the rules of blogging

back in the day, jason, jean, marianne and i would discuss what we thought were the “rules of blogging.” then we’d poke fun at ourselves and others for breaking them.

as a result of talking about these rules, i sometimes get chidded for the unintended burden they impose on others. so i thought i’d just list them out–which was harder than i thought. turns out there are several kinds.

things that i blog about

generally accepted tenets of blogging

some proposed ethical standards for blogging

it should go without saying that knowing the rules of a new medium or a new place is integral to being a good and conscientious participant. on one hand, ferreting out these rules helps to better understand the constraints people put on themselves and other members of the community. on the other hand, knowing the rules helps in knowing which might need to be broken.




‘don’t blog about blogging’

why not? i mean obviously commiserating about how hard it is or how you should blog more isn’t very interesting and won’t get many return readers (not that i don’t do it), but what is the problem with discussing a medium in that medium? isn’t this one of the most interesting things about ‘postmodern’ literature – realization that everything is relative and has been created in a specific context by a specifid individual?

maybe i misunderstand what you mean. anyone have any thoughts ;)

you understand exactly what i mean.

i think it becomes a problem when it’s coupled with two other characteristics: you’re a new blogger and you feel like you have to post regularly/daily or more but you’ve have nothing to say. that’s when i think the rule is most important because like you said, it might prevent a person from posting crap that’s really boring to read: “i have nothing blog about today…blah blah blah”

it’s also a good rule for established bloggers to prevent them from waxing philosophical, like they know everything and everyone should do what they do–this post of mine being an example of me doing just that. hehe. instead they should be on the cutting edge reinventing the medium.

then again, academics will consider themselves exempt from this since they are trying to “understand” and ‘categorize” and “model” a process, which requires looking inwards.

but i think a post-modern approach–or we could just say self-aware/self-referential writing–is one tool in a writers/bloggers belt that should be used carefully/sparingly.

For personal rules, these are fine. However, these certainly couldn’t be applied across the entire world of blogs without creating an undesirable unity. Part of what is so great about this medium is that we do all get to decide our style, what we want to include, and how we want to go about it.

When Martin was doing his BlogEthics project, I supported it and sent in my responses. However, rules for blogging shouldn’t exist in the mandated sense. Suggestions for blogging is more like it, since often it’s a personal list, extended to others for consideration, not an official edict.

though maybe not clear in the paragraphs before and after the “rules”, part of the reason i wrote them down was so that people who just remember that we all used to talk about this (in order to understand blogging) wouldn’t feel that i am secretly judging them.

the first section are really the rules that i follow, and so they have no bearing on any other blogs. the second section is really dry, kind of definitional and technnical. for technical reasons not everyone’s blog applies, and even if every blog possesed those qualities, i don’t think there would be any kind of undesirable unity.

the last section however, is the exception. i could see many people would find fault in those things because they may represent exactly what they blog about. so maybe in v2 i should create a category of “things i don’t blog about” and put most of them in there?


You might also want to leave out, “it should go without saying that knowing the rules of a new medium or a new place is integral to being a good and conscientious participant,” if you’re really backtracking out of being prescriptivist and judgemental.

I agree with the idea of a separate set for “optional blogging” or something of the sort. My comment and post weren’t meant to be an attack on you specifically, but on the general idea of having rules for something that is often personal opinion or bias, regardless if it’s a news blog, tech blog, personal blog, or, yes, political bloggers :). When Jean first posted her rules, I challenged her about them as well.

I tend to disagree with everyone who creates rules that are meant to apply outside of their own blogs. Suggestions are about all we can really claim or expect others to use if they wish, unless it’s a situation like a manager at work where we are expected and encouraged to set certain standards for a department and have the authority to enforce them.

Thanks for the thoughtful comments though – this issue really sparked my interest for the first time in a long time.

I strongly agree about respecting the privacy of others and honoring their request of not mentioning them in my blogs. I typically don’t write about other people’s personal life, that’s my rule. My life, on the other hand, is another thing…

[…] I don’t usually write about how I feel. Emotions are hard to write about. Even good writers do a poor job of writing about them because they don’t readily adapt themselves to translation. Because of this, feelings respresented by words tend not to age well, and I hate cringing when I read back over something I wrote in the past. […]

[…] Here some ethics for bloggers at Cyberjournalist and Justinsomnia. Both are an interesting read. Share and Enjoy:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

I hate rules. I have a problem with authority.

Me too. Rules is such a bad word for what I meant. I really meant (n)etiquette. Which is just a fancy work for rules.


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