FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE

Tuesday

The Rules of Blogging

As I peruse blogs around the Internet, I have come to notice some very distinct patterns. Based on these patterns, it is very easy to tell which blogs are worth reading, and which are not. Good blogs will generally consist of a clean-looking format, easy-to-read language, and a logical approach to the subject matter. (Notice, a good or bad blog is not defined by the particular viewpoint presented on the blog, but rather by the presentation itself.)

Consequently, bad blogs will contain none of the things listed above. Bad blogs conform to a different style. They ignore some basic rules of blogging.

I should note that some of these rules do not apply to “diary” blogs. When you are writing about your daily life, or a vacation that you just took, you are obviously not expected to approach your subject matter with any logical perspective. It is what it is. These rules apply specifically to blogs of a political nature. If you are going to interject your voice into the forum of public debate, it is highly recommended that you pay close attention to the following. Now, without further adieu…



The Rules of Blogging:

1. A clean-looking format. This can include several things like color schemes, font style, etc. But, the main thing to focus on is making it easy to read. When someone is visiting your blog for the first time (or the 50th time), they do not want to be required to scroll up, down, sideways, diagonally, and every other direction, just to read what you have written. Don’t use insanely large fonts which make your blog three times longer than it should be. Don’t make you page so “busy,” and full of unnecessary junk, that it is difficult to find what you have written. Keep it simple.

2. Keep the profanity to a minimum. This seems to be the biggest problem with bad blogs. The heavy use of profanity calls the writers emotional stability and rationality into question. Profanity is used to indicate a strong emotion. When it is used excessively (such as being used in every paragraph, or even in every sentence), the writer is clearly not approaching the matter from a logical or rational standpoint. They are approaching it from an emotional one. Opinions based on emotion are rarely well-informed or well-thought-out. Opinions based on logical reasoning and rational-thinking are generally much more valid.

Please understand, I am not denouncing the use of all profanity. I have used it in my blogs from time to time. It can serve a purpose. But, when it used excessively, chances are that the writer has very little understanding of what they are talking about.

3. Educate yourself about logical fallacies…and steer clear of them. Far too many writers use logical fallacies in their writing when they are trying to make a point. The most common, in my opinion, is the ad-hominem fallacy. An ad-hominem fallacy is when you attack a person in way that is unrelated or irrelevant to the subject at-hand. It is a personal attack, as opposed to an attack on a statement or claim. For instance, if I were debating Hillary Clinton’s stance on healthcare, and I said, “Don’t listen to Hillary. She lied about the Rose Law Firm billing records. She’ll lie about anything.” The Rose Law Firm case has nothing to do with the issue of healthcare. That statement was simply used to discredit anything Hillary had to say. If a statement or claim is false, point out why it is false. Do not resort to irrelevant personal attacks to make your case.

4. Do not make claims that you can not back-up. When making an assertion about something or someone, cite evidence that proves, or at least supports, your point. Blanket statements with no apparent basis in fact lend nothing to the debate. I see this all the time concerning the debate over illegal immigration. Statements are made such as “Illegal immigrants do the work that American citizens won’t do.” This is a very specific statement about two groups of people. I would like to see some evidence to back this up. (Consequently, there is evidence that contradicts that statement.)

I also see this problem when someone is trying to refute a statement made by someone else. They will hear President Bush say, “Things are improving in Iraq.” Then, their only response to this statement is, “That’s not true. Things aren’t getting better. They are getting worse!” OK…prove it. Show me some evidence to back-up what you are saying, show me quotes from legitimate sources on the subject, link to a newspaper article…something…anything. Don’t just make a claim like that, and move on.

This rule also applies to labels. If you label a person or a group of people facists, Nazis, racists, liars, etc. you had better provide some evidence which speaks to this. The “racist” label gets thrown around a lot, however many people don't truly know what the word means. The same applies to the word “fascist.” People use these words without really knowing their meaning. Educate yourself on the meaning of words, and show why the label you are using is applicable. Otherwise, it amounts to nothing more than name-calling.

5. Use proper grammar and spelling. What has happened to basic grammatical structure? Too many writers have discarded the need to use capitalization at the beginning of their sentences and periods at the end. They have forgotten how to use commas, ellipses, parentheses, and quotation marks properly. Their sentences are so badly mangled that it is difficult to tell where one sentence ends and another begins.

it is hard to read a sentence like this it has no punctuation i dont understand it

What is wrong with applying proper grammatical structure to blogs? I’m not saying that every single rule must be followed, or that the rules can’t be bent. I bend them occasionally for effect. But, it gets to a point that the entry becomes unreadable.

And, for crying out loud, use a spellchecker. It is included on all computers for a reason. Mistakes and typos will happen to everyone. But, spelling can speak volumes about the intelligence level of the writer. Check it before you post it.

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