Guidelines For Use

Updated January 19, 2017

Notre Dame has offered this blogging platform for its members to self-publish, free of charge. By creating a blog, you should be aware of the various policies that apply to you.

We’ve created this simple guidelines document to answer some of your questions.

First, you should know that by owning a blog here you are bound by the Responsible Use of Technologies policy at the University of Notre Dame.

Eligibility

Faculty, staff, and students of the University of Notre Dame.

Support

Once your blog is active, you are responsible for all maintenance and troubleshooting. To help with your maintenance activities, we have provided links to WordPress resources (below).

We strongly suggest that you review these resources to find the answer to your questions before contacting University Communications Web Support (webhelp@nd.edu) for additional help. While we are able to set up a blog for you for free, we must charge for providing assistance with requests beyond the scope of the initial blog set up. Our rate as of July 1, 2016 is $95/hour.

Resources

Academic Freedom and What You Post

Notre Dame believes deeply in academic freedom and free speech. Given our role in offering this service and our presence together as part of the extended university community, however, we must reserve the right to remove certain content that you may post.

As a general matter, you may post content freely to your blog, so long as the content is not illegal, obscene, defamatory, threatening, infringing of intellectual property rights, invasive of privacy or otherwise injurious or objectionable.

Please consider the appropriateness of your content before posting. Your blog reflects on you as well as your relationship with the University. A good rule of thumb is not to post anything you wouldn’t say to a newspaper.

Copyright

There are policies and guidelines at https://www.nd.edu/copyright/.

Who owns what I post?

You own the content you create and post, unless you’re creating that content as part of your job.

Using someone else’s photos or text

You don’t necessarily have the right to use someone else’s work or images just because they’re available on the web.

Fair use doesn’t mean you can just copy and use someone else’s work with no regard for their rights. And it doesn’t matter that you aren’t making any money off the use. But there are cases when you may use some or all of a work. Learn more about Fair Use at http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html.

Looking for images to use on your blog? There are some great recommendations on Where to Find Images for Your Blog and Where to Find Good Images.

Security

We use WordPress MU (stands for Multi-User) to power this blog platform. There are a number of steps taken to make it more secure, ranging from restricting permissions to turning off optional features. While it’s never possible to completely secure a system, we’ve made an effort to protect what we have.

The easiest way to break into a system is usually just by logging in using someone else’s password. We use NetIDs and passwords, which are subject to the OIT’s strong password policy.

In other words, protecting your password is the best way to keep your blog secure. Never share your login, and make sure you have a strong password.

Comments and Spam

You are responsible for dealing with the comments left on your blog. We can provide tools to combat spam, but ultimately you are in charge of deleting or responding to comments as you see fit.

Spam is a plague and there are many different ways to fight it. For blogs, comment spam is a common problem we face.

Here are a few ways to help reduce or eliminate spam.

1. Akismet Spam plugin

We recommend you activate the Akismet plugin for your blog. From Akismet.net: “When a new comment, trackback, or pingback comes to your site it is submitted to the Akismet web service which runs hundreds of tests on the comment and returns a thumbs up or thumbs down.” Learn more at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/akismet

2. CAPTCHA plugin

You can also activate the CAPTCHA plugin which requires commenters to type a word or set of characters to prove they are human (as opposed to SPAM bots). Learn more at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/si-captcha-for-wordpress/

3. Closing comments

It is recommended that you set comments to turn off after a period of time. You can do this under “Settings” > “Discussion”. Check the box to “Automatically close comments on articles older than” and enter a number such as 60 or 90 days.