We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata style guide

  • The following is information for this blog’s contributing authors… the Samizdatistas. Follow this so that we have a consistent look for all articles.


  • If you are one of our authors and you need urgent assistance (as in, you have buggered something up and reduced the entire blog to 6 point superscript… and do not know how to fix it before anyone sees what you did) then the best way to get help is to send an e-mail to Perry de Havilland titled ‘OH SHIT…’


  • If you paste your work in from a word processor, you must turn off all the ‘smart formatting’ options or the quotation marks and apostrophes will be curly… and we would rather leave that kind of formatting to WordPress and not whatever god forsaken software you use.


House style & posting issues

  • Remember that our audience is very international, so if you Brits use terms like ‘QUANGO’ or ‘London Underground’ or ‘Football’ (when you mean soccer), Aussies use terms like ‘bogan’ or ‘football’ (when you mean Australian rules football) or Yanks refer to the ‘5th Amendment’ or ‘Turnpike’ or ‘football’ (when you mean American football), please explain what you are talking about so we are intelligible to readers in Dover, Detroit, Darwin and Dehli.


  • Just use the Samizdata categories, not the old legacy White Rose or Samizdata Glossary categories. And if you see one of your articles has the category ‘Hippos’, chances are that means you did not actually assign your article a category (unless you really did write about hippos, which does occasionally happen in this parish). So always assign at least one category… but try not to use more than three categories unless you have a compelling reason. Use ‘Sui Generis’ if you really really cannot think of a suitable category.


  • A blockquote usually takes the place of normal quotation marks, unless there is a quotation within a quotation. A blockquote is an italic indent.


  • Use ‘single quotes’ for emphasis (i.e. the ‘benevolent’ government) and “double quotes” when actually quoting (H.L. Menchen said “Bugger this for a game of soldiers!”)… but see above.


  • Please minimise the use of contractions… e.g. write ‘do not’ rather than ‘don’t’.  Yes, yes, I know I will be widely ignored on this by you dismal rabble… bloody libertarians, it is like herding cats.


  • Link to things you are talking about. The very essence of blogging is providing germane links to what you are discussing. It is hard to overstate the importance of appropriate links.


  • Never use naked links in an article: ugly, ugly, ugly… always embed the link on an appropriate word or (very) short phrase.


  • An ellipsis has three dots (only three dots) …


  • (As a general rule do not put entire sentences in brackets).


  • Do not use interior caps in the titles (i.e. This Is Not How We Do The Title) unless you have some compelling reason to. And do not put a full stop (period) after an article title.


  • THE SPELL CHECKER IS OUR FRIEND. We really like spell checkers. Yes we do. Really. A lot.


  • After you have published your article, read the bloody thing yourself to make sure it came out as you intended.  And then when you see that it has the category ‘Hippos’ because you forgot to give it a proper category, go back and edit it.


  • We handle quotes for ‘Samizdata quote of the day’ a bit differently than for other quotes within articles. This is the one and only approved SQOTD format and you will be smited/smitten/smote/whatever if you deviate:

    _____ SQOTD_____

    Something clever said by some obscure dead bloke

    – Joe Bloggs, followed by whatever other pearls of wisdom you want to cast before the Gadarene-swine-on-line.


    N.B. No blockquote, just italic, single line space, single hyphen, space, name of person quoted (ideally with a link) and whatevere other stuff. Add ‘attributed to’ if the provenance if uncertain.


  • Please do not libel anyone!!! Really. No, REALLY!


  • Blogs are like vast rolling all-seeing peer reviews: be sure of your facts, use links whenever practical and if you are just guessing, then make that abundantly clear. Remember Miranda: anything you say can be taken down and used in evidence against you. Samizdata.net is highly successful, a true world class blog in fact, but as a result we have a number of people who would love to take us down a few pegs (down to their level) for both ideological and personal reasons. Be brave! Be fearless! But please… be right!!!


  • If you need to post anonymously as ‘Samizdata Illuminatus’, then let the Editors know that you plan to do so if you have the password (we can figure out who posts the article from the user logs but that is a pain in the arse)… but please remember that even the mighty Samizdata Illuminatus is not immune to libel laws (see above)! If you do not have sufficient privileges yourself to post as Samizdata Illuminatus but still want to, leave your article in draft and then e-mail Perry, who will change the username to that of our good buddy from Arkham, Massachusetts.


  • Do not let idiotarian commenters piss you off. Think before you reply and under no circumstances get abusive with them… doing that is the exclusive prerogative of the Samizdata.net editors. Seriously.


  • If you have a blogroach polluting your article’s comment section, it is very important that you let the Editorial Pantheon know: do not just assume we have read your article’s comments and are aware of the problem (on a heavy day we can get several hundred comments and it is not always possible for the editors to read them all as we do have lives beyond Samizdata, believe it or not). Unless it is a truly egregious stream of profanity, a great long screed about how Henry Kissenger is a mutant space alien (well…) or how the Jews are controlling our thoughts with mind-rays, as a general rule do not delete annoying comments yourself, but use your judgement… generally just tell the Editors and leave pest control duties to us. But you must alert us to any problems!!!


  • We are not Samizdroids, Samizdatans or Samizdudes… collectively we are known as Samizdatistas.




These ex-cathedra statements are brought to you by the Samizdata.net Editorial Pantheon.