Protocol, schmotocol

Bob Kennedy asks about the protocol “for replying to more than one post at once”. Since I started this thing, I guess I should clarify what I think some of the rules for things like this should be.

(The title of this post should tip you off: basically, there are no rules. But read on if you’d like to know my personal opinion on a few matters.)

My answer to Bob’s dilemma would have been to just post twice. Nothing wrong with that, and it keeps the two topics separate. That said, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with how Bob handled it. Presumably, those of us who are interested in either of the two topics Bob addresses will figure it out.

Note that there’s a nifty search function on phonoloblog — type “laboratory” in the search field, click the search button, and you’ll find both John’s and Bob’s posts. Type “rant” instead, and you get Bob’s post, mine, and an earlier one of mine (because of the word “sonorant” … whoops).

One important thing to keep in mind is that this is a blog, not a mailing list. It’s a subtle distinction that I am still trying to figure out myself, but one way to think about it is that you should just forget what you know about mailing lists and start fresh. For example, putting “Re:” in your post titles is very mailing-list, and putting random links in your post is very blog. Staying on topic is very mailing-list, riffing on whatever you like is very blog. (There’s more to it, but like I said, I’m still figuring it all out myself.)

Those who have little experience with blogs should read some. For this crowd, I highly recommend Language Log. David Beaver has a fun post there on blogging.

Short answer: this isn’t Fight Club. You can talk with people about phonoloblog (I hope you do), you can contribute as little or as much as you want, etc. As long as it’s about phonology in some way, I don’t care — and I hope you don’t, either.