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.