Everyone now and again, since I started blogging in June of this year, I’ll hear talk about blogging etiquette–unwritten rules that most bloggers seem to be guided by. “Somebody did this..that’s just bad blogging etiquette” or “I should probably just not post that. It would be bad etiquette.”
There are the obvious things–like not bashing another blogger specifically on your blog or not stealing somebody else’s content. On occasion these rules have been broken and bloggers have rallied around one another and have spoken up about this breach in etiquette. Sometimes it doesn’t seem that clear cut though. Sometimes it does. Is there even such a thing as blogger etiquette? Here are a few that I was thinking about when I was just observing the blogosphere:
- NASTY negative reviews: For the most part bloggers agree that being nasty in a review is bad etiquette yet I’ve seen many a nasty review. How far is too far? Where do you draw the line? I’m not talking about negative reviews in general. I think negative reviews are helpful but I personally do not like when a reviewer is just mean and nasty and can’t back up what they are saying or I can’t figure out why they didn’t like it.
- Following: When I first started blogging, it seemed like all the new blogs were giving each other a follow for a follow. When you are first starting out you just want the number on there so I get that but once I really started following blogs (by that I mean reading all their updates on my reader and sometimes commenting) I would get annoyed by how many blogs were clogging up my reader. Is it rude not to follow somebody back? Even if you aren’t really interested in the types of books they read? Do you just suck it up and delete their updates just so they can have you as a follower?
- Commenting: This is perhaps the biggest one in my eyes. If somebody comments on your blog, is it bad etiquette not to stop by their blog and genuinely leave a comment? When I first started, I was meticulous about this. If you stopped by my blog, that guaranteed you a comment back. But then I noticed that I would make a genuine and contributing comment almost every day on blogs and never get a comment back. Is that bad etiquette? I think I changed my expectations a little bit but I do try to check out people’s blogs if they make a comment. I’ve slacked as of recently but, for me, I still think that maybe rather than being good etiquette maybe it’s just being part of the community. I guess that’s up to the blogger to determine how much apart of the community they want to be.
- Link-dropping: I will flat out say that I believe this to be bad blogging etiquette although I know that some people will disagree with me because I’ve gotten quite the number of flybys. It typically happens with memes. You know what I’m talking about–a person says “Nice review” and then leaves their link. One time I actually had a person who didn’t even say anything on a Blog Hop and literally just left their link. But what do you think? Do you disagree about this being bad blogging etiquette? EDIT: I’m not talking about leaving your link with a nice, meaningful comment. I’m just talking about when people clearly didn’t read anything and are just trying to drop their link.
- Copying content: This was brought up by S. Krishna’s Books in the comments and I thought it was a good topic to discuss. “Pretty much everyone agrees that it is not okay to copy and paste someone else’s review and pass it off as your own. That’s stealing. But what about copying ideas? Or “being inspired” by something you see at someone else’s blog and making a feature out of it or writing a post on it? It’s an interesting thing to think about, where that line is, and it’s something that’s been happening lately. My rule of thumb is you should talk to the person who inspired the idea prior to doing or saying anything about it on your blog. If you have their permission, it isn’t copying/stealing!” I would have to agree with this. On my other blog (The Broke and the Bookish), I came up with the Top Ten Tuesday idea without any inspiration from anybody else. Ok, I guess I could credit watching Lettermen. Then I did a search throughout blogs after we had started it and found that somebody else did something similar. I went and emailed her and told her that I didn’t realize that anybody else did something similar and if it was ok. Being straightforward is definitely the way to go! Misunderstandings can’t happen that way! I do think it is hard to know everything in the blogosphere so I think that sometimes it happens unintentional and people do need to remember that and not assume that you stole it from them!
I mean, I think, in the end it comes down to want you want to do and have time to do but I do think that there IS some sort of blogging etiquette. Not blogging RULES but just general guidelines that a community deems as appropriate or inappropriate to some degree. Whether or not you follow it is up to you. I’ve never had a major breach of etiquette before but I’m sure I’ve slacked in some ways before. Heck, I don’t even know if half of these things fall along the lines of bad etiquette so this should be a fun discussion.
I’m sure I could have come up with more but I just wanted to give us a platform to talk about blogging etiquette in general. So what do you think about the things I’ve listed? What are some other good or bad blogging etiquette “rules” can you think of? IS there even some notion of blogging etiquette?