Article: Writing Etiquette: You need to know...: Thank you for an informative and important article

 
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Image Writing Etiquette: You need to know...
By Sharon Brown on January 7, 2011

As Cubits grows, so does our writing experience. Writing online involves legal responsibility. Here are some tips and a bit of advice to help you write the perfect article (and to keep you from stumbling after it's published).

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ImageLance
Jan 7, 2011 11:27 AM CST
Name: Lance Gardner
coastal plain Virginia
Question authority, guide in wisdom
Thank you for reminding all of us to be careful and respectful with our writing. Whether it be for fun, knowledge, opinions, or a mix, it is indeed important to present yourself well. A poorly presented article or topic will do little to persuade the reader, and may even be detrimental to the field you are promoting - most readers will think poor writing reflects not only on the person, but their chosen topic, as well.
I am currently mostly a scientific writer, and I can say with certainty that proper citations are also critical. If you make a point, or refer to something that is not original, you better be able to back it up. Even here at cubits, since it is a public site, it is important to give credit where it is due. Not only is it illegal to not do so, but it is unethical. Poor ethics is another way to lower a reader's opinion about not just yourself, but your chosen topic.
I do hope this article does not dissuade anyone from making the effort to write, we all continue to have fun with our writing, publish many more insights, personal anecdotes and stories, and share our experience and often hard won knowledge. Just make sure to follow the guidelines, ask for help when needed, and keep Cubits known as a decent place.
I would also encourage everyone to remember that this site is open to all ages, and to keep topics, pictures, and articles decent and viewable by everyone.
Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground -- the unborn of the future Nation. The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations.
Dogs; Family Fun Unplugged; Perennials, Annuals, Veggies; Happy Birthday Wishes
Imagevic
Jan 7, 2011 12:53 PM CST
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
GREAT article Sharon.

Thank you so much!

YOU are a talented and gifted writer - and I'm so thankful Lovey dubby

vic
Imagewildflowers
Jan 7, 2011 5:42 PM CST
Name: Christine
Northeast Texas, Zone 7b
Sharon, thank you for this article!

I've only written a couple of articles here on cubits. It's been awhile but, I may want to do more writing in the future!

I'm one of those people who has gathered info over the years, mostly about cooking and plants...my passions! Since the info was for my own research, I don't have records of where the info came from, in most instances.

I hope it wouldn't be considered bad taste for me to share what I have learned by writing articles, without credits of any kind.

"Just living is not enough," said the butterfly. "One must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower." ~ Hans Christian Andersen
ImageMaridell
Jan 7, 2011 5:44 PM CST
Name: Maridell
Sioux City IA
enjoy the moment
Informative, well-stated article. Thank you!
[Last edited Jan 7, 2011 6:06 PM CST]
Quote | Post #530390 (4)
ImageSharon
Jan 7, 2011 5:50 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Lance, I enjoyed hearing what you had to say, particularly since I know about your scientific writings. No matter the subject, if we publish, we cite and we attribute and we credit. It's just the way it is; unethical and illegal otherwise.

I hadn't thought a lot about children's viewing of the site. For the most part I feel that the Cubit owners are responsible for their subject content, and if there is a problem, perhaps the best way to deal with it is to take it up with them. But it is a very good point, and might at sometime need to be addressed.

Thank you for your insight and for sharing it.
Best to you with your writing.
ImageSharon
Jan 7, 2011 5:52 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Vic, thank you.
You are a delightful reader whose responses I enjoy very much.
ImageSharon
Jan 7, 2011 5:59 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Christine, when we gather information over the years, it's probably information that has been shared over and over. When I was writing articles about medicinal plants, I had the same thing. My information came from experience when I was a child, and so did my notes and recipes. It was mostly gathered information from many sources from which I formed an opinion.

So when you write articles and use that gathered information, you can state that in a little footnote at the bottom of the article. I stated on most of mine that the information was gathered from the writings of my ancestors, and quite often I verified some of that information from an online source.

At the bottom of the article you might see a message like this:

All information in this article came from my own collection of shared recipes. Some of this information was verified in (this book, or this website, etc.)

See? I think that would work, because most recipes are shared information and unless it is a direct quote that you use, I think you'd be doing the best you could do. After all, the article is in your own words, and you are telling where the ideas came from.

I'll help you in any way I can, so will others, just don't be afraid to write.
ImageSharon
Jan 7, 2011 6:00 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Maridell, thank you!!
Imagewildflowers
Jan 7, 2011 6:26 PM CST
Name: Christine
Northeast Texas, Zone 7b
Sharon, thank you!

I sure enjoy your writings... and I used to really enjoy those stories about medicinal plants & Aunt Bette, not sure if I spelled her name right. *Blush*
"Just living is not enough," said the butterfly. "One must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower." ~ Hans Christian Andersen
ImageSharon
Jan 7, 2011 6:46 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Aunt Bett seems to have made herself known in a lot of places. Thanks, I love knowing you read about her. Those articles are still appearing, by the way. I left about a years worth of unpublished articles there when I moved to Cubits.

That brings up another legal point and I'll share it with you. I wrote those Aunt Bett articles and was paid for them. I can't copy them and share them here, I can only give a link to them. If I quoted a medicinal recipe from one of them, I would have to attribute that quote by saying:

From the article: The Catalpa Tree by Sharon Brown, published on davesgarden.com, December 28, 2010.

Or I could give a link to it: http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/2057/

....even though I wrote the article. My name goes with the article, but my ownership of it stopped as soon as I was paid for it a couple of years ago.

There really isn't a recipe in that particular article, I just used it as an example. But that's the way it works.

I just thought my own experience might help you along the way.
Imagenap
Jan 7, 2011 7:09 PM CST
Name: Nancy
Buffalo NY
But the question remains, what do you do if you want to use something you remembering reading and it was so good it stayed with you, but you cannot remember where you read it or who first wrote it?

Is there a legal way to use the idea or the direct quote without citing the exact source?
ImageSharon
Jan 7, 2011 7:15 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
You can enter the quote in a search, and if it is in print, which it was because you read it, then you'll no doubt find the source.

That's about the only legal way to use it.

If you don't quote it, but use it in the context of your own words, then you still need to attribute by saying the idea is not your own, but since you cannot find the original author, the words are yours.
Imagenap
Jan 7, 2011 7:39 PM CST
Name: Nancy
Buffalo NY
Very good. Thanks. Loved the article!
ImageSharon
Jan 7, 2011 7:58 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Nancy, I think what I said up there is right. I've had to do that a time or two myself, but usually if I know the exact quote, or something close, I can find the source in a search.

And now you know why at the bottom of a whole bunch of my articles, I always write: "Thanks, nap, for the lovely photos!"

Imagenap
Jan 7, 2011 8:49 PM CST
Name: Nancy
Buffalo NY
Yes, I did think of that while reading this article! Thank you for the credit, my lovely friend!
Imagechelle
Jan 7, 2011 9:49 PM CST
Name: chelle
N.E. Indiana
Sharon, thanks again.

I'm very appreciative of the fact that you included the link to The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation. I can certainly use it.

If we are using our own images in entirety in our articles, should we note that just as we would when using the work of others? If so, should it be somewhat similar to the underlined passage below?


Sharran wrote:Christine, when we gather information over the years, it's probably information that has been shared over and over. When I was writing articles about medicinal plants, I had the same thing. My information came from experience when I was a child, and so did my notes and recipes. It was mostly gathered information from many sources from which I formed an opinion.

So when you write articles and use that gathered information, you can state that in a little footnote at the bottom of the article. I stated on most of mine that the information was gathered from the writings of my ancestors, and quite often I verified some of that information from an online source.

At the bottom of the article you might see a message like this:

All information in this article came from my own collection of shared recipes. Some of this information was verified in (this book, or this website, etc.)

See? I think that would work, because most recipes are shared information and unless it is a direct quote that you use, I think you'd be doing the best you could do. After all, the article is in your own words, and you are telling where the ideas came from.

I'll help you in any way I can, so will others, just don't be afraid to write.


ImageSharon
Jan 7, 2011 10:04 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Hi Chelle,

Yes, credit your own images. I do that always when I'm being paid for an article. I just realized I don't do it as often on Cubits. It should be a habit by now, but obviously I've been lax.

Your articles here are dated, so your image would belong with that date. If anyone down the road "borrowed" your image and used it as his own, you'd have proof that it was originally published with your article even if it didn't have the copyright stamp on it.

Thanks for the question. I needed to address it in the article and simply didn't think of it.

And yes, exactly like the underlined statement.
Imagechelle
Jan 8, 2011 8:47 AM CST
Name: chelle
N.E. Indiana
Thank you so much!

ImageSharon
Jan 9, 2011 1:11 AM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Here's the new writers' forum:

http://cubits.org/writing101/forums/view/articlewritersforum...
ImageLance
Jan 10, 2011 6:28 AM CST
Name: Lance Gardner
coastal plain Virginia
Question authority, guide in wisdom
Thanks for the new writer's forum, it should prove very useful to many of us.
This has been a productive thread, and many other threads are making good points, as well. I have been rather busy these last few days, and finally have a moment to add in a few more thoughts.
My thinking on the family part of writing articles is that the articles are posted right on the front page of Cubits. I went to read an article a few months ago I think it was, only to be bombarded by graphic violent images. I have no desire to see such images, and certainly don't want my son to see them. Within a Cubit, that would seem a bit different, but either way, I personally would appreciate some type of notification of what is included. This can easily be done in an article by stating so in the introductory paragraph that every article has. Within a Cubit, the same could be done on the front page for the cubit. I spend a lot of time with my son, of course, and want to make sure we know what to expect when we look through here.
Science vs. fun writing: Science writing is a bit extreme, in my opinion, as the introduction in a paper can have just about every sentence with citations, sometimes 4 or more for a single sentence. By the time I am done with some of my articles for school, I can easily have 40 or more references listed at the end of the paper. Every idea, statement, or thought it seems needs some verification of its source to show you did your background reading and research, and only when you get to the unique part of your own study do you forego a reference.
When I write here, I often write off the top of my head, from years of experience of learning about topics. So I tend to be a bit lax on references and just have fun with it. I should probably go back and check my articles to make sure I did not go too far with it, though. If there is a recent idea shared, I make sure to give credit where it belongs, such as the solar t-shirts article I did based on an idea given to me by Sharon. I do sometimes list other sources at the end, so I don't always forget this part. Copying, quoting, using other articles, and similar I would never think of using without due credit, though. The Greyhound site did a good job with this, noting the original source for several of its articles that it reprinted.
Photos: I would think if the photos are our own original photos, they should not need to be noted as such unless you have a mix of sources in your article. I have my account set up so that it automatically puts that copyright by Cubits logo and my name on it. That way, I think I am covered, and it also prevents the possibility of the photo being used by another as their original, just as the dated article would. I might be wrong (it has been known to happen upon rare occasion Whistling ), but having our name on the photo itself would seem to already have the credit issue taken care of.
When I get the chance, I will check out the writer's forum, and see what others have to say.
Off to my garden meeting now.
Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground -- the unborn of the future Nation. The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations.
Dogs; Family Fun Unplugged; Perennials, Annuals, Veggies; Happy Birthday Wishes

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