Go not to the Elves for counsel for they will answer both no and yes.

—Frodo Baggins

Note: as far as the Elf thing goes, I am more a Dwarf, from the Neal Stephenson perspective (see his Cryptonomicon). Still, it’s best not to come to me for counsel. Before I even get to “no” or “yes”, I will lecture you about how your question isn’t even wrong. The blog name concept, “belikeme”, I steal from one of Neal’s conceits. When Google Plus was a thing, he had a pinned post or whatever (or maybe it was on his website), about how it was his official account or web presence, unless it had been hacked or something. This kind of thinking sends one such as myself down all sorts of self-referential mental byways. Inspired thereby I declare that the words you are reading are from someone who is, belike, me: Dean Calahan. Unless I’ve been hacked or something.

Here on this blog I offer a curated view of my thoughts and habits, and in some cases accomplishments, with the whole world free to ignore it or not. Here’s an actual “no”: don’t “be like” me, unless you do so responsibly – double check everything I say and come to your own conclusions. Nothing I communicate, unless specifically declared to be such, should be construed as, for example, counsel, advice, suggestion, recommendation, instruction, encouragement, or imperative. Note: if you don’t already know, the phrase “belike me” is not, and cannot be, an imperative: look it up! (That last, of course, was an imperative).

As this blog is my own, it operates by my own rules, which, although compressible to “be reasonable”, are probably better left somewhat less vague. So. Although my posts are not necessarily trying to start conversations (a vague feeling of getting “plus ones” via, for example, web metrics, seems to be (TBH: barely) sufficient), comments will usually be open for fourteen days, and if a great conversation ensues, so much the better. Remarks on the substance of a post will at least get my attention. Pertinent questions or comments about my stylistic approach will at least be pondered. Comments in general are not guaranteed to solicit a direct reply, although by altering my considerations they may have indirect effects downstream, such as in future posts. The current configuration requires a first post by a particular commenter to be held, after which it won’t be required.

Note that I am unlikely to ignore anything resembling what I call “performative toxicity” (trolling, using loaded or disparaging terms, changing the topic, sealioning, codewords, dogwhistles, sneering, …; I’ll not supply a complete list). Such comments may simply be deleted without further comment, they may be edited by me to express disdain, dismissal, or dismay (not to mention consternation, contempt, or condemnation); there may even be moderation or banning of toxic performerators. I might instead convey in a new comment that some particular comment was unfortunate. If I do, I hope its author draws back from their rhetorical gambit (i.e. making the bad seem good) and studies (or re-studies) the word “curation”. This all assumes I even get enough traffic to worry about such concerns. So far the worst that’s happened is that some spammers drew my attention to some administrative tweaks needed to deny access to comments. These considerations may all continue moot, as this is so far a mostly write-only blog anyway.

If you do comment, know that I reserve the perpetual right to utilize any or all blog comments (including deleted ones) in future endeavors of any kind, for example (but not limited to), publishing my memoirs, scholarly data analysis, or engaging in Oulipo-style grandiosity.

TLDR: if you stick with “be reasonable”, for values of “reasonable” that are reasonable, I won’t be unreasonable.