There are very few, if any, topics which wouldn't be suitable for a blog entry. But you should bear in mind:-
- You shouldn't use your blog to recount or suggest illegal activities. On the face of it this seems obvious; nobody would publish an article on the internet to explain how they robbed a bank, or to ask for volunteers to help. But we do see people recount how they downloaded a movie, or ask people to "share" music, and at a time when the BPI is actively looking for people to sue, this is not a good idea.
- You shouldn't use your blog to attack other people in a way which could be considered harrasment. It's perfectly okay to disagree with somebody, it's perfectly okay to try and provoke debate. But if you are attacking a person rather than a position, and in particular if you are essentially name-calling, then this can easily become harrasment, and that's against the Acceptable Use Policy which you signed up to when you received your IT Services account.
- You should consider carefully whether what you post could be offensive. You may be entirely comfortable with strong language and shocking images, but that doesn't mean that everyone who reads your blog will be. In particular, you should be aware that when you publish your entry, it doesn't just appear on your blog. If you accept the default "Show in blog collections" option, then for a while the title of your entry will be on the blogs home page, and the text of your entry will be on the "What's new" page. So the argument that it's just your blog and people don't have to see what you write is not necessarily true. If you are writing something which could be offensive, think about setting the publish options to "Don't show in collections", and perhaps set the privacy options to a smaller group than "Anyone". That way there is less chance that someone will see your entry by chance, out of context, and be offended by it.
- You shouldn't reproduce large quantities of material from elsewhere on the internet on your blog. Text and images that you find on other web sites are almost never legally reproducible on your own blog, even if you say where you got the text or images from. It's far better to link to the material so that people can visit the site it came from and look at it there.
- It's a form of hacking, and therefore forbidden by the Acceptable Use Policy, to insert code or markup into your posts or comments which break, or attempt to break, the layout or presentation of the blogs system as a whole. If your markup has any effect outside of your own blog then you are immediately in breach of the AUP.
- You have some responsibility for comments added to your blog entries. Obviously opinions expressed in comments are not the opinions of the original author, but the author of a post can choose to delete comments to that post. If somebody posts strongly offensive content in a comment to your blog, then you are expected to consider whether it's appropriate to retain or delete that comment. If you aren't comfortable with that responsibility, then you should consider restricting or disabling the comments facility on your blog.
- You shouldn't republish private correspondence on your blog without the consent of the other party. If you wrote to somebody personally, you'd presume that the correspondence was between the two of you unless you agreed otherwise, and most people feel the same way.
What happens if somebody complains about my blog?
Generally, in the first instance, if the complaint seems legitimate, we'd contact the blog owner and ask him or her to edit or remove the offending entry. In exceptional cases, where the entry is obviously unacceptable, it will be removed by the administrator immediately, before the blog owner has been contacted. Unacceptable entries of this sort may also cause a blog to be suspended, and in extreme cases, may result in disciplinary proceedings against the author.