All bloggers and citizen journalists at TC.com are independent writers and are required to follow the following rules in order to have blogging privileges here. The content of their blogs, other than the following rules, is the responsibility of each blogger. TucsonCitizen.com does not control what the bloggers write or edit their blogs.
TucsonCitizen.com Blogging Rules
1. Do not libel
Libel requires three things: A published (1) untruth (2) that causes harm (3). By posting on your blog, you are publishing (the simple definition of published is if a third person reads it). A determination of harm is up to a judge, but these days it’s not that high of a bar to reach for most lawyers. If the person who claims harm is a public person, he or she must show the published falsehood was purposefully published or published with a reckless disregard for the truth. The key to avoiding libel is to source your facts and make a good faith effort to determine the truth. Also, just because you have written an opinion does not mean you are protected from libel claims.
2. Do not violate copyright
Do not use copyrighted material without permission of the owner. If you don’t know if it’s copyrighted, don’t use it. However, there are “fair use” provisions that would allow for use of some copyrighted material. You should familiarize yourself with the fair use exceptions to copyright law. Bottom line, when in doubt, link rather than copy.
3. Do not plagiarize
Do not appropriate another’s writing as your own. Source any text you use that is written by another.
4. No profanity, nudity, pornography or other obscene material
Gratuitous profane, vulgar or obscene language or images turns off readers and is unnecessary. However, it is conceivable you may write about art or other things that contain nudity or have profane material. Find a way to write about them without offending (using asterisks for some words, for instance).
5. You must declare conflicts of interest
Using your blog to promote issues in which you have direct involvement can diminish your credibility and thereby the credibility of TucsonCitizen.com. You must declare to your readers any conflicts of interest you may have in a blog post. An example would be a political blogger who agrees to become a candidate’s campaign manager. It would be OK for him or her to blog about the candidate and the campaign race as part of normal political blogging as long as the blogger disclosed his or her role in the campaign every time. Or, an artist promoting an art show in the park in which the artist will have a booth selling art should declare that in the post.
6. Do not allow someone else to blog under your name or allow anyone to use your user name and password
7. Do not use your blog to sell services or products
If you own or work for a business, or run or work for a nonprofit, you must not use the site to specifically promote or sell your products or services. That said, readers want to know your expertise or knowledge in the areas you write about. So, for example, a music teacher could write that she or he is a music teacher and where but couldn’t use the site to solicit new students.
8. No harassment, no illegal activity, no promotion of illegal activity.
9. You must identify yourself in your blog. No nom de plumes or sobriquets
Readers want to know who wrote what they are reading and evaluate that writer’s bona fides.
Violation of any of these rules could result in your blog being deactivated and/or deleted from TucsonCitizen.com and your blogging privileges revoked. Determinations of violation and revocation of blogging privileges are at the discretion of TucsonCitizen.com site administrators.
These blogging rules may be changed at any time without prior notice. You will be notified of any change and given an opportunity to agree.