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May 25

Blog Manners

I read several blogs, most of them by and for writers. My favorite, if you haven’t guessed from previous posts, is The Passive Voice. Passive Guy runs a blog that’s not only my go-to source for what’s happening in the writing and publishing world, it’s also classy. People from all over the world, from different vocations, outlooks and levels of experience gather and comment. PG always makes sure debate stays civil, and it’s a great online place to hang out.

On the other hand, I’ve read blogs that… Well, let’s just say they left a bad taste in my mouth.

Now, a frequent response is, “It’s my blog, I can say whatever I want.” And that’s true. It’s also important to remember that a blog is one’s public face. When sitting and typing at the computer / phone /  tablet, that can sometimes be easy to forget.

So I’d like offer my ideas of what makes for good blogging etiquette.

  1. BE RESPECTFUL This one goes without saying, but it’s amazing how often people forget it. We don’t have to call people names or treat them with contempt for their views. As long as they’re being civil, we don’t have to censor them. Joe Konrath takes one blogger to task in a recent post in part for the way she deals with those who don’t agree with her.
  2. BE OPEN TO DISCUSSION  As much as we’d like them to, not everyone will agree with us. That’s okay. People have different experiences, different knowledge, different perspectives. We’re all subject to biases and blind spots. No human being, no matter how smart or knowledgeable, has all the answers. Others often have valid points. If you state a position and someone poses counter-arguments, do him or her the courtesy of responding to the arguments made–don’t ignore them and just re-state the script in your head in an attempt to bludgeon your opponent into submission, the way this fellow did in the comments section of the Mad Genius Club’s blog
  3. BE HONEST  Clickbait posts might be great for increasing views and riling up controversy, but they don’t exactly add credibility. There’s nothing wrong with holding strong or even extreme positions, just make sure you really believe them and are willing to back them up.
  4. STAY POSITIVE  No, not everything in the world is sunshine and roses, but when something isn’t the way you think it should be, for godsake, offer ideas or solutions. Don’t just tear down– provide alternatives. Hugh Howey is a master at this. Like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos says, “Complaining is not a strategy.” It also isn’t very attractive or professional. Save if for your besties in private.

We have the right to say what we like. But remember, that doesn’t mean everyone has to like it. (For the humor-impaired, the cartoon below is a joke. 🙂 )

Manners or else

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