Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Talk It Out Tuesday:The Blogging Unwritten Code of Conduct.

**This could be a controversial post. I'm going to test out the waters with this one. It's fine to have differing opinions here, but keep it respectful and constructive. I will not tolerate mean comments or personal attacks, and they will be deleted. If I find topics like this too be too controversial I will no longer have them.**

Talk it Out Tuesday is a monthly, sometimes twice monthly post where I present a topic on beauty, nail polish, or blogging to be discussed. I present my opinions on the topic and then I invite you to contribute. These posts are meant to bring about constructive discussion on topics we normally do not have an opportunity to discuss.

Today's topic is the Blogging Unwritten Code of Conduct a.k.a. Blogging Etiquette. 

What I mean by this is that there are general rules that all bloggers seem know about or expect their followers and other bloggers to abide by. The problem is, these rules are not set in stone, and not everyone is aware of them so it can cause issues.

The 2 things I can think of that come up with this issue are "comment spammers" and "picture thieves".

**Please note I'm not trying to downplay these issues. I know myself included that despite good people or bad people these incidents can be  frustrating and very annoying**

Comment Spammers

When I first got into blogging. I was unaware that sharing links in blogger's comment section was a complete no no. I had considered posting my link in a few blog comments. In fact, I may of actually done it a few times. Then for some reason, I got a inkling that maybe this was not right. I ended up asking some people who told me this was considered spam. Did I think I was spamming? No not really, I thought I was just sharing my link with others. I did not see it as a bad thing at first.  I do understand now it is self promotion on someone else's blog.

Now, as a blogger I see it done on my blog, and I'm quick to judge people in a negative light who do that. I even go to Twitter or Facebook to rant about comment spammers. The truth is like me previously, I'm sure many of these people do not realize this is bad. They have absolutely no clue this is considered rude. How are they supposed to know if they are brand new to the blogging world? How can we expect people to know?

I think there is also a difference. I think there are people who are aware and do it frequently without any care in the world. There are people who do it despite being told in the comment section that it's not allowed. That is frustrating, but I think we all should be more patient when it could be someone's first mistake, my self included.

Picture Thieves

I'm sure I'll get flack for this one. I clearly know there are people out there who steal pictures and steal peoples posts and pictures purposefully . There are also people who try to pass on this work as their own (i.e. LUUUX) or eBayers who continuously use people's swatch photos. This is absolutely wrong and needs to be stopped, however, there are some people who use peoples images who simply do not realize it is wrong.

I've seen people use other people's images in a positive light to show something awesome someone did or they find a picture on Google and use it on their blog to show other people something they don't have etc. These people I truly believe are completely innocent, and just need a friendly note or reminder that they need to credit the photo or not use the photo.

I've seen bloggers handle this well, and I've seen bloggers handle this not so well. I've seen people completely attack, vilify, and completely humiliate what are otherwise kind people because they made an innocent mistake in their ignorance.  I think the frustration is certainly warranted, but we need to take a breather first. I feel like as bloggers we need to be proactive, versus reactive. I think a lot can be solved in a private respectful email. This is not always the case, but I think it's necessary step before taking farther action if you are ignored.

I'm not saying this about people who repeatedly steal pictures and ignore peoples requests to stop. I'm talking about these one time incidents that get blown out of proportion and are handled badly. We all make honest mistakes. Let's not burn every person at the stake because they make a boo boo.


One final issue that I think is a little differnent is "anonymous mean commenters". I feel like this is a rule that should be common sense. People should not have to be directed on this one, they should just know better!

Anonymous Mean Commenters 

This is something I thankfully have yet to encounter on my own blog.  I've seen this done on other blogger's blogs, and some of the stuff I've read it is just flat out disgusting and hurtful. I cannot tell people what to do. People can pretty much behave how they'd like on the internet, however, I wish it was different.

My problem isn't so much with people not revealing themselves when writing a nasty comment, but why even put it on the person's blog in the first place? Like I mention on the top of this post, it's totally cool if you have constructive feedback, but just mean-spirited nonsense is not ok. Again, like the other things I mentioned if you have an issue with someone email them personally. Why embarrass and harass them on their blog?

I think I idealize blogging and people too much, and it disappoints me that people behave so cruelly to people. Oh well.....


These are just a few of what I think are dozens of rules in regards to blogging etiquette that we expect everyone else to understand, but really don't (sans anonymous mean commenters). I said I'm guilty of this myself. I am quick to judge people who make these mistakes. I'm quick to go to Twitter to air my grievances, not realizing that I am very much alienating and making other people around me feel insecure and uncomfortable. It is wrong, and I apologize.

There are a few things I take issue to in the blog-o-sphere.  Let's be honest here. Do we really like every blogger and every blog? Of course not. Are there situations and actions involving people we do not agree with? Of course.  This is only natural. There is no law requiring everyone to like one another and be friends. There are no requirements you must subscribe and enjoy every blog out there. There are just better ways to deal with these things.

Vent to your friend about it. Bit*ch, moan, and complain all you want.  Don't take it to the public forum though.  I think bloggers have to mindful even though we are regular people that people look up to you in a way and do follow your every move. In the case of anonymous mean commenters..come on now...really? Just be respectful guys.

What are your thoughts on this issue? 
What are some other unwritten rules in the blogging world you have an issue with? 
Are there certain rules you think should be a given and universally understood without them being written in stone?

Happy Tuesday!


  1. When I first started blogging I did the self promotion Spam without realizing it was a no no. I think part of why people don't realize it is a no no is that I have actually seen bloggers recommend doing that to get your blog going. Some blogs even allow it.

    Picture thieves to me are people who know they shouldn't do it. There is a Luuux user who has repeatedly stolen my photos as well as other blogger's photos. Luuux does nothing about it. They remove the post only if you complain, and allow this user to keep her account and continue to steal photos. It burns me up bad, because I work hard on my blog.

    I agree and do realize that there are plenty of people who don't really understand what copyright infringement is, and are simply sharing cool photos. It's hard to get mad when someone thinks what you did is cool, right? lol

  2. I personally would not get annoyed with a link back to someone's blog/a post in their blog in their comment but ONLY if it is relevant to what I posted. 
    I don't see that as wrong, but I am hesitant to do it to other people's blogs. But sometimes I want to share a similar manicure or show them something. What do you gals think? Is that ok or not?
    And what about linking to someone else's blog/blog post??? (Again, ONLY if it is relevant to the post)

  3. I think you hit the snare on the biggest "issues" and I do believe they rely on normal values you should have been taught as a child. You don't ask for attention all the time around people (links in comments), you don't play with the toy of the other kid without asking (stealing photo's) and you don't go around calling names especially when it is behind someones back (anonymous commenting).

    I did the link dropping once or twice maybe but already didn't feel comfortable at it, and then noticed it on some blog that you weren't allowed to do so. Quickly understood why. Obviously we all have to learn but some stuff you just don't do at all.

  4. I agree! When I was new to all of this I had no idea that it was rude to share links. I just saw it as a large community of people who all share in the same obsession. I saw it as supporting each other and everything was cool. I wasn't constantly doing it or trying to be rude at all. I even posted something about how rude I thought it was that THEY would share links... now, I get it. I was not posting my links, I was just saying "Hey, it would be awesome if you followed me back!" I tell followers that I will always support them and share but I can see how others would not want that. I was just wanting to get myself out there and started. I can also understand why someone wouldn't want to follow 5000+ people. It just sucked for me at first because these were blogs that I followed forever and really grew to love and I felt that I had the door slammed in my face.

    As far as pictures and nasty comments I haven't run into that and I am hoping that I don't. I can't imagine anyone having the nerve to do it, but I know they are out there!

  5. I know we talked about this some last night but I'm gonna throw my two cents in:

    The reason I dislike link spammers is because I see it as this: This is MY blog. This is where I showcase MY nails and MY manis and MY ideas, and for them to come in and advertise THEIR blog on my personal space is rude to me. They have their own personal space/blog -- why do they need to promote themselves on mine?I think of it as, how would China Glaze feel if OPI came in to their headquarters and advertised their products? It would be rude because it's not their place. That's why we have the bit in our comment box about emailing us if you want us to check out your blog. I just think it's more polite and I like it when bloggers WORK for followers instead of asking for them (which is what I think link spamming basically is). There are plenty of ways to promote your blog without invading someone else's.

    The picture thing is a WHOLE nother ball park for me. I've been especially pissed about it ever since my Luuux ordeal. Haha

  6. The most confusing thing about the comment link issue for me is, what do I do if I do a design copied from/inspired by another blogger?  I think it's polite to not only cite them in my post but also to comment on the original to let them know that I think they're great and I just had to try the design myself so they don't view the post negatively if they stumble on it on their own.  But of course it's improper to share the link to the post itself. I've also seen bloggers ask their commenters to share links to favorite colors/posts/what have you. Obviously, I think you should follow the wishes of the blog owner, whatever they may be, but it certainly can get a big complex.  

  7. I'm sad to admit that I spammed a couple of times when I first started. I feel terrible about it!!! I didn't do it to be annoying...I just hadn't learned proper blog etiquette. It was only when I saw someone write right above their comment form that they didn't want any spamming that I realized I shouldn't be doing it.
    I haven't experienced any picture stealing yet (to my knowledge) but that seems like an obvious no-no to me.

  8. Great post! One thing I've noticed as a non-blogger and fairly recent follower to blogs in general is how rude people get when a blogger takes a break or doesn't post for (x) days in a row or doesn't offer an immediate explanation for their absence. Its completely shocking how a person can go from loving a blog and commenting so nicely on every post to go raving mad; basically tar & feathering the poor blogger. Like I said I'm not a blogger but i can imagine how much work it takes to run one even if its just for fun (which most of the time is the case). People need to understand that aside from a blog this is a real person, with a life outside the computer, with problems and "regular" jobs. I just don't understand how these commenters feel a blogger owes them anything? Does that even make sense? Anyway just my lil tid bit. Thanks :)

  9. Well thought out post!  I think it comes down to respecting other people and being polite, but sometimes we all have a bad day and jump before we think.

    As always, I sure do enjoy your posts, whether they are polish or thought related!  Thank you!

  10. I love this post. I'm new to blogging and its true, there are rules that aren't set in stone, and eventually you get the hang of them. The spamming thing is also true too. I think i did it once, and then decided that maybe this wasn't the best way to handle sharing my page. Good post :)

  11. There DO seem to be a lot of "rules" of blogging that keep popping up, don't there?
    When I first started, there really weren't a lot of us doing this, so it was easy to keep track of all the nail polish blogs. It seemed to boom overnight, and then there were all kinds of issues that started popping up, like the link dropping thing. We all feel the same way about it - it's just not the place to promote your blog, in my comment section, but new folks don't really realize it. A gentle reminder is the route I go these days, if I see it in my comments, I edit out their link and explain why. However, a repeat offender gets deleted - because if you've been told before, then you certainly don't need another warning. There are some folks who do it all over the place, regardless of what the blog owners want, and those folks get me, they're just ignoring our wishes on purpose.
    The other things you addressed, like photo stealing - yeah, there's a pretty obvious line there. If you're putting my photos on Ebay or an online store, I'm gonna be mad and no, it's not acceptable. If you're tumbling it, I'd love to have my link put on it, but I'm not going to freak out nearly as bad as if it were someone stealing it for profit. 
    I haven't had anonymous hate comments since my new blog started, but I've had a few on the old blog, and ugh. I think Deborah's got it right - a lot of this stuff should be pretty common sense, things we were taught as kids should still apply. 
    I think the rules that get me the most though are the ones that are unreasonable. You know what, not everyone has perfect manicure skills or the perfect cuticles. Mine still aren't, and it takes time to learn the little tricks that we pick up. I don't think it makes you a bad blogger, nor do I think that means we shouldn't blog until we learn these things. I hate seeing nasty comments about that kind of thing. Everyone was new at SOMETHING once. You know what I mean?

  12. Since I am new to the blogging world, can someone please explain what LUUUX is? I clicked on the link and it just looked overwhelming. 

    I too link spammed a blog or two before realizing it was poor etiquette, but I later went back and realized that the comments section made no remark regarding no links. I am very sure to explicitly tell my readers not to include links in their comments, yet it frequently happens. Also, I have noticed that on many blogs there appear to be readers (with blogs) who comment on every post, even if it is just one word (like "Pretty"). I get the feeling that some of these people are really just commenting to drive traffic to their blog. For some reason, that irks me. 

  13. **Long Comment Time**

    Great topic as always Stephanie! Like you, I try to treat the issues mentioned (minus the anon meanies) with a grain of sugar. Because like you mentioned, most of the time it's a newbie blogger that just may not know any better. Whenever I get a 'link/comment spamming' issue on my blog, I'll edit out the link first. And then if the person has provided an email address I will send them an email thanking them for their comment and just letting them know that I don't allow link dropping in my comments and why. I also provide a link to a really good article that explains the issue/controversy of link dropping for them to view as well. So far any time I've had to do this it's gone quite well and the commenter thanks me because honestly they weren't aware it was a faux pas. I've only had one person go back and delete their entire comment, and in that case I think they were one of those serial link spammers that just didn't care. :p

    As for picture stealing/borrowing/etc so far I've been incredible lucky on that front *knocks on wood*. The few times people have used my pictures they've either asked me before they borrowed them, or sent me a message/email/comment saying they'd used a picture and had linked back to me on their website. :)

    And when it comes to the anonymous rude comments, I just don't understand the point of taking time out of your day to be an arse to someone you've never even met. I mean really, do these people not have better things to do in their daily lives?

  14. I'm totally there with you on this issue too Ariana! A few of my favorite bloggers have been MIA for quite some time and the amount of completely rude comments they get about being absent is insane! Heaven forbid that real life takes over for a bit and you don't have time to go on your blog to explain. -_-

  15. LUUUX is a website where you can write posts about pretty much anything you like, and you get win Luuux dollars for them if they're voted a best post of the day/week/month. You in turn can use your money to buy real things on the site.

    A lot of bloggers have had problems with people taking their pictures, putting them in posts on Luuux, and getting site money for winning (myself included).

  16. Also I agree about the commenting just to get traffic thing. That bugs me too. I'm like, "if you can't even think of a legitimate comment to leave, why bother?"

  17. While I do side eye people who link drop in their comments, it isn't something that bothers me too much. I have a small enough blog that the occasional link in a comment isn't a big deal. That being said, I cannot stand it when someone link drops - which we all know is code for "FOLLOW ME!" - but doesn't bother to follow my blog! So, you took the time to leave me a generic comment (typically something like, Oh cool nails! LINK!), but you can't do me the courtesy of following my blog? It's clear that all they're after is followers, and I'm not into following bloggers who care more about popularity than content.

  18. If you want to see if your images are being used elsewhere, go to:    www.tineye.com 

  19. As far as link spamming goes, if someone leaves an actual comment (i.e. not something generic like "pretty color! check out my blog") I'll edit out their link in Disqus because they probably don't know. The generic comment kind of makes it seem like someone's just fishing for followers.

    Another thing that bothers me is back when there were a bunch of people asking bloggers to do giveaways. Like, someone had a giveaway and she kept getting comments saying "Do more giveaways!" And I think it was The Swatchaholic did a really awesome layering combo with Clarins 230 and someone left a comment saying something like, "Do a giveaway with this polish!" Rude! I think it's really rude for people to feel entitled to free stuff!

  20. I'm with you 100% here. When I 1st started blogging I had no idea that it upset people so much. I would sign my post with my name and url just as I would my emails. Not intending to spam, but just as part of the signature. I don't mind when people do that. What I do mind is "Nice blog... check mine out..." Those really do bug me. I also don't like emails asking me to check a blog out because then I feel obligated to look and follow.

    When it comes to photos, I have seen some bloggers make an honest mistake of taking promo photos thinking they are generic and came from the PR, but it turns out the original blogger modified them in some way and gets upset. I've seen it blown out of proportion and as you say, it could have been solved with a simple email. If it is swatches that get used for selling on ebay or trying to pass as their own then that is just wrong!

  21. I think you are right, there are some people who purposely comment spam with their links, and their are some who do it unknowingly. I did mention to one person in particular who I knew was a new blogger and left her link in my comments. And all I did was suggest to her that she might not want to do that because some people don't like it. I knew it was an honest 'mistake' and she offered to take it down. I left it up because it didn't bother me.
    In terms of picture stealing, The obvious thieves are an issue for sure. I am sure there are some people who don't know it's wrong, and think all pictures on the internet are public domain. I also think there are a certain amount of bloggers who simply re-blog and aren't really passing the pics off and their own, just sharing them with their readers. I don't have a huge problem with that per se, because if you have watermarked your photo's then it still has your 'signature' or URL on it, although it would be nice if it was linked as well. Sort of like Tumblr or Pinterest., its all re-blogging but most aren't trying ti say they are their own pics. For me personally when I see my pics somewhere I am flattered that they liked them enough to feel they were worth taking :) But if that person tried to say they were their own pics, yeah that would be a problem.
    As a blogger you learn as you go, and there is no 'handbook' of rules. However, as in life, there are no handwritten rules, but common courtesy and respect prevails ( in most cases) There will always be the bad apple that ruins the barrel, but they usually out themselves soon enough, so we don't have to.


I love and appreciate all comments. I will respond to any questions in comments ASAP. Please refrain from linking your blog in the comment section. These comments will be deleted. I'd be happy to view your blog if you email me your link.