Blog and RSS Feed Etiquette
By Sharon Housley
Citizen journalists and writers have become common place on the
web. Perhaps you are considering blogging, but are unsure of how
to enter the world of online journaling. As the medium has grown,
I thought it might be a good idea to put together some general guidelines
for new bloggers and reminders to veteran bloggers about blogging
There is no Emily Post in blogging that offers etiquette
advice, or a Miss Manners that details appropriate behavior. That
does not mean there are not acceptable and unacceptable actions
that bloggers should take. In order to efficiently communicate as
a blogger on the Internet, it is critical to understand the unwritten
rules of blogging etiquette.
If you copy another blog's post should you link
Yes, blog manners dictates that you make every effort
to credit the original source of the blog post, this should be done
through a link. The link should not contain the "nofollow" tag.
Generally speaking the commentary about the quoted post, should
be at least as long as the post that is copied.
How much can you quote of another persons blog
Fair use allows for posts or portions of posts to
be quoted, but it is generally good practice to only quote what
is necessary to retain the context of the post. When posting an
excerpt from someone else, it is imperative that the context of
the post remain intact.
If someone complains about having a blog post copied,
what should you do?
The appropriate course of action would be to remove
the offending post and replace it with text that explains why the
post was removed. Even if you feel the post was simply fair use,
and not a copyright violation, net courtesy dictates that you respect
the wishes of the original poster and remove the content.
Why should you credit your sources?
Always credit the sources of your information. Attribution
is important, it not only extends your credibility but it also will
help build your channel for future content. Sources seeing that
you give appropriate attribution will often reward you with additional
information in the future.
How do I validate information?
As a blogger, reputation is everything. All items
should be confirmed prior to posting. Consider using two sources
to verify that information is accurate prior to posting. Also always
use credible sources. Second sourcing and relying on credible sources
will ensure that posts are accurate.
I made a mistake, what should I do?
If you have a change of heart, or posted something
that is not 100% accurate, apologize to your readers and correct
the information as soon as possible. Not only is it the right thing
to do, but often feeds or blog posts are syndicated and unless a
correction is made the words could perpetuate unchecked. If the
mistake occurs in a blog post in addition to posting an apology,
go back to the original post and strikeout the incorrect content
and add a comment indicating why the post has been changed.
How should my posts be formatted?
Break posts into readable chunks. Generally the best
posts are broken into multiple paragraphs. Be careful not to alienate
readers by using ALL CAPS, this is considered "shouting" online
and is thought of as very rude.
Do I have to use proper grammar in by blog?
Proper grammar matters, grammar and spelling may be
inconsequential when instant messaging with your friends but blogs,
immortalize your words, the Internet is becoming an archive for
the past. Appropriate grammar should always be used when blogging
or posting to an RSS feed.
What does off the record really mean?
Always respect your sources. If you are told something
"off the record" do not report about it, post it or share it with
What exactly is copywritten?
Any creative works are copywritten. In the US and
many other countriesm, even if the creator does not apply for a
copyright, the creative works are protected by the copyright laws
the moment the creative work is created. Unless the creator waives
those rights, the creative cannot be reproduced or modified without
the creators permission. Copywritten work includes images, text,
music, or software.
If posting a controversial piece, is it appropriate
to include the opposing view?
It depends on the style of your blog or RSS feed,
but in general, it is best to include an opposing view point on
any controversial items. Let your readers view both sides to the
controversy, they will respect the balance your provide.
Following basic netetiquette when blogging and posting
to RSS feeds will build credibility and a following of loyal readers.
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com
software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts.
In addition Sharon manages marketing for NotePage http://www.notepage.net
a wireless text messaging software company.