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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bonus A-to-Z Challenge Questions Answered #atozchallenge #faq

The A-to-Z Challenge is B.Y.O.B. – Bring your own blog! As this alphabet party approaches, we look forward to welcoming all of our blogging guests in a 26-day marathon, complete with entertainment, socializing, reminiscing and learning. 

We like a good party – the larger, the better. So like a good party host, we don’t want to have to show anyone the door – but we will if we find a guest who is spoiling the fun with adult content or blogging recklessly without warning. 

Now that we all understand the importance of following directions, let’s take a look at the differences between Adult Content and Offensive content, considering that these two can get mistaken for each other.

Adult Content Blogs vs Offensive Blogs

A Word on Adult Content Blogs:
"Does cursing count as adult content?" 

"I'm a potty mouth, and there's a clear warning regarding such on my blog. 
Should I categorize as AC here, as well?"

The Short Answer: Yes

The Long Answer: Blogs using frequent harsh language are deemed as adult content. If your posts, however, contain a sporadic use of profane words, then it does not necessarily have to be listed as adult content – but your blog may still be offensive to visitors; which is something we must take into consideration. As such, if your posts have questionable material such as a harsh word here or there on an otherwise non-AC blog, we strongly urge you to put a disclaimer at the top of your posts; which brings us to the subject of defining Offensive Content.

In previous years, we've had youth participants in the challenge. While we would not expect you to monitor or police the levels of exposure that someone else’s child has to harsh language, we do ask that all of our participants show some courtesy to each other, which includes providing visitors with enough information -- in the form of disclaimers -- to decide if they want to venture further and continue reading certain content.

A Word on Offensive Blogs and use of Disclaimers:
“If I have a few scattered cuss words in some of my A-to-Z posts, would that automatically qualify me as an AC blog?”

“There are some blogs out there with content I don't really want to see past years 
I have come across blogs that gave me the creeps. 

“What about the case of say to occasional nude drawing? 
Nothing more than what you might see in a PG-13 movie?” 

“I'm pretty sure I'm PG 13, that's okay right?”

The Short Response: Non-AC blogs containing offensive content are strongly advised to include a disclaimer on their blog.

The Long Reponse: We live in a world encompassing different belief systems, cultures and viewpoints that each have their own take on what is, and is not, appropriate. Oftentimes, what may be offensive to some guys and gals will not offend other folks. Even British blogger Rob Z Tobor pointed out his thoughts about Brits being less offended by certain things than us Americans and since the internet is an international medium, anyone, anywhere is bound to come across a blog or website that may be offensive based on his or her own perspectives. Keeping this in mind, Non-AC blogs that contain Offensive Content are strongly urged to include a disclaimer on their posts, at least during April.

A Quick Guide on How to Use Disclaimers:

There are many ways to incorporate disclaimers or warnings on your blog, where necessary, during the A-to-Z Challenge. They can be as simple as a line of text or a photo/graphic that gives notice to readers who visit your blog.  Here are two ways to incorporate a disclaimer notice on your blog.

  • One main site-wide disclaimer – You can put a warning in your blog header, at the top of your sidebar or similar highly visible area that gives notice to everyone who visits your blog. It’s a one-and-done approach that, if done properly, can be effective in allowing you to focus on posting and not have to worry about the disclaimers. Kelly at DysfunctionallyFunctional is an example of bloggers who do a fantastic job of utilizing the site-wide approach of using disclaimers. She displays them in several places on her blog, which provides fair notice to all who visit about the nature of the content we are about to read.
  • Individual disclaimers per blog post – You can write or display a warning within the content of each blog post, which gives readers enough advance notice to determine if they are mature enough or adventurous enough or open-minded enough to handle the material. Sophie Duncan and her twin sister Natasha Duncan-Drake at Fantasy Boys XXX puts disclaimers at the top of each of their blog posts, using a simple grading system for the level of intensity in each post.

It is worth noting that the above examples are full-out Adult Content (AC) blogs that just happen to also be using disclaimers, which is an awesome double-whammy in giving visitors a heads up on their content. That said, even if you are a Non-AC blogger that does not publish or display explicit language on a frequent basis like Kelly does, or all-male erotica like the Duncan sisters do, we still urge you to at least put a disclaimer on your blog

This way, teenagers and readers who might be offended will know what they are dealing with upon visiting your blog during the challenge.

Still need guidance on using disclaimers? Check out Carrie-Anne’sMagick Theatre which is one of the Non-AC blogs that not only understand our purpose for advising the use of disclaimers, she also puts them into practice very well.

 “I'm doing what I did last year, putting a bolded warning/notice on any posts that might have some swearing, adult language, or a type of humor that offends certain people. Overall, there's barely any of that in the posts I'm going to do for this year's challenge, but I think it's fair to give a heads-up to anyone who's squeamish about certain language.” – 
  • Never underestimate the power of our A-to-Z Challenge community! One of the easiest ways to get help with your #atozchallenge questions or concerns is to reach out to one of your fellow bloggers who is participating in the challenge. 
  • When in doubt, you can connect with one of the Co-Hosts or send your question/concern to @AprilA2Z.
Since its inception, the Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge has been an all-inclusive community filled with members who support one another and practice consideration for the viewpoints of their fellow bloggers -- even if they are different than their own. People within the A-to-Z community agree to disagree on a variety of subjects, while still having courtesy to treat each other with respect. 

Co-Hosts and participants of the Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge have furnished information on common questions and concerns involving our April blogathon. Due to the large amount of bloggers who signup to participate in the A-to-Z Challenge, it is important for each participant to practice his or her due diligence in following the Guidelines set forth on the A-to-Z Challenge Sign-up List as well as the knowledge provided in content published on this blog -- while also taking into account the additional information available on our FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ) page and our CONTACT page.


JoJo said...

Great post and guidelines. I swore a lot in the early days of my blog, but now that it's published via facebook, I have a lot more readers of all ages now, so I try to keep it clean or just use some other word like 'frickin' or 'dadgum' when I need a good adjective to describe my frustration level. I realize kids today have heard it all, but I don't think my blog needs to be one of the places they hear/see it.

flip mcfliperson said...

I'll say the Brits use offensive stuff way more than Americans. I once heard Rob Z Tobor, talk about poking things with sticks. WITH STICKS! I threw up in my mouth a little when I read that.

That being said, I only cuss in asterisks and ampersands.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nicole .. I'm always surprised that people want to swear and cuss in public, but the Adult Content I can easily steer clear of - also if I see something I'm not happy with I can move on to another blog ..

Enjoy the Challenge everyone ... cheers Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've read Carrie-Anne's blog for years and can't even think of a post where she used anything offensive. I'm either not easily offended or just unobservant.
Letting people know about individual posts is a good idea.

Anonymous said...

Great post and tips. A month long party sounds great.

Nicole said...

It's nice to know you found these guidelines to be useful. You make a great point about kids these days having heard it all, yet, our blogs not necessarily having being one of the place where they are exposed to such language. While I still do use cuss words in some of my blog posts, I have toned it down a bit from when I first started blogging.

Flip McFliperson,
Since the definition of what is and what isn't considered offensive varies from person to person, there will always be a bit of culture shock between many countries when it comes to offending people...or not. It is understandable how "Bleeping out" cuss words can be an effective method to clean some language up a bit. We still encourage Non-AC blogs to use disclaimers, where necessary, if they think their content might offend some visitors. Thank you for your comment.

Visiting blogs is just like watching television in that we have the option to change the channel if we happen across content that doesn't sit well with us. That's the great thing about the internet :) Living in the city has caused me to be less surprised or offended by people cussing in public. It's kinda the "norm" but I'm more bothered by people yelling in public than anything else.

PV Ariel,
Your willingness to visit and comment on blogs that are participating in the challenge is what helps build community. That said, we would appreciate it if you refrained from asking these bloggers to "fix" any rule or guideline that they have not followed accordingly. Doing so creates a huge misunderstanding about what the guidelines are and how certain issues can be resolved. Co-Hosts are the only people authorized to request "fixes" from bloggers.

I too am not easily offended either, like you. Luckily, bloggers who might want to add disclaimers during the challenge can look to Carrie-Anne's approach of adding a notice on individual posts, to get an idea on how they can implement their own notices on their blogs.

flip mcfliperson said...

Nah, I don't really have anything objectionable on my site. Except for my alarming lack of talent, and total disregard for punctuation.

Rob Z Tobor said...

Hello Mr Flip back in the old days sticks were what everyone used to chase dinner, There were no drive through takeaways and those dinosaurs were big seriously big. In fact I recently discussed a theory about the general size of life on Earth as it happens it is very informative. Anyway as a Brit I would say we are fairly chilled about swearing but then I heard a parent the other day who told their small child to ******* ******** ********* ****** stop ******** swearing before hitting them rather hard. Life is complicated, as we both know, sneaking up on one another making comments and confusing the masses.....

Rob Z Tobor said...

Many thanks for the link, I do try and avoid any material of an offensive nature, in fact I seldom get close to anything that might be regarded as adult content of any kind, although I do mention science, maths and the theoretical basis of the origins of the universe from time to time (no pun intended) these are subjects most small children and a lot of adults will run away from.

I am you see a quiet middle class chap,artist and semi-retired dreamer and only swear doing DIY on the house, but I am seldom offended by anything and when I am it tends to be extreme political views or inequality in the world or folk justifying some of the terrible things man does to man as a whole, not sex or swearing in a blog. After all there are huge numbers of blogs promoting novels and the like with half naked men and women wrapped round each other, which in some countries may be regarded as offensive.

In short, the whole subject is a can of worms and even a can of worms is not a pretty sight unless you are going fishing.

The solution is far more blogs in the style of Rob Z Tobor . . . (the peoples friend . . . . OK grumpy friend . . . . .OK I am not friendly)

Rob Z Tobor

Rob Z Tobor said...

Your OK Mr Flip . . . . and you can spell better than me.

Anonymous said...

Blogs with content such as you describe are simple to deal don't comment and you don't come back. People are entitled to be as lewd and disgusting as they want on their own blogs and they will attract their own kind. Happily I belong to a delightful network of bloggers who do not seem to need to stoop to this kind of sensationalism. Live and let live I say.

J Lenni Dorner said...

Maybe there should be a standard set of images (100x100 pixels in size) available for people to use with ratings on them?
Movie system ratings? TV system ratings? Video Game ratings?
Books and art don't have ratings, and blogs are similar to combining those, which is perhaps why it's difficult to nail down a rating. Age rating and then qualifiers (language, sex, violence, drinking/drugs, etc) seem to be the standard. I don't know, just thoughts. There's probably a pin board with rating images or something.
I could probably whip one up, if anyone thinks that'd be of use. As an option-- not as some mandatory thing or whatever-- but as an option for those who want to freely express themselves without potentially exposing unwarned youths (and thus dealing with the angry parent mob of said youths).

cheerfuloptimistic said...

I try to keep my blog fairly clean (not necessarily family friendly, the two aren't always the same thing), though one post I've got planned for the challenge that talks about profanity is going to be uncensored. I've posted a warning on that one, but otherwise I've keep it PG-13.

flip mcfliperson said...

The people's friend wouldn't go around poking people with other things.
Go to my site instead, where our motto is; "flip, half as grumpy as Rob Z."


G. B. Miller said...

I like to add one more point, which was suggested to me with my blog. My blog is definitely not AC (gave up nasty language years ago), but a few hyperlinks that I put in with roughly a half dozen of my posts which will take the reader, if they so choose, to my adult blog (which is not part of the blogging challenge), required me to put in a disclaimer in bold lettering warning people about the other blog.

G.B. Miller at Father Nature's Corner

Philip Verghese 'Ariel' said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

When I first looked through the rating I felt like mine wasn't AC but now I am not so sure. I do not cuss or have nudity nor do I have gore but I do write some horror stories. Sort of like ghost stories I guess. Would that still be AC?

I do like these guidelines and agree with them. I am not against cussing and other such stuff but it is nice to get a heads up on if a blog has it or not.

Arlee Bird said...

I don't see any problem with horror stories. You might think in terms of movie ratings as a guide. If your posts contain things that most parents would not want their children reading and it might be rated "R" or more as a movie, then your blog probably needs an AC rating.