Editorial Policies and Style Guide for contributors

Editorial approach

I respect and seek diversity of opinion, and I also want handsoffredistricting to succeed in its Mission.

All posts on Handsoffredistricting.net should be supported by facts that are fairly employed in the argument. Links to other useful resources is vigorously encouraged.

My attitude as editor is that the solution we should push for must be truly “hands-off” – i.e. fully algorithmic or crowd-sourced based on common-sense and fair criteria — so that special interests cannot influence the outcome in any way.  I am highly suspicious of bi-partisan commissions (and to a lesser extent, attempts at non-partisan approaches) which seem to be proposals to institutionalize the current parties’ role in the structure of government.  I see no legitimate role for political parties in any aspect of the redistricting process.

As to the “best” hands-off approach: it is critical that we not encourage rivalries between different approaches. We should respectfully discuss the pro’s and con’s of various hands-off approaches, promote the work of researchers in this area, and states should feel free to choose among them. But the key thing is that a fair hands-off approach in every state should be the country’s goal.

Types of posts I’m looking for

We want to give interested readers a fairly steady stream of information that informs them on the general topic, keeps the idea alive in their minds, and points them to things they can do. Ideally posts would be 400-1000 words in length: if you have a topic that is naturally longer than that, you might consider serializing it in smaller chunks.

I’d especially welcome topics along these lines:

  • Specific fact-based current examples of gerrymandering that were outrageous or even comical
  • Efforts underway (e.g. REDMAP) that reveal the forces at work in special-interest redistricting now
  • State-specific struggles on making redistricting more fair
  • Reflections on the tenets of fairness and representative government. (Though even if you are making a personal statement, it should be supported with useful data.)

At the end of your post, please try to “bring it home” in some small way to the major themes of the blog, and/or to actions the reader can take.

Editorial process

Your blog post will appear under your byline. You are responsible for the accuracy of what you submit, and for guaranteeing that it is original and you have the right to post it under your own name.

To save time, I’d suggest we discuss topics ahead of time, but that’s not a requirement.

You can either compose your article in wordpress on my site, or submit it in MS Word. I may make copy-edit suggestions for concision or to match the style (capitalization, punctuation, etc.) of the rest of the blog.  I reserve the right to make final editorial decisions about what goes in and what doesn’t, and you of course have the right to not have something published under your name that is not your true opinion and expression. I won’t push the Publish button until you approve of the final form of what you wrote.

Graphics are great but we have to be careful about obtaining proper permissions. If you have rights to use graphics please include them with your piece.  I may add graphics myself to the post, working collaboratively with you.

Re-blogging from other sources is OK on a case-by-case basis, but my preference would be a modest reworking to fit the style and mission of this blog with a reference along the lines of “a version of this post originally appeared in [link] on [date].”

If you have any questions or comments on this policy and style guide, please comment on this page and I’ll get back to you.

About Me

I’m just a middle-aged Californian who has long followed politics in my spare time.  I have only a limited history getting involved in political causes, but as I get older I worry more about the America that the next generation will live in and I feel more and more irresponsible not speaking up when I know I should.

By day I am a product line manager with a global software/internet company.

1 Response to Editorial Policies and Style Guide for contributors

  1. irmabob says:

    I would like to continue promoting the handsoff video, but I need more information about it. Who is the narrator? Who produced it? Would you consider a second version if warranted?

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