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Thursday, February 09, 2006

So, it appears that I'm in this for real. As such I feel compelled to lay down some guidelines for myself. Perhaps this will all look rather quaint years from now when I get bored of my mountain of million dollar bills and scan through my archives in search of a quick confirmation of my naivete, but, hell, this won't compare to "Purdue 2005: 10-1, national championship contender."

Anyway, the point of this is so y'all can police me if I start slipping. Yes, there are places to slip to.

The Tao of Blog

["I tell you what, the show is being recorded and televised for... England... and uh..."]
"They said you gotta do this song, you gotta do that song, you gotta stand like this or act like this... I just don't get it, man. I'm here to do what you want me to and what I want to do. So what do you want to hear?"
-Johnny Cash @ San Quentin

Journalism-ish Ethics

Minor factual errors and typos will be corrected without announcements. Misspellings or awkward constructions I catch after the fact regularly get revamped. Erroneous names (as long as they don't identify another person easily confused with the person in question) or factual errors best characterized as "piddling" will be fixed. Anything that doesn't change the meaning of something I said gets this treatment. Statistical or factual errors that could influence the strength of my conclusions will be called out separately.

Posts will not be deleted. Even that one. So cut me a little slack if I get a little heated or say something dumb; that's life. I try to retract when I make an ass of myself.

Assertions that could be damaging to a person or group's reputation will be made carefully. Ran across this with the Scout/Rivals/Myron Rolle/MSM bitching stuff. Allegations were made against both sites in separate articles which I quoted and commented on. Both sites categorically denied the accusations levelled, and I posted those, too, in separate posts that hit the top of the blog. In a separate incident, I misidentified a former recruit who had led Michigan on and then laughed about it in an extremely douche-y fashion. That got a separate update as well.

Rumors will be reported as such. When something from the bowels of the internet rises to a level where it seems likely to be true I will post it even without external media vorification (<-- inside joke). What's "likely"? That's a judgement call on my part. I try to err on the side of caution. Sometimes I get email from sources I trust. Sometimes there are reports from multiple sources, none of which have been really truly confirmed. Long experience has taught me that, shockingly, Internet rumors are usually right. I have developed something of a spidey-sense relating to which ones pass the smell test, and I offer it as a service.

Yes, sometimes some loon jumps on MLive and says Chris Perry's ankle is broken, but I (hopefully) wouldn't report that. If rumors I report as likely to be true in fact turn out to be false, I will create a new post and tell you that explicitly. Hopefully that doesn't happen at anything approaching "often" but it'll probably happen once in a blue moon. Remember, I am not a journalist. I don't feel I'm doing readers a service by holding off on something I believe to be 99% likely based on internet scuttlebutt. This allows me to post on things earlier than the MSM and the Scout/Rivals sites about things like Jake Long's ankle injury or Mike Brown signing with the Canucks. The tradeoff is that I could be wrong, and that erodes the trust I've built up by not being wrong. It's a fine line. I will always identify unverified voracity to be what it is, though. No bold pronouncements of truth when I don't know something to be 100% true. You'll get "probably" and "likely."

Yes, occasionally this will lead to widespread forest fires of totally ludicrous speculation. Call it the Tenuta effect. If such things happen, I'll address them.

Blog Ethics

If I find something on your blog I will hat tip you, unless I forget to copy your URL, which happens sometimes. If you think this has happened, I would prefer you leave a comment or drop an email instead of skulking away, thinking I'm a bastard. Sometimes I find stuff on my own, sometimes I just forget. If you've been slighted I promise it's an oversight.

If I call you a flaming idiot I will link to your source material so readers can judge for themselves, even if you're being really flagrantly obtuse.

I'll try to keep the flaming idiot identification to a minimum. Every once in a while it's good to have a few whacks at a prominent waste of space, but it gets old quick. I reserve the right to make snarky passing references indefinitely, however.

I'll quote portions of your post but never the whole thing unless it's really short. This goes for some premium information as well under a quasi-fair-use doctrine. Obviously excerpting relevant parts of recruiting stories is a no-no. That's a major basis for Rivals/Scout revenue and the tiny tidbit of who leads is the golden nugget that stories get spun out around. Excerpting that basically steals the content. Something like the Feld-blog is a different matter. He posts frequently and every word is in some way valuable, so by taking out little relevant chunks from time to time I'm advertising the worthwhile-itude of ESPN Insider. As long as I don't make it a point to lift everything said about Michigan (which I don't), I think I'm doing them a service. If ESPN deigns to notice me and asks me to stop, I'll stop.

Link whoring is only acceptable if you have a directly relevant Michigan blog/site. I appreciate notifications of your existence if you are more general or blogging on a rival school, but each link I add to the sidebar devalues all the other links and implies some sort of endorsement. I'll add your site if I think it's worth doing that, after I read it for a while. (Tip: don't call Michigan "scUM.") If you're an alum I've got a section for your blog even if it's totally irrelevant.

All Michigan blogs/sites that are updated regularly and don't exist for the purpose of getting someone fired are welcome on the blogroll; I would like to be as comprehensive as possible.

Sometimes I forget things or emails slip off my radar. Feel free to resend something. If I haven't replied to you there is a 99% chance it was an oversight unless you are a Nigerian detailing an amazing amount of money I can acquire.

If I said I'd do something and then I didn't, I almost definitely forgot. A reminder that you are patiently waiting for something will spur me to action.

If you email me information please be specific on the following points:
  • who you are and how you came about the information
  • if it is off the record or not
  • if you'd like to be anonymous
I appreciate off the record stuff and double-dog promise to keep it there. (Vague leakage may occur if I say something like "I heard X impressed in practice" if other people are also saying it.) Please be clear about your confidence level in the information.

If you email me pointers to stuff and I don't use it, please don't be offended. Either I don't have time to address it directly or others in the blogosphere have made mention of it.

Comments will be left to stand as long as they are not severely mouthbreathing. This has not been a major problem so far. You'll get a warning if you're treading close to bad territory. Pure flames will be deleted if they bore me and left to stand if their stupidity amuses me. Regular commenters: please do me a favor and Don't Feed The Trolls. Some sport with the AOL-OMG-NASCAR crowd is okay, but full on flame wars are not cool. If you've got something funny, go ahead, but let them have the last, dumb word after you display your utter superiority.

I reserve the right to think about advertising someday. TINSTAAFL. Given the vectors of site traffic, general attention paid to blogs, and my desired career and stuff, there may come a time in the future when I look to this thing as a source of personal revenue. A job, if you will. This is good news--once it gets locked in the decision to stop would be a long and hard one.

General Ethics

I will not use the following terms, ever ever (unless I'm being ironic):
  • "Drinking the Kool Aid"
  • "Wanting it more"
  • "Stud" and or "Freak"
  • "Flat out"
  • "Upside"
  • "Ohio State University"
Clever nicknames will be kept to a minimum. I'll use something sporadically but I will not go into full TMQ mode. Cute nicknames just get annoying after a while.

I won't call myself "we." Obviously the most annoying textual tic in all of blogdom. (Unless, of course, you are actually "we.") I will occasionally refer to mgoblog the entity, but I try to keep the referring-to-self-in-third-person thing to a minimum.

I will try very hard to maintain perspective. I'm not good at this, but I try to hew a middle ground between mindless rah rah and equally mindless AAAARGH!!!! Moderation in all things. Some things.

I will maintain focus. Appropriate topic areas for mgoblog in descending order of relevance:
  • Michigan sports.
  • Sports media; print, broadcast, and blog.
  • Opponent news.
  • General NCAA news.
  • Other sports of interest (Pistons, USMNT soccer mostly)
  • Dancing bananas, Walken 2008, etc.
Things I wont post on:
  • Politics
  • Karate Kid
  • The White Shadow
  • Musical groups that were last relevant in 1986.

Amendments Welcome

Did I leave something out? Propose something and we'll see if it gets ratified.