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A Rough Guide To Online Manners

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Blog manners. Is it a thing? Netiquette. Is it a word? Apparently it is because when I asked a bunch of bloggers about online manners the floodgates well and truly opened. Bloggers from all corners of the globe (if a globe can have corners) piped up with their pet peeves and some of their very favourite examples of nice manners, too.

It can be really confusing for readers to know if or how to comment on a blog in the first place and I don’t want to scare them off with a bunch of rules. That said a lot of the suggestions relate to LIFE as much as they do to the blogging world – and I’m all for promoting nice manners to all so let’s do this thing.

As a guide, most people agreed that online life is a lot like offline life. If you wouldn’t say it in ‘real life’, why would you say it online? There was much chatter about constructive criticism, where the line between constructive and nasty is and whether a blog is a diary and readers should heed the ‘if you cant’ say anything nice’ rule.  The jury is still out on that, I think. Read on to see what they shared:

The good:

People (bloggers and readers alike) talked about all the good things they get from bloggers: positivity, laughs, a hand to hold, handmade quilts, helpful advice, personal emails, kind messages, gifts, prizes, help with assignments, encouragement, community, connection, friendship, good ideas, craft patterns, baby welcomes. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Blogs bring so many rewards and both bloggers and readers share all kinds of good stuff together. Toasty. Nice.

But apparently a (possibly tiny) few people forget their manners. There were some things that came up in a discussion with bloggers and blog readers that many found annoying/rude/bad.

Here are their dos and don’ts, a helpful guide to refer to in times of confusion, before bad manners attack!

For readers:

  • Don’t be an asshat, be respectful and treat bloggers as you’d like to be treated.
  • Don’t skim and comment: read the post and then comment!
  • Do weigh up if that comment is constructive criticism or destructive criticism.
  • Don’t always demand bloggers write tutorials or recipes for the things they make.
  • Don’t give unsolicited advice to bloggers about their lives.
  • Do let bloggers know if their recipe or how-to has become a favourite to you.
  • Do comment on the blogs you read. Even a few words is good.
  • Don’t leave links to your own stuff in the comments section of someone else’s blog.
  • Don’t contact bloggers via Facebook with requests for favours/advice – email them via their blog.
  • Do say thanks if a blogger helps you with your problem.
  • Do stop reading blogs you don’t like – no need to hate read and post nasty comments.
  • Don’t forget the blog is a kind of online diary and can be quite personal.
  • Don’t forget bloggers are flawed people just like you.
  • Don’t tag others in Instagram comments without talking to the image owner, too.

For Bloggers:

  • Don’t forget to ask permission to use images and credit sources.
  • Do reply to comments as frequently and sincerely as you can.
  • Do be 100 percent transparent about sponsored posts and gifted items (at the beginning of your post.)
  • Do be part of the community: read and share posts.
  • Do create original content.
  • Do proofread your work and make sure your writing makes sense.
  • Do mention it if you were inspired by someone else’s work/writing/blog.
  • Do link freely to other bloggers or great people/businesses.
  • Don’t leave links to your own stuff in the comments section of someone else’s blog.
  • Don’t add people to your mailing list manually. It’s up to them to opt in.
  • Do reply to readers who ask you questions via email or elsewhere.
  • Do help readers who ask for advice, when possible.
  • Don’t talk down to your readers. Smug is not nice.
  • Do work on your writing/photography skills if you love blogging. Keep improving.
  • Do take negative comments on their own merits. It’s OK for people to disagree with you.
  • Do delete comments on your blog that upset you.

Phew. That’s a lot of dos and don’ts but it’s mostly common sense stuff.

1 Comment

  • Reply
    ReannonHope
    September 23, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    Oh crap I’m guilty of Facebook messaging a blogger or two! Sorry Pip! This is a good list, most seem like common sense/knowledge but some ( like the FB messaging) I didnt know.

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