The Right Thing To Do: On Blogger Ethics

I want to revisit something from my “blogger development” Armchair BEA post:
THERE’S NO ONE RIGHT WAY TO DO THIS.

My best blogging advice is “Read a lot of other blogs.” You’ll see what you like and what you don’t, and as you learn what inspires you, you’ll figure out how those inspirations can shape your own blogging.

I really have come to believe, after more than six years and 1900 posts, that there isn’t one “right” way to blog. However, I also firmly believe that there are “right things TO DO” as a blogger. This blog has worn a Blog With Integrity badge for nearly four years, and shortly after I added it, I posted some of my thoughts about what that means to me:

“On a different scale and at a more specialized level, the book-blogging community has been debating some of (these) issues–disclosure, transparency, compensation, recognition, responsibility–for quite a while. (Edited to add: And we still are. Appropriately. It’s an evolving environment, and that requires this to be an ongoing conversation.) 

“…While we may not all blog about the same topics, we are facing some of the same issues and challenges no matter where we focus. Blog with Integrity is one response to that. It’s a response to the marketers and PR people who ask us to post their press releases and plug their products (Edited to add: Books are products too!) as if they’re doing us a favor. It’s a response to those who send out one-size-fits-all pitches that don’t reflect any acquaintance with the blog and its writer. It’s a response to the bloggers who cheerily accept those pitches and products and do those favors, without necessarily acknowledging their source, because they want the products and the compensation and the attention–and who have complicated the game for bloggers who don’t want to play it that way.”

Book Expo America 2011  www.3rsblog.com

I think that if you’re going to review books on your blog, having a posted, clearly expressed review policy is essential…even if your policy is that you don’t accept books from publishers or authors. and only review books you buy or borrow from the library. And if you do accept books for review, you need to be aware of the (also-evolving) FTC disclosure guidelines…and follow them. These practices address some of the more concrete concerns of book blogging, but things get fuzzier when it comes to the more creative side of things.

I believe what I said earlier about being inspired by what we see other bloggers are doing. That said, inspiration and plagiarism and very different things.

My general stance is that if you tweak an idea you’ve seen elsewhere and make it your own, it’s courteous to give credit–via a link, at the very least–to the blog and/or post that started you on that path. If you substantially quote or copy someone else’s work, setting off the quotes and attributing to the original in both link and text are critical. My own policy is to make every effort to link and credit when I post something inspired by, or expanding on, something I encountered on another blog. In some cases, the blog linked may not be the primary source of the material, but I do try to make sure I give credit to the place I found it. (If you ever find that I have quoted you without proper link or attribution, please e-mail me at 3.rsblog AT Gmail DOT com with your link and any necessary correction. I would appreciate not being called out publicly, in comments, for honest errors of that sort, but I will edit the post and acknowledge the revision.)

When it comes to most matters of ethics, I feel that even the most complex codes of policies and procedures are underpinned by a pretty fundamental idea: Do Unto Others As You Would Have Others Do Unto You. Be fair, be honest, be reliable…and hope that those you deal with do the same.


Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9 other subscribers

Many Paths, But No One Right One: On Blogger Development

Many Paths, But No One Right One: On Blogger Development

Because yesterday was my Wordless Wednesday Link-up, I didn’t talk about Armchair BEA’s Day 2 discussion topic, “Development,” then. But since I won’t be talking about the Day 3 topic, “Giveaways,” at all, I’m taking the opportunity to backtrack: “Day 2 we talk about how we develop ourselves as bloggers.  Have you branched out into your community? Do you partner with other bloggers?  Have you gone “pro” or begun supplementing your income through your blog? […]

Wordless Wednesday: New York City Blue

Wordless Wednesday: New York City Blue

These photos were taken in and around New York City during my visit for Book Expo America 2012. Our Linked-Up Wordless Wednesday prompt this week is “Blue/Purple”–I’m a bit blue because I’m not back there this week at BEA 2013. #NextYearInNYC Top: Lower Manhattan, seen from New York Harbor. Botton left: Times Square. Botton right: the Chrysler Building. My photos, edited with Snapseed and collaged with PicFrame Loading InLinkz … Posted with Blogsy Subscribe to […]

Armchair BEA Is Underway!

Armchair BEA Is Underway!

Armchair BEA 2013 is officially underway! It’s the fourth time around for this popular annual event, and the first time I’ll be able to go (mostly) all in on the festivities since 2010. We’re starting off by going around the virtual table and introducing ourselves today, as we choose five of the official Introduction Questions to answer. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why […]

Right Here, Right Now: Sunday Status

Right Here, Right Now: Sunday Status

Time: Saturday evening, for posting Sunday morning Place: Home, which has been emptied of much surplus stuff this weekend: dozens of DVDs and CDs which have been rendered superfluous by digital media, plus about seven bags of clothing. I’m working up my strength to tackle the bookshelves… Eating: Nothing at the moment, as we just came home from one of our favorite Italian restaurants a little while ago. Drinking: Lots of water. Dinner made me […]

(Book Club) Book Talk: ORPHAN TRAIN, by Christina Baker Kline

(Book Club) Book Talk: ORPHAN TRAIN, by Christina Baker Kline

Orphan Train: A Novel (book trailer) Christina Baker Kline (Facebook) (Twitter) (Goodreads) William Morrow Paperbacks (April 2013), paperback original (ISBN 0061950726 / 9780061950728) Fiction (historical), 304 pages Source: Publisher, for review consideration Reason for Reading: SheReads Book Club selection, May 2013 Opening lines (Prologue): “I believe in ghosts. They’re the ones who haunt us, the ones who have left us behind. Many times in my life I have felt them around me, observing, witnessing, when no […]

Wordless Wednesday: Washing Dishes

Wordless Wednesday: Washing Dishes

This week’s Linked-up Wordless Wednesday prompt is “Washing Dishes.” Y’know, sometimes I’d just as soon not… Guess where we went to get it to go? My iPhone photos, edited with Snapseed and collaged with PicFrame Loading InLinkz … Posted with Blogsy Subscribe to Blog via Email Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Join 9 other subscribers Email Address

Book Talk: THE EDGE OF THE EARTH, by Christina Schwarz

Book Talk: THE EDGE OF THE EARTH, by Christina Schwarz

The Edge of the Earth: A Novel Christina Schwarz Atria Books (April 2013), hardcover (ISBN 1451683677 / 9781451683677) Fiction (historical), 288 pages Source: ARC from publisher Reason for reading: Intended for review in Shelf Awareness for Readers, but didn’t finish reading the book in time to meet my deadline Opening Lines, from the Prologue: “I’m not going to let on I was born here. People always ask what it was like to grow up in a […]

Sunday Salon: right here, right now (May 19, 2013)

Sunday Salon: right here, right now (May 19, 2013)

Time: Saturday evening, for posting Sunday morning Place: Home Eating: There are certain foods I associate with my childhood, and some of them are foods I’ve rarely found since. There was a certain type of bread we used to get at the bakery called a “tea biscuit”–a little crumbly, a little sweet, something like a scone, but plain. I discovered these Shortcake Biscuits at Trader Joe’s this weekend–I don’t think they’re the exact thing, but […]

Book Talk: TELEGRAPH AVENUE, by Michael Chabon

Book Talk: TELEGRAPH AVENUE, by Michael Chabon

Telegraph Avenue: A Novel Michael Chabon Harper (September 2012), Hardcover (ISBN 0061493341 / 9780061493348) Fiction, 480 pages Source: ARC received at Book Expo America 2013 Reason for reading: #readchabon group read Opening lines: “A white boy rode flatfoot on a skateboard, towed along, hand to shoulder, by a black boy pedaling a brakeless fixed-gear bike. Dark August morning, deep in the Flatlands. Hiss of tires. Granular unraveling of skateboard wheels against asphalt. Summertime Berkeley giving […]

Wordless Wednesday: Smile!

Wordless Wednesday: Smile!

There’s nothing that makes a kid (of any age) smile like Christmas does. Christmas 2012 Photos edited with Snapseed, collaged with PicFrame Loading InLinkz … Posted with Blogsy Subscribe to Blog via Email Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Join 9 other subscribers Email Address

Sunday Salon: Right Here, Right Now–Mother's Day!

Sunday Salon: Right Here, Right Now–Mother's Day!

Time: Early morning (it’s still “early” till 9 AM, right?) Place: Still in bed, writing on the iPad Eating: Nothing yet. Staying in this morning–on a kid-free Mother’s Day–and thinking about whether I want to do something different for breakfast. Gratuitous Christmas photos of our kids for Mother’s Day! Drinking: Water that got a little too warm overnight. Reading: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, this month’s She Reads Book Club selection. Also, parts of […]

Wordless Wednesday: "Only a mother could love…"

Wordless Wednesday: "Only a mother could love…"

…raising the kids to be cosplayers. (Although from what I’ve seen, there’s usually a good chance that dads are pretty involved with this, too.) Original photos by Paul Vasquez and Florinda Vasquez, edited with Snapseed; collaged with PicFrame; text by Phonto Top left: Eleventh Doctor, WonderCon 2013 Bottom left: Tenth Doctor with Eleventh Doctor companion Amy Pond, Gallifrey One, 2013 Right: Renaissance Pleasure Faire, 2013 -> document.write(”); Posted with Blogsy Subscribe to Blog via Email […]

#readchabon, check-in the last: In Summary (spoiler warning!)

#readchabon, check-in the last: In Summary (spoiler warning!)

Kim and I have been reading Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue together for the past month, along with anyone else who’s chosen to read it with us. We’ve been checking in here at The 3 R’s Blog— April 15: Section I (through page 124)  April 22: Sections I and III (through page 250) April 29: Section IV (through page 381) May 7: Section V (through page 465) and tweeting our thoughts with the #readchabon hashtag. We decided […]

Sunday Salon: Right Here, Right Now (May 5, 2013)

Sunday Salon: Right Here, Right Now (May 5, 2013)

 Time: 7 AM (more or less) Place: The family room, in the recliner, with my laptop literally on my lap (well, on a lap desk, but still living up to its name) Eating: Nothing yet–thinking about what I’d like for breakfast this morning Drinking: Just water right now, but either coffee or tea will soon follow Reading: I finished Telegraph Avenue yesterday, and Kim and I are talking about it via e-mail today as we […]