Friday, November 26, 2010

Carnival of the Blue Guidelines

I've been meaning to post guidelines for the Carnival of the Blue for quite some time. This is geared mostly towards new CotB hosts, but there are also pointers here for anyone wishing to contribute a post. If you have questions about this information, please let me know.
- Jason (dotoftheblue @ gmail . com)

Blog carnivals collect together links on a particular topic ( There are carnivals about botany, politics, neurology and more. They occur on a cyclical schedule, usually weekly or monthly.

The Carnival of the Blue is a monthly roundup of blog posts related to the oceans. The CotB got its start in June 2007 by Mark Powell (aka, blogfish). His goal was to celebrate World Oceans Day and also bring the ocean blogging community closer together.

The curator for the Carnival of the Blue is responsible for the overall management of the events. This includes posting and maintaining the CotB main website (see below), finding hosts for each month, composing and sending out the CotB newsmail and updating the Twitter account. The curator also forwards any contributions received via the submission form (see below).

Mark Powell is the Carnival of the Blue founder. Jason Robertshaw is the current CotB curator.

A call for participation is posted at the CotB website once or twice a year. Bloggers can sign up by commenting on the call for participation post or by contacting the curator. Slots are often booked up to a year in advance. Subscribe to the CotB newsmail or Twitter feeds for announcements (see above). Each month a different host makes a Carnival of the Blue post on or near the first Monday of each month. Contributions are due the Friday before the first Monday of each month.

A host might receive contributions anytime during the month prior to their hosting date. So someone hosting in May might receive posts throughout April. Contributions may come directly to the host from contributors. The curator also forwards any contributions that come in via the submission form. Most contributions theypically arrive closer to the submission deadline (and sometimes even past it). It is up to the leniency of the host to decide how far past the deadline to accept contributions.

Host Guidelines
Guidelines for contributors are listed below. Beyond those, there are no hard rules as to what can be included in a CotB post. It is up to the discretion of the host as to the appropriateness of content, but profane, derogatory and discriminatory content is never befitting. The hosts can also, at their discretion, include a few links in addition to those sent in by contributors. Special Note: there are scammers that take advantage of the blog carnival system, looking to boost their search engine rankings by fooling legitimate sites into linking to them. An easy way to spot fakers is by looking at the contributed link. If their website looks phony, doesn’t have an archive of ocean-related content and seems to be hawking online degrees, timeshares or merchandise, they are probably fake. If you have any question about the legitimacy of a contributed link, please contact the Carnival of the Blue curator (see above).

The format of the actual Carnival of the Blue post is open. Visiting previous Carnivals of the Blue is the best way to get a sense of how other hosts have structured their posts. Archives of past posts are linked on the CotB website. However, each month’s contribution typically fall into self-evident themes like: invertebrates, art and poetry, deepsea, conservation, coastal, education, etc. You can organize by these themes, or by geography or alphabetically—whichever way works best for you. Each link is usually given a summary by the host. This summary can be just a few words or a whole paragraph, but should be enough to give a reader some context. Some hosts include photos and other images too. Be sure you have permission to use any copyrighted content and give proper attribution as necessary.

The Carnival of the Blue is posted on or near the first Monday of each month. Contributions are due the Friday before the first Monday of each month. Guidelines for contributions are as follows:
  1. Written in the previous month since the last posted Carnival of the Blue.
  2. Be on some topic related to the oceans. Your entire blog does not need to be about the oceans. Just the contributed link. For example, if you write about knitting but have a blog post about woolen whale patterns, by all means consider sending it in.
  3. Written by the contributor. Don’t submit links you have not personally written.
  4. In blog format. Direct links to PDFs, videos and other non-blog format content is not suitable.
  5. News articles are not the intent of the Carnival of the Blue. If it’s something ocean-related and really interesting, write a blog post about it and then contribute that post.
The easiest way to contribute a link is by using the submission form:

Alternatively, links can be sent directly to the Carnival of the Blue curator or to that month’s host. Email contacts are provided on the CotB website.

It is typical and graceful for any contributor included in a Carnival of the Blue post to mention it on their own blogs with a link back to that month’s post. This creates a virtuous circle between the hosts, contributors and readers.

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