Style Guidelines

Because this is an interdisciplinary project, everyone who contributes to it is going to be a non-expert in most of the subject areas, so it’s important to avoid unnecessary jargon and dense academic prose.  As a contributor, your intended audience should be the intelligent layperson with an interest in public policy.

If you need something to go by, look at the in-depth articles in major magazines like The Economist or The Atlantic or in major newspapers like the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal.  This is harder than it sounds, and I’m certainly not an expert at hitting the right tone, so feel free to suggest improvements on anything that’s already there, but just doesn’t read well.

Try to avoid overt political or ideological arguments.  I realize that all of these policy issues have been politicized to some degree – in fact, that’s one of the Interlock problems.  And I’m well aware that the topical stubs include some things that infuriate both liberals and conservatives.  My goal is for this project to be guided as much as possible by a systems perspective on the Interlock as a whole and by pragmatic evidence of what works and how well.  Name-calling will not be tolerated!

In the long run, I want this site to become a resource for students and other people who are simply interested in understanding why the US seems so bogged down and what we can do about it.  That’s another reason for keeping the writing at the level of the intelligent layperson.

If you’re writing a new article or a replacement or amplification for one of the existing articles, please include links to sources for specific items in the text where appropriate and put more general references at the end.  We will include the latter in the resource section later and link to them from the article.

I’m doing my best to insert the references I have, but the linking process is slow.  In the interest of getting the website up and running, the documentation of source material had to take a back seat.  If things go as planned, all of the major arguments, facts, and figures will be linked to proper sources, but you can help a great deal with that process.  If you have a good source for an unsourced opinion or an undocumented fact, please include it in a comment!

The comments are also the place for contributions like this:

  • This point in the above article is wrong, oversimplified, controversial, or misleading, because…
  • This point in the above article is essentially correct; here’s some supporting material.
  • This point in the above article is correct, but incomplete; here’s how it can be fixed/expanded.

Try to include links to supporting material whenever possible.

Thanks for your help!

MK

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