What is Blogging Etiquette?

I raise this question as a person who has been been blogging since August of last year, and who has fallen in love with how blogging allows the sharing of concepts, ideas and knowledge in a wide open community. I love how it works with very few of the traditional boundaries we’re used to, and provides the greatest medium for transparent communication. I’ve found many blogs to be a greater resource for news and learning than many of the most well-known magazines and news stations.

It is in this same spirit that I sometimes find myself unsure as to what exactly is blog etiquette? Blogging on the net sometimes feels like playing ball in oncoming traffic. So many different interpretations of what is acceptable and unacceptable, and so many different practices that switch from one person to the next. I bring this up in reference to my post yesterday, ironically, “The Dark Side of Blogging” which referred to an intriguing article by Michael A. Stelzner on Marketingprofs.com. It was an article that I re-posted in its entirety in block-text, along with multiple links and credits to both the author and the original post. I’ve seen the practice of both excerpts and full articles appearing in a blog post with proper accreditation. In fact, I’ve had many of my posts appear in full in other blogs. I’ve personally never had any issue with it, as long as the post was linked back to the original and accredited to me, the author. I’ve had other authors who have thanked me for having their article appear here. Michael felt differently, which he has every right to do so. I modified the post to only show an excerpt to meet his wishes. I’m not writing here to figure out who is right and who is wrong, but to state the fact that confusion and ambiguity exists in the blogosphere, and I’m certain we all experience it from time to time. Maybe a central figure like Technorati can publish a Web 2.0 Rules of Engagement for new and existing bloggers to possibly model after? Not sure. Regulating and taming the net hasn’t worked yet, and it may be that the ambiguity that exists is also what makes this medium so exciting.


Filed under Blogging, Business, Communications, Internet, marketing, Marketing Research, Small Business Marketing

7 responses to “What is Blogging Etiquette?

  1. Thanks for this post and for your response to my request.

    I can tell you that reposting an entire article is not blog etiquette.

    In fact, we are debating this issue right now on my blog: http://www.writingwhitepapers.com/blog/2007/05/03/contentjacking-the-new-cyber-crime/

    The term I like to use is contentjacking.

    The fact is that taking the work of someone else and republishing it in its entirety is simply copyright infringement.

    This is the same as taking an article from a magazine or the pages of a book and republishing them without permission of the author.

    It does not really matter if you cite the source.

    Just because you see it done does not mean it is right.

    The fact is that it is plagiarism plane and simple.

    The proper thing to do is to excerpt parts of an article, almost like a review.

    My 2 cents.

    Thanks for opening this can of worms.


  2. Michael, thanks for your input. I don’t consider this a can of worms at all. I did read your post on “contentjacking” prior to writing this post. Opening things up for discussion and dialogue is a good thing. As I mentioned here, there is a lot of ambiguity in blogging. You have stated clearly your point and it’s been registered. I’m not debating whether you are right or wrong, you can do that on your blog. Mine is more of statement from what I see happening in the blogosphere. Yes, there are people out there with malicious intentions. I get that. There are others who aren’t so sure what best practices are. For my part, to be safe, I’ll only be showing excerpts going forward of stories I like. As you can see here, there are no banner ads on this blog – I do this because I enjoy sharing good information and exchanging knowledge.

  3. Rajan – Let me note for the record that your actions show class. – Mike

  4. Rajan —

    As a fellow WordPress blogger, I often see your posts in Tag Surfer, which is how I came upon this one. I can’t say I know what is or isn’t blog etiquette, but since “traffic” seems to be the currency of the Internet, you would appear to be “stealing” traffic away from Mr. Stelzner by reposting his entire content.

    And why do that in the first place? To save your readers a click? Not a compelling argument.

    I like Mr. Stelzner’s term for the action — “content-jacking”. Personally, I call the people the who do it “regurgibloggers” — because all they do is regurgitate other people’s posts. Whether or not content-jacking is good etiquette or not, from what I’ve read of yours, you don’t appear to be a regurgiblogger, and I don’t think you want to be put into that category.

  5. Ron, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Much appreciated. – Rajan

  6. Rajan,
    I would just comment a part of your post.
    I wouldn’t say that there is a confusion in blogosphere, but only a diversity of opinions, which is a wonderful thing. Ambiguity should be a normal state in an open society as blogosphere is and there is nothing to be afraid of.
    On the contrary, I have to admit that I’m scared of possibility that some “central figure” prescribes the rules, no matter what they look like and even if it is mighty Technorati.
    However, I don’t think that because of our right to our own opinion we can violate other’s rights, including “copy rights”.

  7. Hi Grigor, thanks for weighing in. I would agree with what you say, and of course, no one should ever violate copyrights. There are many who do it intentionally, and many others blogging who think they are doing the right thing, until told otherwise. I think it’s safe to say, it’s always best to err cautiously, so as not to make others feel violated.

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