Blogging and Writing

A Grumpy Guide to Blogging Etiquette

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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.

Don’t plagiarize

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?

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64 thoughts on “A Grumpy Guide to Blogging Etiquette”

  1. curmudgeonly! I like that word too. I must hold the world record in that word, lol. My kids call me a grumpy old man, and I sometimes wonder why! 😁

    I know what you mean about rapid liking, as the other day I sat and watched about 30 notifications coming through one after another, along with a follow. Obviously this person was looking for a follow back! Great post Ashley 😊👍

  2. Great post Ashleyleia. I agree with all you say.

    I have seen some blogs get plagiarized in the past and it really makes my blood boil. The original person should already be mentioned that written it and not taken as your own.

    Spammy comments I have on the lines you have said and also more directly, by asking to follow me, with no comment about the blog post. Either way though, comment about my blog post or not, I am not going to publish a comment with a blog link to ask me to follow. It won’t get published and repeated attempts will get you blocked.
    As you know, I have been through a difficult time recently with my mum and my post, “After the night before,” received a spammy comment. It praised my blog and it left a link to their blog post because I got a Sunshine Blogger Award. But because of the nature of the content of my post, which never got acknowledged by this commenter, I found it really insensitive left in that post. Also, they never read my blog thorough, otherwise, they would know I don’t do awards now. So this was sent to spam.

    I have also witnessed a couple of times with my blog, of one or two new readers clicking the likes on my posts that quickly, that I know they did not read them.

    I have also had the feeling of some following me in the hope of following back, but like you, I am only going to follow back, if I find it’s a blog I will read.

    1. It’s unfortunate that people can be so inappropriate. The spam that’s obviously from automated bots bothers me far less than the spammy comments from individual people.

      1. Yes, spammy bots bother me less, as they are usually automatically put in the spam box. It’s just these odd individuals.

  3. I agree, except I simply find it amusing about the rapid-fire likes. I’ll go like ONE of theirs, hee hee. I used to follow back out of “politeness,” but I don’t now, as you say. And I’ve unfollowed also, when I’ve lost interest or find ppl annoying for whatever reason ~ maybe they don’t respond to me? How dare they not? Lol!

    I like how your link appears after your posts. I should do that, since I know ppl don’t always visit the main pages.

    1. I’ve also unfollowed people for various reasons, and I’m never impressed when people consistently don’t acknowledge comments at all.

  4. I had no idea people plagiarized blogs! I can’t even keep up with my own thoughts, let alone ripping off someone else’s. On the other hand, I am such a bad follower, I wouldn’t even know if someone ever ripped me off…talk about bad blogger etiquette! I read about ten posts a week if I’m lucky.

  5. I don’t think you are being curmudgeonly at all. I think you are being sensible and human. It’s hard to build a following for a blog, so I understand why people go to spammy extremes, but I’m with you: these tactics do way more harm than good. Better to be a respectful and genuine person in all your interactions, and to give without expecting anything back.

  6. 🙂 You have made some great points, Ashleyleia.

    I am not too fond of the rapid “Likes” either; the people who are engaging themselves in that type of behaviour are hoping that we would be foolish enough to go and press the “Like” button on one or many of their blog posts.

    And, engaging in plagiarism is outright wrong!

  7. Some really good points,. I especially find the whole tit-for-tat (I also agree that’s a stupid expression) irking, it doesn’t become about interest and support then so it’s basically pointless and meaningless and blogging losing its purpose and enjoyment. And plagiarising, arggghhh when I’ve seen this happen it’s driven me nuts! x

  8. Curmudgeonly colon hydrotherapy, oh my!! I love it!! (YIKES!)

    One thing (and this isn’t really a manners issue, but it’s worth raising awareness of) is that when someone comments on a comment I made, but they DON’T like my comment, then WP doesn’t let me know that their comment occurred. I don’t know what the deal is with WP notifications, but sometimes I’m in the dark that a reply was made because the person didn’t also like my comment. So to anyone out there reading this, it helps to like a comment you post a reply to! Or if anyone wants to tell me how to fix it, feel free!

    Did you know you can also edit comments others leave on your blog? Whenever someone leaves a spammy comment on my blog, I edit it to say, “Hi, I’m from blah-blah-blah blog, and I’m a big stupidpants.” I haven’t gotten any spam comments in ages! 😀

    I agree that there needs to be a community sense, because whenever I comment on someone’s blog and they never reply, I figure they don’t want me around! 😮 Or it could be that first issue I mentioned.

    1. With the comment notification, I wonder if that’s because the person accidentally replied to the post as a whole rather than specifically to your comment. I’ve done that a few times by accident.

      I knew about the ability to edit comments. While it’s funny in spam situations, in a way it’s kind of creepy for legit commenters that someone could potentially change our comments to say something awful.

      1. No, it’s definitely happening when they’re commenting on my comment, and if I click “Notify me of new comments,” I get ALL comments, not just comments made on my comments. Rats!!

        Ooh, hey, LuLuLu came upstairs!! She’s sniffing around right now!! YAY!!

  9. Wonderful post with some very valid points. I am guilty of being spammy on twitter sometimes, I know that and admit to that, but honestly, I just reshare things I’ve put up when I don’t have time to engage.

    I’m hoping to drive more traffic from pinterest as it’s not as easily spamed as twitter.

    1. It seems like Twitter is a lot more conducive to active promotion than other platforms.
      With Pinterest I definitely notice the traffic I get to my blog is very closely tied to how much effort I put into creating pins.

    2. I read emails and the reader and sometimes it shows a comment I leave and sometimes just sits there so I respond in email instead. I leave multi likes in a row and comments if I’ve missed reading their blog for a while, I don’t think about timing on mine or theirs. I read someone who wrote that three years ago and I thought how can they tell? They hated not being read all the way through. I’ve noticed some copying. All in all WP deletes my spam before I read it.

      1. In terms of the multiple likes in a row, if I’m online while the person is doing it, I’ll see notifications popping up at a rate of two or three a minute if the person is actually reading, but if it’s 15 like notifications within the space a few seconds, that makes it look like there’s something fishy going on.

  10. The rapid-fire like system is so odd. When you are looking at posts and your notifications go berserk and it is all the same blogger liking one post after another – what is that all about???

  11. Makes sense to me!!

    I think I might have rapid-fire liked people’s posts if I read them all on my email or something and am just logging into WordPress now and want to show the author that I liked them. Or sometimes I will read and not like or comment even though I like the posts because I know that I haven’t replied to some comments, and I feel guilty/ashamed about not replying to those first… :/ it becomes a big deal in my head. But then when I /do/ go back to liking and commenting, I’ll like them all at once. So there’s one non-spammy possibility!

  12. I have noticed likes from people who never read my post. I’m still new and don’t have many followers. I feel I have less readers than followers or most just don’t comment. I like being acknowledged when I comment so I do the same for the people that comment on my blog. I don’t ever disagree with anyone who’s blogs I read or comments on my blogs.

  13. I like the idea of community building, and also not needing to follow people back when they follow your blog. For instance, I posted a couple of things about make-up, but that’s not really something I’m interested in learning about Beautician style, so it makes sense that I wouldn’t follow back. Oh, and the colon hydrotherapy made me LOL.

  14. Oh, my Lord, I hate rapid likes. Those are just a waste of time to me. I know these people haven’t read something like 15-20 posts in 1 minute, don’t insult me by just hitting “LIKE” over again.
    I know I didn’t read much this past weekend, but I always play catch up with those who I really love to follow. I’ve been way off center for over a week… But, I’m trying to move past it.
    Excellent Post! Ashley. You brought up a lot of very good points!

    1. Thanks! One blogger did comment on a valid reason for rapid likes; they said they would read all of someone’s posts by email and then go to the blog to like all of them at once. I think most often it’s probably not legit, though.

  15. I have different opinions about people who like lots of my posts at one time and the like. A new blogger checking out your site for the first time may read several posts to see what your blog is about and like them to let you know they have been there. As for me, when I don’t have time to comment, I sometimes like bloggers posts that I follow just so they know I saw it.
    Now, I have thought about the “buy me a coffee button” but tend to feel that would be off-putting to my readers. Not sure what it helps or what you do with that money, I know what having a website costs per year, it doesn’t seem like it would help that much to me, but what do I know?
    Just my opinion and curiosity talking. 🙂

    1. I’ve also had the experience of people reading and liking multiple posts all at one time. I wasn’t intending to refer to that; instead I was referring to a whole bunch of likes in the space of just a few seconds when there’s no way they could possibly have had the time to read anything.

  16. How exactly can one blacklist a particular commenter from one’s blog? Where in WP-admin? I’m pretty new to writing on WordPress.

    Some of the follows I’ve been getting are plainly “I followed you, so follow me back” bloggers, or even what looks like spam bots, so I have to periodically go to my list of followers and weed them out.

        1. I had to do the blacklist because of blatant sexual comments and a couple of weirdos. It works when WP takes over. May take a few tries before it kicks in. You have to be specific with what words you don’t want in comments, I had to.

  17. “You have the right to control what comments you allow” – I totally get what you are saying, but I think that if a blogger is going to express their opinion publicly, then they need to allow the public to respond. There are people that will not agree with you, but other than a comment being abusive or obscene, I thing that stopping comments that do not agrre with your point of view is censorship, and falsely painting a post in a positive light only.

    1. An individual’s blog is their own personal forum. No other person has an inherent right to be able to post their own material, in the form of comments or otherwise, on an individual blog. A blogger has no obligation to allow a public response to their post, and they are free to disable comments if they so choose. Censorship is conducted by organizations to suppress public speech, and the concept does not apply to individual platforms like personal blogs.

      1. Agree. I liken this to a newspaper article from back in the day. There was no real mechanism for comments except a letter to the editor. People were less fussed about “commenting.” I believe we occasionally breach the subtle boundary between our perception of what is a right, and what is a privilege. Commenting is certainly not a right within all scenarios. This is a fallacy perpetuated by social media and a narcissist society. Censorship has become a misused buzzword in many respects. I have a central comments page. It also relieves many from an “obligation” to feel they “need” to comment. And I sure as hell won’t tolerate comments that don’t conform to my standards of elocution.

      2. Once a personal blog puts up a public post, it is a public statement. Blogs have to option to be private where only certain people can view the post. If you stand in a public place and shout an opinion you are still a private citizen but your statement is public and open to public retort. You do have the right to decide what comments are allowed but denying then completely without letting anyone express their opinion on your statement, in my opinion as a blogger, isn’t right. This is from a post called the blogger code of ethics at “The very foundation of an open discussion is to give either side an opportunity to voice their opinion. Always provide an opportunity for your opponent to present the case of the opposing side.”

  18. I think you’re funny when you’re curmudgeon’d Ashley! “I don’t want water sprayed up my butt” – Golden. Keep on ranting. I’ll keep on reading.

    Also, lots of great advice and I’ve even been guilty of a few of these things before in my time here! So it’s always a nice reminder of what’s polite and appreciated.

    Great post 🙂

  19. Excellent tips. No one really tells you how to blog. I started out not knowing anything, from the technical aspect to blogging etiquette. One thing I’ve learned is that being a blogger means being part of a community, and all blogs are tangled up with some other blogs in one way or another.

    Giving people credit and not copying other’s work sounds like honesty and also good manners, blogging manners. Why not? There are road manners, table manners, bedside manners, so let’s add blogging manners.

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