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Archive for December, 2009

If you’re interested, here’s Anthony Bourdain’s blog through the Travel Channel.

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This post is more about using conventions than providing tech help. Specifically, how do bloggers convey that they are quoting from somebody else’s blog?

First of all, some of you have noticed that on some of the blogs I’ve recommended, like Andrew Sullivan’s, many of his posts consist of a long quote, with a little intro and then maybe some response afterward. I recommend this as a strategy for coming up with topics: see what other people are saying, and respond to it. But you can’t just respond out of context; you have to let your reader know what you’re responding to. So here’s a very short example:

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Christopher Hitchens wrote a fascinating column on Slate.com last spring, where he talked about British interrogation of German prisoners while the Nazis were bombing London. I had no idea they exercised such restraint. Quoting from a book about the subject, Hitchens described one incident where a German prisoner was being held, and a guard got too physical:

An external interrogator unused to the rules of Ham Common was exasperated by this initial stubbornness and “followed TATE to his cell at the close of that first interrogation and, in flagrant violation of the Commandant’s rigid rule that no physical violence should ever be used at Ham, struck the agent on the head. The incident led, on immediate representations by the Commandant, to the instant recall of [the offending officer] from the camp.” One blow to the head at a time when undefended British cities were being blitzed every night, and the brute was out of there for good.

Hitchens went on to explain that their reasons for being so strict about it was that they believed roughing up prisoners might get you information, but it was mostly bad information that you couldn’t trust.

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Notice two things: first of all, I provide a link, so that an interested reader can go read the whole thing. Then I provide a block quote, which is indented. On Blogger, you have the option of highlighting text in your post and clicking the button with the quotation marks. The indentation signals to the reader who is saying what.

Also, doing this may have another benefit, by getting you to pay more attention to what others are saying, and making it easier to think of things to blog about.

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