Hosting Guidelines for the Christian Carnival

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I've been sending these guidelines out to new hosts for quite a while, and it occurred to me that it might be better just to post them and direct people to the post. So here are the expectations and instructions for hosting the Christian Carnival. (If you don't know what the Christian Carnival is, see here.) From here on out, this post is directed toward those who will host the Christian Carnival at their own blog, making clear what is expected of a host and which sorts of things hosts generally have freedom and discretion to do.

You should be receiving the submissions at your email address. Someone has the weekly responsibility to set that up every Wednesday for the next host. Basically, your task is to take a look at each post to see if it qualifies for submission. The requirements are:

1. The blog is Christian, in a broad sense, and the post submitted reflects a Christian worldview even if in a loose way. For example, politics, family life, ethical issues, and money management are all valid if there's at least some connection with Christian principles, but a post on tax preparation with no spiritual discussion or some partisan battle in Congress that makes no reference to Christian principles might be stretching it too much.

The Christian Carnival defines its Christianity in terms of Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic tradition as long as there's nothing undermining the creeds or directly challenging the Bible or God. Groups that call themselves Christian but deny the Trinity, for instance, are not Christian in the sense we mean. Questions about doctrine that the three main branches of Christianity differ on are matters of dispute that we wouldn't use to disqualify anyone. This is not an indication of any view one way or the other on what it takes to be a genuine follower of Christ or to be genuinely saved. It is simply a decision the founders of this Carnival made when figuring out which people will count as Christian for the sake of chronicling some of the best Christian blog posts each week.

If you have any questions about particular posts, let me know, and I can take a look and offer an opinion. The final call is yours if you want it, or you can pass it off if you'd rather have one of us handle it. If it looks like spam (e.g. a porn site or a financial opportunity), there's no reason to respond. Just ignore it. If you think they submitted it in good faith but didn't know what is required, it's worth an email explaining why it didn't make the final cut. If you don't want that task, let me know, and I can do it instead.

2. Submissions are supposed to be from the last week, defined as midnight Tuesday night EST the last week to midnight Tuesday night EST the week you host. I usually allow a little wiggle room, but a submission in December of a post written in September is clearly too long ago. If a post is too old, it's worth an email to the submitter explaining the rule and asking if they have something more recent to submit instead. We try not to offend people who might simply not know what the Christian Carnival is supposed to be.

3. One post per person per blog. If two posts appear from the same author on the same blog, you should either choose one or offer them a choice about which to include. (If the author submitted one, and someone else submitted the other, see 4 below.) An author can submit posts from two different blogs, and a group blog can submit posts from as many different authors as there are. The limit is one per person per blog.

4. Most people submit their own stuff, but you can accept posts recommended by others. Just go with the author's preference if someone suggests a second post by the same person on the same blog. This rarely happens (maybe just once or twice that I know of, but I'm not even sure of that), but it's good to have a policy in case it does.

For each post that qualifies, you just need to put them all together into one post that links to all of them, providing the name of the blog and the name of the post. If you want, you can have separate links to the blog and the post, but all you absolutely need is a link to the post and the name of the blog. That's the bare minimum. It's nice to include a description, and most submissions have them included anyway in a form that you can copy and paste. You can just use their description or modify it slightly if need be in those cases (sometimes they frame it in the first person). I generally don't put in a description if the submitter doesn't, unless I think the title is very unhelpful in figuring out what it's about. But some hosts like to write up their own descriptions and sometimes even offer comments, and I've sometimes done that too. Some people work in a theme to organize the whole thing or to order the posts by topic, but others just put them in order of submission (or sometimes reverse order of submission). How you do it is totally up to you. You can look through previous Christian Carnivals at the archive site if you want some ideas of outrageous or unusual ways to organize the material (see some of my own early ones, for some examples), but it's actually less common now to see anything very involved, and no one expects it of you.

The Blog Carnival submissions come with ready-made HTML. If your blog software accepts that, all you have to do is copy and paste from those, and maybe you'll need to insert the description, since I think that isn't part of the HTML. Other submissions will depend on how the person formats it. Most of them, in my experience, are through BlogCarnival, unless the person in charge of that job forgets to update it with the host's URL, in which case it thinks there's no carnival and delays the form from working, which is really annoying. Let me know if you suspect an issue with this.

The carnival is supposed to be up sometime on Wednesday, but if that doesn't happen it's not the end of the world. One time I hosted I didn't get it posted until Thursday night, and since this is your first time I think there's plenty of room to extend you extra grace. But if you can get it done on Wednesday, that would be ideal. Some people try to work on it as the submissions come in so they can get it posted as early as they can on Wednesday, but don't think you need to get it up first thing in the morning. Some people stay up late getting it all done so they can just post it in the morning, and I don't see any need for that unless you really want to do it.

If you have any questions as you go, please don't hesitate to ask.

Thanks again for your willingness to do this.

For those who have read all this and are not on the hosting schedule and would like to be, please send me an email in the address in the sidebar, and I'll see if we can schedule you a week to host. We're always looking for new volunteers.

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