Shalls and Shan’ts

I was going to call the points I’m about to make about blog behavior “rules,” but my editor pointed out that the word “rule” gives some people the willies. I have therefore abandoned it—although, dang, like so many other four-letter words, “rule” is punchy and to the point.

I will instead present some “shalls” and “shan’ts” as ethical guidelines for this blog. Shalls and shan’ts. Five letters. Soft-sounding, yet archaic enough to make even a search engine sit up and take notice.

The first two shan’ts apply to me and are designed to keep my blogging from mucking up my relationships with readers who know me personally. The third shan’t, which starts out as a shall, applies to all of us and aims to keep this blog a friendly place to be.

Shan’t 1: I will not identify anyone in this blog or elsewhere on this website without first giving him or her the opportunity to read what I’ve written and to make corrections, suggest changes or ask not to be named, unless what I’ve written is the result of a formal interview (which hasn’t happened yet).

I see this as a matter of fairness and respect. However, I also don’t want my friends and the people in my qigong world to feel they have to be careful about what they say around me, lest they find their names online.

Shan’t 2: I won’t hold it against the people in my life if they don’t read my blog. I won’t ask if they’ve read it or what they think about it, even though I may be dying to.

I know that people are busy, and that they may not be the least bit interested in qigong or what I have to say about it, even though they may like or even love me. I also know from personal experience how awkward it is when a friend starts blogging and you feel you should follow and comment on their work—only you really, really don’t want to and resent being put in the position of being expected to.

Shan’t 3 (which starts as a shall): I will strive to be open, honest and respectful of other people’s views and experiences—and I will expect others to do the same.

I follow the comic strip “Funky Winkerbean” online and have noticed that several readers are trying to out-snark one another in their comments on the day’s strip. If people want to be snarky, they’ll have to do it on some other blog, because I have a delete button and will use it.

Also, thoughtful disagreement is welcome; nastiness and especially inarticulate nastiness are not. Readers will have to find more civil, better-reasoned ways to disagree than by writing things like “what a **!*! load of **!*!.” Sorry. I’ve got that delete button.

And if you think I’ve transgressed? I hope you’ll use the “Your thoughts…” comment option or the Contact Me form to let me know.

Still coming soon: What I think qi and qigong really are and why I decided to hang my blog on the difficult word “qi,” when some other writers go with “chi.” Plus, the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration—and also the Year of the Snake—begin Sunday, Feb. 10….

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