posts should be substantive, clear, focused and proofread.
  • Substance/content: Posts should connect clearly to some aspect of the course reading from either the previous or upcoming class meeting (i.e., a post published on Tuesday, September 17 should address some aspect of the material on the syllabus for either Sept. 12 or Sept. 19).
    • When possible and/or appropriate, posts will endeavor to develop connections between our inquiries into digital culture and the WIIH theme, which concerns the relationship between new media and new knowledge, technology and the humanities.
    • Looking for connections between course readings and specific aspects of digital culture that are interesting to individual authors is encouraged.
    • Citation: Although posts do not need to be – and in fact should not be – written in formal academic prose, they nevertheless must meet academic expectations concerning the citation of any sources, scholarly or otherwise.  Among other things, this means:
      • Using quotation marks and parenthetical notes when quoting an other author, blogger, etc.
      • Including full citation information at the end of the post for articles, books, etc.
      • Providing proper attribution for any images, tables, graphics, etc. in the caption area.
      • Images: Note that there is a difference between fluff and explanation, opinion and argument.
      • Images: Every post needs to include a featured image.  The featured image does not appear in the actual post; rather, it functions as the thumbnail for your article on the main page of the blog.
        • In addition, we are encouraged to include graphic elements within your post; however, copyrights must be respected at all times.
        • For the time being, we should only use images that are either in the public domain or that have an appropriate Creative Commons license.
        • Any image taken before 1923 will be in the public domain.
        • Images found on Wikipedia, Wikimedia, Wiki Commons, etc. are safe to use.  Also, see the Creative Commons search page, which will allow you to search for commons images, music, videos, etc. on a number of sites.
        • When using an image, video or graphic element in your post, we should be attentive to sizing, placement and alignment/text wrapping.
        • Collaborative authorship:
          • We are all authors on this blog – not just contributors. We can edit our own posts at any time.
          • Although individual posts are not being written collaboratively, the blog is.  All posts have something to contribute to the conversation.
          • If we find someone else’s post to be unclear or confusing, we should tell them! We can do this either via the comments section on WordPress, or via email, Twitter, face-to-face, etc.

One thought on “Ground (breaking) Rules

  1. Pingback: Guidelines and Expectations – Film and Digital Media

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