Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Self Censorship

Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL
34 42.54 N 081 05.58 W

Reader Chuck sent an email exhorting me to keep up the blog and to write from the heart without holding back.   I've never written about blog censorship before so here goes.

Without conscious planning I seem to have evolved a policy about blog content.  I censor in the following cases.

  1. Libby won't let me publish anything risqué.  She says, "Your grandchildren may be reading."  My recent tongue in cheek name for an aircraft carrier is the only one in recent years that I slipped past her.
  2. Privacy: Believe it or not, I sill have a sense of privacy.  There are aspects of our life that I choose not to share with the world.
  3. Last names:  I don't ask people for permission to tell their stories.   Therefore, should they search their own names on Google, I don't want my blog to appear in the hits.  If it did, then I think those people would have cause to be mad at me.  Sometimes I've violated that rule.  Other times, I also obscure the first name too.
  4. Libel:  When I'm mad at a person or a local business, it is tempting to use my blog to vent my anger.   However, I learned way back in the 1980s to read each email before sending it.  If it sounds emotional, it is better to press delete.  The written word is a poor vehicle for expressing anger.   I try to follow that rule on the blog too.  Ire toward the federal government is excepted.
  5. Retractions and corrections:  I'm sure that regular readers recognize that some of my posts are well thought out and edited, and others are hurried.  Once in a while, I inadvertently or thoughtlessly post something that might be hurtful to others.   On those cases I go back and retroactively change the post.  Once I even published a public apology and retraction.   I think there have been no more than 5 correction cases in 1681 posts to date.
  6. Politics: I don't want this blog to become political but that doesn't mean that I don't have strong feelings and things to say.  I follow a loose rule on political subjects; I resist 8 out of 10 urges to write a political post, and publish the other 2.
  7. Superlatives: Long before blogging, I learned a simple rule that greatly enhanced the quality of my writing.   I run a spell check, then I scan the text one more time looking for superlatives and I delete 3 out of every 4.   It really works and it improves the quality of one's writing.   

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