Photo Credit: tell me what you saw’s photos
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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.

Today’s Lesson

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.

Today’s Assignment

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?

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Look Who's Talking
  1. Ian DennyNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,

    I was probably having similar thoughts about etiquette when I realised lots of visitors to my blog don’t comment.

    I thought it was because of the topic. And to a large extent that’s true.

    But what I also realised is that people searching on the keywords surrounding business failure, are not bloggers. And when I tried to forget about blogs and looked at mine through the eyes of a non-blogger, it would not have been clear to me that comments were welcomed.

    Thinking back to before I knew what blogs were, I realised that people thought they were landing on any old web-site.

    The comments for me are what make a blog worthwhile. And for that reason, I advocate a standard ending to each blog post which will help educate non-bloggers and describe in plain English the process of adding their thoughts. A kind of autosignature that you see in emails. But almost standardised across blogs so we cover the same basics to encourage non-bloggers to engage – without necessarily having a blog of their own.

    In fact, we were probably thinking along similar lines when I wrote my most recent blog post on the topic.

    Hope you don’t mind me mentioning, but it should be picked up by commentluv below.

    Ian Denny’s last blog post..Campaign Against Rude Bloggers – And A Call To Action

  2. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Ian,

    I do think your blog is read by a lot of non bloggers, and visitors who may prefer not to comment, especially if they failed, or are failing in business.

    Are comments great? I love opening my blog every morning and seeing comments from my readers. It really inspires me to find more topics to blog about, and hopefully help other bloggers as they journey into blogosphere.

    An autosignature is a good idea. Have you had any success with it? I would like to hear from those who have tried something like this to encourage comments, as most visitors to blogs may not know they can leave a comment.

    I don’t mind you mentioning it at all. In fact, I’m headed to your blog right now to read your post.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Blogging Etiquette – The Unwritten Rules

  3. Ian DennyNo Gravatar says:

    I did actually get my first comment from someone who has been in my situation this week.

    I attribute that to the section explaining in detail how to do it.

    I’ve only just added the standard ending to the blog, so it will take a little time.

    I really think we should spread the word on this topic. If anyone is closer to or listened to by a pro-blogger, please mention it to them.

    I’m not looking for links or anything, and it may have more credence coming from anyone reading this comment rather than me. So feel free to cut and paste the text of what I say and suggest it without naming me.

    If enough people do this, or in an ideal world EVERYONE, then it would really accelerate the blogging world in terms of engagement with non-bloggers.

    If enough people talk about it, and do it, it will have an impact.

    Imagine if it encourages a comment from just 5 out of every 100 visitors to a site that wouldn’t have otherwise?

    Those 5 people have then taken an educational journey into understanding what a blog it. A journey they may otherwise not have taken.

    And then, next time they see a comment link on another blog, they’ll know they can comment.

    Ian Denny’s last blog post..Campaign Against Rude Bloggers – And A Call To Action

  4. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Ian,

    That’s good to know you have received a comment on business failure. I imagine they were able to identity with you very well. I would also guess your posts helped them.

    On my other blog I have gotten a few comments from visitors who do not have blogs. That’s always nice to see.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Blogging Etiquette – The Unwritten Rules

  5. CatherineLNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – So many of the things you’ve listed annoy me. I really hate it when people put links in the comments section – unless it’s absolutely necessary. Like you, I have Comment Luv enabled, so we’re already giving commentors two free links.

    Yet I have one reasonably new commentor who has begun to make a habit of mentioning a similar post he’s written and adding a link to it in the comment section. It’s happening in almost every post now and I’m getting to the point where I’m going to start deleting them.

    It’s a nuisance too, because it takes far longer to sift through spam to drag these comments out.

    Also, when people start putting lots of links in the comments section, you just don’t know whether the sites they’re linking to are of decent quality. My pagerank has increased again – but, it’s still only a 3, so I’m guessing I probably have some poor quality outbound links that need deleting. Getting rid of the ones to John Chow may help a lot as I noticed he has also dropped to a 3 recently.

    CatherineL’s last blog post..Business: Do You Think You Know It All?

  6. NezNo Gravatar says:

    @Catherine: I believe WordPress has “no-follow” for the comments, so I assume that search engines will ignore the links in comments — at least, that’s what I’ve read here and there.

    Anyway, haha, Barbara, we must have some Vulcan Mind-Meld thing going as I just posted my own list — I WON’T link to it as it will be at the bottom.

    Happy Monday!

    Nez’s last blog post..Why People Love a Good Mystery

  7. NezNo Gravatar says:

    Okay, CommentLuv did NOT get the latest post my blog…hmm…

    Nez’s last blog post..The ABC’s of Blogging

  8. NezNo Gravatar says:

    Uh…okay, THERE it goes, strange! — well, now I wish Barbara had the editable comment plug-in installed, cause I feel like I just broke all the etiquette rules she just posted.

    sorry!

    Nez’s last blog post..The ABC’s of Blogging

  9. Great list here, Barbara. The blogosphere would be a lot better if everyone practiced proper blog etiquette.

    You mentioned turning off comments if you don’t have time to answer them. You’re not thinking about doing that here, are you? I love your comments section!

    Hunter Nuttall’s last blog post..Lessons From The 2008 Congress Of Jugglers

  10. CatherineLNo Gravatar says:

    Hunter – there is no way Barbara would turn off the comments section as that’s one of her faourite parts of blogging. So don’t worry.

    Nez – I have the do follow plugin on my blog to reward commenters, so the links are a huge problem.

    CatherineL’s last blog post..Business: Do You Think You Know It All?

  11. DebNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve had #2 happen to me and it really upset me. It took me a long time to get over it and I almost stopped reading the person’s blog. But, I do think it was an oversight (I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt) and she often visits and comments on mine, so I let it slide.

    I have a question, though, when I comment I often talk about personal experiences relating to the post instead of just saying how great their post is. This is usually on social or mommy blogs. Often I see others do not do this, and I wonder if I’m breaking some etiquette rule here. For instance, if someone wrote their kid did something, I might comment a small blurb about a similar situation with my child.

    As for getting off subject, I find it interesting how many times this seems to happen. Often someone comments on something I didn’t even consider. Yesterday I had someone comment on my kitchen wallpaper. It was funny because I personally can’t stand it. It had nothing to do with the post.

    Deb’s last blog post..Am I Missing Something?

  12. CatherineLNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Deb – that sucks. A lot of the top bloggers do this, as they know many of the readers won’t see the original post.

    I saw one article that Barbara had done copied on various different blogs. And they hadn’t even approached it from a different angle or anything. It’s so annoying.

    The type of comments you’re making sound fine. I wouldn’t worry what others are saying, because many commenters don’t care about adding value to the conversation.

    CatherineL’s last blog post..Why You Probably Need A Facelift

  13. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Catherine,

    Links in comments can be rather spammy, but I also think a lot of new bloggers do not realize they have created a link when they fill out the comment form (when they put in their blog address). I know I didn’t when I started blogging and did it on Problogger. For someone who has been blogging for a long time, they should know better.

    The similar post comment is something I do see a lot of, especially with the blogging topic I don’t have a problem with that as I know there are only a limited amount of topics on blogging to post about.

    With regard to providing links to other sites. It is true, you don’t know if they are quality links. Unfortunately you almost have to moderate each one and see for yourself.

    I ask for links, especially if someone wants to nominate a NBOTW, or if I have done a post and providing a link is part of the assignment. I just hope I don’t get spam.

    Hi Nez,

    Yes, WP does have no follow on comments, but that can be reversed. Watch for a post in the near future on this subject as I have David Lano (a NBOTW) monitoring a plugin for me that he’s been using.

    I quickly glanced at your post. It looks interesting. I’ll be visiting you when I get done with my work today.

    Could we be in the “Twilight Zone”?

    BTW: That editable comment plugin intrigues me. I need to research that one further. I may be contacting you for input.

    Hi Hunter,

    No………I can’t stay away from the comment section. It drives me and provides me with inspiration to keep blogging.

    Thank you for the kind words

    Hi Deb,

    Giving credit is a tough one. Often bloggers don’t realize that is proper etiquette, however, in defense of your commenter, I do know from my experience, I can be on dozens of blogs in one day, and I like to read comment sections. If I see the same concerns being mentioned on many blogs, it begins to inspire me to write a post about the topic. Personally I couldn’t say that just one post/comment was my inspiration, and since I don’t document each blog I visit, it would be difficult to provide a link to each one.

    In another sense, that is actually a compliment to you. You were the driving force that lead her to write her spin on the same topic. Like Catherine mentions in her comment, I have had that happen to me, but I can’t waste me time worrying about it, as worrying will only stunt my creativity.

    With regard sharing an example, there’s nothing wrong with that. Other bloggers may not be as vocal as you, but your comment adds value to the post, so keep doing it.

    Isn’t it amazing how observant readers are? I think with a blog that shares photographs like yours does, this will always be an issue. I say, just be prepared for it.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Blogging Etiquette – The Unwritten Rules

  14. Can you think of anything to add to this list? Um, good post. I mean these are valid points Barbara. No, I can’t think of anything to add…. because there are no “rules” for blogging (is there a such book) it’s hard to know what will please everyone when you visit their blog…

    Do you try and practice blogging etiquette? I don[‘t know what it is, but based on your list, yes I do. I always give credit for photos at least and if I was given permission to use something I always quote the person or give a link back. I notice I always comment on regular blogs I visit but they never have anything to offer on mine. I don’t get upset because I do what I do because it please me. I don’t do it for glorification. I’m not going to be petty and say well if you don’t comment on mine, I won’t comment on yours and vice versa. If something moves me, I’m going to speak on it.

    How do you feel when others don’t? Again if they don’t follow the “rules” I give them a pass. I would extend to them the same mercy I would want shown to me. I could be having a bad day and something may be an oversight…who knows what that person might be going through. I don’t like for people to curse on my blog, but I dont make rules about it on my blog because I think it’s a turn off. I do remember that its a blog and if someone does/says something I don’t like, I edit it, quietly. I’m very forgiving as long as I’m not abused on purpose.

    Natural Woman’s last blog post..Death of a Blog

  15. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Natural Woman,

    So far, you have a 4.0 on all of the assignments you’ve completed. Great job :)

    Since there is no “blogging rules”, so to speak, it appears as in many things in life, it comes down to common courtesy, and a little common sense (which isn’t so common).

    Barbara’s last blog post..NBOTW Provides Proofreading Tips

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  18. KyddrynNo Gravatar says:

    Oh, this is a fine list! Speaking as one who began blogging with no idea what passes for polite on Blogopolis, it is most helpful. Thanks!

    Oh, I followed a link from Blogger Dad to this post – blog hopping at its finest!

    Shade and Sweetwater,
    K

    Kyddryn´s last blog post..The Path, Almost There

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  21. JosephNo Gravatar says:

    Ah, snobbery disguised as politeness. Issues of class should not be imposed in the blogosphere. It may be convenient to some to be able to tell who measures up and who doesn’t in the more anonymous world of blogs, but it would be far better to keep it free and open.

  22. Marcy WebbNo Gravatar says:

    It must be kismet, because I’ve been searching for a list of blogger etiquette tips. I’ve even tweeted your tips to my tweeps.
    .-= Check out Marcy Webb´s awesome post: Black Folks Have To Call Out Their Own, Too =-.

  23. […] is important that everyone follows the unwritten blogging etiquette, but if you’re pressed for time, the main ideas […]

  24. I actually think it’s right to leave most negative comments in your comments section. A well thought out reply or understanding response can actually increase interaction, in my experience.

    I fail miserably on the grammar aspect at times and in some ways feel that I probably need some more schooling in this area.

    Another rule I would add…. I always leave my keyword in the title on dofollow blogs but think that it’s essential to make sure you sign off with your name.

    On that note. Thanks,
    Forest.
    .-= Check out Frugal Living´s awesome post: Pampered Chef Recipes =-.

  25. […] I wrote the post, Blogging Etiquette, – The Unwritten Rules, I expanded on what I saw as blogging etiquette and included things such […]

  26. BethanyNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for the synopsis. One might think many of these points are common sense, but sadly, it is not the case!
    .-= Check out Bethany´s awesome post: Fetteh Badinjan =-.