Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What is the Maryland Blogger Alliance?

The Maryland Blogger Alliance is an eclectic group of Maryland bloggers with a variety of interests, styles, perspectives, and opinions. In the words of Soccer Dad, we're "a bunch of blogs with a logo." Only we don't really have a logo, just the state flag.

On alternate Sundays, we host the Carnival of Maryland, which features the writings of member and non-member blogs, with the general theme of Maryland. We describe the Carnival below.

Who are the members of the Maryland Blogger Alliance?

Our membership is listed in our blogroll, which we've placed in the sidebar to the right. Please click on the blogs in the list to visit our members.

What are the rules for membership?

Our only two rules for membership are these:

1. Our blogroll must be displayed on your sidebar. You'll be given the code. (The mechanics of installing it are discussed in a separate post below.) The reason for this rule is that the blogroll encourages both you and your readers to visit other member blogs. This is a cooperative effort, and we all try to send readers to each other. We consider the blogroll rule a firm requirement.

2. To avoid dead or moribund links, we remove blogs from the blogroll if they are dormant for over six months. Unlike the first rule, this rule is enforced with leniency. If you are dormant for six months and have a reason for wanting to remain on the blogroll, let us know.

We have no application forms to fill out, no fees or dues to pay, and, as far as we know, no hazing rituals.

CLARIFICATION: Please don't ask to list multiple blogs; we allow one per member. Also, we're not going to list commercial blogs -- that is, ones affiliated with business ventures, unless your business venture is simply being a freelance writer, which so many bloggers are.

What if I'm not a Maryland blogger?

If you're a blogger who doesn't live in Maryland, you may be eligible for "expat" (expatriate) membership if you can make a case that (a) you have deep roots in Maryland; (b) you care very much about what's going on in Maryland; (c) you really want to be a member. Groveling is not necessary.

How do I join?

Send an email to Michael Swartz at monoblogue, who is now in charge. (Change the "at" and "dot" first.)

How do I install the blogroll code?

When you become a member, you'll receive some javascript code, which you'll install in your sidebar. Whenever we update the membership, your blogroll is automatically updated. You need to do nothing.

Here are the instructions for installing the code:

1. If you're on Blogger, create a widget for your sidebar. (If not, edit your sidebar code as follows.)

2. Call the widget (or the section of your sidebar) "Maryland Blogger Alliance."

3. Copy and paste the javascript code above into the text area of the widget (or below the title of the section of your sidebar).

4. Optional: Add an image of a Maryland flag or hotlink mine.

5. Save it.

6. Make sure it's on your blog and working.

What if my blog doesn't allow javascript?

Some of our member blogs can't use javascript. Generally, these are the folks using WordPress. If your blog won't accept javascript, I'll send you the OPML code. In that case, you're going to be more on your own. You'll also have to update the blogroll manually every time there's a change in membership.

What is the Carnival of Maryland?

Every other Sunday, members of the Maryland Blogger Alliance have been hosting a roundup of writing about Maryland.

(Logo courtesy of Charlie Dowd of C. Dowd's Blog.)

You can get links to the editions that have been posted already by checking the widget on the sidebar. That widget will also list the hosts of the forthcoming editions of the Carnival.

If you'd like to submit a post to the Carnival, use the Blog Carnival form.

A list of links to the various editions of the Carnival may be found here, by clicking on the "past posts" tab.