Remy Fool: They say that there’s no honor among thieves. But is there a proper code of conduct that should be expected among bloggers? What about some sort of unspoken blogger etiquette?
R: Well, folks, Irina and I have the answers to all of those questions and more! We think we do, at least.
R: I think it goes without saying that there are some guidelines that are largely self-evident. Don’t spread hate-speech, don’t encourage criminal behavior, don’t demonstrate a lack of human empathy and compassion by excessively flaming others, etc. Don’t do these sort of things for obvious reasons and show at least a minimum level of human decency while interacting with others.
R: However, Irina and I are gonna be addressing some greyer areas. These topics are a lot less clear-cut and we’ll be trying our best to point out the correct way to handle these contentious situations. In other words, we’re just listing out our thoughts in regards to such circumstances. We may disagree with each other at times since there are clearly no one-size-fits-all answers to these potential problems, but that just means individuality triumphs once again. Gives you all some more food for thought, too.
R: As always, your mileage may vary!
Irina: I’m mostly here for my own education. I would rather murder all of you than be considered impolite so I’ve been bugging Remy with all these questions and we thought maybe someone else might be curious as well.
Self-promotion – how much, when, and where?
R: I think there definitely are several fine lines to consider when it comes to self-promotion. Yes, you obviously want your blog to flourish and you may have written some quality content that you want to share with everyone. But throwing around links to your content in another blogger’s comment section, even if said content is related to the other blogger’s topic of interest, is too much!
R: If you want to hype yourself up, go submit your content to a post that’s collecting posts to promote! Ping Twitter mutuals whom you believe will appreciate your content!
R: I’m basically of the opinion that invading someone else’s comment section to promote yourself is in poor taste and should never be done, but I’ll let it slide 3 times, tops, before I start getting angry. And you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.
R: Even if the invaded doesn’t voice a complaint after you have repeatedly taken over their comment section, you should still consider what you’re doing and their position. Maybe they don’t want to confront you or they have trouble expressing displeasure. Just try to be considerate, alright?
R: Maybe I’m a bit too optimistic, but people will notice when you write strong, focused content and they might even share your content for you. So just focus on the quality of your writing and the rest will surely follow! Just don’t forget to do the same for others!
I: You know, aside from those great ideas, I have had both success and just a whole bunch of fun with collaborations. Now you should keep in mind that just like you, bloggers are busy people with their own lives who may not have time to do a post on short notice, but it can really be a great way to reach some new reader while sharpening your own skills.
I: Here are my humble suggestions for a successful collab. Before you approach someone, make sure to read enough of their posts to get a good sense of their style and preferences. Not all collaborations are a good match. Do your homework. Pick a topic you would both be interested in discussing and have an outline ready. Work out the mechanics (i.e. use Google Docs) and propose a timetable but be flexible.
I: Or just ask Remy. It’s what I do…
R: Ehhh. よろしくお願いします。
I: REMI!!!!! Children could see this!!!!
Should you have and upkeep a blogroll?
R: By blogroll, do you mean the list or grid widgets which lists the blogs that I follow and the posts that I’ve recently liked? I just added those widgets after looking through these questions, admittedly, so my answer might sound a little insincere. But I’m of the opinion that it really depends on you. Do you like how the blogroll widget looks on your blog? Do you want to help promote other blogs? These are questions you must answer yourself! I personally want spread more love to other blogs so I’m all for the blogroll.
I: Before I started the blog, I did my research (I read two random posts) on how to create a good anime blog. One of those posts was from the stone age (like 2005) but still had all the same points you’ve seen everywhere, consistency, originality, interesting/precise point of view… yadda yadda yadda. But the one practical piece of advice that jumped out at me was:
“DO keep a blogroll. Part of blogging is to recommend other blogs. Think of it as your civic duty to help the pagerank of blogs that you like.”
I: Personally, I have no thoughts on other people’s blogroll habits. When they don’t have any I usually don’t really notice, but when they do I enjoy exploring it and I may come back to the blog more often even without new posts to check out the new blogs they’ve discovered or new posts they like.
I: So I guess both Rem and I are saying – have a blogroll if you want.
R: Leave it to Iri to cut through the purple prose and get to the point!
Follow for follow?
R: I try to follow everyone who follows me. But if they don’t actually have a blog or if they don’t write about anime, I tend to give them a hard pass. I wasn’t sure what to do when these fashion bloggers started following me after I wrote one or two posts about fashion and outfits!
I: I have followers who I’m pretty sure do not in fact follow me. They have never commented or liked any of my posts and our content has NOTHING at all in common. A few of these are huge blogs with thousands of followers so I suspect these might be folks interested in exploiting doormats who instantly hit follow whenever someone follows them. And it worked on me! Since I celebrate my follower milestones in a very…let’s say specific, way, I actually do follow and read almost all my followers’ blogs.
I: But I also follow a lot more blogs that don’t follow me. In fact I follow close to 1000 so it’s getting a bit hard to keep up with everyone’s posts. Maybe I should clean up a bit. I personally don’t mind when someone doesn’t follow me back but if they follow a whole bunch of blogs that are similar to mine I do wonder if it’s just because mine isn’t good enough. In time I’ve come to realize that like me they probably have so many that they haven’t even noticed my blog in the crowd.
I: Where did we come down on this? It’s not a must?
R: I think we both agree that this solidly depends on personal preference once again. It does feel like some of the bigger blogs are a bit more cold-hearted and more self-interested, though.
Is it OK to like a post you haven’t really read (as in you only glanced at it from your reader)? And should you ALWAYS like posts from bloggers you like?
R: Wow, the double whammy. Well, I try to actually read all the posts I “like.” Sometimes I realize I’m simply not interested in the post’s content as I’m reading, but I still “like” the post anyways to give them some sense of validation. They probably worked really hard on that post, you know!
R: As for the second question, I usually end up “liking” almost all the posts from bloggers I like. Unfortunately, if I start really disliking the tone you take in your posts or if you’ve wronged me in some way by leaving me hanging or if you consistently ignore my comments or if you never actually swing by my blog, then you probably won’t be getting a golden star from me! But I might still “like” some of your posts from time to time…
I: This is a weird one for me. I read all the posts I like but I will sometimes like the author rather than the actual post. From the other end, there are people that just either insta-like my posts or go to my blog once a week and like every single post in the span of 5 seconds. I’m sort of doubtful they read them but I still feel weirdly happy that they even took the time. Then again, I have followers that only like posts once in a very long while but whenever they do I feel super gratified, like YES I finally earned their like!
I: I do know however that I find likes and number of likes very encouraging. It really motivates me when a post does well (especially a review).
R: Oh, I definitely know about those folks who like all of my posts from last week within a couple of seconds. I really doubt they’re champion speed-readers, but what can I do? They want to pretend they care so I let the illusion live.
I: It’s a nice illusion. Guys, keep liking my posts even if you don’t read them… I guess it doesn’t matter if I write this since…
Should you force yourself to comment even if you don’t really have anything to add?
R: I do notice I often force myself to comment on some posts even though I have little to say since I don’t want to end up like these self-absorbed bloggers who really only interacts with specific bloggers while ignoring other bloggers who happen to inspire jealousy. You know who you are.
R: Just like with “liking” posts, I force myself to comment on some posts because I want to validate their hard work! In such cases, mentioning specific details that demonstrate that you actually read the post is key. Even if you’re not really saying anything new or constructive, it feels really really good to know someone actually read what you wrote. What’s wrong with making them feel better?
I: I don’t. In fact, I seldom comment unless I really have something specific to say – sometimes it’s pretty random but it means something to me. I do feel a little guilty about it. Often I’ll read a post and something comes to mind and I’ll be super excited, then I’ll notice that someone already commented the same thing and the wind will go right out of my sails.
I: I don’t want to comment just to say, “You are right” or “I agree” because that seems redundant with the like and how are they supposed to respond? Maybe I should, though.
Should you always respond to comments on your own blog?
R: I personally think you should try to do so at least once for each post. If they respond to your response and you’re not sure what to say, just “like” their comment and move on, I guess. That’s what I often do. But if you’re stumped after the first comment, then I guess it’s okay to just not respond aside from “liking” said comment. Personally think that’s a bit cold-hearted, though.
I: Agreed! Admittedly I don’t really know what to say at times. I approach my blog a lot like a conversation rather than a presentation, so I just imagine myself talking to a person. I currently need to figure out the written equivalent to nodding and friendly grunting.
Are “negative” comments (that are respectfully written, of course) OK? Should they always be private?
R: Never forget the golden rule. If you don’t have nothing nice to say, then don’t say nothing at all. Unless if you’re a supervillain and you’ve just destroyed your rival’s arms. Then gloat all you want.
R: With that being said, if you feel compelled to leave or respond with a negative comment, try to balance it out with some compliments. Otherwise, you will come across as being naggy and nitpicky.
R: In any case, I am not really scared to leave a public “negative” comment. Then again, I sort of censor my thoughts to avoid causing excessive trouble so such comments come across as being more of a concern than a criticism. If I want to be controversial and argumentative, I have my own posts where I can express my views. Personally, I don’t really use the comment sections as a place to hold heated discussion, but if I must, I must.
I: On the commenter side I’m 100% with you. I really don’t think I could post a negative comment unless I actually had a personal stake in the discussion. On the blogger side though, constructive criticism is how you learn. I’m not saying I’d enjoy constant confrontation but if someone can help me improve then I’d be shooting myself in the foot by not listening to it.