I’ve gotten more curmudgeonly as I’ve gotten older, and I’m okay with that, particularly since I quite like the word curmudgeon. It does mean, though, that sometimes things in the blogosphere get annoying, triggering the desire to rant. I thought I’d put that to somewhat constructive use and come up with my non-Miss-Manners guide to blogging etiquette. Oh, and I use “you” in this post because it’s convenient, but I’m not actually referring to you, my readers.
Don’t be spammy
We all want more people to check out our blogs. There are many good ways to help make this happen. There are also bad ways. “Good post. Please visit [or follow] my blog [insert URL here].” That is spammy, and it’s obnoxious. It will most likely accomplish the exact opposite of getting people to visit your blog. Link dropping in comments isn’t always a bad thing, but there should be a good reason for doing it.
Avoid rapid-fire liking
I’m not talking about when a reader stops by who hasn’t visited for a while and multiple likes are popping up in your notifications spaced out over several minutes. I’m talking the 15 likes in 3 seconds or less that could only be possible if the person didn’t read a single one of those posts. It looks spammy. Spammy’s not good.
Sometimes it’s better to keep your opinion to yourself
It’s okay if you’re not on the same page as someone whose blog you’re commenting on. But if you’re not even working from the same book, and you’ve never interacted with the blogger before, it might be better for all involved to just move on along without feeling the need to jump in with your opinion.
Follow-follow-back should not be a thing
If you want to follow someone, great. If they want to follow you too, fabulous. But it should happen because you each are interested in each other’s blogs, not as a tit for tat arrangement (which is a stupid expression, by the way). If a blog about colon hydrotherapy follows me, I’m not going to follow back because I’m not interested in having water sprayed up my butt, and I’m probably going to be annoyed because a follow-back is likely the only reason why they’d have chosen to follow me in the first place.
You have the right to control what comments you allow
I’ve taken the stance that if a comment disturbs me, I’ll just delete it. If it bothers me enough, I’ll blacklist the person from commenting again on my blog. It may not feel like the polite thing to do, but there’s no reason we should allow other people to put things on our blog that we don’t want there. Free speech and allowing debate are fine in general, but your blog is your space and you have the right to choose what you allow on it. People can express their views on their own blog; they don’t have the right to make you feel bad on yours.
Treat blogging like a community endeavour
Being community-minded means interacting with other bloggers, and showing appreciation to people who visit your site. If people are commenting on your blog, try to respond as much as you’re able to. Not all comments require a response, there’s not always time to respond, and sometimes the WordPress spam filter chews things up and spits them into a corner, but make some sort of effort some of the time, otherwise, it doesn’t give off a very good impression to readers.
This should be self-explanatory, but apparently not. So I’ll say it. Don’t copy other people’s work. If you are inclined to share their work, give them credit for it. If you’re inspired by their ideas, mention them and use quotes if want. I’m not sure where it’s getting lost in translation, but to quote Nancy Reagan, just say no. And if you are plagiarizing and someone calls you out on it, a) don’t deny it, and b) take the damn post down and quit deceiving the blogging community. Plagiarism is the one thing that pisses me off sufficiently that I get very tempted to name and shame. You can read about how to report plagiarists in the post How to Deal With Plagiarism.
Well, have I lived up to my curmudgeonly claims? For the most part, I think all of this is basics of blogging etiquette that most people don’t even need to really think about. Maybe that’s why it feels so discordant when there’s the odd person who doesn’t adhere to these basics.
Is there anything you think I’ve left out on how to keep blogging civilized?