A Public On-Line Textual-Interpretative Seminar (POTIS) is a new thing for me and – as far as I know – the classical world, though the APA has announced plans for something similar. No doubt it will take some time to work out the best way to do a seminar in the form of a blog with comments, but here are my thoughts on where to start:
- We are speaking in public. Let’s try to show the world (or that small part that is at all interested in such things) how technical scholarship is done. I am very reluctant to delete a comment just because the commenter has had second thoughts. Please don’t embarrass yourselves or each other or (especially!) me. Of course, I will be very quick to delete obvious trollery and spam, but I hope I will never have to ban any Persius scholar for bad behavior. Factories often post large signs saying “This facility has gone 127 days without an injury”. I would like to be able to post a message “This blog has gone 127 days without a banning”.
- Please check your politics at the door. On this site, I am emphatically uninterested in knowing what any of you think about any contemporary politician or political issue whatsoever. Save it for more appropriate sites, as I do. The most political thing I will ever have to say on this site is that I did enjoy rereading Persius 4 while waiting in line to vote last November.
- Try to keep it (relatively) clean. If any of my former students – many of them still in high school – visit, they are unlikely to stay long, but let’s try to make sure that they will be much more likely to leave bored or confused than offended or titillated. See Con #3, ‘The Other Side of Access’, in my post Why Publish Original Scholarship On-Line?
- Try to be pertinent and specific – not that those are strong points of mine! There will be posts dedicated to reporting tiny problems (typos, formatting inconsistencies, and so on), posts asking about general (?) issues (“How should I improve my formats?”) and specific technical issues (“How can I . . . .?”) and maybe even the occasional open thread (“What’s on your mind?”) – though the last will only be repeated if it works well the first time. If you get tired of waiting for an appropriate post for your Persius-related thoughts, you’re welcome to e-mail with suggestions for a post. I may allow guest-posts.
- How to address each other when agreeing or disagreeing? I lean towards avoiding first names and titles, and sticking with plain last names, with or without a first name or initial (which may be needed to avoid confusion). There are too many duplicate first names, many of us will have never met, and it will be a lot clearer to newcomers. As for titles, I don’t really want to have to worry about who’s a Professor, who a Doctor, and who a Mister, Ms, Miss, or Mrs.
- Don’t be bashful. Feel free to toot your horn, but don’t get carried away. If you’ve written something pertinent to the discussion, say so, and feel free to quote yourself or update your thoughts (“no one else seems to believe me, but I still think . . .” or “maybe I went too far, but my basic point seems sound” or “please ignore what I said about x – I’ve changed my mind – but read the other part on y”.)
- Avoid gush.
- Puns are allowed and even encouraged.
Comments – or would these be metacomments? – on any or all of these, and suggestions for additons, changes, or deletions, will be much appreciated.