My two overriding editorial principles are:

1. The blog is a personal hobby.

I invest up to 20 hours a week on top of my full-time job and my small business with writing, researching, photographing, editing and formatting 7 posts a week and replying to comments on the blog. I do that because I love writing, I’m interested in experiencing new places, meeting new people and learning about what others have to say about Melbourne.

2. The blog is a reflection of my personal interests.

This means that:

(a)     There are a greater proportion of HOTs than NOTs because the majority of the time I select where I want to go and I pay my own way. Thus I choose to spend my time and money at places and events that I think will be good. If I was a professional restaurant reviewer, then yes, it is likely that I would eat and review at a lot more bad restaurants.

(b)     I am unlikely to ever write a review on a football game, Arabic language class, beer-tasting event or burlesque show, as these are examples of things that I am not interested in.

So, here’s the editorial policy in detail.


  1. MEL: HOT OR NOT is a review blog, which means that I write reviews post the fact. While I initially tried to provide prospective information about upcoming events, I found it too time-consuming to keep up that information. Therefore, I tend to publicise upcoming events that I think will be interesting to my readers in the form of an interview, generally published on Sunday.
  2. I aim to write fair, honest and independent reviews. When something is excellent, I don’t hesitate to rave about it. When something is poor, it is not in my nature to gloss over it – that is why there is a NOT rating.
  3. While the blog has a strong leaning towards restaurant reviews, I aim to be not just a food blog and more a blog about Melbourne. Therefore, unfortunately not every post will be relevant or interesting to every reader, for instance, if they only read the blog for the restaurant reviews.
  4. The blog has a strong bias towards locations in the CBD and the inner city. That is because I work in the CBD and live in the inner city, and I don’t have the occasion to travel to the outer areas of Melbourne very much.
  5. When something is so-so, I still make a determination of whether it is HOT or NOT. I will always justify why I’ve fallen one way or the other.
  6. Most of the photographs are my own. If I have used other people’s photographs, I provide image credit and a link if relevant.
  7. I welcome guest posts, as I don’t think I am or should be the sole voice of what’s good or bad in Melbourne. I will never pass off a guest post as my own work and will provide the guest blogger with a link back to their blog if they request it.

Reuse of content

  1. My content is syndicated on Urbanspoon, Lonely Planet and Ozbloggers with my permission.
  2. Occasionally I have found that other people have been using my content and photographs without my permission. In such cases I write a polite email asking for credit and a link back.

Unsolicited emails

  1. I am happy to receive unsolicited emails from PR and marketing agencies. However, I only respond to emails which I find personally interesting. Others I will politely decline or delete.
  2. I am happy to receive tips from readers about something or somewhere they like. I can’t promise to visit every single one, but I do make a note of all of them in my Moleskine diary in case I ever need ideas for a blog post.


  1. I occasionally get invited to events, such as restaurant dinners, theatre shows or product launches. When I have been invited as a guest, I always disclose that fact clearly in the post and I will always give my honest opinion and findings on the event.
  2. I occasionally receive free products. When I have received a free product, I may choose to pass it on as a giveaway. If I have received a free product as part of an event to which I’ve been invited, I will state that I have received a free product in the post.
  3. If I am paid to write a review, I will note that clearly in the post. Depending on the circumstances, I sometimes choose to donate my fee to a charity of my choice.

My business interests

I have a small business called CycleStyle and I used the blog to publicise that fact when it launched.  I am not going to repeatedly write about CycleStyle on the blog but I will occasionally use the blog as a publicity channel, in the same way I choose to publicise other Melbourne businesses or events via the blog.

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