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Calling Emily Post: A Blogging Etiquette Roundup

From the politics of reblogs to the art of troll-starving, blogging has many “soft” rules you should know about.

If you’re a new or recent arrival on the blogging scene, there’s definitely a lot to process: themes! Widgets! Stats! Taglines!

Then there’s the large set of (mostly unwritten) rules that govern the smooth functioning of the blogging community. Just like going to a dinner party in a country where you’ve just landed, you want to make a good first impression, or at the very least not appear like an irredeemable oaf.

Thirsty for more? You can browse our entire archive of blogging etiquette posts.

Being kind to others and asking questions is always your best bet. For more specific cases, though, we’re here to help with some of our most popular posts on blogging etiquette.

The ethical use of others’ content

If you’re a blogger who prefers to restrict access to some or all of your posts, be sure to read about your blog’s privacy settings, as well as on post visibility. And if you ever think your copyright has been violated, we have resources to help you.

When we blog, we make our writing (and photos, and illustrations, and recipes, and everything else, really) publicly available. That’s the point, after all. That doesn’t mean we allow others to do whatever they want with our stuff — or that we can use others’ content freely. Here are some thoughts on sharing things created by other people.

Reacting to unwanted attention

If a visitor on your site crosses the line, feel free to add him or her to your Comment Blacklist. You can also read more about tackling unwanted comments and spam.

The web is big, and while the vast majority of people you’ll encounter via blogging will likely be friendly, supportive, and generous, you might occasionally run into someone who doesn’t fit that description. Don’t let that discourage you, though — there is always a way to address those elements of the blogosphere you wish to keep at arm’s length.

  • How to Starve a Troll
    Most people will respect your polite requests to leave them alone. A few might not. Here’s how you deal with them.

  • Responding to Critical Feedback on Your Blog
    Sometimes criticism is welcome; other times, you wish people who didn’t have something nice to say just kept their mouths shut. And since it’s your blog, you get to define the rules.

  •  Isn’t It Lovely: Understanding Blog Awards
    For many bloggers, a blogging award is a coveted token of appreciation from the community. For others, not so much. There are friendly ways to respond to them no matter where you fall on the award question.

  •  The Art of Snark: Creative Disagreement
    Even if you don’t agree with someone’s post, comment, or opinion, there are always productive ways to move forward and learn something from the experience.

How not to appear spammy

Sometimes, in our eagerness to connect, befriend, and impress, we may come across as a tad pushy — even if our intentions are pure. Here is some friendly advice on keeping a balance between asserting yourself and respecting others’ (online) spaces.

Sensitive topics and sensitive readers

Some of the best posts we read are also the most viscerally personal, the most exposed, and the most unflinching when it comes to controversial topics and raw language. But while you should never refrain from publishing something just because it’s a personal or touchy topic, it’s also good to keep in mind those who might be affected by your posts, from people in your life to your readers.

What’s the best etiquette advice you can give to your fellow bloggers? Is there any unwritten rule you wish you knew more about? Share your take in the comments.

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  1. I Love this. Here’s something I never know how to handle. A regular follower always comments then suddenly poof….gone! MIA!! I fret, I worry, I obsess. Are they sick? Car accident? I offended them with a post? They got banned from WordPress? (Maybe for being a follower of mine? ;-). Anyhow, I never know what to do in these situations but I DO notice their absence.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I fully agree. After spending a couple years fretting over this inevitability, I finally realized that I sometimes unintentionally do this to others–usually just because I got busy or something came up in my personal life to keep me away from the internet for a period of time. So I decided not to worry much about it. We’re all grownups (generally anyway, few youngsters would have interest in my blog), and if a grownup is offended by something I have said, they can come to me about it. If they don’t, I figure I am safe in chalking an absence up to the fact that life happens.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Trolls, unwanted attention, and stealing photos and content are some of the things I worry while having a blog. It’s good to talk about these issues as well as how to deal.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is so helpful. I’m pretty new at this and have tried to largely keep to myself until I figured everything out. Thanks!

    Liked by 4 people

  4. This is great! On my blog, I have a whole series dedicated to soft tips for new bloggers. A lot of my peers have tried to start blogs and I have written as much as I can to benefit myself and others, encouraging them to keep writing.

    One of my favorite pieces of advice is: Create an identity – hold yourself accountable. Through personal articles and an accurate “About Me” page, we ought to be held responsible for our words, and what better way to do that then have others involuntarily mediate them for us? An identity creates consistency. The full article for that is here: http://catherinezhang.me/2014/02/20/8-steps-to-write-a-blog-for-others/#more-1774

    and my series is called “Meta Writing”: http://catherinezhang.me/category/and-much-more/meta-writing/

    Liked by 6 people

      1. Good points, thank you. As a reader, I think another advantage of an ‘about’ page, even a brief one, is that it helps me engage with the blog by giving a sense of the person behind the posts. Depending on the subject of the blog, it might also lend credibility.

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  5. it is always good to touch base with the basics, Standards slip so ealisy as they seem to in life in general which is always disappointing. Let’s all try to maintain them on here it is such a great community i am gratful to part of it

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am new to the blogging world. Tips very much appreciated as many of us I’m sure thought that we could write and get out work out there and make our own contribution on The Net. Little did we know about all the techie and political scenarios that we would have to become well versed in!

    I find it beneficial to remain true to my own writing aspirations and remain focussed on my own writing. I think if, as a new blogger, you come into this reading lots of other blogs and posts, and comparing yourself, you will become confused, disheartened (especially with the stats fiasco) and perhaps disillusioned with the whole blogging experience.

    So it is important to have reminders such as this post to keep newbies on track, prepared as far as possible and in a positive frame of mind for this learning curve, and we all need to be encouraged to persevere and remain determined in those ‘doubtful and testing’ times. There are distractions but there are also friendly and supportive communities out there.

    Thank you indeed!

    Liked by 4 people