Due to recent developments with the Federal Trade Commission, Reluctant Habits releases the following set of editorial principles, adopted in part from my Statement of Intent published on these pages on June 30, 2008.
1. This website has not and has no intention of participating in an Amazon Affiliates Program. Ever since this website’s inception, I have been committed to keeping advertising and editorial separate. Advertising will always be clearly demarcated from the content so as not to confuse the reader.
2. This website does not accept payola of any kind. Unlike dishonest journalists, I do not participate in junkets. All opinions on these pages, with the exception of satirical essays and parodies, are honest and true. Publishers often send galleys and free books to this website. 99% of these are unsolicited. (Indeed, like any practicing journalist, I will only request a review copy of a book if I intend to write about the book or interview the author.) But the authors of this website are not entitled to review them. Nor is there the assumption of a positive review. There are no quids pro quo, fuck you very much. When authors are interviewed for The Bat Segundo Show, even if they are authors whom the interviewer likes or whose opinions he agrees with, the subject is given the same journalistic treatment and is often presented with a number of tough questions. Seeing as how I’ve been doing this honestly for the past six years, writing for both this website and for many professional newspaper outlets, I find the current well-meaning FTC proposals gravely offensive. I’m an honest journalist. And if the FTC or anybody else honestly believes that a book, worth perhaps a few dollars at best at the Strand, is going to corrupt my goddam opinion, I urge these cocksuckers to go fuck themselves at the earliest opportunity. I would sooner cut off my right arm than sell myself out for a pittance.
3. No matter what happens in the present or the future, I will not remove a name or a reference from any past blog post. If there are significant changes to past content, I will be forthright about why the content has been adjusted or removed and offer a public explanation.
4. Even when I have mixed or negative feelings towards a blogger, if I have found a link from that blogger’s site, I will properly credit that website if I have found it there first.
5. Critical comments that take to task the posts here are welcome. But if you regularly troll on these pages and wish to pollute meaningful discourse, you will be banned from commenting. I remain as benevolent a dictator as I can. A number of people who have been particularly hostile have still been permitted to comment and have not been banned. Since 2004, I have banned only eight people from commenting and viewing this site. These have been truly extraordinary cases. People who visit this site around fifteen times a day and get off on leaving bile (so the logs say). I have banned these people more out of concern for their emotional health than for any particular thing they have to say about me. (I also reserve the right to close a thread, if I feel that it has gone on far enough.)
5(a). (Added 2/22/10.) Due to the unhealthy obsessions of certain trolls aforementioned in point 5, anonymous proxies have been disabled from commenting. If you wish to leave a critical and anonymous comment from a traceable IP address, then I will preserve your comment and your privacy.
6. I will not disemvowel any comments. These are the actions of a moderator too terrified to think outside her hermetic bubble. Commenters have been especially helpful in pointing out corrections, changing my mind, and otherwise helping me to articulate better. Even when I violently disagree with a comment, I generally try to find something within it. Therefore, it behooves me to respect their right to express themselves within the parameters of this statement.
7. If I have reported a factual error, please email me and I will correct it. If you wish to change my mind by informing me of certain facts, I remain open to your thoughts. I have been known to update specific posts here when such information has been presented to me. (8/16/09 POST-CYBERSTALKING PROVISO: If you have a problem with me or are devoting an unhealthy amount of time with something I have written, please email me and let’s talk it out, preferably over the phone. I am committed to clearing up any and all misunderstandings in a civil and rational manner.)
8. I will not publicly post your private email. I respect your right to privacy. I believe that, as a blogger, there must be a private conduit as well as a public conduit. (8/16/09 POST-CYBERSTALKING PROVISO: However, if you have gone out of your way to send me vitriolic hate mail, I reserve the right to perform a dramatic reading. But I will keep your name anonymous.)
9. If I am interviewing you, and you tell me something that is “off the record,” as far as I’m concerned, it’s off the record. (This policy, incidentally, has resulted in a number of great stories delivered to my ears. Too bad that I can’t tell you about them.)
10. If you wish to discuss something with me or clear up something on the phone, I will do this. This has happened a few times and I have listened to the party relay his side of the story.
11. While a certain degree of conceptual overlap is inevitable (similar jokes and observations, often subconsciously so), I vow never to recycle, repurpose, or cut and paste a paragraph that I have written elsewhere: either for this site or for another outlet. (One of the purposes of writing is to get better over time and share the discovery with the reader. Repurposing is dishonest, lazy, and has no place in journalism>) I will attribute my own material if I need to refer back to some previous statement or observation, because I wish to be transparent. Rest assured that every piece I write comes from my own head and my own notes, not from some android-like Control-X/Control-V finger dancing.
12. These rules are open to amendment. And if I decide to amend these rules, I will certainly do so. But if I violate any of these rules, you have every right to tear me a new asshole. Particularly if I’m silent for days about it.
— Edward Champion, Managing Editor