Welcome to all our new BlueNC community members. We hope you will enjoy your blogging experience here and encourage you to speak up and introduce yourselves. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to email me, James, our front page writers or long-time community members.
You will find our FAQ or Frequently Asked Questions under the "Home" tab in the upper left menu or simply follow this link.
In our FAQ you will find all sorts of advice from how to tag your diaries to how to avoid getting banned. Please read the FAQ even if you've been around a while as some entries have been updated.
Rules of Engagement
The fastest way to get permanently banned at BlueNC is to create mulitple identities (sock puppets) and wage an astroturf campaign. Astroturfing basically refers to creating imaginary users to speak for or against an issue or person. The sock puppets are really just one person having a conversation with him or herself in an attempt to make it look like more people support his or her way of thinking than actually do. Folks who take advantage of this community and play these games are permanently banned.
It may not always seem like it, but we welcome those who don't agree with us. The most important rule when entering discussions is to make sure your comments further the discussion in some way. If you log in simply to attack our writers or to make nonsense comments you may find your account temporarily or permanently blocked.
Our other standard is a little more difficult to define, but we reserve the right to block or ban any use who is deemed to be intolerably obnoxious. We have actually never blocked or banned someone for reaching this point, though we have certainly threatened. Basically, if someone's presence is so toxic that multiple members complain, then that person is going to get a warning at the very least. We are extremely tolerant since we know that each of us is capable of having an obnoxious moment, hour or day.
On Topic vs Off Topic
One of the things you will notice at BlueNC is we don't fuss at people for making off-topic comments on most threads. As we grow, we need to pay a little closer attention to this. One or two casual comments is probably fine, but it is disrespectful to a writer to hold a conversation about a barely related or totally unrelated topic in the comment section of a post. This is considered "hijacking a thread." You may also hear it referred to as "thread jacking." Please move these conversations to email, our forums or an open thread.
Tags and Headlines
We have made a renewed emphasis lately on creating headlines that contain key words instead of writing cryptic or creative headlines. Every once in a while, a cryptic headline will grab the attention of those who subscribe to our RSS feed. Typically, though, using key words is more likely to help draw in readers. Using key words in headlines also helps move BlueNC up in search engine rankings which will bring more visitors to the site. More visitors means more advertising which obviously helps us pay the bills.
Choosing appropriate tags for diaries is also important to improving our rankings with search engines. They can also be a useful tool when we want to group certain diaries together. If we want to promote all diaries about green energy or Kay Hagan or any other subject, we can use tags to accomplish this. Please separate your tags with a comma and don't be too creative. If a story is about Republicans in the NC Legislature it might be funny to tag it, "asshats on parade" but that isn't a term that people are likely to search.
Some at BlueNC blog under their real names, some blog under pseudonyms but are open about their real identities and some choose to be anonymous. You may write under any name you choose unless you use someone else's given name in an attempt to hurt them or deceive our community.
If a person chooses to blog under a pseudonym and takes reasonable precautions to maintain their anonymity, it is be a bannable offense to expose that member's identity. We will do our best to help protect a member's anonymity, but anyone who wants to maintain anonymity needs to take reasonable steps to protect their identity.
Recently, I've had an increase in the number of emails from people who want me to put them in touch with one of our bloggers. BlueNC is neither a dating nor a stalking service. If someone has your real name and wants to know your pseudonym, I will not give it out. If someone has your pseudonym and wants to know your real name, I will not give that out. Short of a warrant from the authorities, I will not share contact information with anyone for any reason. If you wish to make it easier for people to contact you, please feel free to include you email address in your profile and select that choice that allows people to email you off site. We do have security that requires live humans to pass a math captcha test in order to contact people off site and your email address is not visible to them.
Google is Forever
If you choose to post a diary or join the discussion in the comments of a post, please keep in mind that what you say is permanent once it is cached by Google. You may edit a diary or edit a comment until someone replies to your comment, but if Google has cached the page, you original words have already been captured and will be available in the cached version. Please do not ask admins to clean up after you if you decide to cut loose one night because you were tired/stressed/drunk.
Recently I've found myself deleting diaries about topics solely unrelated to North Carolina politics. While they were posts written by humans, they were written purely to promote a business or web site. One was on "dental caries." We don't require that every post be about North Carolina, politics or North Carolina politics. We don't mind if you cross post and link back to your own web site or blog. However, we aren't here to help you simply promote a business or product that is unrelated to BlueNC's purpose.
Again, welcome to all the new BlueNC members. I think this is a good start, but please let me, James, our front page team or one of our long-time members know if you have any questions.