Blog Themes and Blog Principles

I am a 3rd generation Californian. Some life themes:

*organizations in the start-up phases: I was in the second graduating class from The Athenian School; I started working for the Cato Institute in its first year of existence; I was an early board member of the Yosemite Foundation; my daughter was in the third graduating class from The Girls' Middle School.

*wilderness learning: I went to Outward Bound in 1967, when the only women's course available was canoing in the Boundary Waters Wilderness. I went on several National Outdoor Leadership expeditions, incluing climbing Mount McKinley (Denali) in 1973.

*not-for-profit (or public-benefit) corporations: I've served on the boards of the Athenian School; The Yosemite Fund; Filoli; and The Girls' Middle School.

*Skepticism and Education: Someone I know well has a specific learning disability (dyslexia). In the course of helping her become a reader and a scholar, I've found a great many "treatments" that have no basis in evidence. There are also fads in education, such as whole language, that damage students. I write about both.

Blogging Principles and The 10 Questions from NCAM and my responses: (italics indicate a partial quote from NCAM (which is aimed at medical sites) and my responses.

1. Who runs this site? Any good  Web site should make it easy for you to learn who is responsible for the site and its information.

I run this site.

2. Who pays for the site?
It costs money to run a Web site. The source of a Web site's funding should be clearly stated or readily apparent. For example, Web addresses ending in ".gov" denote a Federal Government-sponsored site. You should know how the site pays for its existence. Does it sell advertising? Is it sponsored by a company? The source of funding can affect what content is presented, how the content is presented, and what the site owners want to accomplish on the site.

I pay for the cost of this site out of my personal funds.  I do not take any advertising, and I am not in the employ of any company. 

3. What is the purpose of the site?
This question is related to who runs and pays for the site. An "About This Site" link appears on many sites; if it's there, use it. The purpose of the site should be clearly stated and should help you evaluate the trustworthiness of the information.

Here's my about page.   Here's my statement of blogging principles:

Purpose: I maintain this blog to write about issues and events that interest me, horrify me, enrage me, amuse me, or enlighten me. This blog reflects my views and opinions.  Feel fee to disagree, be bored, or  offended.  I do hope you will find things with which to agree, be entertained,  or pleased.

4. Where does the information come from? Many  sites post information collected from other Web sites or sources. If the person or organization in charge of the site did not create the information, the original source should be clearly labeled.

Linking and Crediting: I attempt to provide links to all material I quote on this blog, and also to the site that pointed me to the material of interest wherever possible.  CAVEAT: One exception might be to refrain from linking to a site which I find objectionable.  I will make the effort to provide interested parties with directions to the site, without linking.  CAVEAT: Linkrot happens, and is beyond my control.

5. What is the basis of the information? In addition to identifying who wrote the material you are reading, the site should describe the evidence that the material is based on. Medical facts and figures should have references (such as to articles in medical journals). Also, opinions or advice should be clearly set apart from information that is "evidence-based" (that is, based on research results).  (note that this admonition is for medical sites). 

Here's my standard:

Truth, assertion, and speculation: I will clearly label matters that I know to be true, assertions of my opinion, and speculation as to the truth.

6. How is the information selected? Is there an editorial board? Do people with excellent professional and scientific qualifications review the material before it is posted? 

Unlike a scientific journal, magazine, or newspaper, there is no editor for I Speak of Dreams.  I select the information to post.  I review the information, to the best of my ability.  Like most other blogs, there is no fact checker other than myself. I rely on my readers to correct me when flat wrong, or   mistaken and to share your experiences. I welcome comments whether you agree with me or not.

7. How current is the information?
Web sites should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. It is particularly important that medical information be current. The most recent update or review date should be clearly posted. Even if the information has not changed, you want to know whether the site owners have reviewed it recently to ensure that it is still valid. 

Most of what I write is not time-sensitive.  Unlike a website, the blog posts exist in reverse chronological order.

8. How does the site choose links to other sites?
Web sites usually have a policy about how they establish links to other sites. Some medical sites take a conservative approach and don't link to any other sites. Some link to any site that asks, or pays, for a link. Others only link to sites that have met certain criteria.

See "Linking and Crediting", above.  I never link to any site that asks, or pays, for a link. The links I provide are only to other sites that I respect or contain relevant information. I never write anything with the thought of making money in mind.

9. What information about you does the site collect, and why?
Web sites routinely track the paths visitors take through their sites to determine what pages are being used.... Be certain that you read and understand any privacy policy or similar language on the site, and don't sign up for anything that you are not sure you fully understand.

Typepad tells me where visitors come from, and which pages they visit.  Commenters are asked for email and URL, but I have no way of knowing if it's a real email or bogus.  I NEVER sell or give away vistors' information.

Privacy: Does It Belong To Me, and Me Alone? I will try to respect the privacy of others.  I won't write about the private lives and issues of those around me, no matter how I hear about them. (This is a lesson I learned the hard way, and yes I have failed this test in the past.) CAVEAT: If someone has published information about herself in her own blog, I will feel free to blog about that information.  I won't reveal email addresses.

10. How does the site manage interactions with visitors? There should always be a way for you to contact the site owner if you run across problems or have questions or feedback. If the site hosts chat rooms or other online discussion areas, it should tell visitors what the terms of using this service are. Is it moderated? If so, by whom, and why? It is always a good idea to spend time reading the discussion without joining in, so that you feel comfortable with the environment before becoming a participant.

My email link is  always on the front page, right below the horse icon (I took my picture down for personal reasons); I welcome comments.

Right Speech, and Comments: I will strive not to used objectionable language.  I will delete or edit comments that I would object to, if I heard them in person. CAVEAT: I will try to be transparent in such changes.     I reserve the right to edit or delete comments from persons I suspect of using multiple names or IP addresses to inflate their presence on this blog.  (no "sock puppets").   Spam and off-topic comments will be removed without any notice.

I need to update that statement, since I turned comment moderation on to cope with an absolute flood of comment spam.

Back to my web page: