While we’re on the subject of my rules, I think it’s time to let my readers know what I look for in a Civil War blog. Let me preface this by saying a blog can be, and should be, whatever the blogger wants it to be. It can be focused, or it can be a stream of consciousness. It can strictly manage the comments of readers, even to the extent of not allowing reader comments, or it can let readers post whatever they want to the comments sections. It can discuss any and all topics, or it can ban some. There are no rules for blogging. That’s the beauty.
What gets me to revisit a blog? A few things: I want the blogger to be true to how he or she has characterized the blog. That’s not to say we can’t change what our blog is about over time as our blog develops (notice I gave myself some wiggle room, and some limitations, in my About over to the right). Just don’t tell me that your blog is about one thing, then consistently post about something else over and over and over. I’m not talking about folks discussing their personal lives or boosting their favorite football or baseball teams on their site, within reason. Just be honest with your readers about what your blog is about, for cryin’ out loud! Bait & switch: not for me.
I also look for a blog with a sense of humor, and yes, a positive outlook. I don’t pursue this line of study to raise my blood pressure. My cardiologist thinks this rule is a good one. The angry, brooding genius who sees clearly all that is wrong with the stupid little people who don’t agree with him won’t mind if this stupid little person doesn’t give him hits. Angry: not for me.
I don’t read a blog to find out what the blogger thinks about what other bloggers are writing (more specific, more personal than what I’m doing in this post). I sometimes point readers to other blog articles that I find interesting, and may also expand the discussion of the topic here. I may even publicly disagree. But I try not to get personal in what I write or to theorize on and question the blogger’s integrity or motivation. I leave that to his readers. Harping on other bloggers: not for me.
If I want to read opinions on modern (post, say, 1876, though there are some exceptions) politics or religion, I’m not going to seek such out on a blog that advertises itself as being focused on some aspect of the American Civil War. The same goes for getting tips on rewiring my house. Modern politics & religion on a CW blog: not for me.
Bloggers who violate my rules for consistent viewing – I can’t say that I never revisit a blog that commits the transgressions listed above – are not doing anything wrong. They’re not doing anything they shouldn’t be doing. And they’re not bad people because of how they run their blog. Their stuff is just not what I’m looking for. That’s all.
I try to follow my own rules. Be sure to call me on it when I don’t.