Blogging etiquette

After more then five years of blogging, and observing the way you humans behave, we think we’ve worked out most of the main elements of blogging etiquette and so we thought we’d put our understanding in writing.

Why? Because (a) we’re interested to know if others think we’ve got it right and (b) we’ve noticed a few people doing things we think are a bit off the mark and this is a nicely passive-aggressive way of settting them straight…

Posting

  1. If you mention someone in your post, link to their blog or Twitter feed. This can help people connect with each other; and it can also give their Google ranking or follower count a boost, which they’ve earned if they’ve said or done something interesting.
  2. If you use someone else’s photo or cartoon ask permission, give them credit and link to their blog or website. Images on the internet aren’t necessarily free, though some are.
  3. If you’re aware that someone else has posted on the same topic, why not reference their post with a link? It can help people find interesting new reading material and, again, helps to boost the overall connectedness of blogs.
  4. Posts can be any length you like but… we’re much more likely to read and enjoy shorter posts which make one or two points.
  5. If you edit or update a post in any substantial way, ‘fess up. Any change more substantial than a spelling error probably ought to be flagged with a purple smoke flare marked clearly and left in place with a ‘strikethrough’. UPDATE: If you add new material, make that clear, too.
  6. Sometimes, after we’ve posted, someone points out that we’re basically rehashing something they said months earlier. In those situations, we’ll often update the post to add a link, especially where we think readers will find it useful.

Commenting

  1. If you read something and find it interesting, leave a comment. People might say they don’t care, but it’s really encouraging to know people are reading and, for us, at least, the conversation that follows one of our ill-thought through rambles is often the best bit.
  2. It’s fine to link to a post of your own in a comment on someone else’s post but… only if it’s relevant (“We reviewed this pub back in 2009 and had an interesting experience with the landlord…” is OK; “Ha ha ha, now check out my blog!” isn’t) and only if you don’t do it in every single comment you make.
  3. Personally, we find comments that start with ‘Sigh’, ‘What a load of bollocks’, &c. a real turn-off. There are ways of disagreeing that encourage further conversation; these do the opposite. (We’ve used ‘sigh’ ourselves and felt dirty afterwards.)
  4. Play by the rules of the blog you’re commenting on. For example, if the owner doesn’t like swearing and has made that clear, don’t swear.

Managing comments

  1. We’ve only censored one comment/commenter. He was taking pot shots at us for months and we lived with it, crying into our pillows; but when he became abusive towards another commenter — an occasional one who seemed rather nervous about piping up — we had to step in. You can call us losers, arseholes and so on (though we’d rather you didn’t) but we’d rather you didn’t insult innocent bystanders.
  2. We try to reply to people who comment, especially when they ask specific questions.

Full disclosure (UPDATED at 13:50, 14/6/2012)

  1. If you have a commercial relationship with the pub or brewer mentioned in your post, it’s best to mention it.
  2. If you got a beer for review free, it’s best to mention it.
  3. If there’s anything else that might have influenced your opinion of a company (free helicopter ride, bunch of flowers, torrid sixteen year affair with the CEO) or its products, best mention that, too.

Other stuff

  1. We try to keep our blogroll up to date and link to anyone whose blog we regularly read. We remove dead blogs (where there hasn’t been a post for ages) once every six months or so.

 

We’ll try to keep this updated as we think of new things or as people correct us.

19 thoughts on “Blogging etiquette”

  1. Seems a sound set of principles, though I do think more purple smoke flairs would make the internet a more fun place, that and swans obviously.

    1. *shrug* Doesn’t offend us so, yeah, I guess so. Might get a bit annoying if you did it on every one of your fifteen comments in a 60 comment thread, though…

    2. Hi Nate, on many blogs your name on your comment turns into a link to your blog if you have filled in the box on the comment form, so you won’t always need to bother!

  2. Thanks, from a newbie for the advice! As yet, haven’t done a post commenting in response or alongside that of another blogger. If I did so, I would of course put on a link. Would you think the polite thing to do would be to email a copy first to check they’re ok with the association or is this politeness going too far?

    1. No, no need to ask permission to link, unless (for some mad reason) they’ve put up a banner asking people not to. (Doesn’t happen so much these days but used to when I were a lad working in the dot com boom.)

    1. KHM — ah, hence our cunning “much more likely” disclaimer…

      Martyn’s posts are an exception, although we tend to save them for later and read them in an armchair with a barley wine, whereas we read blog posts on the fly between one to-do list item and the next.

  3. This is a pretty darn good post, I can’t think of too much that you’ve missed, except maybe “don’t comment in the heat of the moment” or “re-read before posting as many blogs don’t allow comment edits”

    Not that I’m guilty of forgetting them…

  4. Enjoyed reading this, good set of sound rules to abide by for bloggers of any experience. To this date i’ve not had any abusive or critisizing comments and hope to keep it that way, as for pictures, still trying to make them 100% my own.

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