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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