Showing posts with label participation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label participation. Show all posts

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.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A-to-Z Challenge Questions Answered #atozchallenge #FAQ

If you’ve ever received a driver’s permit, written a grant proposal, traveled by plane, applied for college, filled out a job application, made an insurance claim or voted in an election, you have a clear understanding of how important it is to follow directions.

Whether simple or complex – directions guide us on the road to achieving (or at least getting closer to) whatever end result we are seeking. We all make mistakes – it’s true. Oftentimes, however, a lot of these mistakes can be significantly reduced – even eliminated – by simply reading and following directions as carefully as we are able.

As we head toward the Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge in April, please take heed on the directions and guidelines that are set forth for participants. Doing so will help Co-Hosts and fellow participants to prevent unnecessary potholes and bumps in the road from developing at our alphabet blogging party.

Making Category Changes
This includes: Adding a Category , Removing a Category or Modifying a Category

"Apologies for circumventing the system to add a second entry WITH the category this time. You can delete # 164"

"I neglected to put (WR) by my name, sorry!"

"Oops. Signed up before my morning coffee, and forgot to put the HU category." 

"I see I am one of those who forgot to add a category."

"I signed up but forgot to put the MI category in...sorry!"

The scenarios above have one Question in common: Can I Change My Category Code?

The Short Answer: No

The Long Answer: The “requirement” factor is one of the most common misconceptions about using blog categories when signing up for the A-to-Z Challenge. Since 2013, the Co-Hosts have offered a list of categories and their corresponding codes that bloggers can included at end of their blog’s name, when signing up for the challenge. As a participant, using a category code or not is entirely your choice. Therefore, if you forget to add a category code the first time around, it is not a big deal. There is no need to request that one be added later on down the line. Blogs that contain adult content are the only exception to this rule. All categories are optional, except for the Adult Content (AC) category. 

Your Spot/Number on the Signup List

"I can't believe I was late on the list again this year. My goal was to make the top one hundred." 

"number 14 on the list, beats my number from last year, one thousand and something!"

The scenarios above have one Concern in common: 
How can I be in the best position on the signup list to get more visits, comments, fans, friends, followers, etc. during the A-to-Z Challenge?

Our Short Response: It's not about where you are on the signup list. It's about how you participate with (and make yourself known to) other bloggers on the signup list.

Our Long Response: The number where your blog is currently located on the signup list may be subject to change as we clean up the list. In the early years of the A-to-Z Challenge, being higher on the list could help bring you more readers –especially during the first week or two in April. That is because everybody started at #1 and worked their way down the list; even with a “randomizer” widget that Arlee had available at times, this method of participation make it difficult for blogs that were further down on the list to see any real bump in traffic, comments, followers and general interactions with fellow A-to-Z Challenge participants.

These days, we’ve attempted to balance things out by asking ALL participants to start visiting the blogs that are listed after their blog. So, if you are blog #144 on the signup list, then you would start visiting blog #145 and then #146 and so on until you’ve either visited all the blogs on the signup list after yours or the end of the 2014 A-to-Z Challenge arrives – whichever comes first. If everyone pitches in to help with this by starting on the next blog down on the list, after their own, we can nearly ensure that all participating blogs get a sizable amount of new visitors during the challenge.


  • Never underestimate the power of networking -- one of the fastest ways to get help with something related to the #atozchallenge is to reach out to a fellow blogger who you know is participating in the challenge. 
  • When in doubt, you can connect with one of the Co-Hosts or send your question/concern to @AprilA2Z.

Each year, Co-Hosts as well as select participants of the Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge have taken great care in providing information that addresses common questions and concerns involving our April blog hop. 

Due to the massive volume of bloggers who signup to participate in the A-to-Z Challenge, it is crucial that each participant practices his or her due diligence in paying attention to 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.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Blogging is a VERB

And then we blog…

We write. We edit. We post.

And then we blog…

We socialize, network and engage in the community.

Blogging in a bubble is like cooking without eating the meal.

And then we blog…

We read other blogs, meet and get to know other bloggers, join and participate in blog hops.

See what I mean? We blog.

Dishes can wait. We’re blogging. Blogging is a verb – an action word that requires participation.

Making it hard for active bloggers to comment on your blog is like doing the dishes when you’re entertaining company. Sure, you can get away with it, but why would you be so rude to your guests?

On that note, here’s a brief list explaining why some people might not comment on your blog…

  • It takes too long to find your post. As serious as I am about blogging, there’s one thing I know to be true. Blogs are blogs. When I get to your page, I don’t want to click another link to read your post. I’m sure it will be very interesting and all that, but reading your post isn’t about giving you page views. It’s about reading what you wrote on your blog.

  • You wrote a friggin’ novel! Again, it’s a blog…especially when we’re all hopping around like flying trapeze artists, hoping not to miss any step (or blog) along the way during some of these gigantic blog hops. Save it for your ebook already, and post a blog post, without apologies for writing more words than I could write in a week. (And I write a lot of words every week too!)

  • Avoid misleading your audience by title or post. If your title promises to give a how-to on peeling oranges, I’m probably not going to want to read about dealing with grumpy co-workers. I’m certainly not expecting to anyway.

  • Check your ego at the post. Um, I’m sure your post will be great, but I’m not coming back to see what you wrote about something in two or three days, just because you were too busy to write your post for today’s blog hop. As much as you want me to appreciate your busy blogging schedule, it would be nice if you would appreciate mine too. Remember, blogging is a verb.

  • Skip the hoops already and make it easy for people to comment on your blog. I’ve commented on your blog time and time again. Yet I still have to fill out my name, email and website every time I visit you. At what point will you acknowledge my effort to leave you nice comments? I spent several minutes reading your post and now I can’t find where to leave a comment. Make it easy. Put the “Post a comment” at the bottom of the post (along with sharing tabs), just in case you said something my friends might want to read too. Captcha – think I said it all in this post on the subject.

It’s only a few days til we’re all in a mad rush to post and comment on well over 1,000 blogs in the A – Z Challenge blog hop. Hey, we’re all in this together and blogging is a verb!

Here’s to a successful A – Z Challenge for all!

M. J.

Photo credits:  Blog – commentskkkkk; Cortega9, CCA; blog iconoiiiiiii, Cortega9, CCA; Blog (1), Cortega9, CCA