In light of a couple recent posts which I deleted, it’s a good idea to discuss what is and is not appropriate for IPR articles. To be clear, I’m not referring to comments, and these “guidelines” are open for discussion. Please add your thoughts to the comments.
First, regarding the article(s) in question, the author wrote about himself. My favorite authors on IPR write about what’s going on with others. This creates some level of objectivity in the reporting. The way I see it, if you want to write a post about yourself, you should do it on your own blog. If you want IPR to publish an article about you or what you’re doing, then contact one of the other authors to see if they’re interested in the story.
Second, regarding problems in the somewhat distant past that pose a danger of resurfacing, we have to be careful not to violate copyrights. Along the same lines, it’s generally bad in the eyes of Google and other search engines if articles are just copied from other websites. See Google on Duplicate Content. Some think this is the reason IPR is not in Google News. I think it might be one of the reasons, but there are others.
So on that point, I have a suggestion (and for now it’s only a suggestion). For any article that will quote significantly from another online source, this might be a better approach:
- Write an introductory paragraph (or two) in your own words describing what this is about and perhaps why it matters to IPR readers;
- Include a limited quote from the source, such as the first couple sentences or the portion you feel is most important for IPR readers;
- If you want to include more quotes from the source, write additional text in your own words to accompany each portion, saying why you think that portion is also important for IPR readers or how it plays into the context of what you’re writing;
- Include a link to the original source, perhaps at the bottom of the article.
Note that press releases are a bit of an exception. There’s no copyright issue. I still think it’s better if the IPR article has some additional description by the reporter, and perhaps if only the most important bits are included along with a link to the full release on its original site.
Third, there has been some discussion about a role for opinion/editorial articles. I think they might be good for the site, but it’s my impression that most of the community does not like the idea. I can see the argument that IPR is really more about third-party news (i.e. inner workings of the parties) rather than about people spouting off their opinions. Maybe it’s deeper than that. I’d like to hear more from IPR readers. Please tell me what you think in the comments.