Blogging Etiquette

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?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 28 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating gelato, listening to music with oversized headphones and teaching her niece how to be as awesome as she is.

Comments

  1. Theresa @ TheCreativeWell says:

    Morning! Great post :)

    Negative reviews: I never, ever write a completely negative review. If you look hard enough, there is usually *something* positive that you can add, too. That doesn't mean that I sugar coat my reviews, it just means that I look at the book as a whole instead of focusing on only the bad.

    Following: I don't think it is bad etiquette to unfollow the blogs that don't interest you. I would rather have followers that are interested in what I'm blogging about than followers who are only there to make the # bigger.

    Commenting: I try to comment on a few blogs every day, especially if they comment on mine. BUT.. if they leave a comment that is too general and I can't really respond thoughtfully, I will usually skip it.

    Link-dropping: Agree with you 100% on this one. Unless the blogger is asking for links, don't leave them!

    My #1 pet peeve: Misspelled post titles.. don't know why, just drives me nuts when the title of a post is up there in big, bold letters and has a misspelled word in it.

  2. Theresa– I'm with you on that there is always SOMETHING positive that you can point out or at least say who might enjoy this type of book. I think just being nasty isn't helpful to anybody and should stay in your own personal book journal.

    Misspelled post titles–agreed! Although I've probably done that one before. Sometimes I'm rushing around and don't even pay attention to the title. lol. I should be more careful.

  3. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    My #1 pet peeve: link dropping without saying a word about the post they are commenting on!! That is freaking rude as hell. At least act like you read what I had to say & make a mention of something before you leave me your link!

    As for writing a bad review.. I see nothing wrong with it. If you don't like a book, then you simply don't like it! There is a way to be tasteful & honest at the same time. I did not care for the book Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver & I felt that I gave it respect in my review. You can't "like" every book you read.

    Thanks for bringing up these questions! I think it will be interesting to see others opinions.

  4. Negative reviews: If I hate a book I'll damn well say so. Check out Troubadour for example (http://comacalm.blogspot.com/2010/11/troubadour-mary-hoffman.html).

    Following: I'll only follow blogs I like, when I follow someone' blog I'll leave them a little comment saying that I'm now following and would be grateful if checked out my blog, also if they liked it I'd love a new follower.

    Commenting: If I like a post I'll comment, never expect a comment back. I assume that everyone else would do the same with my blog.

    Link Dropping: I don't mind that at all, I do it too. It's difficult to get followers at the beginning so if it helps, why not? Although I usually comment a bit further than 'nice review'…

    comacalm.blogspot.com (xD)

  5. This is a great post.

    I try not to write negative reviews unless it was a book that I agreed to review. I think I only have two negative reviews on my blog. I try to be nice too, since I know someone wrote this, it got published, and this is someone's achievement.

    Following- When I first started to blog I would do a follow for a follow. Now if someone follows me, I will check out there blog and only if I like what they blog about, do i follow back. I have a reader already too full.

    Link- I link sometimes with meme's. I mainly link when I read someones review and if I reviewed it too, I will link my review back to them, simply because I know I enjoy reading reviews on books I too have read to see what others think.

    My biggest peeve is commenters who don't have it linked to their e-mail. So when my inbox tells me I have a new comment and I really wanna respond to them and I click reply and it says noreply, I get a little annoyed because in my opinion, what are the chances they will return to my blog to see if I responded.

  6. I think I should clarify with negative review–I'm all for negative reviews..I mean NASTY negative reviews.

    ComaCalm–I like your suggestion for following! That's not a bad thing to do. And about link dropping–I'm not opposed to people leaving a link if they make a meaningful comment but just to say something like "Nice review" or "Awesome!" and leave a link is tacky IMHO. And I agree about commenting..I definitely changed my expectations once I started really getting into the blogging world.

  7. Negative reviews-does this apply only to living authors whose feelings maybe hurt or it is a kind of general ban-I almost never do negative reviews in that I try hard only to read what I will like-

    Blog links-I am starting pretty much to agree with that-if I have reviewed the same book as blog owner has I will say that and the blog holder can then add a link if they want

    I try to return comments to the blogs of those who comment on my blog-some times I simply cannot think of any thing to comment-I think well just to say "nice post" sounds trite but then I admit I would rather have someone post that as a comment than right a post that no one comments on-

    I do follow all who follow me-in Google Reader it is no burden-also some people want followers as the more followers you have the more likely you will get free books-and admit it we all like free books-even if I do not read the sort of books another blogger reads I might learn from or just appreciate their design ideas-more and more I am seeing blogs as works of art, in many cases, not just a place to post some book reviews or comments-

  8. JUST KIDDING

  9. Jen (Makeshift Bookmark) says:

    I love this post. And I love that you frequently encourage discussion.
    And you and your blog, in general.

    Following. I think you're right. In the beginning, I followed anyone who followed me. I still tend to follow people, but only the blogs I genuinely enjoy and who post reviews/content relevant to my bookish tastes.

    Commenting. This is something I'm terrible at, and I'm sorry for it. My reasoning is that I do most of my blog viewing from my phone, which is CONSTANTLY logging me out and is relatively inconvenient in general for anything but browsing (plus, word verification is a beotch!) I am really, really gonna try and get better. What do you think about comment discussion in blogger? I wish there was the option to reply directly like in wordpress.

    Link-dropping: I don't really mind this, unless its blatantly obvious that the person is only generically commenting on your post so you'll come to theirs. And YES, I had a person comment on a post with ONLY a link, too! That is definitely not appealing and I feel less compelled to visit the blog when that happens.

  10. Everything here totally resonates with me — especially as I'm a fairly new book blogger. A few times I've had to remind myself why I started blogging my book reviews (for me, to keep track of what I'm reading) so I don't get too cranky when I feel like I'm following more people than those who follow or me, or I comment more than people will comment…

    I'm also learning that there isn't a formula for posting, but there's got to be a balance between reviews, memes like Teaser Tuesday, and giveaways. Giveaways get me a ton of followers and memes bring traffic, but is that all good if I feel like I'm not getting to discuss books when I post my reviews? I'm still trying to figure out the 'feel' of my book blog and what I like to write about it. Posts like this help!

  11. TNBBC Super Mod says:

    Great topic for discussion. Here are my two cents:

    Negative reviews: don't be crass and rash just to do it. List out what didn't work for you and why. Don't just bash the book, that isn't helpful to your readership or to the author!

    Follow for Follow: nope. Don't do it to be nice. Follow who you like, whose content matches your tastes. People who read your blog will likely check out who you follow, so it says a bit about who you are as a blogger too. I clean my blogroll up every so many months to purge out the people who just aren't reviewing what I would want to read, or who have let their content slip.

    Comments: Jamie, you know how I feel about this! We don't cross comment enough as adult bloggers. I don't always comment on someones blog when they comment on mine. I comment back to acknowledge and reply to thiers, and will comment genuinely on their blog when a topic or review pops up that I have something to add to.

    Link dropping: meh. If it's within context, I think it's fine. I just left my link on a comment to a review of a book that someone mentioned they might not want to read – becuase I thought my review might sway them. But just dropping your link to do it – no. That's just poor taste.

  12. Mrs. DeRaps says:

    I don't feel the need to follow those who are following me all of the time. I do follow hundreds of blogs (because there are so very many out there), but it would take me forever to figure out whether or not I'm following people who are following me.

    As for commenting, I will sometimes go an check out the blog of a new commenter if they say something that it intriguing, but I usually just try to leave genuine comments for the thirty or so favorites I have.

    I've actually thought about trying to keep track of the comments I leave somehow. I leave so many per day that I wonder how much it all adds up to…probably at least 50-60 per day.

    Good topic to think about. Thanks for starting the conversation.

  13. Here's another gray area: copying content.

    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!

  14. Greg Zimmerman says:

    Fantastic post! A few thoughts:

    I think nasty negative reviews are okay, if they're funny! (I say that because I have a tendency to rip on Dan Brown quite a bit in not nice ways.) Follow for a follow is silly to me – the only thing that matters is readership, so I'm annoyed when someone follows me who is never gonna read, and I'm not gonna follow someone else I'm never gonna read either. Comments: My theory is that it all evens out eventually – meaning, you don't have to stop by a commenter's blog right that instant, but you should make an effort at some point to comment on something they've written you find interesting. And you should ALWAYS respond personally to each comment. This is a big deal, I think. And, I delete link-dropping comments! ;) Thank you for putting this out there – good tip sheet for a lot of people!

  15. Greg–Good point! It really does all even out! When I said above that I had changed my expectations after blogging for a few months, that's kind of along the lines. I realized I don't have to go comment right after just to comment but at some point I will go and make a meaningful comment!

  16. TwoBibliomaniacs says:

    Why am I suddenly breaking out in an uncomfortable sweat… I’ve been blogging for a month and a half and fortunately haven’t committed any major infractions, however it’s so easy to get caught up in the number of followers and stats when you’re just starting out (I imagine this will also continue into the foreseeable future).

    Anyway, this was a great post and a very interesting topic. If anyone has a manual into the world of book blogging, please send immediately…

  17. Jen - devourer of books says:

    I hate, hate, hate link dropping. I'll often delete the link from the person's comment, honestly. As for commenting, I try to visit the blogs of people who comment and consider whether to add them to my reader, but I don't comment on every post I read, and I don't necessarily read every post in my reader. So if you comment, I'll check you out, but I'm not going to comment if I don't have anything to say.

  18. I don't have a problem with negative reviews, even ones with nothing positive to say. The NASTY party is a problem. I haven't been blogging about books very long though, so I can't really say I've come across nastiness.

    I probably need to go through the list of blogs I follow, and weed out ones that are just there and I skip reading. I kind of got caught up in the "follow-for-follow" routine. Now I realize it's just a number (followers), what I'd really like are people who actually read my blog and are interested in it…I guess I'd prefer a handful or even one of them over 100's of followers who are really just listed because it helped their number.

    Commenting, I try to return comments. Sometime I just say, thanks for stopping by mine. But I wonder if this is even good practice. I mean if I can't come up with something meaningful to say about a blog post (most likely my own failing and not the blogger's) is it really better etiquette to just say something like "thanks for posting on mine"?

    I try to only drop my line in the case that I don't think the blogger has a way to get to my blog through my profile (not on blogger, Google, whatever – I'm still figuring this stuff out) AND there is something in their post that indicates that something I've posted on my blog. This often happens with memes, when the blogger's post share something in common with my own response to the meme.

  19. I think the most annoying and frustrating aspect about blogging is having someone steal your idea for a feature or meme or challenge or be heavily influenced by something you did and not give any credit.

    There is little new under the sun, but an email to the person who inspired you can often help you come up with a new twist that will not step on anyone's toes. Also, it is *always* appropriate to give credit where credit is due. Something as simple as this "My 1800s classics feature was inspired by Sue Smith's blog (add link) who writes about 1700s books," can make all the difference.

  20. I agree with link dropping…bad..distasteful and not an honest thing to do..

  21. Yay for this post! It's something that gets mentioned a lot, but not TALKED about.

    For following, I will only follow people whose blogs interest me and people I talk to on a semi-regular basis, whether it's on Twitter or on Goodreads or whatever.

    As for commenting, I try to comment when I have something to say, but I don't try to find something to comment about. It's tough to keep up the life of a blogger by maintaining your own blog and keeping up with the blogs you follow without having to worry about everyone following you and following them back. Too many follows in my reader and I tend to skip a bunch.

  22. I don't think I've ever linked to my blog in a comment. When people do that to me I almost never click their link. If it's a meme there's already a place to get their link.

    I hope I've given credit if I've used someone's idea. I usually post reviews and participate in one meme. Maybe mention a holiday or give a best of list.

    When I switched from Blogger to WP I dropped the GFC. I've tossed out several blogs from my reader that repeat twitter follows. I can get links to blogs on their tweets.

    Interesting topics.

  23. I might be the newest blogger here with my blog being about 4 days new! I am glad to see posts like this because the last thing I want to do is come in as a newbie and get on everyones nerves with bad ettiquite! Thanks for talking about this.

  24. Thanks for the post. I agree with what you said, and I have a question that I thought this might be the place to ask. It doesn't have anything to do with etiquette, but why, when people leave their email addresses do the spell out "dot" and "at" — should I be doing this?

  25. Jenni Elyse says:

    Thanks for this post. I'm glad to have some blogging etiquette outlined somewhere. I've been blogging for 3.5 years and I've felt very frustrated at times because of some of these breaches. I try never breach the etiquette myself, but I'm sure I have at one point or another.

    Negative Review–I do agree that you can always find something positive about a book. However, I don't feel like it's bad etiquette to say how you felt about a book. Someone out there may feel the same way you do. I just think it's all in the presentation.

    Following & Commenting–I understand your frustration with not wanting to follow everyone that posts a comment on your blog. And, I also see the flip side where it would be nice to have more followers. I don't know where to draw the line. I just know that I tend to comment more on people's blogs if they take the time to comment on mine. If I really feel passionately about a post, then I don't care if the write comes to my blog; I'll just comment to join in on the discussion. But, I'll be honest that I sometimes feel vindictive about not commenting on someone's blog because they never comment on mine.

    Link dropping–Yeah, I hate it when people just link drop in comments. I've done it when the memes I'm part of don't have a Mr. Linky, but that's the only time. I always try to say something meaningful in a comment.

    Content copying–I agree that no one should copy the content from someone completely. But, I do think it's okay to use inspiration from others. It just needs to be different enough to differentiate the two. Maybe, I'm completely off base here. I just know that when I wrote my Book Review Policy (yesterday), I used a few other bloggers' review policy to help me come up with mine. Maybe, that's bad and maybe because it's legalese, it doesn't matter as much. Who knows.

  26. I had the same issue with following and commenting…when I first started blogging, I followed a bunch of blogs, and I would try to comment on every post. Now, however, I just don't have the time to do that, yet I'm still kind of nervous about unfollowing people.

    I really hate link dropping, as well. If I see a comment (on my blog or someone else's) from someone who is obviously just link dropping and hasn't read the post, I'll make it a point not to go to their site. On the other hand, if someone leaves a genuine comment on my blog, with or without a link, I'll check out their profile and see if they have a blog.

  27. Great post & discussion! I don't know if I really have anything new to add… but I do try to be sensitive when writing negative reviews since books generally take so long to write & are a huge accomplishment to get published. That being said, if I didn't enjoy it, I just didn't enjoy it!

    To me with following & commenting, I just try to be genuine and hope that others will try that as well. I don't follow unless I'm interested in the content, and the same can be said for commenting. I like to give a 'return comment' if someone comments on my blog, but sometimes there just isn't a good way to do that.

    In all of this, I just try to remember that behind every blog is a person! Sounds cheesy, huh? But online it's easy sometimes to respond in ways that you wouldn't in face to face interaction. I can feel myself starting to ramble so I'll stop! Thanks again for a thought provoking post.

  28. April (BooksandWine) says:

    Hm, I definitely break the negative review one. Seriously, sometimes I can't find any redeeming qualities in a book and I'm not going to pretend that I did, just for the sake of being nice.

    As for link dropping, I HATE THAT. For serious, I did a whole day of commenting on everyone's IMMs just to meet some new bloggers, and I kept coming across this one girl's comments. She had copy-pasted the same comment on every blog, then came to mine and did the same. ARE YOU KIDDING?! Doing that just made me not want to read her blog ever, because if you can't be genuine in a comment, how do I know you are being genuine in your blog.

    ALSO, do you think that I was poaching with Shopping My Shelves? I try to admit in all two posts that I've done so far that it was inspired by In My Mailbox and the Top Ten Tuesday list where the theme was unread books you own that you can't wait to read. PLEASE LET ME KNOW, I DONT WANT TO BE AN ASSHOLE.

    Oy.Methinks I worry too much.

    I'm pretty glad I don't participate in any of those follow my blog hops anymore, as that eliminates the FOLLOW ME PLZ PLZ PLZ FOLLOW FOLLOW PLZ people from my blog.

    And yes, I am much more likely to return a meaningful comment when someone has left one on my blog. I'm also much more likely to subscribe to someone's blog if we talk frequently on twitter, or another blogger whom I trust says FOLLOW THIS PERSON, THEY ROCK.

  29. Avid Reader says:

    This is such a great post. Thanks for opening up the discussion!

    Following – I only follow people whose blogs interest me, but I’m not great at actually following. I subscribe to their feed instead because that’s the easiest way for me to keep track of blogs. I need to start actually following.

    Commenting – I comment on anything I find interesting. When someone comments on my blog I try to respond to their comment. I also tend to follow the blogs of all of my regular commenters.

    Link dropping – The only time I’ve ever put a link in a comment is if the post was asking for links to reviews of a specific book. It’s crazy to me that people just post their links everywhere.

    Stealing content – Seriously people? That’s just awful.

  30. As far as negative reviews, I'm honest and sometimes that might come off as negative, but I really do try my best to have something positive to say. For comments, I comment if I find something interesting and I scroll down the page to try and find a post I CAN comment on. But lately commenting has annoyed me. I spend so much time commenting on other people's blogs and I often don't feel like the favor gets returned (whiney, I know). And link dropping drives me insane. You might as well not visit my blog at all.

  31. I am going to commit bad etiquette right now… I am responding without first reading the 30 or so comments you've already received. I'm sorry… but you've raised a great issue, and I want to comment! I've only been "seriously" blogging for a couple months, and I've seen everything you've described, save the truly nasty reviews. I'm not sure what the purpose of one would be, but I would likely lose any faith in the blogger who wrote one. Even if I really didn't like the book, I'll try to find something positive to say because I don't expect everyone to share my exact taste in reading material. I can't stand link dropping… or people who are participating in events/memes solely to get more followers. It's irritating. I have zero respect for those who steal content from other blogs. This happened to a friend of mine – she wrote a particularly funny post on her blog comparing life with a toddler with life in a frat house. It went semi-viral, and sure enough, some other blogger copied it word for word on her blog – and then refused to take it down saying "she got it on a email, and didn't realize someone wrote it"…. thereby admitting that she stole it from somewhere, but still wouldn't take it down since it was obviously getting her hits (or something more important to her than ethics or dignity). Gah. Thanks for the provocative post!

    Sarah

  32. SapphireReads says:

    This is a very interesting post. I read it this morning before I left for work and have been trying to respond since I got to work but haven't had a chance. I do have a question for you that I may lump commenting and following together in my comment.
    How do you feel about when giveaways require you to be a follower of the blog to be entered? Do you respond to everyone that enters and do you follow the people that have blogs? I'm still fairly new since I haven't had the time to blog as much as I wanted to so this post was great information for me.

  33. Kayla + Cyna says:

    :3 I love that you bring things like this up, 'cause it's kind of cool to see what everyone thinks and what policies they follow, as far as these topics go.

    Nasty Negative Reviews: I suppose it depends on how you define 'nasty', but we have probably guilty of this at least once. However, I'll say that we started our blog so that we could write reviews that reflect the way we talk about books, which is very sarcastically xD We can get a bit bitchy and scathing, but that's usually when there's something really offensive or frustrating to us about the book, and we want people to know about it. So yeah, I guess that's my defense – we can get nasty when we're insulted, but even in those cases, we try to work in some good aspects of the book, as well.

    I haven't really read anyone else's nasty reviews, so I can't really speak as to what I think of them, but that's sort of something I've noticed. It seems like a lot of bloggers don't say much more than "Yeah, I liked it, four stars" and that, to me, seems like as much a breach of ettiquette as a nasty review. Why did you like it? Was it flawless? Were there things you didn't like? I wanna know stuff like that when I read a book review.

    Oh man, I remember when we first started and all we wanted was followers, so yeah, we participated in the follow me, I'll follow you hops, but we don't anymore. Why? It's quite doubtful that any of those people will really read your blog, it's mostly a stat boost. Nowadays, we try to follow blogs we're really interested in, and we welcome followers who subscribe not because we responded in a thread, but because they like our stuff.

    Commenting is a huge pet peeve of mine as far as book blogging goes. We do our best to respond to every comment we get (within our own comments), and we try to check out the blogs of people who seem like they really took the time to leave a genuine comment. I don't really ask that someone comes to my blog to leave a comment – if I'm interested in the conversation, I'll check back on their blog to see if at least they've responded there. But a lot of the time it doesn't happen, and it seems like some bloggers can't even be bothered to respond in their own comments. What's up with that? Are they really that disinterested in bookish conversation?

    Anyway, that's another reason I'll start following/reading a blog: they responded to a comment and we got a conversation going.

    Link droppers are ust…ARGH. I usually ignore them.

  34. So much to comment on! I've been blogging for 3.5 years and have seen quite a bit–and the blogosphere has changed so much in that time. Things are constantly evolving and there will never be a clear-cut consenus.

    My two cents:

    Negative reviews. I don't appreciate attacking. Authors are not books. Authors don't need to be attacked and it's a petpeeve to see people attacking authors.

    Following. I don't follow any book blogs. This means that I have a low follower number, but my old book blog has been defunct for almost a year and still has over 100 followers. I subscribe in Google Reader so don't understand the point to following other than making a public statement. But most people who follow my blog do not comment EVER. So what's the point?

    Commenting. In a perfect world reciprocal commenting is lovely. I've actually started a new experiment where with "new" commenters I'll reciprocate but not subscribe until I know they are blogs I want to follow. If I can't find a post to comment on, I won't force a comment. I wish I could spend more time commenting on blogs as I really do love it, but one could spend HOURS a day blogging–though I secretly suspect some people do…

    Link dropping. Eh. No harm no foul. But yes, what's the point in leaving a comment just to leave a comment. People will eventually see through it.

    Copying content. There are SOOOOOO many blogs that it's impossible to not have some overlap. I think your rule of thumb is a good one, but nothing sucks worse than being a grad student and thinking you have a spectacular original idea for your thesis only to realize it's been done. It happens…!

    Whew. GREAT post.

  35. Thanks for this! There are lots of things to think about here. Like others, I am rather new at blogging as well. Thankfully I don't think I've done any of these things (although I know of one review which needs major expansion to explain better, I don't think my points where nasty or came off that way). I'm glad I never got into the follow for follow or comment for comment. I'd of course love if people checked out my blog – but only leave a comment if you have actual interest in the book mentioned, etc. The idea thing worries me though. I know you mentioned you found a blog with a similar idea and contacted the person – but there are so many blogs out there – I wonder why this should have been necessary. There must be rainbows (giant spectrums) of ideas out there.
    Where do we draw the line and say "this is too similar"? And when it's an idea we thought up on our own (not outright copied)? I don't want to be accused of anything I'm not guilty of :/

  36. Nasty reviews are very annoying, especially if they are insulting. There is a person behind that book, and there are always people who love that book, so down right insulting comments are a no-no!! But negative reviews are essential, I think it saves some people precious time they can spend on better books.

    I am too sensitive about comments. I feel as though I am intruding almost, if I keep commenting and people never comment back. It tends to make me not want to visit again.

    I agree with you on the link-leavers. I definitely stay away.
    Great post, thanks!

  37. Library Gal says:

    Great post and comments. I feel the same way as most. I try and leave comments/discuss as often as I can on the blogs I follow and hope that people will do the same on mine. I still do the blog hops, I don't follow everyone and I know that everyone doesn't follow me I just think it's a good opportunity to discover new blogs/bloggers.
    People leaving links without comments or copy-pasting their responses in every single blog they visit…is a huge pet peeve for me. As is, people commenting that they are following you (in giveaways etc) and they really aren't.

  38. I love this post. I just started blogging and I found it super useful. Most of it seems common sense but as I have found out, in life common sense is not always common. Anyhow, I wanted to say that I really enjoy your blog and because of this I want to give you an award. The info can be found at the following link:
    http://bookworm-meags222.blogspot.com/2010/11/i-won-award.html
    I hope I'm not being impolite blogging wise with this but I wanted to pass it along.
    Thanks and happy blogging!

  39. I'm with you on most of these, apart from the negative reviews. I think getting a negative opinion on a book is as helpful as a positive one – and there's no reason anyone should censor him or herself about the books s/he's been reading, to only write about the "good" ones.

    I'm on wordpress so I don't deal with that following stuff, but honestly I don't get it. I've seen blogs demanding follows to do things like enter book giveaways, and the moment a post like that shows up I take the blog off my reader. Why follow blogs you aren't interested in? Kind of the same goes for comments; I don't think you need to visit a commenter's site just because they visit yours (that they are on your site doesn't mean your interests line up), but I'll also quit visiting a blog if I've left a dozen detailed comments without even a visit in return.

    All that said, though, why take this so seriously? I think a lot of the annoyances you mention are the result of people scrambling for hits, but aren't these types of blogs about having fun and having great conversations on books?

  40. Great post. Link dropping makes me roll my eyes. My policy is not to visit blogs that do that. eventually the bloggers seem to catch on, LOL.

  41. I try to leave comments as much as I can, I even keep things marked as 'unread' so when I get a chance I can go back and comment. But sometimes I just don't have time to comment or I can't think of anything to say besides "I loved this book too/I also hated that character/etc" or if there are a bunch of comments before me I feel like I'm repeating those people. Bottom line: I leave comments as much as possible…its just not as often as I wish I could!

    The copy and paste comments? I'm guilty of that sometimes but only when its my Top Ten Tuesday at the B&B…I try to visit every blog that participates and write a meaningful comment about something on their list and just to say thanks for joining in…but sometimes I get tired or haven't read any of the books on a list so it ends up being kind of a generic thank you comment.

    Link-dropping annoys me as well. If you leave a thought-out comment (well pretty much anything more than "Nice/Great review") I'll at least check out your blog.

  42. Excellent, thought-provoking post! I do dislike it when people leave comments such as 'nice review' and then leave the link to their blog. If someone drops by my blog or follows, then 95% of the time I'll stop by their blog as well and I can use the profile– I don't need a direct link.

    On negative reviews… I don't personally post many of them, but I do think negative reviews are just as important as glowing praise for letting would-be readers know what they're in for. Then again, sometimes my favorite books get negative reviews from other bloggers– it just depends on personal taste.

    Copy-and-paste comments… ugh, there is a guy who stops by my blog every week on Follow Friday and posts the same generic comment that I've seen on every other blog I've hopped by for FF. Doesn't exactly inspire people to return the favor.

    Anyway, great points all around. It's interesting to read everyone's take on blog etiquette. :)

  43. Really interesting post.

    I always try to comment back on blogs when people comment on mine, but if I don't have anything to say, then I don't.

    Same goes for following, if I want to follow, I will, if not, maybe I'll come back later and see if I've changed my mind.

    I hate link-dropping/copy & paste comments. I would never do it myself because I'd feel uncomfortable doing so, but I guess I can understand why people do it.

  44. I am going to admit that I JUST realized you have this blog in addition to The Broke and the Bookish…and I was following that one, but not this one (remedied now…at least in RSS)

    So….anyway. Commenting. I definitely want to comment back to everyone who leaves a comment on my blog. I used to be very vigilant about it…but it seriously took 2-3 hours each day. And lately, I've had so much work, I just can't do it. I've decided it's more valuable to try and leave 5-10 thoughtful comments a day then the 30-40 "Hey I was here" comments I used to do…

  45. Megan Hoover-Swicegood says:

    I'm really on the fence about the link thing. I do hate it when the comment isn't thoughtful or it's just a link. But if it's someone I don't already follow or interact with on a regular basis, I like the link b/c looking at their profile, figuring out wich of their 10 blogs (some folks have A LOT of blogs) is interesting to me, then going there is kind of a lat of work, but if they just leave me a link I can go quickly and interact with them. But fly by link dropping stinks.

    The negative review thing is tough. I've posted negative reviews of half a dozen books and gotten a few comments along the lines of "harsh". I try hard to always back up my reasoning, never name call, and always remind people that it's my opinion and what appeals to me, but when someone else really connects to a book then they can be offended that I didn't enjoy it.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. There have been some great views/ideas in the comments too. I love posts that get other bloggers excited about a topic.

  46. সাইদুর রহমান চৌধুরী says:

    @Jamie and everybody else:

    I am running a foreign language community blog consisting of about 400 bloggers. Lately I have started feeling that the way some of the bloggers 'behave' (distasteful posts & comments, link-dropping, …) is not what I want my blog to look like. I was searching on the web to find out what people think about what is right and what is not. And I landed here. (Sorry for this long intro).

    Thanks for bringing up things for discussion. These are the 'behaviors' I was looking for what people say about. I like this whole discussion. (Sorry for my English too).

  47. I try to respond back to every comment on my blog because I would like to actually talk to people, but I’m beginning to realize that not everybody is like me and checks back on the posts they comment on to see if the person has commented back. A lot of times I respond to a comment and never hear from a person again.

    I would rather have readers than followers. I’m going to admit My Blog is mostly for myself. Of course it brings me great joy when a person comments on my post. I wanted a place where I could reflect on the books I read in 2013 so come 2014, 2015 whatever year I can look back on the books and go oh I liked that one. Oh I didn’t really like that one. I just think it is fun to look back. Over the past month I have realized that the book blogger community is a lot of fun and I enjoy participating in challenges and events. I have tried to have quality content on my blog. All in all my blog is still mostly for me.

  48. Know I’m kinda late to the discussion, but: this was very helpful to me. I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now and just started my own book blog. I’ve noticed the community book bloggers seem to have with each other, almost like a code of conduct, so this discussion post is very helpful for me. Thanks!

Comment Policy:

Thank you so much for reaching out to me via comment. Seriously, it makes my day. I appreciate and read EVERY SINGLE comment. I do try real hard to reply to comments but I'm not able to do so daily and sometimes I get very behind because...well..life. You know how it goes sometimes! If I haven't replied back to you, feel free to tweet me so we can chat further as sometimes that is easier for me to get to when I'm on the go!

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