Blog Etiquette: The Rules are Quite Simple

By Deborah Ng | Blogging

Nov 25

This weekend has been rather interesting as far as my blogs are concerned. In fact, what was supposed to be a relaxing weekend, turned into one of those “never a dull moment” deals. I love blogging, truly I do, but sometimes people ruin it for me. Every now and then, I experience rudeness and inconsideration and feel a refresher course in blog etiquette is in order. A few cases in point:

  • Yesterday, someone submitted one of my blog posts to a social media site, creating a rush of traffic to that particular blog. While one would normally rejoice at having tens and thousands of new visitors, the truth is, it was a misogynistic nightmare. The post was about my reasons for hating football and the football fanatics left comments that were rude, vulgar and just plain mean.
  • This morning I found an item I wrote the other day reposted word for word on another blog. The “blogger” feels that by linking back to the original source, she’s free to take my words and post them on her blog.
  • Last week at a writers forum, one writer turned off comments to her blog after receiving a disagreeing comment. The fall out included a lot of back and forth between several blogs, with lots of meanness and not very many valid rebuttals.
  • And speaking of comments, I’m finding people are leaving lots of spammy links in my comments in hopes of gaining traffic.

So here it is in a nutshell, several rules of blog etiquette:

  1. Unless you have permission, it’s never OK to post someone else’s words on your own blog. You’re certainly welcome to provide a quote with attribution but to reprint the entire post is not good blog etiquette at all. In fact, it can get your blog shut down and your hosting taken away.
  2. When you comment on someone else’s blog, there’s usually a line under the name and email for a link to your blog or website and that should suffice. There’s no reason to link your blog again in the comments. We know where to find you if we need you. If you have a link you feel is relevant to the topic, contact the blogger, she will probably bring it to the attention of her readers. Please don’t spam.
  3. It’s ok to disagree with bloggers or those who drop comments, but do be respectful. Calling names, using vulgarity and telling me to get back in the kitchen to make a sandwich only show off your ignorance. If you can’t offer a decent rebuttal, keep your thoughts to yourself.
  4. Respond to commenters. Your readers took the time to offer their thoughts, keep them coming back by reciprocating.
  5. Don’t forget, everything you write is on display for the world to see. If you don’t want to the world knowing something, don’t post it. Many employers now Google potential employees. If you’re showing off your lingerie or ranting about your previous boss, these won’t bode well in your favor.

People become very courageous behind their computer screens. Really, it doesn’t take a whole lot to be considerate. A good rule of thumb is to treat other people’s blogs like you would treat your own. Be nice, be respectful and be considerate.

About the Author

Monika Mundell November 25, 2007

You go Deborah,

This needed to be said! Unfortunately it seems to be a common thing these days to slander each other via blog posts. It certainly isn't pretty and leaves a sour after taste.

You hit the nail on the head there and this post should be made a sticky. 😛

Laura November 25, 2007

Yeah, I've never got the whole "I disagree with you so I'm going to personally attack you" thing, nor the need for sensible adults to resort to petty name calling.

Great post, I "stumbled" on it.

JHS November 25, 2007

Very much in keeping with what I wrote about last week. I'm adding a link to this article within mine.

YC November 25, 2007

Not sure if it's a good thing or not, but having spent my early online days with the BBS era, I can find myself quite immune to online abuse and sometimes find it mildly amusing. Still, many valid points here which others would do well to consider and practise.

ZHereford November 25, 2007

While you are absolutely correct in stating that there should be courtesy and blog etiquette, blogging about why you hate football is tantamount to sacrilege in this country. 😉

1001 noisy cameras November 25, 2007

I think there are different types of "copiers". Some of them just don't know or understand, they think that if they see something they like, they can "photocopy" it on their website. Usually these are people who are relatively new to the internet or relatively new to having a blog or website. It's a different perspective perhaps that some people don't get unless they have been blogging/publishing/writing for a while.

Then there's the other group who is not so innocent. They understand they shouldn't be doing it, but they do it anyway – for whatever reasons they have or whatever excuses they may come up with, if they even bother to provide an explanation. And the funny thing is that if someone does that to their stolen content, they'll probably scream and shout in protest.

And don't get me started on scrappers and such :)

Deborah Ng November 25, 2007

Glad so many of you found this useful. I don't think it hurts to check manners now and then.

@ZHereford – I kind of expected some disagreement, but nothing like that. What happened to intelligent discussion or debate?

@1001 – It's been my experience that most of the newbies haven't a clue. I always recommend people take the time to learn the ins and outs of blogging before they begin – and that means blog ethics. And yes, the scrapers and sploggers are the worst.

Silki Garg November 29, 2007

I am also one of those, who found this useful.

This will surely improve me.

Yodacat November 30, 2007

I see how your already inflated ego has kept you from showing ANY comments that might go against your OBVIOUSLY superior point of view. “Look everyone! 100% of commentors agree! Ms. Ng must be right!”. Even the least credible journalist will allow disagreement in their comments, as long as it is well-worded, and well-spoken. So who has the credibility issue now? Who doesn’t have any imaginary ethics of her own? Hopefully someone will get to read this before you pull it down. I’m sure you will, because cowards like you use what little power you have to censor people that disagree with you. One last question, will you be putting any of the events that occurred, along with your reaction, on a resume?

James O'Meara August 28, 2008

Hi Deborah,

I found this very useful. I have included a link to you page on my blog (clearly identifying you and the article) as a meansy of setting an agreed way of communicating.

Thanks for helping a newcome to this form of communication.

Please let me know if I have broken any etiquette protocols by doing so :mrgreen:

Susie October 7, 2008

I am a brand new blogger. I made one, actually "lost" it and just found it last night. In trying to learn what to do I came upon 'Blog Etiquette: The Rules are Quite Simple' and would like to ask if I can use it, print it, post it, something, whatever you do, on my brand new blog. I don't know the formalities of this, how to go about getting permission or much of anything. It's just the first step in a lot to learn. Help! :roll:

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Kevin October 14, 2010

Great post. I'm very new to the blogging world and was looking up some blog etiquette and found this article, 'Blog Etiquette.' Thank you for the great thoughts and answering a question of mine. I've only done it once, but I've been continually tempted to place a link to my blog inside the comments of several articles I've read only because they related directly to the article I wrote. I never considered it spam until now, so thank you and have a great day!

margodevine December 7, 2010

When you leave a comment and the comment is not shown, do you still get a link back to your website?

Janna December 29, 2010

This is very helpful to me as I only started blogging 2 weeks ago! One question that I have is when ppl comment on my blog, should I comment back on my blog and if I do will they see it? I wasn't sure if it was better to do it on my own or send it to them directly…

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