Reexamining the Reblog

The last time we discussed reblogging, your opinions in the comments were mixed:  some of you felt that reblogging was…

The last time we discussed reblogging, your opinions in the comments were mixed:  some of you felt that reblogging was a great compliment, and others felt that it was something akin to theft.

We here at The Daily Post love a good etiquette debate, so let’s wade back in, shall we?

Many of you mentioned being bothered by your content appearing on blogs consisting entirely of reblogs, with no apparent connecting theme and no original commentary at all.

No wonder! It’s true that some of the most famous blogs are essentially carefully curated aggregators, but they are still infused with the blogger’s personality. They have an easily identifiable “About” page, and their links are collected along the lines of the blogger’s specific interests, so it’s obvious these blogs are written by a person. Good curators typically also include at least a few comments on why each post was shared.

Blogs consisting of nothing but reblogs without any obvious real person behind them make people feel they’ve been used for spam. But just because these annoying blogs exist doesn’t mean reblogging is all bad!

C.T. Murphy makes some excellent points in his post, “Why I Reblog.” He likes reblogging because, as he explains:

. . . I read more broadly than I write. I love blogging and the community I have been a part of for the variety of topics. I have the voracity to match. That’s why I read wide and often; that’s why I try to share my own comments and opinions. Every time a blogger clicks publish, they are putting themselves out there. If the post is good enough, then I want to make sure they can feel confident enough to write another.

But he does admit that it’s unfortunate when his readers’ comments and likes appear below his reblog, rather than on the original post. He comes up with a considerate and elegant solution to this:

That’s why, effective immediately, all reblogs will have comments and likes turned off. I’ll make sure to post a direct link to my comment in case anyone wants to reply to me directly, but I ask of you to do so at the original source. That way I can better guarantee people will click since that’s the most important part of the post.

I think that’s a wonderful gesture to better ensure that the writers you admire are benefitting when you reblog their content. You can turn off comments for individual posts and can also disable likes on a per-post basis.

Some other good tips to keep in mind:

  • Don’t reblog without comment — add your own thoughts! If others see their work appear on your blog without any mention of what spoke to you about it, they’re likely to wonder why you’ve reposted what they’ve written at all. Adding your own thoughts makes a reblog a meaningful contribution to a cross-blog conversation.
  • Pay attention to sidebar warnings. Some bloggers don’t want their content reblogged and say as much in their sidebars. Others have specific requests on their front pages as to how and when they like their content to be shared. If you want to reblog another blogger’s post, it takes only a second to check their site for such information.
  • Pay attention to context. Is the post you want to share about a very sensitive or personal topic? Does the blog itself appear to be mostly personal in nature (for example, does it have share buttons and/or comments turned off)? If so, it might be a good idea to check with the blogger before you share their post.
  • Check that your reblog appears correctly. The reblogging feature is designed to display an excerpt of the original post and clear attribution with a link back to the source. Double-check all your reblogs to make sure that the link back to the source is obvious, and that the entire original post does not appear (this can occasionally happen if the post is very short).
  • If in doubt, ask. While it’s not necessary to get permission each time you reblog someone’s work, it never hurts to do so. This way, you can be 100% certain you’re not stepping on anyone’s feelings.
  • Respect the wishes of other bloggers. Should someone contact you and ask you to remove their content from your site, take it down promptly and confirm with them that you’ve done so.

We should all remember that anything we post on a public blog, we share with the entire world wide web. Keep in mind that even if your blog is read only by your closest friends, if it’s public, the words and photographs on it can be picked up, shared, commented on, promoted, and dissected by everyone from your neighbor to CNN. Because of this, you should never post anything publicly that you would be devastated to find was being shared by someone you don’t know.

If your content is too personal for sharing, consider setting your blog to private so that you can control who’s able to read it.

When it comes to reblogging the work of others, it’s good to recognize that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Most bloggers love to have their work shared far and wide, as long as they are credited. If you run across one of the more private bloggers who doesn’t warm to this type of attention, respect their feelings about it, and show your appreciation through a like and a comment on their own blog instead.

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  1. I always always leave a comment on reblog, the only thing that bothers me is the photos within the blog end up in my photo gallery, which doesn’t feel right to me because it makes me feel like I stole them plus, takes up valuable available free space :(

    1. I have to admit, I never thought of a reblog as something akin to theft; but I agree that turning off comments and pingbacks to reblogs is a good idea. That should be an option in the settings.

      1. That’s a good point. Do you think it’s a matter of comment etiquette then to know whether the comment in question belongs on the original post or the repost? I could go with that, because the reader should be able to tell its a reblog, and if they’re reading through one that’s not really short (like my haiku) than they have to click through anyway . . .

        Yes, that’s a good point.

      2. In my opinion, yeah. Definitely a comment showing at the bottom of the reblog, so visitors know the source and what sparked the interest to share the post. At least, that’s how I see it :)

      3. Well, that particular comment wasn’t supposed to go here, but I wanted to note too that I had noticed the problem with the pictures appearing in my media library, and it’s only happened the last time I reblogged. I think I’ll try deleting them like Katherine Gordy Levine says.

  2. The only thing I wish I could do when re-blogging is a quick access to turning off comments and likes and being able to categorize a reblog all without having to manually edit it.

    As for myself, I have stopped reblogging because once I started my blog turned into mostly reblogs and I found I stopped actually blogging. So now I limit it to a very few things.

  3. Thank you for this. I always comment, in fact, reblogs usually serve as food for a longer post. At the same time, I do not repost the pictures, but delete them before publishing the rebloggers words.

    I realize I need to check the sidebar; I do tend to assume if a blog is up on the Daily Prompt the poster is encouraging reblogs.

    I pinned this post on my Blog Better Board.

    Thank you again.

    1. WOT a good idea, your Blog Better Board ! However … it might mean that you’re an obsessive compulsive too – just like anyone who likes the idea ! [grin]

  4. Thanks for this. It was really helpful. I have only reblogged a handful of times but I’d missed the obvious courtesy of commenting why I reblogged. I will be sure to do that in future and also to note bloggers preferences with regards to reblogs etc.

  5. Very fair comments and suggestions. I, possibly like many, feel a touch of pride when someone reblogs any of my postings. But there are the occasions where some bloggers are using your content to create their blogs, simply trawling to find content that is suitable content for their blog and not being creative themselves. There is a difference between someone enjoying your posting and saying to their readers ‘hey you might like this as much as I did’ to the person who is just skimming of content to give their blog added material. Comment, criticism and sharing fine but don’t build your own blog on others efforts.

  6. My issue has always been that the reblog doesn⁏t necessarily pull the entire post, so there is just a snippet with a “read more” link going back to the original post. Don’t get me wrong; I fully want to give credit to the original author and have people like or comment on his post rather than mind. The problem comes in when the original poster deletes that post or removes their blog. (It’s happened several times to me.) Now I am left with an incomplete thought that can no longer be accessed in its entirety. While I can then delete my post to reflect that it has been taken down, I am not one who likes to delete old posts, and it is bothersome. If the entire post would be pulled, then I could still give credit where credit is due, but if the source post is taken down, people can still read the post that I felt was worthy of reblogging, rather than just a teaser with an invalid link. Because that isn’t how I’ve seen it to work, though, I have ceased reblogging altogether.

      1. I had about 4 reblogged posts from 3 different sources that had to be manually deleted because the original post was deleted or the entire blog was taken down.

  7. I don’t reblog on my main blog but incidentally I reblog on I, except now ( :D ), don’t promote this blog (which only has a few followers) but I set it up for the simple reason to show co-bloggers my appreciation of what they do and most of the time I comment although a good picture/story hardly needs explanation. If I comment I always try to add the personal touch. And I only reblog what I think is exceptional in my eyes….. and I don’t like copy-cats neither.

  8. I’m always pretty excited that someone liked my post enough to share it in their space –

    I was wondering about the topic of reblogging your own content – I often do that b/c I was quite prolific in the beginning and some of my favorite stories were written then and I want to reblog them b/c the audience has grown.

    1. I have actually never thought about reflagging my own posts! I am new to wordpress, so I don’t have enough content for that yet, but it makes sense to me.

      1. I’m totally about the ‘re-blog-a-thog’ – I tend to write stories about my life – so some of my content is not ‘date’ relevant therefore can be re-blogged (in my opinion!)

        Welcome to WP – it’s a fabulous community of people.

      2. As a new blogger, I’ve thought about future re-blogging for same reason – some of my early blogs are (I think) worthwhile, but we have so few readers then. Have even thought maybe a wordpress-wide one-week event every 2 years where voluntary participants choose 7 favorites from their own archives and reblog. Just a thought.

    2. I see lots of bloggers do this. They often title it something like ‘from the archives’ or ‘Repost Thursday’ or something to draw attention to the fact that it’s an older post they’re reposting.

  9. I usually on re-blog someone if I know that person and know they want to get the content out to the max people they can. I very seldom re-blog a person that I don’t know unless the subject matter has hit home on a subject I hold near and dear to me. I didn’t know some one would object to re-blogging their post. I thought they would want the additional power of the blog word out to as many as they can. I never re-blog personal info or their personal thoughts unless it agrees with mine on a subject matter. Just my thoughts on re-blogging.

      1. I don’t really reblog other people’s blog. I shared them in my FB page for my blog. So that I can keep track of posts that I really like. (: Will check your posts every now and then. Great job!

  10. I think reblogging could just be the first step! If someone posted something so well written that you felt the urge to reblog it, then why not provide your own opinion on the topic? A reblog could be the first step in your take on an important issue.

    When people reblog my posts, because my posts are normally opinion pieces, I take no offense because it means that people agree or feel some connection to what I’m saying, which is one of the best aspects of writing a blog.

  11. I think reblogs on general posts or social issues make sense. I agree that writing a short comment above the reblog makes a huge difference! Then it’s clear the person isn’t trying to claim the writing as their own. However, I find it strange when people reblog personal posts. Someone reflagged a post I wrote about what I did for my birthday weekend. I wondered why in the world anyone would want the details of my birthday on their blog.

  12. I think it is a great way to drive traffic to my blog and the original posters blog. I never reblog something off topic from my own blog. I think as long as my blog mostly has my original content what is the shame in sharing something I find to be interesting.

  13. It bothers me when someone reblogs any of my work – especially when they don’t ask first. I may not even find out if they don’t tell me. When I have wanted to use material from others I have asked permission first and made sure to also link back to their blog or website. The last time I wanted my followers to read another writer’s great post I mentioned it and directed them to her site instead of reblogging. I felt that to be more fair in that case.

      1. Hm. I use the re-blog feature. And one of the great things about when those who I’m following use it is that I get to see a post from another blog; often I like it enough to hit “subscribe” before I even get to the page, and then I go searching about–something I would never have found, in general had it not been for someone reblogging a post.

  14. I haven’t reblogged very often but I do when I REALLY liked something. I try to make comments about what I thought about it. I never really thought about why to do that. I always assumed if you put something up on your blog that you wanted to share it.
    I am very happy if anyone ever wants to reblog something of mine. I don’t think that’s happened yet. ;-)

  15. My only re-blog experiences have been scrapers – was thankful when WordPress gave us the switch off reblog option. Any one wants to re-blog my posts they can drop me a comment and I can open a window of time for them to do so

  16. I say, reblog away! Of course, the only concern is the author receiving the recognition that is due to them but if this is assured, then I don’t see the issue with circulating new knowledge. It’s rather a beautiful thing.

  17. I think it’s a great way to share interesting posts with new audiences – I haven’t had it happen much to me, but I feel super proud and completely flattered when someone reblogs one of my posts. I don’t personally reblog unless I come across a piece that says something I’ve been trying to say, only far better than I could possibly say it, or otherwise add to the conversation I’ve been attempting to create on my blog. I like to use other blogs as jumping off points by linking to them and building my own narrative around the questions they raise, but sometimes the posts are so well done I have nothing more to add. That’s when I add a little commentary (sometimes just one little line) and reblog.

  18. I like that characterization of a curator that is gathering good content, certainly I am trying to do that on friendly fairy tales when I reblog. I always ask, because it seems like simple good manners to me, and I prefer to have permission. I only reblog fairy tale, kid-friendly things, because I hope kids visit my site and that is what I publish. I always comment when I reblog, because every post is still coming from me, even if I am show-casing another writer or artist. My work gets reblogged, and that seems like validation to me that I am providing content people like to read. In general, I have found WP to be a supportive, embracing community, and I am grateful for it.

  19. I just had someone reblog a post of mine for the first time. I was a little unsettled by it. Flattered, but also uncomfortable as in, “Is the joke on me?

  20. I have done a couple of reblogs on my site but not that many. I figured why reboot when you can link to that other person post. That way they may get a click through and some traffic too.

  21. Hey I have just had an issue with this, with my blog that chronicles my journey with chronic pain. I don’t mind re-blogs it just depends who and how it is done. Normally you have some kind of rapport established, or at least a hello or an ask or something. My posts aren’t research, they are very personal, and I chose to keep them public because thats my choice right? But it’s nice to get close to other people that might be suffering the same thing and hence being open is an easy way to do it. I am normally chuffed if someone re blogs something I have written and normally I know about it. However this guy just followed and reblogged numerous posts of mine, he picked every single one that has very personal content, he didnt say one single word in the comments box. I look at his profile and it is just reblogs, i dont see that he pays any attention to comments made in the boxes, so one cant really rely on getting hold of him there and he has no contact page. I have asked him to remove my posts but heard nothing back. It is a weird feeling this time, a little bit like someone walked in and just took my stuff and threw it out on the road rather than placing it somewhere they care for because there seems to be no empathy or emotional attachment to the wish of re blogging other than merely to just ‘fling another emotive post’ up to get more readers. Anyway that is my two pence, I can’t block him as a follower, nor can I get him to take my stuff down and he can do it again, it’s not a great feeling but C’est la vie as they say you take your chances when you put stuff out on a public blog. Etiquette and nice manners mean alot though and genuine reason and or appreciation xx

    1. :( I’m sorry that happened. That’s an excellent example of how not to reblog, and I like your metaphor of throwing your stuff out in the road.

    2. Could you perhaps edit the title of the blogs he re-blogged slightly? I was thinking if by adding on an exclamation mark or something like that might change the URL, hence making his link to your blog disappear. Just a thought…

      1. I’ve just tried this on one post, the one that didn’t link back to a challenge I did, am going to see if it has indeed effected the post on his blog, not sure it will, maybe WP updates these things to automatically make it ok?

  22. This is an excellent topic for discussion. Thank you for addressing it in this forum. As a new blogger, I am still learning the proper protocol and etiquette within this social media blogosphere. On the rare occasions I do reblog another blogger, I always add the url referencing the original post, hit the reblog button ensuring it references the original work of art, and then add a comment. Thus far, it has worked out perfectly.

    While some of us post to discuss personal issues, there are some strictly focused on marketing their voice or published works of art. In either case, it is best to contact the blog owner before reblogging posts any post discussing personal or sensitive issues.

    When I encounter blogs consisting of only reblogs, I become disinterested almost immediately. A blogger’s intellectual property rights are important. As a fellow blogger, I strive to protect and respect their hard work and personal willingness to share their story, experience, or knowledge. Therefore, my comments began with the original premise posed by the original blogger. After reviewing the few reblogs on my site, I can do better. Thanks to this post, I will.

  23. I rarely reblog, except for apt and pertinent posts that I would like to share. Of course, I always add my own comment to let people know that I support the author or that I think it has content worthy of a wider audience.

  24. I think reblogging only works if you’re using points made in someone else’s content as a springboard for your own post. I can understand how people feel uncomfortable with having their entire post, pictures and all, copied to another site. But if you’re using it to build on, say to form a debate, that seems fine. I agree with the idea of always adding your own comments. But surely standard etiquette is to at least inform the person who wrote the original content?

  25. I appreciate this list of etiquette dos and don’ts. If more reblogs were done with respect and courtesy toward the original author, I think it would be a more accepted practice. I also like C.T. Murphy’s idea of turning off Comments and Likes on the reblog post. That would go a long way to push traffic toward the original post.

    Personally, I don’t like having a post reblogged, because the vast majority of the time there is no interaction between the other bloggers and me. No comments, no Likes, nothing. That’s when I feel that my content is being used to populate their site, instead of them writing their own original material.

  26. I’m a new blogger and I guess I never really thought about how far and wide my information could really go. I do post some private things and technically I am a closet blogger because my closes friends and family do not know I have a blog. Your post made me think if my full name was to appear and my family read my blog would I feel awkward…..hmmmmm. Something to still ponder about, and something to keep in mind when transparency leaves the room and I’m about to hit publish.

    1. Yep, it’s good to keep in mind. Even blogging under a pseudonym, you just never know. Every blogger has to draw their own lines around what they’re willing to risk.

  27. I get intimidated by how it appears to the blogger when I repost. When a post is re-posted, it shows in the comment line of the original post. The other day I re-blogged a post about national water day, and wrote a whole post about gardening, and was mainly reblogging about gardening. I think that entire, long post showed up on the person’s comment feed, and I didn’t like that. So if I reblog, unless I have something that will double as a comment and post, then I’ll write something along with the reblog. Otherwise, it’s the reblog on its own…..if any of that made sense.
    But I agree – I reblog to share content, and help get a blogger’s work out there, just like I would share an article on Facebook.

    1. Hmm. Usually the automatic comment shows about a sentence-long excerpt, and it’s up to the blogger whether to approve that or not, just like any comment.

  28. I have a concern. Let’s say a neo-Nazi posts a twisted argument and that I desired to quote the passage for the purpose of dismantling their argument. Certainly, the poster would object to me referencing the quote. I hear that WordPress has a rule that a blogger is not required to get permission to cite a passage. I presume that this rule is meant to encompass situations like this. When an essayist writes a piece for a major magazine, they do often highlight comments that they disagree with. So there are situations where a blogger can honorably quote a passage even if the other objects. Certainly, the reviewer should declare who the author is and they should also add in their own thoughts and understanding. I do believe that keeping the passage short is still essential. If there is another passage the reviewer disagrees with, then I think it should be cited seperately with the reviewers material interspersed. Situations like this aren’t an everyday occurence, but they should be noted. It is certainly possible to uphold respect and opposition to theft while at the same time declaring your right to raise concern about deceptive claims.

    1. Yes of course, you are correct! But then usually someone writing controversial political opinions will expect to be responded to (or should expect it), even if they object to your counterargument. Whereas someone posting about their personal health situation, or pictures of their children might not expect anyone to share that.

      And to clarify, certainly does not require anyone to obtain permission to quote anything; these are just tips for good blogging karma. :)

  29. I’m flattered by reblogs, and I’ve had my stuff reblogged without people asking permission first. However, since I get the pingback I check it out and I’m completely fine with it as long as it’s clear that I’m the author. I like the exposure and the fact that people like my stuff enough to share it. When I reblog other peoples’ posts, I usually ask their permission first, and don’t reblog until permission is confirmed. Then I do usually comment in the reblog, saying something about why I enjoyed the post enough to share it on my blog.

  30. I don’t think most people reblog to “steal” other people’s material. I know for myself, if I were to reblog something it’s because I thought it was interesting enough to share with other people.

  31. I have reached the point where I’m commenting on a reblog less and less I kind of feel that when I do comment I’m imposing my opinion over that of the writer and by so doing taking advantage of his/her creation to piggy back my own. If I reblog its because I like or dislike the post enough to do something about it, sometimes I comment but that is a diminishing occurrence I don’t want to offend genuine effort and original thought by possibly diminishing the posts impact with my opinion.

  32. I don’t think reblogging is theft, it isn’t like you are claiming it as your own. I think reblogging is a great tool for spreading good ideas and blogs. If reblogging really irritates you, then don’t reblog.

    1. I don’t like the word “theft.” After all, when you click on the link to read the whole post, it goes to the original author’s site. If someone re-blogged something I wrote, I’d be flattered. Someone is sharing your work. Isn’t that why one puts their work on the internet? For it to be seen? “Oh, you mean MORE people might read / see my work? Oh, no, no thanks!” I don’t get that kind of response. Having said that, of course we should respect everyone’s feelings. If someone’s upset because their work was re-blogged, the “offending” blogger should remove it. (But I’m kind of rolling my eyes. Just a little.)

      1. I agree. Full credit is given in re-blogs, and they are a way I’ve found some blogs that I probably otherwise would not have found. They’ve also allowed people to see my blog who otherwise might not have seen it. If this were a feature that didn’t give credit to the original blog and blogger, I’d feel differently, but “theft” is going pretty far since there’s literally no way to remove a blogger’s information from something that is re-blogged.

  33. I mostly re-blog only posts that are not blogger’s original work (like quotes or you tube clips). For original content that’s inspired me, I create a post (usually with an illustration), explaining why I love it. When I have re-blogged (only 3 times), most times I receive a thank you from the blogger. Also, I take those posts down after a week or so… as I want my content to be my own, especially with the theme I’m using were all my work is shown on the first page (hatch them).

  34. I always try to leave some type of comment when I reblog something of someone else’s work. It is only right that they get the credit for the written material. There are tons of posts that I like to read and find interesting. I do not have any problem with taking something down if the person does not like their items to be reblogged. I have experienced that many posts that I have reblogged the original person is honored that I found it interesting enough to reblog.

      1. Thank you for your kind words! I try to reply to the items that I reblog because it is only right to voice your opinion on why you are reblogging the other person’s information.

  35. It never occurred to me that I could turn off likes and comments for reblogs. It has always bothered me to get feedback on a post that isn’t even mine. Thanks for posting this!

  36. Reblogged this on Tammy Hopkinson MBA and commented:
    If anyone has conflictions about the items that I reblog please feel free to let me know. I find that most of the items that I reblog are interesting, beautiful, and something that I would like to share on my blog. I understand the concept and thinking that the person on the other side might be a spammer. I would just like to say that I enjoy reading and reblogging interesting information that other’s post. I also try to leave a comment to the owner of the blog about the material that I have read.

  37. I get reblogged at bit, not a lot, but it does happen, I don’t mind, I don’t have a problem with it being reblogged, it is advertising in a way and sharing my blog, I don’t think that is bad. I would prefer that than someone just using my images with no credit or link back to me, at least with a reblog you know you get that.

    What I don’t like, which is something I have just recently found out about, is how all my images from my post end up in their media centre on their blog, so they effectively have all my images. That is a worry.

    1. You know I did not notice that in my media but I will check because I do not want to use other people’s pictures…I have also noticed on my blog that my comments are above the original person’s post.

  38. I accidentally re blogged Bella On the Beach s’ post from yesterday. I was reading off my phone and didn’t know what the particular button was for and lo and behold, I reblogged so I want to apologize!

  39. I really appreciate being reblogged as for me it means that I get the chance to connect with someone who enjoys what I have written. What I really object to is finding my words plagiarized with no credit whatsoever. It’s never happened on Worpress sites but I have seen myself appearing without permission or acknowledgement on other social media sites.
    Thank you to everyone who has reblogged me so far :)

  40. I’d just like to thank all of you for the interesting and thoughtful discussion on this post! I’ve really enjoyed reading these comments, and a lot of you raised points I had not thought of.

  41. Wow! I never thought of it like this, but to be fair I have only reblogged once. To me, I reblog when I want to share a post that I thought was interesting (and relevant to my blog) with my followers. Reblogging isn’t bad, its just that formatting doesn’t highlight the original blogger.

  42. I have no idea what you are all talking about. I am sure no-one has re-blogged my entries but the only re-blogging I acknowledge is when I reiterate what I have said before in my blog. If you have nothing to say, don’t talk. Maybe you’ll learn that as you get older, there are too many spurious and uninformed opinions flying around; usually based on Rupert Murdoch’s indoctrination.