Tuesday 10 January 2012

FAQs - comments, recipes and promotions

I love my blog and the connections it creates through comments, emails etc.  I have been reluctant to develop an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page.  Most readers can work it out without being told.  Yet I hope it might clarify my approach in a helpful way.

What comments will you publish?
Comments are great!  I love feedback, suggestions and advice.  You are welcome to let me know if part of a recipe is confusing, offer information, answer questions, or respond to my reflections and recipes.  Comments make a post more informative and help me find other blogs. 

What comments wont you publish?
  • Comments that are rude, unnecessarily provocative, offensive or nasty.
  • Comments that are more interested in promoting your blog/website than responding to my post.
  • Comments that link to a generic website rather than a personal blog.  I see the point of comments to be that I can connect with a real person not a corporation.  Linking to a generic website seems to promote a website rather than creating connection.
Will you exchange a link with me?
No.  I put links on my blogroll because I enjoy reading those blogs.  I wont put a blog up on the list until I have been reading it regularly to know it is worth repeat visits.  The best way to connect with me is to leave comments.  I make an effort to visit those who comment and try to comment when I have something to say.

Why don't you write the recipe in grams/cups/emperial?
I don't always have time to write recipes in every possible measurement.  I assume most people using my recipes have some experience in cooking and can adjust as needed.  There are many online converters if you want to measure your ingredients differently (I know because I use them myself).

What is that ingredient or term you used?  
I am an Australian and am aware that my terms aren't always understood in other countries.  Before asking in a comment or email, you could check my Kitchen Notes which includes a list of Australian terms with equivalent American and UK terms.

Why didn't my version of your recipe work?
On my blog, I write out recipes according to what I did when I made it.  This blog is where I keep my notes on recipes, rather than a recipe book that has been tested in different kitchens.  I wish I could find Dorie Greenspan's wise words on why recipes don't always work.  She is far more articulate than I. In lieu of referring you to Dorie, I will give this advice: Every oven is slightly different.  Ingredients in Australia might differ slightly from those in America.  You might be baking in the midst of chilly winter while I am sweating through a humid summer day.  You may have had different expectations. Maybe you tried a substitution, as I often do, and that made all the difference.  I often alter recipes to make amendments for my ingredients, my oven, my family, my mood and my day.  However if I can clarify or if I have omitted some information or ingredient, please let me know.

Where do your recipes come from? Are they all your own?

As a good friend loves to say, everything is derivative.  Many recipes I post, but not all, initially come from a cookbook or another blog.  I am fearless (or shameless) in changing both ingredients and methods to suit my circumstances and mood.  I like to write out the recipe to help remember how I did it but I use my own style and words.  (I found useful advice on the Australian Copyright Council Recipe Fact Sheet.)  I have discussed these issues elsewhere

Where possible I record the source of recipes, even where I have made many changes.  If recipes come from my notebook that I have kept since 1989, chances are that I was not forward-thinking enough to record the source.  If you see a recipe that is not sourced and you know the source, please let me know and I will add it to the post.

Can I use your recipe on my blog?
You are welcome to put up my recipe on the web in your own words - but I request that you link back to the post where you found it and I'd love you to let me know.  I am always interested to see how people react to my recipes.  You may not reproduce the recipe word for word.  You may not reproduce my post in full.  You may not use my photographs without permission.

Can you be my friend on foodbuzz, facebook, etc etc
I hate signing up to groups - too many passwords, too much of my personal data out there, and I am suspicious of new technology.  As with my blog, I would only follow or friend those whom I choose to because I already have a relationship or connection of sorts.

Should I let you know about a typo or omission I saw on your blog?
Yes please!  Send me an emal at gggiraffe07 AT yahoo DOT com DOT au and I will fix it immediately.  I will also be eternally grateful to you.  I love my blog being in good order even in the old posts.  I correct typos or clarify recipes wherever I see them.

Do you make money?
I have a day job. This is my hobby.  I don't advertise.  I do all my own design using free software.

Why didn't you respond to my email or comment?
I try to respond to genuine emails and comments, especially where a question needs an answer, but find it impossible to respond to every one.  [Spammers please ignore this next sentence.] Occasionally I miss or delete a genuine email or comment  by mistake - if this is the case (sorry nice guy from RV website - I did mean to respond until I lost the email and your url), please resend or remind me.  I am only human!

Can you promote my event, review my product, put a giveaway on your blog, accept my guest post?
No no no and no.  I don't advertise, accept freebies, review products, accept guest posts, do giveaways (with the odd exception where trusted blogger friends are involved).  I receive a lot of emails from people offering products, events, guest posts, content who obviously haven't read my blog.  It gets tiring!

What is your policy on disclosure?
As outlined above, I generally don't advertise or make money from my blog.  In the (rare) event that I accept and write up any freebies, I will fully disclose it if I decide to write about it and I will report on it honestly.

In compiling these FAQs I have looked through other similar FAQs and, in particular, found useful information on Smitten Kitchen, Choosing Raw and The Amazing Adventures of DietGirl.


  1. Nicely written, Johanna. Like you, I prefer people to let me know about typos on my blog, even though I've heard some people say it's rude to correct someone else. I'm always mortified to find an error later, so the sooner I know, the better! :P

  2. If you were going to start with FAQs, this was certainly an eloquent entrance - and interesting to read, especially as I'm inclined to agree with your reasoning on most of the topics you touched. Also, thank you for that link to the copyright council. I've saved it to look at properly as I do sometimes worry I'm deviating from the 'right' way of doing things when I post only slight variations from cookbooks.

  3. This is a GREAT FAQs post! I need to put something like this on my blog...maybe then I'll get fewer weirdo emails offering me links and such.

  4. loved this post...as an aspiring blogger (um, and really it will never happen as i am in the kitchen 3 + hours a day making all our food from scratch and then being consumed by my girls' countless ballet and gymnastics lessons) this is an honest approach in dealing with all the issues in blog-land...and i am like you--not really into all the facebook and social group thing...if i ever blog, it's for my love of nutritious food and'vegucating my kids'

  5. This is very clear - though I am sure there are some who will ignore it. I loathe comments that are linked to totally unrelated commercial wensites that sell furniture, cars etc.

  6. Goodness Johanna, this is mighty organise. Very well done and it's good to have such clarity.

  7. Thanks Hannah - maybe people need to say go gently when you correct someone - it is not the most pleasant thing but better than everyone staring at at a glaring error (or making a dud recipe)

    Thanks Kari - the copyright council link was one I wanted to record as I have had trouble finding it in the past - not that it is the final word but gives you an idea of the legal approach

    Thanks Joanne - unfortunately it hasn't stopped me getting unwanted emails but at least I feel better about ignoring them - people have now been warned

    Thanks Eva - wow 3 hours a day in the kitchen is a lot but hope it is satisfying - would love to read about it if you do get time to blog - because it is always nice to read blogs by like minded people

    Thanks Cakelaw - alas it has already been ignored - I get annoyed by these comments but have wondered if I was fair when I have deleted them - though I should be clear about it if they care to check (which I suspect many wont)

    Thanks Choclette - this post has been in development for some time - in fact I was embarrassed to see I had said I would get it up soon back in a post in May 2011

    Thanks Kath - glad they resonate!


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