Blogetiquette For Dummies

Blogging is exploding like no one’s business with every next net-connected person signing up for their own URL. It is great to have this kind of freedom of expression combined with the sheer reach of the internet. In the meantime though, it surely is imperative to remember such things as etiquette. Good behaviour isn’t just lip service, it goes a long way in making things run smoothly.

This is a list of some things that I’ve culled under the general idea of good blogging etiquette. Note, you are a blogger if you have your own blog and/or if you read and comment on other people’s blogs. Readers and commentors are as much a part of this space as the writers are. Most of these are probably really obvious especially to long-time bloggers. Yet I see so many instances of these being thwarted that I thought I’d just put up a general guide.

So here’s IdeaSmith’s guide to being a gentleman/ lady on the blogsphere:

  • Replying: It is good manners to reply. To comments, to emails and to messages.
  • Return visits: It is good form to return the visit. When someone visits your blog, if they’ve left a URL behind, it is good to drop back into their blog. Who knows, you really might find something interesting. And it just is good manners, akin to paying a return visit.
  • Trolls keep out!: If a blogger is writing anonymously, it is terrible to reveal their real name and/or other aspects of their identity like address, workplace etc. On the blog or to other people. Respect other people’s need for privacy.
  • Polite commenting: A blog may be a public space. That does not give anyone the right to be a boor. No matter how badly a person writes, no matter how lousy you think their views are, it is in poor taste to leave nasty comments. Do this anonymously and you’re labelling yourself a creep as well. Pay heed to the fact that people talk about things that matter to them and it takes a fair bit of courage to put that up out there where other people can tear it down.
  • No ads in comments: It isn’t great news that a lot of blogs get hits on account of the blogger’s comments on another blog. But that doesn’t mean comment-boxes get used as free ad spaces for your blog. Do refrain from leaving notes that say, “Nice blog. See mine at” Honestly? No one likes that. Me, I’ve taken to just deleting these. Respect the blogger’s comment box and respect your own self enough to not demean yourself with shameless self-promotion.
  • Healthy linking: Blogging begin as a series of links. People linked to websites they liked, pages they discovered, articles that made them think. Continue the tradition. It adds value to your content if people can also see what you were looking at that made you think and write whatever you did.
  • Link-obssession: Having said the above, I must also say that respect and liking are earned, not asked for. I am extremely uncomfortable when faced with questions like “Why haven’t you linked me?” and “Will you blogroll me?”. If a person hasn’t done it, they haven’t for their own reasons. Accept it and carry on with life, you and your blog will not cease to exist if you are short of one reader or link. Just don’t make things so uncomfortable, it is really not worth it.
  • Acknowledge the original source: I cannot emphasize this enough. In this free-and-easy age of copy-paste, anyone can pass off anybody’s words as their own. A lot of bloggers do not have copyrights on their work since they don’t believe that it is the stuff anyone would copy. The attitude is still fairly relaxed, one of easy camaraderie and sharing of ideas is made easy. Let’s keep it that way, when picking something, let’s acknowledge the original. It doesn’t hurt and it is only right to give credit where due and it makes the other person feel good.

Blogging is a fun, creative community activity! Let’s make it a nice place to belong to.

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23 thoughts on “Blogetiquette For Dummies

  1. ??! February 26, 2008 at 10:43 Reply

    Ahh, I see you got round to this eventually, but demmit! You just took one idea away for my week of blogging on blogging.


  2. Noshtradamus February 26, 2008 at 11:56 Reply

    Thanks IdeaSmith, Blogetiquette is something we can really do with all around, and your post is a great reminder/learning.

    ps. I found your post while doing a “return visit” 🙂


  3. […] Check it out here at IdeaSmithy. […]


  4. Alazyguy February 26, 2008 at 14:14 Reply

    Drink milk – it is good for your health. Stop watching TV. Sit and study. Don’t talk for so long on the phone.

    Somehow this blog reminds me of my dad – and though I like him, to hell with his suggestions.

    I want to learn myself.

    PS: I am very polite and sweet in front of my dad – and he thinks I have followed whatever he preaches :).


  5. Rambler February 26, 2008 at 14:26 Reply

    I should really thank all my readers for “Trolls keep out”, As I blog anonymously and many people from my work read my blog not knowing its me, it becomes extremely important.


  6. IdeaSmith February 26, 2008 at 14:30 Reply

    @ ??!: Oh errr sorry! Go ahead and post anyway, I’m sure you’ll have something different to say!

    @ Noshtradamus: Thank you! I’ve been following your blog on my reader for a good while now though I can’t remember how I got to it. I’ve linked your post to DesiPundit today, by the way!

    @ Alazyguy: Sorry to be preachy but some people need to be told.

    @ Rambler: I suspect some of that is true for me as well. But a few big bloggers recently quit because some jerk of a troll blew their anonymity away. That makes me go Grrrr…..!


  7. Alazyguy February 26, 2008 at 14:48 Reply

    Incorrect interpretation.

    My dad is one of the most wisest guys I have known. It is just I realize it a bit late.

    I never said that you should be sorry for being preachy.

    PS: Well if things still aren’t clear – in plain words, I think I will take my time to figure out the wisdom in these words. As of now, I am sure I am going to err.


  8. Brad February 27, 2008 at 05:33 Reply

    In response to your comment to ‘Alazyguy’ – I thought the article was more or less on the lines of ‘take it or leave it’; and didn’t really think it to be preachy. I am not sure why do you say ‘…sorry to be preachy…but some people need to be told…’ Was this post directed toward somebody specific? Coz’ it definitely doesn’t seem like a lash-out as written by this particular blogger


  9. chennairamblings February 27, 2008 at 06:50 Reply

    Loved the troll part since I used to blog anonymously.
    However Rambler has been luckier than me, certain people linked back to me with my real name 😦
    But that has not made me quit, rather I just got nastier…


  10. IdeaSmith February 27, 2008 at 08:48 Reply

    @ alazyguy: Point taken. I can’t lay down the law for anyone, only express my preferences and perhaps my response to other people’s behaviour.

    @ Brad: It was a ‘take it or leave it’ post on the lines of a suggestion rather than a code of rules. You notice I tempered down my trademark sharp tongue. No, it wasn’t targetting anyone in particular. Like the post says, I see so many people doing these things, I thought somebody better make a list of uppers and downers in blogging behaviour.

    @ chennairamblings: It really gets my goat that people can’t respect anonymity. I mean….it doesn’t need a genius to figure that out, hey? Someone did that to me after a bloggers’ meet as well.


  11. Deepika February 27, 2008 at 16:27 Reply

    This was a pretty exhaustive list of blogosphere etiquette..I appreciate it. Particularly the one about leaving nasty comments…sometimes I think I go overboard with expressing my POV on someone’s’s not about the WAY they write but WHAT they write. Liek the other a friend wrote about how amazing he thinks LOVE is and how enchanting and how surreal etc. etc and a cynic as I am…I blasted out on his blog. I repent doing that big time.


  12. Pritam February 28, 2008 at 12:34 Reply


    I liked the list. We all know what’s right and what’s not. But I always need someone to recall those things that are correct and what one should do.
    Thanks for doing that. Hope I adhere to your advice for long.


  13. chennairamblings February 28, 2008 at 13:37 Reply

    Seriously, that sucks,
    One would expect bloggers to know better, but then as someone pointed out once, bloggers are just human beings, as fallible as the rest.


  14. Ravi March 1, 2008 at 10:23 Reply

    Gr8 Guide 🙂

    By the way, I need some help from you, buddy..

    Which plug in are you using to have this “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail” under the Reply option?

    Any help is much appreciated, mam 🙂

    Take care!


  15. Ashwin March 1, 2008 at 22:25 Reply

    Symptom 1 – Wanting to spend hours at Landmark reading all that they have.

    Symptom 2 – Quoting them on your blog and commiting quotes to memory

    Bwahahaa… another one transmogrified into a mindless comic reading fiend. One hundred million more to go.


  16. Ashwin March 1, 2008 at 22:27 Reply

    I of course meant to post this in your next post about Sandman and his lot. i blame the lack of sleep at 4 AM for this.



  17. IdeaSmith March 5, 2008 at 07:36 Reply

    @ Deepika: It’s never too late to say sorry especially on a blog where the words will stay as long as you let them. 🙂 I have nothing against expressing one’s point of view even if it contradicts the post. I don’t like rudeness though.

    @ Pritam: I guess it’s easy to slip up when one is in a comfort mode and forget that there is a real person at the other end of the post who might be hurt by one’s brash words? All of us could do with a gentle reminder now and then.

    @ chennairamblings. Bloggers are human; trolls are not!! 🙂

    @ Ravi: I’ve mailed it to you. Hope it helps!

    @ Ashwin: Thus spake the creator of the chaos! 😀


  18. Sharanya March 5, 2008 at 12:13 Reply

    You forgot the one about how “people are rarely who they purport to be online. So take everything, whether you’re a blogger or a reader, with a pinch of salt.” 🙂

    Seriously, I wish more people would realise this. Would keep both disputes and blog-flirting from getting uncomfortably personal.


  19. IdeaSmith March 5, 2008 at 12:49 Reply

    @ Sharanya: Ah. People are rarely who they seem/claim to be online or offline anyway, wouldn’t you say?


  20. the mad momma March 10, 2008 at 15:34 Reply

    great post. agree with every word. the return visit one is polite and you’re absolutely right. but it drives me nuts. i barely get time to write my own longwinded (!) posts and then return visits…

    what do you do if you return a visit and dont like what you read? do you politely keep it up just because they visit you often? or can you be done with it?

    please tell me i dont have to keep going back if i dont like what i read 😦


  21. IdeaSmith March 11, 2008 at 09:14 Reply

    @ the mad momma: Hahahaha! I can imagine you’d have a tough time doing that. Celebrities can’t be expected to shake hands with all their fans! 😀 Actually I confess to not always following my own golden rules. But what the hell..I aspire to, anyway!! When I have the time, I often go back to old posts simply to check the links of the people who’ve commented. Sometimes I like them, sometimes I don’t. I don’t always comment, am quite a lurker and apparantly it isn’t a good thing.


  22. Anu August 26, 2011 at 10:26 Reply

    Good one!!!! actually wondered a while back if u would write something like that after that idiot copied ur blogs!


    • IdeaSmith September 1, 2011 at 13:38 Reply

      @Anu: 🙂 This is actually a pretty old post. Idiots will never cease!


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