Unsettling Changes and a Book Giveaway
What It's Really Like to Get Old

Housekeeping Notes for This Blog

On Saturday, TGB reader and frequent commenter, Simone, left this message in answer to a comment from Ana on a 2008 post about being old without children:

”Ronni has set the standard here. It's a safe place, and we all like to share our thoughts, ideas, struggles and experiences openly, without reserve and with no rancor toward another.”

Thank you, Simone. God knows I've tried to keep it civil here and for the most part the effort has been successful. This is one of the best, smartest, most interesting conversation spots in the blogosphere where no one need feel shy about speaking up or speaking out.

Well, except for a few who overstep and Simone's comment reminded me that I've been meaning to do this housekeeping post for a month or two – as a reminder.

Let's start with what I consider obvious but apparently is not so to everyone:

  1. Comments containing defamatory, bigoted or hateful language about me or any commenter will be deleted. You get only one shot at this and if it happens, you will be permanently banned without notification or recourse.

  2. Argument, disagreement and opinion are good. Just keep it to the point(s) you dispute, not the writer, and maintain a civil tone. You get two shots at this after which, see the second sentence in number one above.

  3. We are all grownups here and sometimes it's hard to make a point without a bit of colorful language. Go for it – just don't overdo. Deletion or editing of the comment is at my discretion.

  4. Comments that are off-topic are deleted.

Advice, suggestions and recommendations in any of these areas are not allowed and are deleted. I don't know who you are, what your qualifications are nor do I have the time to vet whatever is being touted.

Time Goes By has been an advertising-free zone on the internet for many years and commenters may not include advertising or promotion for any commercial product or service. No exceptions. They are deleted.

The comment form has a space for a URL. If you include the address of your blog or other non-commercial website, your name at the bottom of your comment will become a link to that URL.

A few years ago, I stopped allowing links in comments. There are a number of reasons: some people link to their business websites (see immediately preceding item); others post the wrong URL and/or don't know the html to make a proper link; and most of all, I don't have the time to check (and correct when needed) every link.

So, no links in comments. You are welcome to name the website or news article or whatever might make it easy for readers to search what you are referencing.

These are mostly to make your comments easier to read so that more people will actually do that.

  • Please use standard capitalization. All-lowercase text is difficult to read and your comment is less likely to be noticed.

  • Even more so, long blocks of uninterrupted text are hard on the eyes, especially old ones like mine. Please leave a blank line between paragraphs by hitting “enter” twice after the last sentence in a paragraph. This is for your benefit too; no one reads two or more inches of solid text.

  • As always, in email and anywhere online, messages in all capital letters are considered shouting not to mention that, as with the first two suggestions, they are hard to read. Please use all caps only for emphasis of individual words or phrases.

  • Finally, if your comment does not appear in the comments section right away, please don't jump to the conclusion that you have been disallowed. Sometimes it takes a few minutes for the host server to publish the comment and sometimes it can be user error – yours. Other times, it might be a program glitch or it can be a server slowdown and on extremely rare occasions, it might be a server shutdown. Try again or give it some time before you start yelling at me via email.

If you want to comment and are reading TGB in the email feed, DO NOT click "Reply." Remember, you are reading an email and your comment will appear only in my inbox. To comment from the email feed so everyone can read it, you must go to the website:

  • Click the title of the story - it will open in your browser.

  • Scroll to the bottom of the story in your browser and click on the word "Comments". A new page will open with a form for your comment.

  • Write your comment, type your name (it can be any name you want) and, if you want your name to link to your blog or other non-commercial website, type in the URL, although this is not required. You are required, however, to include your email address but it is never published.

  • Click "Post" to publish your comment and you're done.

Several times a week I get a notes from some email subscribers complaining that they are not receiving the email feed.

This happens because the subscription service was originally via Feedburner, owned by Google, which abandoned it six or seven or more years ago. It just sits out there on the internet now gradually deteriorating, and eventually remaining subscriptions fail.

When Google announced they were jettisoning Feedburner, I switched to Feedblitz, a commercial newsletter delivery service for which I pay hundreds of dollars a year. Please use it. Here is how:

  1. Subscribe via the simple form at the top right of every TGB page.

  2. Follow the equally simple instructions when you receive the confirmation email from Feedblitz.

  3. You will then begin receiving TGB in your inbox.

  4. If the Feedburner delivery shows up again in your inbox, use the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of the email to avoid duplicate deliveries.

There are other things I'd rather be writing about and I'm sorry to take up your time, too, with this note particularly since only a few readers need it. But there has been an uptick lately in over-reach so maybe this is a useful clarification. Thanks again, Simone, for the reminder.


How about also banning comments with defamatory, bigoted or hateful language about anyone? Or is it too difficult to draw a line between criticism and defamation in the public sphere?

I sometimes wish you had a button for "I loved your comment". I'd not, on the other hand recommend a negative sentiment button because that would be negative and no room for that! John

Oh no, Diane--you can't mean that I'd need to stop being less than complimentary about "The Orange Apparition", "Agent Orange" and other appellations I've used to describe not-my-president?

Ronni: I can't say that I understand the 'economics' of your blog. Today, you've written, in part: ". . . Feedblitz, a commercial newsletter delivery service for which I pay hundreds of dollars a year." Do you have any off-setting blog-related income to cover your costs? In sum, are you having to personally subsidize Time Goes By out of your own funds?

I'd guess that your loyal readers, myself included, would be willing to help bear the financial burden. But we would need to know what your shortfall might be. Thanks

I'm not in the business of making money from TGB. Eleven or 12 years ago, I tried advertising for a few weeks (and I'm contacted by advertisers nearly every day still) but you need tens of thousands more readers than I have to make the effort of maintaining advertising on the site worth the effort.

I could do a campaign to expand readership but that's not the point for me and I do have other interests beyond the blog that fill my time. Other people spend their money on all kinds of interests. Blogging about growing old is mine and involves some expenses. That's okay with me.

None of the rules I've listed today are new to TGB. I'm just reminding people once or year or so that perhaps I can get out from under the 90 minutes a day, give or take, I spend answering blog and/or tech emails from readers, in addition to editing or removing inappropriate comments.

The idea is to create a safe space for people to talk and exchange ideas. I wish that didn't require rules but I learned the hard way when I first started hanging on in forums during the earliest days of the internet that they will die most quickly from ignoring trolls and not policing a level of decorum or allowing people to use the comments to advertise their businesses. It seems to have worked - a lot of readers appreciate the ambience here.

There is a way that readers can contribute to TGB and I'll be explaining that in February.

Ditto what Elizabeth Rogers said.

I have followed you for three years but never commented. I love your blog and I agree that the community of commenters are the best! Since you run such a tight ship I thought I would finally say hello and thank you “ in person “.
PS :You have inspired me greatly.

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