The Town Square

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I too am new to this site and I want to extend greetings to all! I can't wait to see how this all plays out; I am very much anticipating a few good reads and I hope many of you will grace your eyes with my own pieces of poetry and prose!  

is anyone home

I just signed up, and wanted to say hello. I was hoping to find someone live in here.

but looking at this room it seems that no one has been here since July.

I am a bit unsure since this is all pretty new.

feel free to shoot me a note, and give me the scoop on what is up.

looking forward to hearing from you

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Newbie saying *Hello*

Hey, all. Just signed up tonight and have been browsing around finding some fantastic musings.

I love reading a variety of items and have many interests so I will be all over the place.

Looking forward to meeting many writers and making plenty of friends. Love feedback and constructive criticism so don't be afraid to shoot me your ideas!

Happy writing...or not so happy, depending...LOL


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Newby On board

Hey Newby on board...im just getting the feel of the site, making  my mark and im also looking for new friends and blog buddies. i love feed back, as well as giving feed back. So dont be shy Look forward to hearing from new friends......until then guilty as charged is signing off....... no thats not my nick name its just my sig phrase, and if you read my work you will almost always see it. :) 

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hello everyone:

I've been off the air for about 10 days now.  My house and the power line and the internet lines were struck by huge lightning bolts on Thurs. and Friday a week back.  I had no computer after the electtrical storm and rain.  There were many losses and you may read my story on the news according to Michaud/  I am having trouble with my cat right now, but would like to share that thanks to many good folk I am back on line with  the help of an 8 year old computer that seems to be happy to be out of its storage building home.  We were out of three televisions, one mother board on the central air unit, three television boxes from Time Warner, 2 telephones, and ultimately water due to a strike on the pump station.  I am just glad people could help me, for I ran out of money to get repairs done. 
Have a good week, MichaudBlaine123

Friday, June 5, 2009

A note on why we had to warn Bhaskar.ing and eventually close his account

We dealt with this in private, but since it’s been taken public by one member, here’s what happened.

As you may know, over the past couple of weeks (and even much earlier), a number of Blogit members have found large amounts of text written by other authors in the blog written by Bhaskar.ing.

As we described the issue in our email notice to him on Wednesday, “The text is used without quotation marks and presented as your own work. In addition, when readers have complimented you on the content, you've taken credit for it as your own work.”

Plagiarism is never OK, and it’s really bad on a writing site, where there are many others putting a lot of time and effort into writing original content and being careful to give credit and use quotation marks when including text written by other authors.

Other members had been trying to amicably resolve this situation with Bhaskar.ing over the past couple of weeks, and he apparently admitted what he’d done in an email. Unfortunately, he then denied it in his blog, made accusations against other members, and posted at least one new entry that also turned out to have been written by another author.

If he’d instead agreed not to do it again, the issue would likely have been settled.

On Wednesday, based on member reports to us, we carefully researched the examples sent to us and sadly were able to independently confirm most of them. The original content was indeed written by a number of different authors, not by Bhaskar.ing.

The problem, as we said in our email notice, is this: “Since the relevant entries were posted to Blogit over a long period of time, there's no way to tell which of your entries were written by you.”

Even so, we had decided to give Bhaskar.ing one more chance. We asked that he start a new blog and agree to be careful when using text written by other authors. We gave four examples of blog entries posted by him that contained large amounts of text written by other authors.

In response, Bhaskar.ing stated that he had originally written one of the entries in 2006. He did not make any statements about the other three entries.

On Thursday, we reviewed his claim and found that the text was taken from a book written by another author, first published in 1996, so it could not have been written by Bhaskar.ing in 2006.

At this point, since Bhaskar.ing had again claimed ownership of an entry that was clearly not his own, rather than simply agreeing that it had been written by someone else, it seemed likely that he’d do the same thing again in his new blog.

Rather than put everyone through this again, we decided that we had no choice but to close Bhaskar.ing’s account.

Since the account has been closed, we have given Bhaskar.ing up to 5 business days to copy any of his blog entries he wishes to keep, as is our standard procedure in such a case. We’ll also ensure that he receives a refund (prorated on a monthly basis) if due. We mentioned this in our notice of account closure.

I’d like to once again remind everyone that it’s normally fine to include text written by other authors as long as you do it carefully (here’s how). There’s no need to pretend it’s your own if it’s not – readers will still enjoy reading you!

If anyone would like us to post the full text of our email notice to Bhaskar.ing, please let us know.

-Robert

[Edited to clarify several sentences 6/6 7:56 am]

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Blogit service announcement: how to use text written by other authors

When using text by other authors, please post only a brief excerpt of the content (e.g. a paragraph) -- not most (or all) of the content -- using quotation marks to make it clear it's not your own work. Please include a link to the original page.
 
In most cases, this should qualify as "fair use" and ensure that you are not violating the original author's copyright. Here is a good description of copyright, including an explanation of "fair use":
 
http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html

Thursday, May 14, 2009

thank you Shelly, I am enjoying my stay so far. I was wondering if anyone could help me here, I'm new to this site and I'm trying to figure out this HTML bullcrappolla. does anyone know where I can go to find prescripted tweeks for my rooms? like XSL (Extensible Stylesheet Language)templates, and good CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)Templates? or just tweeks that can be copied and pasted? I've Googled a few diff. sites but they don't seem to fit right. is there a site with free layouts somewhere out there? please help.

Others would probably like to knowas well.   It sure would spruce up the blogger pages on this site, I hate going in to sites and only seeing the same ol black and white layouts. Its depressing.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A followup on commenting on Blogit

First of all, thanks to everyone who's helped clarify why it's important for people to behave reasonably on Blogit. Education about this issue is critical, and it's important for people to hear it from others with different perspectives and experiences, not just us.

Since it seems to be confusing to some people, I'd like to reiterate that we want people to express their opinions, and, yes, disagreement. It would be pretty boring if Blogit was all the same. However, the goal should be to allow as much freedom of expression as possible, by as many people as possible, not only those who are the rudest and most vicious.

The concern is with actions such as people deliberately and repeatedly leaving comments on someone's blog to "flame" them (i.e. make insulting criticisms or remarks to incite anger). The purpose of such verbal abuse is to try to intimidate the writer into not expressing their opinions, and it can easily escalate into a "blog war".

Even in off-Blogit life, there are limits on freedom of speech. For example, if someone uses "fighting words", it can help influence whether their attacker is convicted.

Maybe an example will help. Say 'Joe' reads a blog written by 'Jill'. If Joe posts a comment to that blog saying "Jill, I completely disagree with what you said", that's very different from him saying "Jill, you're a stupid idiot".

Calling Jill names isn't going to make her want to discuss Joe's opinions, but it will make her think twice about writing again (the goal of the abuser) or call Joe names in return, and pretty soon, it's just going to be a name-calling competition. If that kind of censorship-by-intimidation or fighting is what you're looking for, Blogit isn't the place for you.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to ask people to alert us to offensive comments by clicking the "report" link next to the comment. Please note that we review every comment that is reported before taking action. Since we don't monitor Blogit, if you don't report it, we probably won't see it.

When reviewing a comment, we try to consider the context and the combination of comments, not just an individual comment. It's actually far more likely for a comment to be deleted by the blog owner -- which is their privilege -- than by us.

In response to some concerns/suggestions on the original blog entry:

metalrat, please do report similar comments so we can address them. It doesn't make any difference to us whether they're religious or non-religious -- as in off-Blogit life, it's about the behavior of that individual, not that of the entire group. You can confirm this for yourself from people who've been on Blogit a long time.

kooka_lives, as I described above, comments are always reviewed before being deleted (although this doesn't mean everyone's going to agree with every decision we make). And, we wouldn't currently consider a negative blog title related to a political party a violation, since you can choose not to watch that "channel". I think it's pretty obvious there's a big difference between that and deliberately going to someone's blog to flame them.

Regarding your request that we evaluate the reporter as well, we do consider that, and will continue doing so.

gapcohen and FineYoungSinger, I understand your concern about posting the link on the home page. We initially tried to deal with the issue privately (see the email in the original blog entry), which is how we've always done things before. Once a few days went by and it felt like misstatements were being made to the point that it could actually disrupt the site, it seemed useful to try full disclosure, which is something people have asked us to do before, and post the link for 24 hours so people were aware of it.

That isn't our preferred avenue, so we will continue to try to handle the issue privately whenever it's possible to do so, and otherwise make the information available in a designated spot instead. If you have any further input, please let us know. (And gapcohen, I'm sorry to hear that you experienced negative comments. If it happens again, please let us know about them so we can take action.)

Xeno-x, thanks for the input on considering issuing a warning first. We'll definitely do that whenever possible.

I think we'll have to disagree on the name-calling. There's a big difference between say, calling a public figure a name, and flaming another Blogit member on their blog as I described at the top of this blog entry.

I'm not sure why you feel you "cannot make comments on others posts" without name-calling. Ironically, why not express your opinion as you have done in these comments (i.e. without name-calling)?

Maryka77, as much as I wish I could agree with you, sadly, not everyone "means no harm". If we truly were to make Blogit a pure anarchy where the only "rule" was survival of the "fittest", soon, only the rudest and most vicious would remain, and only they would be left to speak. As in off-Blogit life, shouldn't we want everyone to be able to express themselves, not just a select few?

-Robert

[Edited to add info on lack of monitoring and on the consequences of verbal abuse]

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ths website is pretty lenient, considering it is not free.

Other sites are less tolerant and still have brisk and intelligent discourse. I think it does not advance the site.

This site has paying members, and when one complains about being harassed, other members tell them to stand up for themselves? That's like having a drunk come out of the bar into a restaurant and start picking on you, and the employees let it go on and on. It's in the rules, it isn't a public place (it is paid for, has a membership, it's private) and we don't have to listen to or read this stuff, or have our friends or cohorts put upon.

I say if you want to play rough, go find a free free-for-all, or Second Life, or something and leave off the interpersonal stuff.

And if you get a comeuppance from the blogmeisters, then start rumours about what happened to get people standing up for you, when your name pops out it's not like it is unexpected. I've advocated a rogues' list for years.

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