Posting Guidelines

UNOFFICIAL Heather Cox Richardson Resource & Discussion Room.

We welcome posts that are:

  1. Thoughtful extensions of or parallels to Dr. Richardson’s work.
  2. Thoughtful posts that relate contemporary events and politics to historical events. One of the themes of Dr. Richardson’s work is “we’ve been here before and survived.”
  3. Well-researched, thoughtful posts reflective of Dr. Richardson’s idea of the American Paradox.
  4. Linked-to resources, readings, articles essays, news items and commentaries that offer additional info and further depth. In other words, something new and fresh related to current affairs, common and collective concerns, and topics.

That’s what we want. If we like what you’ve personally written it may get posted right away or you may get a request from us to edit your post and resubmit, to make it more relevant or interesting. This is common. We hope you will take us up on the challenge.

What we do NOT welcome are:

  1. Posts that amount to “here’s exactly what Dr. Richardson said, but in my own words,” OR here’s what Dr. Richardson discussed in her newsletter – which is what this news article/person also says with different words”, UNLESS the aforementioned include historical or new information, AND your personal comments or analysis is telling us so.
  2. Posts about or related to every conceivable political event that happened on a particular day or news cycle. We can all read about those elsewhere. This is a big one.
    1. First, the obvious: Yes, various “bad actors” do multiple outrageous things, every single day. The fact that certain truths exist, regardless of which side a truth may seem to favor, does not warrant a constant barrage of “and now look at this, here’s another example/article/my opinion of how terrible things are, and here’s yet another” with the same news, different headline, followed by myriad comments endorsing your outrage.
    2. Second is simply: Not every news item, article, essay or commentary belongs in, or is relevant to our focus here. We have to be selective.
  3. Sometimes your post is indeed very interesting and relevant, but there is a similar recent post or one in the queue that we feel is a better representation or submission of that particular news item/topic.
  4. We may even sometimes commission one of our expert members to compose a post (for example, a retired trial lawyer for SCOTUS related news, or legal issues).
  5. If we decline your post for any reason, something may be going on in the background that you’re unaware of. In such a case we encourage you to stay tuned and perhaps reconsider your submission as a comment under a post with a similar topic that is being discussed.
  6. Posts discussing conspiracy theories – even if you disagree with the theory and want to discuss your disagreement. A conspiracy theory is an unsupported belief “that some covert but influential organization is responsible for a circumstance or event.” A video on YouTube is not evidence. These posts hurt our ranking on Facebook and make it more difficult for us to be found
  7. Posts that – while perhaps interesting and even perhaps relevant- are either introduced in a way, or include a link that we believe may only invite outrage, rants, and/or may provoke more emotional rather than reasoned and illuminating discussions.
  8. Any post by a member rather than admin that is a copy or share from HCR’s public page. We post them only maybe sometimes, because most people have read them already.

Having outlined what we don’t want, there will be exceptions, and occasions when we approve a post that might fall outside of a strict interpretation of the rules.

  • Exceptions could be an opinion that is particularly well-written, an attachment to a link that is unique or worth reading, or a post we believe may stimulate interesting discussions in the comments. These are posts that also may invite emotion and anger, but are worth our time to moderate more heavily.

There are situations in which the official listed “RULES” of the group are not sufficient to explain a notification that your post was declined.

Accordingly, please refer to the following for a possible reason:

  1. A link is great. We would like more though. Edit your comments to give more context and relevance to HCR, history, politics, current events and affairs, etc. Tell us more about the actual content in the link and why it matters or how it’s related.
  2. Would be much better if you’d Include your personal analysis of the situation/news item you’re sharing (and it’s okay if you find out in discussion that you’re not entirely correct.) Do you have any sources/citations? If so include them (and/or relevant links), and if not, please include the statement that you do not. Can you find a historical angle to make this more relevant?
  3. Do you think you can edit this to make it less inflammatory or less likely to invite a lot of outrage, rants, or emotional responses in comments?
  4. Please edit your post to correct the obvious spelling and grammatical errors.
  5. Please edit to insert line breaks every few lines, where the thought shifts a bit perhaps, as it’s straining for most people to read one big chunk of text on a device. Sorry..
  6. Please edit to have only the original source link.
  7. We agree, but can you create something out of this that is more than a fervent wish?
  8. Please attach the web link to the item/article you reference, and resubmit.
  9. Your question is so great that it will be addressed in an admin created post, and you will be tagged in it. We’d like feedback from other members as well.

Posts that will not accepted:

  1. Great commentary but this link was posted too recently, so please search for relevant keywords and enter your perspective on that post as a comment.
  2. We really do appreciate your hi/thanks/intro very much. We have an occasional ‘welcome’ thread for new members like you to say hello. Stay tuned! We just simply cannot fill the feed with these.
  3. We appreciate your sentiments for Prof. Richardson, but she doesn’t ‘live’ here and we have no way of relaying the message. Please go to her public page.
  4. We love poems, music, hopeful messages and memes too, but this group limits our content to politics, current affairs and history. You may post these types of things as comments.
  5. Please look for the “popular topics” section of the group or use the search function to find relevant keywords for your question/comment.
  6. This has been discussed, and you can tag someone from the thread if necessary.
  7. We ask that you please use the internet to search the answer/how-to of your question.
  8. Please reach out via messenger to one of the admins as your issue requires a longer and personalized response.
  9. This link is old news. Unless you can attach updates/personal analysis of why it’s relevant now and make it original, we cannot accept it.
  10. Your link says “CONTENT NOT AVAILABLE”. Please make sure this isn’t an error, and/or that it isn’t a false news item.

HCR’s Name: Please remember that we are curators, in a sense, and keepers of a space that has Dr. Richardson’s name in it. We feel we have assumed a responsibility to prevent anything from appearing in this group that could be taken out of context and used against her. We take that responsibility very seriously, and it is at the top of our minds for every decision we make. Although rare, some posts may simply be declined thus.

Occasionally we are questioned about free speech or academic freedom, usually when we’ve declined a post.

First, we are not the government. You are entitled to protection under the law if you believe the government has censored your speech. We’re just a private Facebook group with a special interest. We’re not attempting to censor anyone’s ideas or opinions. It’s as simple as this: not all opinions or ideas are relevant or meet the standard we wish to uphold.

Secondly, we’re also not an academic group. We aren’t going to judge you or give you a failing grade because you cited Wikipedia as a source. We do value the spirit of inquiry and discussion that’s a part of academic freedom, but even within the context of the academy decisions are made about what to publish. One journal rejects an article, but another accepts it. It’s a fact of life. If we’ve declined your post, you have other options. You can post it on your own Facebook page. You can start a blog. You can publish it on sites like Medium, which have thousands of readers.

Finally, we aren’t experts! We will make mistakes. There are only a few of us reading through the posts, and we get tired or distracted or make a bad judgment call. It happens. Feel free to call us out if you strongly believe that we’ve made a mistake. Make your case. We have corrected mistakes before.

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Our intention is not to create hurdles for hurdles’ sake. On the contrary, this is an all-out effort to maintain a space that will adhere to a principle of “quality over quantity” of posts, that we believe is a breath of fresh air to the folks who appreciate the content that Prof Richardson offers. We hope you will enjoy learning and engaging your intellect. It’s harder and harder to find those spaces these days, especially on social media.