Frequently Asked Questions

Who writes for this blog?

Student and faculty members of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stony Brook University.

What issues and types of writing are included?

Anything about writing will do, including personal or academic writing, and relevant commentary. Other acceptable topics include the following: 

  • writing tips/methods for students teachers or the general body,
  • current issues/debates,
  • thoughts about writing and its practice in other disciplines and professions,
  • reflections about research and scholarship,
  • discussions about the mutual effects of writing and technology,
  • discourse about writing and rhetoric
  • relevant anecdotes,
  • upcoming writing events and opportunities on and off campus,
  • discussion of writing from Stony Brook alumni,
  • featuring student work in their classes or their fields,
  • etc.

How long should entries be?

They should be within the range of 300 to 2000 words, unless the topic justifies otherwise.

How can I contribute a post for this blog?

Student submissions will be opening this fall, and more details will follow. Subscribe to the blog to stay informed!

Are there any “genre features” of blogging that I should keep in mind?

Depending on what you are writing about and how you want to write an entry, the following notes may be worth considering.

Blogs are more of a mode of conversation–especially a form of “social action”–than a genre of writing. But there are certain features that tend to characterize the nature of writing on blogging platforms.

  • Bloggers tend to share their thoughts while still exploring them–in contrast to conventional academic writers who publish more fully developed ideas.
  • An informal, even casual, tone best suits blogging. Blogs are successful when they generate rich follow-up conversations in the comments section.
  • Blogs are typically maintained by individuals who share their expertise/perspectives, using their own idiosyncratic styles. But even in collaborative blogs (like this one), contributors write in unique voices of their own (i.e., no need for a standard style!). 
  • Due to the quick turn around and lack of review processes, readers understand/ tolerate when blog entries are less than polished (both in content and writing).
  • Short paragraphs and plenty of space make reading on the screen easier. Varying paragraph length is a good idea when writing about more complex issues.  
  • Due to decreased quality and span of attention on the screen, readers prefer paragraphs where key points are foregrounded as well as stated explicitly (especially in the beginning of entries). 
  • Jargon, long sentences, and abstractions are also minimized. Although blogs have become a “social” phenomenon, they have the provenance and ethos of personal “logs” or journals.
  • Online sources are hyperlinked (bloggers also “trackback” by commenting from their own blogs in order to connect conversations). As with other types of writing, sufficient detail is provided about key external sources so that readers don’t have to leave the site. Citations of offline sources are minimized. 
  • Subheadings are used in longer entries, and bullet points are used for drawing attention to important details.
  • Images are captioned using key details; they are also linked to their sources and/or credited within their captions.
  • Bold and italic fonts are used for highlighting key points.

Who will read what I write?

RhetComp’s primary audience is the student body at Stony Brook, particularly members of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric. To the extent that word of us gets out to other universities, writing professionals beyond SBU may find our ideas worth reading and responding to. Comments on the entries will be moderated for preventing spam and maintaining decorum.

How can I help promote the blog/conversation?

Please feel free to share the blog or specific entries on social media, and with your friends. Please also leave comments on any posts that you find interesting. Any engagement you can offer will be encouraging to writers. Share and like links are placed at the end of each entry.

 

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