Photo Credit: tell me what you saw’s photos
For those who don’t know what etiquette is, I will quote part of Wikipedia’s definition:
Etiquette, one aspect of decorum, is a code that governs the expectations of social behavior, according to the contemporary conventional norm within a society, social class, or group. Usually unwritten, it may be codified in written form. Etiquette usually reflects formulas of conduct in which society or tradition have invested.
That sounds like a mouthful, but in short, etiquette is the act of behaving properly in certain situations. Many say proper etiquette of any kind is becoming a lost “art”. Whereas, others don’t realize proper etiquette exists.
When we start blogging, we may not think about blogging rules, or blogging etiquette. With some, it shows. Meanwhile, others question if there is a right or wrong way to blog, concerned they do the right thing.
Not to say a blog must comply with “XY&Z” in order to succeed, I do think there should be some checks and balances when it comes to blogging. We can call it blogging rules, blogging etiquette, or just plain common courtesy/common sense.
Reflecting on 11 months of blogging, this is what I find could constitute blogging rules/etiquette:
1) Write original articles. Do not plagiarize/steal/copy someone else’s content or ideas. Putting a new spin on a subject is one thing, but downright copying someone else’s ideas is not right. If you can’t think of something to write about, don’t publish until you do.
2) Give credit where credit is due. If what another blogger wrote inspires a post, make mention of the post, and create a link back to your inspiration.
3) Check and recheck your grammar and spelling. Although some typos may slip through, try your hardest to provide a post with proper grammar and spelling. Your blog is a reflection on you and your credibility. If need be, have someone proofread for you.
4) If you allow comments, let your commenters know you have read what they wrote. A short thank you is sufficient, however, comment sections often end up being the “meat” of the post. If you’re not going to have time to answer comments, you may think of closing the comment section. (turn comments”off”)
5) If you prefer commenters do not get “off subject” (writing about an issue unrelated to the post), create a “comment rules’ page to inform your readers about your desires. Either post a sentence above your comment section, or provide a link to your comment rules. Comments often go off subject, so be prepared.
6) If you leave a comment on another blog, try to add value to the post/topic. Saying “great post” is not value. If you can’t find something valuable to say, don’t comment. Often two and three word comments will be considered as spam, and subsequently deleted by the author. Try to avoid “off topic” comments unless you know the blog author allows them. As a footnote, on this blog, I allow off topic comments and questions.
7) If you comment on other blogs, do not alienate the author with derogatory comments. Your comment is a reflection of you. Negative comments can decrease your chances of receiving visitors from other sites. Negative comments may lead to having your blog boycotted (unknowingly).
8.) If a reader/visitor contacts you via email or through your contact page, answer the email as soon as possible.
9) Do not “spam” another blogger or blog, . Overusing the name of another blogger in comments and/or posts is often considered “content” or “comment spam”. For more great reading on blog spam, read a great article written by Catherine, titled: “The New Spam – How Do We Deal With It”
10) Prior to publishing your post, check your links. Consistently providing dead or 404 links is frustrating to your readers, and can lead to a loss of credibility.
11) When commenting, unless a link is relevant to the post, do not insert one. This is also considered “spam”, and most bloggers will avoid clicking on them.
12) If someone visits your blog, and leaves a comment, make time to visit their blog as well. It’s common courtesy. If you cannot identify with their most current post, dig through their archives and find one you can leave a short comment on.
13) If someone leaves a negative comment on your blog, do not feel obligated to leave it in your comment section. A negative comment can change the dynamics of the other valuable comments. Delete it or mark it as spam. It’s your blog.
14) Do not comment on another blog without reading the title and the complete post. A poorly written, off subject comment leaves others wondering “what are they on?”, again, reducing your credibility.
Blogging is a hobby that connects us with others from all over the world. Be courteous, be kind and most of all, have fun.
Can you think of anything to add to this list?
Do you try and practice blogging etiquette?
How do you feel when others don’t?