www.whyville.net Jan 16, 2004 Weekly Issue

What's New in Whyville!

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Just a quick note to let Times readers know that the Mall is indeed being worked on this month, now that the fabulous Ion Engine Game is up and running. Thanks to the folks at JPL for supporting that project!

Look forward to something simple in the next week or two, then more shortly afterward.

I'd also like to make an observation about recent submissions to the Times.

Lately, many people have asked whether they can run an advice column for the Times. They want to give answers to questions about dating and relationships, family and friends, drugs and drinking and a whole lot more. Let's be honest, folks: Anything that gets published in the Times has an air of legitamacy, of officialness that nothing else in Whyville has. So if we post an advice column, some people are going to take it *very* seriously -- which could lead to big trouble if any of the advice turns out to be the wrong thing for the wrong person!

So, since it's our responsibility, I've decided it would be unwise of the Times to publish an advice column by any writer that's not covered by our company's insurance -- which means anybody who's not on staff at Whyville. Sorry, but that's the way it's gotta be, until we're rich enough to afford expensive insurance and super-wealthy lawyers!

One more note: Most troubling of all, there has been a big upsurge in the submission of plagiarized articles. This means people are sending in stories that they did NOT write themselves! Can you believe it?

Folks, do not send work that you did not create yourselves. It's not fair to the original author and it's not fair to your own brains and hearts.

Now, maybe there's some confusion about what I mean when I ask you to get more "sources" when you write. A source is just a place where you get information and/or opinions. If you're doing an article on vegetarianism and look up and find out that there's, oh, 20 million vegetarians in the U.S., you should include that website at the bottom of your article as a source. But you shouldn't use exactly the same words as they did when you explain it! In fact, you should use your own words, from scratch!

Sometimes it's just impossible to reword something. The original author just got it perfectly the first time. If that's the case, then you need to put quotes around the phrase, sentence or paragraph, and let your readers know who said it. That way your readers can verify what was said, can check up on it and figure out what they really want to know and to believe.

Anyway, I hope that's helped you understand what we're asking for when we tell you to get "sources." If you have more questions, write to the Times or post in the BBS below.

Know your Voice,
Times Editor


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