Friday, September 30, 2005

The News You've Been Waiting For . . .

Here it is!

The first edition of The Circus of the Spineless

is taking place NOW under

The Big Top at milkriverblog!

Come stop by.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Intro to The Circus of the Spineless!

Circus of the Spineless is a joint project of Bootstrap Analysis, Urban Dragon Hunters and milkriverblog.

Thanks to Bootstrap Analysis, who was first to suggest a carnival of blogwriting about invertebrates, here we are.

I've put some research into the idea of carnivals (especially in terms of getting recognition and links -- since my concept is that you want to get the word out so people will READ the posts). In that regard i've found a few opinions that one of the important things to attract both readers and linkage is to have a name that is a) catchy and b) descriptive.

Bootstrap originally suggested the excellent name An Inordinate Fondness. I really liked that, but my thinking has changed somewhat since that was proposed (besides they may want to use that name for a personal project!).

I have seen some carnivals named such that only insiders seem to know what they're about -- hardly a formula for getting a potential audience to bite. So, with that in mind i wanted to name this a "carnival" or a "circus" of something. And one of the first thoughts i had was "the spineless" -- it's descriptive, edgy, provocative, and more than a little nuanced. Maybe it'll work, maybe not, but here goes.

I also have had the experience of hosting I and the Bird and of submitting to The Friday Ark, and am prepping now for The Tangled Bank, and have tracked the effect of those carnivals on my blog. That's led me to try to refine some of the methods for producing a carnival. To that end i'll be adding a number of "hosting" posts to this site (see the sidebar) as tutorials for those who would like to host and need some guidance.

Hope you like the idea, and are willing to contribute. It will be a monthly carnival, it will travel host to host, we'll keep permanent links to hosts here, and i'll always post a summary on this blog.

Upcoming is a list of rules for submissions.

-- tony g

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Rules, Dudes and Dudettes

First, the post MUST be primarily about an invertebrate creature. We had in mind insects, arachnids, molluscs, etc. when we got the idea (actually more like butterflies, dragonflies and snails, based on the people involved). But i see no reason why it can't include lice and gutworms. But a cat with lice is not a subject for us (send it to the cat carnival folks . . . just kidding).

Second, there will be two categories for submissions: a) writing about inverts; and b) pictures of inverts.

Category a) will be for original posts that actually discuss the biology of, tell a story about, or relate important information about, some species or group of species of spineless critters. These posts may include pictures, including ones "borrowed" from elsewhere (copyright issues are yours to deal with).

Category b) will be for posts that are basically about the picture -- some text may be included, but is usually just descriptive of the individual in the picture -- like a caption, or an extended caption. In this category only pictures taken by the author (or a family member, or someone taking a pic at your request, etc.) are allowed -- see, the category is about the photograph. Please make it a good picture -- trying to just gain traffic with fuzzy snapshots is bush.

The host will make the decision about what goes in which category (but see rule #6).

Third, while we'd like this to be about learning something about inverts, we won't be averse to using lighter posts. We do want well-written, spell-checked, entertaining, educational posts though. We're looking to read something that will make us want to return to your blog.

Fourth, we reserve the right to NOT include anything that doesn't meet our simple guidelines. The writing must be excellent work -- we want to showcase the best on the web.

Fifth, and this is just common blog sense, but we've seen a lot of blog carnivals lately where the participants either don't live up to their end of the unspoken community contract, or else are just oblivious to what's going on . . . BUT, we expect that if you submit posts to the carnival that, when the carnival is posted, that you then post an encouraging note on your blog about the carnival and provide a link. If you want us to blare your link to the world, then you should help up the traffic by blaring the link to your personal community of readers. That also keeps the hosts smiling.

Sixth, until further notice (that is when submissions surpass our ability to handle them), you may submit up to two entries (which is waaaay more generous than the usual carnival, but then we're monthly too . . .). And we might make exceptions for more if you have some truly excellent pieces to offer.

Seventh, there'll be more rules when we think of them . . .

Potential hosts should contact tony g at milkriverblog