Weekly blog comments (protected)

essais-bordeaux-pageAMontaigne‘s comments on his own Essays (Édition de Bordeaux, 1588).

This area is the space for weekly blog comments. Apart fom this present page, everything in the “WEEKLY COMMENT” area is password-protected and accessible only to students in this course. I hope this enables free comment and the progressive building of a community of readers in our course.

Welcome to the world of post-Medieval commentary.


By the end of the Monday after your last class that week (ex. for week 3, this will be Monday 22 January):

  • (1) Ask one simpler question, of the sort that you could answer yourself. Just compose the question: don’t answer it.
  • (2) Ask one more difficult question, that would tax an expert or the author of the text in question. Similarly, just the question, not the answer.
  • (3) Comment in response to your readings and our classes this week.
    —Comments can be as simple or complex as you like,
    —any length (though they tend to be around a paragraph long on average; this can also be audio or video instead of writing),
    —in any form or style (so long as it’s coherent and comprehensible),
    —may include links (images, sites, resources, etc.),
    —and pertaining to any aspect of or angle on the reading, lectures, and discussions.
  • These are your reactions to your reading, by you the individual reader and critic.
  • As the course progresses, for (3) above you may choose to:
    —comment on an earlier comment, thus starting a conversation / discussion-thread
    —or comment on a comment on an earlier comment
    —etc.: this section of the course site allows for nested comment-threads…

NB: You are of course at liberty to write more, and more frequently, and to add further comments. Whether you prefer to wax eloquent or to be aphoristic is a matter of personal style.


The above is the minimum required: simply make your weekly contributions, with at least some content–it needn’t be profound or stellar–and you’re guaranteed at least a B for this portion of the course.

At the end of the course (week 13), I’ll ask you to choose what you consider to be your ten best posts. These will then become your portfolio = 10% of your final grade.


  • go to this week’s post (password-protected: only students in the course have the password)
  • you’ll see “Leave a Reply”
  • and under it, a space for your name (this field must be completed):
    – you may use your own real name,
    – or a pseudonym,
    – and you may also change your online identity from comment to comment (ex. adopting different personae and different points of view)
    If you decide to be pseudonymous, please tell O’Brien what pseudonym(s) you are using so that she can attribute marks for comments accordingly. You may choose to reveal your online identity to your fellow-students (ex. in the Thursday discussions) or not: this is an individual matter.
  • email address (compulsory too):
    – you may use your UBC email address,
    – or any other non-UBC email
    – or indeed create a new email account—gmail, hotmail, yahoo, etc.—specifically for online-identity purposes
  • other optional bits and pieces (ex. your website): not necessary, unless you wish to add this information
  • and then there’s a blank text box:
    – write your two questions and comment in here.
  • Then click on “Submit Comment.”
  • If this is your first comment on this blog, it might not appear straight away. Do not worry. It will once it’s been through moderation (= O’Brien), as will subsequent contributions.
  • A similar process applies to comments made in response to previous comments.


  1. You are free to express any view, opinion, point of view, or belief; to hold or adopt any position; and to adhere to any school of thought. With few exceptions.
  2. Any view (especially if contentious, unusual, or indeed innovative) should be expressed clearly and coherently and supported by argument and/or proof. You should be prepared to uphold and defend your view/point of view.
  3. In the event of a discussion becoming heated: remember, you may agree to disagree. Some disputes cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties. Some matters are irresolvable (by this kind of discussion, anyway). Some questions have no answers.
  4. If a view is contrary to fact—reality, historical facts (where known), material evidence (including the text at hand)—be prepared for this to be pointed out.
    Note: unlike real life and the law, however, ignorance is a defence (and is often expected: this is after all a course).
  5. Be polite, civil, and courteous.
  6. While you may ask pointed or loaded questions, it is usually recommended that you avoid provoking or offending for the sake of causing offence and/or hurt. These may be online identities, but there are real human beings behind them…
  7. You are commenting on (texts and) comments, and arguing with arguments. Not with people. No personal attacks, accusations, insults, defamation, etc.
    Note: in rhetoric—a.k.a. the art of argument and persuasion—ad hominem is an informal fallacy—a.k.a. “fail.”
  8. Please refrain from making statements that are against Canadian and (as applicable) international law (incitement to violence, high treason, race hatred, genocide, etc.).
  9. If in doubt, exercise common sense.
  10. O’Brien reserves the right to step in to comment as needed.

[On blogging: Meta-meta-medieval’s Rules of Engagement might also be useful.]