I know that everyone is awaiting a follow-up article on how to utilize ethnicity results more fully for genealogy, and obviously, this article isn’t it. You know that saying, “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans?” Well, that’s last week, this week and maybe next week, so please, just bear with me.
However, I’d like to take this opportunity to have a bit of a fireside chat about blogging, how it works, my blog rules, and civility.
People follow blogs because the content resonates with them for any number of reasons.
Genetic genealogy is the intersection of my two great loves, science and genealogy. It’s my passion, but I’m guessing I didn’t need to tell you that. Why else would someone spent thousands of hours writing and educating others, on a paid platform, as a volunteer effort?
Blogging can be lots of fun. In many cases, I “take you along with me” as I try out new methodologies, or I share my successes…and failures. In my 52 Ancestors series that runs every weekend (ok, most weekends when I can,) I share my research methodologies with everyone with the secret hope that someday, somehow, new cousins will find me, and those articles, even after I’m gone.
I hope you’ll find inspiration and new ways through genetics to find your ancestors too. I love to hear your success stories and to have participated or encouraged you in some small way. You inspire me!
Blogging is also exhausting. I didn’t realize when I started that it’s a 24X7X365 commitment – and I’ve passed my 6th blogiversary.
Why is blogging exhausting?
Aside from researching and writing articles, questions and comments arrive all the time. With 1057 articles and over 35,000 comments posted on those articles, I’m sure you can imagine the scope of the commitment required. I read and authorized every single one of those comments.
Why do I read every comment? I only allow accurate, civil, non-spam comments to post.
Now for the shocker.
The number of spam comments in that same time is…are you ready…1,253,012, with another 1300+ in the spam queue waiting for review. And no, I’m not going to review all 1300 of those. Not to mention, the spam queue doesn’t catch all of them. That’s up to me. That also doesn’t count the number of comments that aren’t actually spam, but that I haven’t allowed to post for any one of several reasons.
Let that soak in for a minute.
One and a quarter million spam messages tried to take advantage of my blog and your readership. The gateway or filter between them and you is the WordPress spam filter, and me. That’s 208,000 per year, or 570 nasty spammy things per day. Needless to say, I hate spam.
So, I monitor the blog on my PC, on my laptop, on my phone, and I do my best wherever I am. It takes a huge, huge amount of time and level of commitment. More than I ever imagined – and I don’t have a staff. I’m it.
Dollars and Cents
Blogging isn’t free, at least not for me.
WordPress does offer a free platform, but the requirements for this blog far surpasses what they provide to hobbyists for free. I love WordPress and would recommend it for anyone who is interested. In fact, I wrote about how to blog here.
Many bloggers and free web sites monetize their sites. The ads you see are a way for the blogger or site creator to recoup some of the money being spent as well as their time and effort. I don’t do that and I actually pay WordPress so no ads will appear.
Bloggers create new content for consumers. Some blogs and newsletters require subscriptions. I’ve never embraced that model although that is not a criticism of anyone who does. In fact, I subscribe to several.
Everyone has to eat, and if a someone values an expert opinion, it’s entirely valid for the person who has educated themselves, and maintains that education, to expect some form of compensation for their expertise.
In my case, I wanted education for every genealogist about how to utilize DNA effectively to remain free in order to reach the maximum amount of people possible. Education about the genetic aspects of genealogy benefits all genealogists.
I may in the future add a donation button for those who wish to contribute, although many of you have gifted me in numerous ways, for which I’m exceedingly grateful.
I do have an affiliate relationship with a few companies, which is disclosed at the bottom of each article that has any links to those companies. I’ve included the standard disclosure at the bottom of this article for reference.
I am also occasionally under non-disclosure agreements with some companies when they discuss future development of products. I’m glad to be able to (hopefully) influence future development of products for genealogists from time to time.
For those who are wondering, blogging and affiliate links, at least for me, is not a “living.” It’s more like Starbucks and dinner on a good month. Other months, it’s a big goose egg.
To state the obvious, I work more than full time, providing Y and mitochondrial DNA reports for customers. I also provide Quick Consults, speak at conferences and consult in this field. I write, I quilt, I do my own genealogy, and I have a family.
I don’t have any time nor desire to deal with conflict or drama of any nature.
Having written for public consumption, on my blog and in my professional career, I realize that sometimes what one writes and intends to convey is not exactly what the other person reads. For example, humor sometimes, often, doesn’t come across as humor in the written word. I’ve penned numerous things that I’ve been taken to task for without intending what was perceived. I’ve learned to be more careful.
What I’m saying is that I know how easily that can unintentionally happen.
Having said that, my number one rule for this blog is civility.
- Don’t be rude.
- No name calling.
- No flaming.
- No trolling.
- No drama.
- No politics.
- No racism.
- No discrimination of any sort.
- No disparaging comments.
- No religion unless there is a genetic or genealogical aspect to the discussion, such as Jewish DNA or endogamy among the Mennonite, etc.
- Do not attempt to bait people. I will not allow it to post whether it’s focused towards me or others – whether I agree with the comment or not.
- Do not make sweeping generalizations.
- Do not say, even in gest, something akin to “all XXX are stupid,” whether you are speaking of consumers, vendors, etc.
- That doesn’t mean a comment can’t be critical of a vendor’s product. Just stick with non-emotional facts and discussion.
- That doesn’t mean a commenter can’t disagree with me or another commenter. However, if the words are personally denigrating, condescending, offensive, hurtful or patronizing, the comment won’t be approved.
I have a limited time when reading each comment to decide thumbs up or thumbs down and if I have to ponder if it’s appropriate, the answer is thumbs down.
I may also not be approving on a computer at home. I could be on a phone laying in bed, in the airport, or in the hospital. Yes, I’ve done that.
And while you may think I’m too restrictive, remember, it may be you that I’ve protected, and you’ll never know because the offending comment was not allowed to post.
Conversely, anyone who has strong opinions and wants to voice them can do the same thing I have. Start a blog, write, educate, provide valuable content.
Genetic genealogy is intended to be fun and this blog is intended to be educational in nature – not a platform for conflict. The bottom line, like Judy said, my blog, my rules.
When I was a teenager and was perfecting the fine art of being sassy and learning how to debate, which Mother accurately perceived as arguing – she taped something to the bathroom mirror, which I absolutely hated at the time. But she was right.
And did I ever need to hear it. When I edit my own articles for the blog, I often have to consider her directive, especially if I’m upset about something. In fact, don’t laugh, but I can hear her say this, even yet today.
I often struggle with word choices, meaning exactly how to convey what I’m intending to convey – and not something else. I also have an “anger rule.” If I’m angry when I write something, I have to wait at least 24 hours to publish it. If I’m still angry, another 24. Needless to say, after cooling down, the word choices tend to change.
In this challenging time, the last thing we need is harshness. Please do comment on articles, but write with caring and consideration in your heart. I would ask you to think about how you would feel if you were on the receiving end of the words you wrote.
Words are powerful tools. They can teach, they can be thought provoking, or that can intentionally or unintentionally declare war. People won’t listen if they feel they are being attacked or challenged, whether that was the intention or not, so the best way to get a point across is to make the other person feel good about listening to what you have to say.
Here’s a wonderful little vignette that I love about the power of word choices.
Thanks for subscribing and engaging. I value each and every one of you.
Have a great day, check your DNA matches, find some ancestors and I’ll be back with you soon.
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