RSS Feed Etiquette
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 practices.
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 to them?
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 post?
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
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
I made a mistake, what should
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
Always respect your sources. If
you are told something "off the record" do not
report about it, post it or share it with anyone.
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
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
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.