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February 24, 2004

Free Range Librarian: Guidelines for this Blog

Here are some basic facts and posting/comment guidelines for Free Range Librarian.

As the tagline notes, FRL is a personal blog, owned and operated by one person. FRL is one librarian's daily meditations about librarianship and any other issue that interests her. FRL features subjective, opinionated entries without benefit of editorial review.

Unlike many blogs, FRL accepts the overhead of "comment management" in order to encourage reader discussion of the issues raised on this blog. However, FRL is not a public forum. The author, Karen G. Schneider, reserves the right to share, praise, mock, criticize, or delete any comment on this blog. The author also reserves the right to ban comments from any organization or person, either temporarily or permanently. Comment spam is routinely cleaned up with MT-Blacklist.

A good guideline to go by in posting comments on this site is to imagine you are meeting new friends of friends for coffee, and an interesting discussion arises. What would you say, and how would you say it?

Comments that have a good choice of being retained have these characteristics, as determined by the site author:

* Interesting, even if inaccurate or poorly-argued
* Amusing, intentionally or otherwise
* Historically significant
* Pertinent to the discussion
* Generally rounding things out
* Concurring with previous posts

Comments that have a good chance of being deleted have these characteristics:

* Rude, particularly to friends and colleagues of the site author
* Intolerant, particularly if homophobic, racist, sexist, or just plain mean-spirited

The author reserves the right to delete comments without warning, but may ask the poster to reconsider his or her remarks before the comment is deleted and/or the poster is blocked from this site.

Restoration to posting status may require apologies and/or promises to behave better in the future.

Posted by kgs at February 24, 2004 11:46 AM

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A clear, eloquent and forthright statement.

And a shame that it needs to be said.

Not a surprise [there are reasons I rarely comment at LISNews these days], but a shame.

Posted by: Walt Crawford at February 24, 2004 01:06 PM

good! I was wondering when that was coming.

Posted by: jessamyn at February 24, 2004 04:00 PM

"Censorious hypocrites."

Nope. Plenty of people disagree with Karen on her blog. But they do it in a civil manner, so she welcomes them. You behaved badly. She threw you out of her house.

Posted by: Ruth E. Seid at February 24, 2004 06:51 PM

Geez. When did weblogs get so serious? I agree with Karen here (obviously), but why bother with guidelines? Karen, it's your weblog. You do whatever you want to do with it. if you want to delete a comment, then delete a comment. No need to explain your motives. That's what makes weblogs work. If someone disagrees with you, they can post to their own weblog.

Posted by: Steven M. Cohen at February 24, 2004 07:28 PM

Jack has reminded me of a phrase that commonly shows up on bulletin boards and listservs: "Please don't feed the trolls."

I think your guidelines are clear and based on common courtesy.

Posted by: Anna at February 25, 2004 09:56 AM

"New friends for coffee" is a brilliant way of putting it.

Over at my own blog the agenda is expressly political and I am regularily handed my head by bright, if misguided, commenters. Occupational hazard. And my choice. Just as banning Jack is Karen's choice.

Jack, here's a suggestion, if you really, really want to get into the assorted red herrings about brother sister and multiple marriages come over to my blog and have at it. But respect Karen's unwillingness to have your comments here.

And do, please, drop the whole silly idea that this is about censorship or freedom of speech. There is no "gotcha" here. No one forces you to post here, no one denies you access to the literally hundreds of thousands of platforms the net provides for free expression.

It is not censorship to refuse to invite a rude dinner guest back the next time you have a dinner party. It is merely a recognition of that rudeness. It should be taken personally and the behaviour corrected.

Posted by: Jay Currie at February 25, 2004 11:52 AM

How lucky can you be to have both Stephens and Saklad complaining? Back when I was an honest-to-god librarian, Saklad used to ask me for personal documents regularly and publicly excoriated me all over the place for not sending them to him. I got mail from all the best librarians in Boston with their good wishes. I love your guidelines. It's your site. Run it as you damn please.

Posted by: Leila Shapiro at March 1, 2004 03:41 PM


Date: Mon, 31 May 2004 15:54:21 -0400
Reply-To: thomkeat at earthlink.net
Sender: State and Local Freedom of Information Issues

Sent-From: James Keat
Subject: Maryland open meetings
X-cc: Allen Dyer

Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. has vetoed a bill, passed
virtually without opposition, that would have remedied an overlooked
defect in the 30-year-old open meetings statute.

He said it would open government agencies to increased litigation
-- the only way the statute can be enforced.

However, lobbyists for local governments, which would be the
principal targets of such suits, did not oppose the bill with one
exception, representatives of local school boards.

The bill was designed to remedy a trial court decision last year
that dismissed an open meetings enforcement suit against a local
school board on the ground the plaintiff had no standing to sue.

If allowed to stand, this ruling would effectively eviscerate
enforcement of the statute by civic groups, the press and virtually
all other persons.

The statute permits persons "adversely affected" to sue for

The judge decided that the plaintiff was not economically injured
by the asserted violations a! nd therefore lacked standing.

Because there was no case law on the point, the judge had to reach
into the zoning code for a precedent.

That ruling is on appeal.

The governor's veto can be overturned by the legislature at its
next session, now scheduled for next January.

Additional information:

Editorial in Baltimore Sun:

Opinion article in Washington Post:

Briefs and other documents in law suit:

Jim Keat
Maryland-Delaware-District of Columbia Press Association

--- James Keat
--- thomkeat at earthlink.net


Posted by: dsaklad@zurich.csail.mit.edu at June 1, 2004 12:01 AM

Asking for public documents is a good thing. Our cities' public libraries do not even disclose to our cities' librarians, other library workers and cities' library unions collective bargaining labor relations advocates the public documents needed to be more effective and efficient. Ask for our cities' public libraries departments reports, studies and surveys! Persist in the face of nay sayers who respond the public information is not available. After all, they are our cities' public libraries! The best librarians like Henry Scannell of Boston Public Library Microtext Department and John Devine of BPL Microtext Department are responsive to such inquiries

Posted by: dsaklad@zurich.csail.mit.edu at June 1, 2004 12:13 AM