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August 04, 2007

Blogging Etiquette

This will seem a rebuke to Drew, but it's not. He's new. A "civilian," as we call them.

First, of course, the necessary hat-tip or link to the blog you're quoting from. Unless it's a total dick who deserves no traffic. (In that case, say who you got it from and say "Google it" but mind fair use. Even if someone's a total dick you can't steal his writing.)

If you don't want to mess with html, this is a problem. Tiny Url seems to be the easiest way to create a link for newbies. Just go there, paste your link, and tiny url will spit out an HTML link to what you want to link.

Next, fair use. Fair use for a MSM article is, I dunno, maybe 1/4 of it... at most. Try to keep it less than that; if there's more there to be read, just digest it or say "Read the whole thing." Quotes should be the most crucial stuff only; if a writer has jam-packed an article with crucial stuff, well, he really deserves the hit on his paper.

As far as quoting blogs: Try not to quote all of the meat of a post. Drew did this, alas, in the Con Yank post. CY had two truly newsworthy scoops, and Drew quoted them all in their entirety. That leaves nothing really left behind to make it useful for someone to click on CY's link.

This is a balancing act as you try to put the important information here and yet leave something important behind requiring a click-through to the blog you got it from. It's sometimes hard to do; sometimes the only great thing in a post is a single sentence or picture; then what do you do?

Well, either just provide the link and tease it, Instapundit-like, strongly encouraging the click-through; or post it, but make sure you find something else interesting on his site you can recommend a click-through on.

With the ConYank emails, I would have just quoted one of them and then said, "And there may be administrative hearings in Beauchamp's future, too, as another email explains." So I swiped the most important thing (the denial) but left behind the very tasty, very clickable prospect of adminstrative discipline.

This is often a balancing act and sometimes it's hard to both get the info up on this site while being fair to the site you got it from. Just keep in mind you're trying to do both, and always trying to deliver a click to someone who's brought something newsworthy to the table.

Oh: Don't go post-crazy, okay? This isn't a contest to see who can get the most headlines up.

Multiple short links can all be tucked into a single post, especially if they're silly/funny things. I used to headline stuff like that "Ministry of Silly Links."

Not everything deserves its own post; smallbore stuff should be collected up into a single post. Otherwise everything is going to be buried under an avalanche of micro-posts.

This is a weird thing-- you might think it's the case that the more posts, the better -- after all, people can just scroll past stuff -- but it's not true. There is an upper limit to how many posts make a blog feel busy, lively; beyond that it gets chaotic and discussions are fragmented. I ran into this problem before when I asked on like 8 guest bloggers; it turned out there were just too many posts.

A good number for any day is around 25. Beyond that you have chaos.

Obviously we'll end up with more than that, but just keep in mind that small-potatoes posts are probably best consigned to the comments.

TopSecret... is mad because she thinks I'm being bossy and a little mean.

I'm trying not to be -- but if this is going to work, well, there are rules.

Why didn't I tell everyone the blogging eitquette rues before hand?

I meant to put it up as a new post but Drew's thing had already gone up.

Some of this I'm just noting as we go. Some of this doesn't occur to me until I see it. Sometimes I don't even know there is a "rule" until I see the rule violated.

One more rule, because otherwise it will be boring: No more "Ace is cool/it's fun to post on the mainpage" posts. I don't mind WP did it, but obviously readers aren't coming here to read that. Once is enough.

Again, sorry to be correcty correcterson. Just want to get everyone used to the idea that this is no big deal and maybe something they can do again... because, actually, if it works, why shouldn't I do this every weekend?


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posted by Ace at 02:13 AM

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