The Dowbrigade’s Frequently Asked Questions



What is a Blog?

What is a Blog? Short for Web Log, it is an evolving form for spontaneous,
instantaneous personal and community publishing. A great place to start in
understanding the phenomena is with Dave Winer’s excellent and recently published
essay “What makes
a Web log a Weblog”;
.There are literally hundreds of thousands of blogs in
existence, so the mere fact that you are reading mine is a much appreciated minor


Where is our Blog hosted?

As you can probably tell from the URL, this Blog is hosted by the Berkman
Center for Internet & Society at the Harvard Law School
( http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/
). The Berkman Center has become a nexus for the burgeoning blogger movement
and is currently ramping up for the huge BloggerCom
2003 Conference

I can do this because I have a post.Harvard.edu email address. At the present
time, as far as I can tell, anyone with an email address ending in harvard.edu
can create a blog on the Law School server. Blogs are a novel phenomena and
you can find out a lot more about them from links on the Berkman Center site.


How does one Blog?

The learning curve for most blogs is about as flat as Nebraska.
The Harvard law server runs a program called Manila ,
which is considered one of the best balances between full functionality
and ease-of-use. Interested readers can go directly to the Manila
newbie pag
with links to the Manila
user guide
, in html and PDF formats.

Basically, everyone who connects to our blog fits into one of four classes
of users:

The Managing Editor (me) : Most blogs are the voice of a single person,
who controls all of the content on the site. I can post news articles or
stories, start discussion groups, maintain the home page, and edit or delete
by other contributors. Power corrupts.

Contributing Editors : If anyone is interested in being
a regular contributor to this blog, I will add them to the list of "Contributing
Editors". This
means they can post news articles and stories, and edit their own contributions,
but not the work of others. So far no takers.

Members : by filling out the super-simple membership form,
or by posting a comment, a visitor becomes a member, The only benefit or effect
of being a member is the ability to request to be notified by email whenever
there is a new post to the blog.

Visitors : Anyone and everyone who visits the site is a
visitor, and can read the articles and comments

If you are a member or a visitor and want to post an article or an announcement
but don’t want to become a Contributing Editor, just send
me the material by email
( mfeldman_75@post.harvard.edu ) and I will
post it for you. Putting DOWBRIGADE POST in the subject line will bring it
to my immediate attention.

Who is this Michael Feldman Guy?

I am a Boston University Senior Lecturer teaching mostly foreign law and business
students. I am married to a beautiful Ecuadorian economist and have two teenaged
sons. I dabble in instructional design, graphic design, post-industrial shamanism
and certain arcane rituals whose roots reach to the misty dawn of history.


Dowbrigade Editorial Policy

As far as possible, there is no editorial policy, other than to ban insulting,
degrading or just plain mean comments. Obscenity will be judged on a case by
case basis, taking into consideration originality and redeeming social value.

The essence of the Blog ethos, if such exists, is tolerance and diversity of

What is the Dowbrigade?

The Dowbrigade is a loose network of teachers and researchers, most of whom
worked in the Harvard Program in English as a Second Language during the 80’s
and 90’s, under the inspirational leadership of Anne Dow.  However, since
the Dowbrigade News was created and announced to the approximately 100 members
of the extended Harvard ESL family and veterans who form the Dowbrigade, aside
from two initial pro forma "right ons" (one, much appreciated, from Anne herself),
of contributions from the multitude has been ZERO.  Accordingly, although
I will always hold the original Dowbrigade group near and dear to my heart,
not least because they served as the inspiration and impetus to get this Blog
off the ground, at this point it would seem prudent to officially divorce the
moribund ESL support group from the seemingly thriving general interest Blog.

The Dowbrigade News will continue to cover stories dealing with Education
in general, and especially Educational Technology and ESL, since these are
my areas of professional interest, as well as Law, Culture and general weirdness.


Where does all this stuff come from?

The stuff that doesn’t come from inside my own head comes mostly from
trolling my News
. Need I repeat that I
In addition, I visit a number of obscure web sites friends, students and
colleagues have turned me on to and which for some inexplicable reason don’t
have their RSS feeds up and running yet.

Aren’t you worried about Copyright violations?