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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 flaremarked clearly and left in place with a ‘strikethrough’. UPDATE: If you add new material, make that clear, too.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- We try to reply to people who comment, especially when they ask specific questions.
Full disclosure (UPDATED at 13:50, 14/6/2012)
- If you have a commercial relationship with the pub or brewer mentioned in your post, it’s best to mention it.
- If you got a beer for review free, it’s best to mention it.
- 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.
- 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.