Monday, April 26, 2010

Book Bloggers Behaving Badly (3): The Unforgivable Book Blogging Sin

Let me start out by asking a question: Is there a sin that book bloggers commit that you simply cannot forgive? Something that makes you unsubscribe from a blog, vent to your friends, or just generally avoid that blogger forevermore? I’ve noticed an increasing amount of chatter on blogs and on Twitter about “blacklisting” certain bloggers for their online behavior. But what if that blogger apologizes for their bad behavior, either publicly or privately to you? Could you give them a second chance, or are you more a once bitten, twice shy type?

I’m generally not someone who holds a grudge – especially if someone apologizes and is sincere about it. Am I going to recommend the blog of a plagiarist (even one who apologized) to an author or a publicist or add them to my blog roll? No, probably not. At least not anytime in the near future. But in most cases, my online memory is short, so even if I am hopping mad at someone one day, I may be happily commenting on their blog the next.

I asked bloggers for their input on what they considered blogging sins/pet-peeves/turn-offs and got a pretty extensive list. Not all of these things bother everyone – for example – I actually don’t mind people leaving links to their blog in my comments (not that I encourage it exactly), but some people HATE it.

And of course there are some areas where bloggers collide over personal preferences. Some people hate it when a blogger only writes positive reviews for example. But here’s the thing – if you clearly state what your blog is focused on – whether it’s reviewing only books you loved, making fun of Sweet Valley High books, or just participating in memes – then as a visitor, I have the choice to read your content, or not. It’s when you state that you stand for honest reviews, and then turn around and give everything 5 stars that you start to look suspicious – and start annoying people.

Anyway, here are some blogging sins – some of which are deadly and some of which are merely irritating.

On your blog - reviews:
- Plagiarizing someone else’s review (see Book Bloggers Behaving Badly: Plagiarism Edition)
- Writing a review for a book you have not read
- Trashing a book or author (see Book Bloggers Behaving Badly: Are You on an Author's Hate List?)
- Recapping a book but not providing any of your own opinions
- Using the publisher summary in your reviews but not linking to your source (Liz B explains why you should not do this)
- Not providing a clear spoiler warning in a review where there are spoilers

On your blog – content:
- Bragging about books you receive for review, but never reviewing any books
- Turning someone else’s feature into a meme (to learn the difference between a feature and meme, see the Meme vs Feature post at The Story Siren)
- Participating in a meme without linking back to the person who started it
- Copying the name and idea of someone else’s feature/program without asking them permission (yes, even if you give them credit)
- Copying another blogger’s post format
- Copying another blogger’s interview questions or format
- Publishing an “us vs. them” type of discussion post just to stir up drama
- Piggy-backing on another bloggers successful discussion post with an inflammatory post meant to keep the drama rolling
- Publishing author contact info on your blog (other than blog/website address)
- Publishing publicist contact info on your blog
- Posting private correspondence such as e-mails, especially from authors, on your blog
- Abridging your RSS feed AND on your blog
- Posting a ton of widgets on your blog so it takes forever to load

On others’ blogs:
- Leaving inflammatory anonymous comments
- Leaving links to your own blog in on other blogs comment section, unless requested
- Lurking and never commenting on anyone else's blog ever [ETA: This isn't really seen as a sin, but more a reason why someone might stop commenting on your blog if you never commented back or replied to them in any way]
- Asking in the comments why someone hasn't been by to visit your blog lately

Via e-mail or other platforms:
- Spamming people with links to your contests via e-mail, GoodReads or another platform where your message will land in e-mail in-boxes (if you want to promote your contests, try a contest-specific site such as West of Mars – Win a Book)
- E-mailing other bloggers with pleas to promote you and your contests or to follow you or to add your blog to their blog roll
- Asking other bloggers if you can borrow their books (unless of course they offer, or you know them well)
- Asking other bloggers to be your affiliate unless blogger specifically requested applications
- Sending hate mail
- Sucking up to authors on Twitter for no other purpose than to get books or swag
- Complaining on Twitter that an author wouldn’t send you a book or swag
- Using Twitter to vent about your hatred for another blogger
- Tweeting links to your contests or posts multiple times in a short period

Community faux pas:
- Joining a community-wide book swap…and then sending a crappy, used ARC or even worse, nothing at all
- Volunteering for a community event and then not following through or not meeting deadlines

At a conference, book fair or book signing:
- Taking books without asking, unless it is clear that the book is there for the taking
- Taking multiple copies of a book so you can do a giveaway on your blog (when it denies paid attendees that book)
- Saving a place in an autograph line for a big group of people, especially when copies are limited
- Latching on to someone and following them everywhere, inviting yourself to all of their planned activities

So go ahead – squeeze all your negativity out on the topic in the comments. Let us know what really makes you want to throw things. Then once you've gotten it out of your system and you’re cleansed and refreshed, stop over and join the blog thanksgiving over at Persnickety Snark’s, and let us know what you love about book bloggers! (It's targeted at the YA blog community, but I'm sure Adele wouldn't mind if you posted about the book blogging community at large).


Wendy said...

Interesting post, Lenore! I have to say, I am a pretty forgiving person (except for those blogs which are stealing feeds...even if they apologize and remove your feed...I want them wiped off the face of the planet!). I really believe that most people are good, and mistakes in blogging are just that - mistakes. There is no rulebook when we start blogging, and so often the way we learn is by messing up.

The list you gave is pretty comprehensive *laughs* I agree with most of them...although I do occasionally leave a link to a review in a comment because I LOVE it when people leave me links to reviews of a book I just reviewed. But, now I'm thinking perhaps I should stop doing that! Hopefully no one has sliced me off their reading list because of it :)

Lenore Appelhans said...

Wendy - I really think the leaving links thing is by and large a matter of preference. I'd actually advise those who ABSOLUTELY hate it to write that in their little comment blurb above the comment entry form.

Shelley said...

Wow, that's quite a list. I must lead a pretty sheltered blog life because I haven't come across these issues that often, or maybe not noticed them. I haven to admit, if someone plagiarized, I probably wouldn't notice, not that it makes it okay. I guess that's why they think they can get away with it. I'm sure this has been mentioned before, but why on earth would anyone want to plagiarize? That would take all the pleasure out of blogging! I just don't even understand.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Shelley - Read the plagiarism post I linked to and the comments and you'll get a better idea of why someone would want to plagiarize.

jlshall said...

Yes, quite a list, indeed. Some of those things, of course, would be bad manners in any event - not just in the world of blogging. Plagiarism is always a no-no. But some of those peeves seem a little strange. Like the one about leaving links in comments - I actually appreciate other bloggers leaving links to their blogs in their comments. Makes it so much easier to go right to their blogs if I want. And I can always just ignore it if I'm not interested. So I guess one blogger's act of courtesy might be another's flagrant act of disrespect. But then, blogging has always been a risky business.

Raspberry said...

Hmm. Interesting list. I had someone comment one time and tell me I was too critical of a book. The truth is, I hardly ever review a book if it gets a really really bad grade, but some books that are hugely popular and I had an alternative view on, well, I figure people would want to know there's someone out there who thinks contrary to the 5 stars. It's difficult sometimes to get across a truly disappointing and low grade without sounded particularly critical, that's for sure.
And the memes...who even knows anymore who started Memory Monday, IMM, Teaser Tuesday...I know of multiple blogs that say The Story Siren started IMM, but she says a different blog started, I'd say that for really big memes like that it's not a big deal - it's the little ones that are particular to one or two blogs that can really tick people off.

Zibilee said...

Once again, I read this post holding my breath and hoping that I hadn't done any of these things, and I am glad to say that I haven't! I think that some of these breaches in etiquette are really tacky and hopefully the bloggers doing them will see this post and stop it! I can't say that I've come across many bloggers who do these things, but I know they are out there, and noticng some of these offenses would probably make me stop following someone's blog for sure. Great post, it's given me a heads up on bad blogging behavior!

Lenore Appelhans said...

Jlshall - Agreed!

Raspberry - You know why no one remembers who started those memes? Because the people who saw the original didn't link to the creator! It is entirely possible that the creators get a little angry inside every time they see their creation on a blog without getting credit.

Jana said...

I do participate in a meme each week and almost always initially forget to link back to the creator's page. Normally, sometime later in the day I will remember and then add taht in, but I always feel lousy for forgetting at first! She seems pretty forgiving of me though, because she always leaves a nice comment!

Kristen M. said...

While I was reading down this list, I thought many of the things were annoying but not terrible until I got to "abridged RSS feed and posts". I think this is one of the few things that will make me stop reading a blog. Why would you abridge your own posts for one thing? Isn't your blog the place for your WHOLE content? Is it just to gain clicks? That's lame. And I'm starting to get tired of abridged RSS feeds. I don't have time for it and I do a lot of Google Reader reading on my iPhone which means trying to read different fonts and colors on a tiny screen. Not going to happen. I'll just skip the post and probably unsubscribe the next time I am on the laptop.

Thanks for letting me vent! That feels good! :)

Amy said...

Great list! While not all of those would bother me, they are all valid!

Lenore Appelhans said...

Jana - I used to do that a lot with Waiting on Wednesday when I did it. Always had to go back and edit the link in. It also helps other would-be participants find out how to join in and lets other bloggers find out who else is participating.

Kristen - No problem! I really don't understand it either...I vastly prefer full feeds. I usually skip over partial feeds altogether.

lanna-lovely said...

I agree with a lot of those things. It also bugs me when people never post reviews and seem to use their blog just to post about contests for extra entries. Also blogs that only host contests and post IMM box posts with all their review books that they rarely review... although that one bugs me less because I've lost count of the amount of new books I've found out about through the IMM box meme.

I think I'm guilty of two things on your list... well, one really. With the meme thing, I do add credit/links back to the person who started the meme but I'm sure there have been times when I've forgotten (when I realise I've forgot, I actually do edit the post to include the links).

But it's the summary one I'm guilty of, I usually use the summaries from Amazon/Goodreads/Barnes and Noble/the back of the book and I forget to link them but I have made it clear before where the summaries come from so I don't take credit for writing them. I didn't know that bothered people because I rarely see links to summary sources on blogs, but I'll add links now. :]

One thing I don't agree with is the thing about the feature... I'm against flat out copying content from other blogs but the thing is, we're blogging specifically about books so that kind of limits what we can blog about and it's not difficult for two people to come up with the same idea (I know this for sure because I've gotten ideas for features before then later I've stumbled across other blogs doing the same thing but when I thought of those ideas I wasn't copying anyone elses ideas).

The reason I'm mentioning that one was because someone left a rude comment on one of the blogs I read accusing her of copying Kristi's "Books To Pine For" post because she does a weekly feature about new book covers.

So yeah, I'm against blatantly copying someone else but it also pisses me off to see people be accused of copying a very basic idea that someone could come up with without having even seen other people doing the same thing (like making posts about book covers, that is such a basic idea and seeing as we're book bloggers, it's kind of an obvious thing that no one blogger can really honestly take credit for coming up with).

MySharonAnne said...

"Using the publisher summary in your reviews but not linking to your source." I do this all the time without realizing how annoying it is. Now I won't be making the same mistake.

Another book signing annoyance: hitting up publishers and authors at the event for arcs.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Hey Lanna - While I totally agree that two or people can come up with the same idea - say to post upcoming book covers - and no one has a copyright on a type of post, I call shenanigans when the post has the SAME idea, SAME name & SAME format - especially when it's already a long running feature on a blog as popular as Kristi's. At the very least, come up with a new name once you are made aware that the name is taken.

Of course the rude comment was also uncalled for.

Anna said...

Oh, I'm guilty of the leaving a blog link in my comments, but that's because my blogger profile is broken and has been for ages, so if they click on my name, all they get is an error message. :( I generally don't leave links to my reviews or other posts unless it makes sense to leave one.

I agree with many of the things on your list, but I don't think they're totally unforgiveable, as like Wendy said, there isn't a blogging rulebook.

Diary of an Eccentric

Lenore Appelhans said...

Anna - That's like your signature and I for one find it really helpful.

Anonymous said...

This is a very comprehensive list.

re: posting all positive reviews - I don't gush over every book I review, but I don't give negative reviews, either. I didn't know that this is a pet peeve. I only review books that I have at least somewhat enjoyed. Having an attention span of a gnat, I don't finish books unless I like them, and I don't review books unless I've finished them. I've stated this in my review policy, but perhaps I should make it clearer. :)

Some of these don't bother me very much, but some do. Adding a whole bunch of widgets is definitely something that's bugged me lately. It makes me a lot less likely to click through Google Reader to leave comments if I know it'll take forever to load.

Angela Perry said...

I'm fairly new to the blogging world, so this is great information for me. Thanks for the post! I've bookmarked and plan to refer to it often, just so I don't step on any toes.

Liz B said...

To explain a bit about why the uncredited copy from publishers bugs (and sigh, i am picky, but if Amazon is using copy from the publisher, it's still the publisher... its like, if I copy something from Lenore (& credit her) and then you copy from me, you shouldn't credit me, you should credit Lenore).

I have about 250 book blogs I read via RSS. Do you know what its like for three reviews in a row (or more) to start with the exact same wording? Especially when there is nothing to show where its from? When I get to the second one I go "hey, they copied from first blogger! Oh. no, its the publisher copy."

Recap/own opinions. On my blog, I don't like saying over and over "I liked x or y." It's my blog, of course its my opinion, so I'll word it "the characterization is x" or "the plot abc" instead of "what i like about the characterization is x". Hard to make everyone happy!

Unknown said...

Great post! I like to always read lists of things that I shouldn't do since I'm fairly new at this. I'm glad that I'm not guilty of any of those, at least not to my knowledge. =D

Ana S. said...

Like Shelley, I feel pretty sheltered, because I haven't come across most of that! My main rule for blogging, as for life, is "don't be needlessly mean or treat other people like they are beneath you". Anything other than that I'm pretty easy going and forgiving about :P

Ana S. said...

(And also don't plagiarise!)

Heidi Willis said...

Wow! That's a heck of a list! I think if I constantly worried I was ticking someone off with how I did things, I'd never blog. There are just so many places to go wrong!

Still, I think the only one I've done here is the publisher summary on my reviews. I don't do reviews very often, but when I do, I always post a cover picture that links back to the amazon page. It takes me forever to come up with great summaries of my own books, so to take the time to do that on someone else's, especially when they've had professionals do it for them, would take away time from writing the actual review.

I actually assumed most people did this. I've seen it done a lot, including on reviews on my own book.

I'm usually painfully polite, so to think I could be irritating people... sigh.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Sandy - Like I said, if that's your policy when reviewing books, I won't hold it against you!

Liz B - That's a good point. If book bloggers want to use copyrighted material like that, they should take the time to track down the orginal source (that is the publishers).

Unknown said...

My pet peeve is blog comments filled with "ZOMG your post is so RIGHT ON!" comments.

Liz B said...

"ZOMG your post is so RIGHT ON"

Kay said...

This list, while very informative, has also made me a bit sad. I myself seem to do something on the sins list, and that's being a lurker. Yup, I do read a lot of book blogs, and I rarely comment on them, both due to lack of time and to the fact that there always are lots of commenters way better than myself, so I never know what to add to a discussion that hasn't already been said (the timezone difference may also have a part of blame here). So I'll probably always be a lurker not a commenter, hence my sadness at seeing this on the list.

At least I don't think I do any of the others :)

lanna-lovely said...

@Lenore, yeah, that's what I meant - like, copying the title and pretty much the exact content, that's just copying. The rude commenter I mentioned, the blog she was accusing of copying wasn't even close to having the same title or anything like that and yet she was accused of copying.

The "Books To Pine For" thing, that is definitely exclusively something Kristi came up with, the title of it is the most unique one I've seen but the actual idea of it... basically, it's just like a wish list thing which nearly every blogger could come up with.

This post, your "Book Bloggers Behaving Badly" thing, that one is a little different. If someone started up a feature like that on their blog then that one is more likely to be copying because it really is a pretty original idea (at least, I've not seen another book blog blogging about book bloggers).

Serena said...

Great list of dos and don't. Not sure if I've committed any of these...maybe the links in the comments, but I guess if I don't know you don't like them, I can't stop myself! LOL

Blacklisting plagiarizers is probably something I would consider, but I'm pretty open minded...though if you want use something from my posts etc. I would prefer a credit link in the post.

I've probably been guilty of the tons of widgets, but I find them helpful for me most of the time. so I use the ones I find most helpful on other blogs...if that makes sense.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Like Zibilee, I sit reading and cringing, and hoping that when I was a new blogger, I didn't do any of these things (I don't THINK I did). These posts should be in the new blogger 101 tutorial, because some people just don't know the "rules"! I know I didn't and I was so paranoid that I was doing something wrong. When I read through the list of gripes though, I do think this seems alot like high school!

Unknown said...

OH NO I commit an Unforgivable Book Blogging Sin every time I write a review - EAK - I use the goodreads synopsis but I dont link to them just state that's where I got it... WOOPS :( I guess I need to do better...

Great post...thankgoodness I dont do any of the other more horrible sins! :) I dont contact authors unless I know them a bit, I am to worried they will think me a pest. :)

Renay said...

When a blogger decides to take part in racist or sexist behavior (or really, any oppressive behavior), or language, it's do not pass go, do not collect $200, go immediately to me "DO NOT ENGAGE/READ/INTERACT/RESPECT" list. I could spend my LIFE leaving comment like, "Hey, maybe you shouldn't use that word/phrase/example!" but what happens then is that I get dogpiled, so I don't bother anymore.

It's way depressing and so I don't comment, because I'm not leaving a happy sparkly rainbow unicorn comment on some blogger's problematic mess. Which leads me to: comments!

The thing I disagree with most here is...people really judge people for lurking and having the audacity to not comment? As if they are entitled to comments? This is at once hilarious and enraging. Is this qualified in any way? Because what I am seeing here is an argument that I should privilege their apparent need for comments over my need to work and earn money, over school, over other obligations, over my own writing, so they can squee about their comment count. As if they're saying: if I can't comment, I sure as hell better not be reading their blog! Their content isn't FREE, I owe them COMMENTS.

I wonder if people really think these things through. Whenever this thread about commenting versus lurking pops up, where lurkers are demonized as unappreciative jerks whose behavior is unacceptable, it makes me want to know who holds the opinion so I can shun them. Which is not a popular thing to say, but then, when do I ever have popular opinions, har.

Steph Su said...

Love these--wish I had the time to read all the comments as well, but I g2g back to doing schoolwork soon. But just... thank you. This feature on your blog is so concise and educational.

Carla said...

Fantastic post. I'm with you on the whole leaving links things, I think it differs from person to person. In fact, this has only happened to me once and i wasn't that bothered, because I just chose not to click on the link. But, if it was something that happened everytime I posted, then i'd probably get a bit annoyed.

And hell yes to the twitter thing, I find it highly unattractive to slate other bloggers and authors on twitter, because its a public platform that everyone has access to. I think you should treat people how you would like to be treated yourself, with respect and courtesy and bad mouthing people on twitter for everyone to see is going to get you nowehere really fast.

I just love this post.

Liz B said...

totally missed the comments part.

I'm with Renay on that one. Today, I am not at work so can indulge here.

Usually? I'm working 35 hours a week, commuting another 10 hours, so no, don't use my time to comment on your blog. And I don't expect my readers -- sometimes at jobs that block blogs or the ability to comment -- to comment at mine, either.

Read the way you like.

Marie Cloutier said...

That's a lot to live up to! I stopped reading one blogger because of a nasty comment left on a post about someone who died. I started reading her again but I haven't commented and rarely check her blog.
A lot of the things you list seem fairly petty or just immature. Posting contact info, complaining, asking for others' books, etc. Bloggers suck up to authors all the freakin' time, big deal. Who's to judge if it's just done for the swag? It's not like bloggers ever turn it down.
And maybe all someone has to contribute to a community book swap is a crappy used ARC; should they just be excluded? Maybe not everyone has brand new unread books to simply give away. Plagiarizing is ridiculous; writing a review of a book you haven't read is just dumb and lazy.
I've dropped out of community events because my real life made my participation impossible; it happens. Work, family and frankly anything offline comes first. All I can do is the best I can.

Valerie said...

I'm a little puzzled by the lurker issue -- how do you know if someone (and who) is lurking if they never comment in the first place?

Also, I admit I'm clueless about stealing feeds. How does that work, and how do you know if it's been stolen?

This is personal taste for me, but I don't really like blogs who *always* begin their blog posts with publisher's descriptions or blurbs (whether fully credited or not). Occassionally is fine, but every single time? No thanks.

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

Some of these don't bother me-like others have mentioned, I don't have a lot of time to comment, but I do read my feed reader on an almost daily basis, so I am reading your blog. I'm just shocked that there are people that do this, but I think it's easy to feel like you "know" people online and very often you feel entitled to things because you "know the author/blogger/etc" It's a terrible trend and I really hope we can do something to correct the bad behavior!

Unknown said...

Some of the things people do really boggle my mind.

Some of these things do irritate me.

Some of them seriously worry me. (*giving out contact info, have people not heard of the data protection act?*)
Some I couldn't care less.

I am of the mind that I can unfollow a blog if it has something really irritating about it.

The thing that probably annoys me the most is when someone writes a controversial post just to get a reaction especially when it gets a lot of Twitter action because I think it looks bad on our book bloggers as a group.

Wendy said...

Valerie: There are blogs out there which ONLY publish posts stolen from feed readers. They subscribe to your feed reader, and then lift your material. I don't have a problem with the ones who post a blurb of your post with a direct link back to my blog...but I have encountered some which have published my posts IN FULL with no link back or any credit given to me. This is copyright infringement so there is recourse. I emailed the blog owner and asked him to remove my feed from his blog and all the posts he posted there - and he agreed to do so after I explained that I could seek damages for copyright infringement if he did not. In that case, another blogger emailed me to tell me that she saw my posts on his blog. You can also subscribe to services like Copyscape which send you a weekly report notifying you if someone is copying your material.

Carolina said...

Very great post Lenore as always!

I'm guilty of using the summaries on Goodreads and Amazon. I don't write my own summaries because they either a) don't have enough information or b.) have too much information.

I agree with some things on this post as well.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Kay, Renay and Liz B - Re: commenting vs lurking...this one wasn't from me so I don't know if it's qualified or not. And of course, no one is obligated to comment on anyone's else's blog ever & real life comes before commenting! It seems kind of sad that people wouldn't want you to be able to read their posts if you never commented, and I agree, lurking is in no way a crime. Perhaps some people are annoyed with bloggers who never seem to comment anywhere because they think they are snobs? I don't know. It's not on my list on sins, but obviously it is on someone's!

Lenore Appelhans said...

Marie - If the community book swap states it's ok to send your giftee an ARC, of course that's ok! By crappy, I mean a book that your giftee has either already read or is so outside their reading tastes as to be useless. I'm not saying you have to be rich to participate, but at least MAKE AN EFFORT. Take a moment to look at your giftee's wish list or blog to get a feel for what they might like.

However, if the swap guidelines indicate that the value of the swap should be say at least $15, then I think if you can't afford it, don't sign up. It's unfair to the other participants.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Carolina - It's not really the using of the publisher summary that's considered a "sin" (although some people to dislike that too), but more the not giving proper credit for copyrighted material. Theoretically, we also shouldn't be using book cover images without permission, but as long as we are using then in conjunction with book promotion, the publishers aren't going to come after us.

Staci said...

I'm so going to copy your post and put it in a word format so that I can read it daily!! There are so many faux paus (sp?) I try to stay away from the controversy because frankly I don't care! I blog for me and am appreciative of the people that visit my blog and leave comments. The top 2 paragraphs remind me of high school and cliques...count me out! I guess I never realized that it wasn't cool for people to leave me links to their blog in my comments..why?? I don't really understand that one. I like to visit people that are new to me. Sometimes I do forget to put down where the synopsis came from..noted-I will be better about that. I do review books that I request. I don't plagiarize...that is wrong. Period! I don't give out all 5 stars...but I do try to be decent about a book that I just didn't care for. I've never written a review for a book that I haven't read...and I never do SPOILERS! My biggest issue with bloggers is that some of them go into TOO MUCH depth on their reviews. That's a turn off..maybe I want to read the book!!! I always ask permission before I use anything from anyone else's blog!! Would be rude not too!! I couldn't imagine asking someone why they haven't visited my blog...This is an excellent post!!!

Jennifer said...

I never realised just how picky bloggers can be or maybe I live in my own bubble. Yes, I agree stealing someone's work is very wrong. I personally like links, it makes it easy for me to visit a site or not, time depending. I would not know if someone was a lurker or not and I am clueless about Feeds. My book reviews are almost always in the exact same format: Synopsis of the book (from the publisher, hyperlinked), my review, then info about the author (hyperlinked). It is a format I am comfortable with and will continue to use. I hope when someone comes to my site they are more interested in my reviews than my layout *shrug*. Long story short, to each their own. I cannot spend time worrying I may offend someone with my format or look of my blog. I would hope my readers would be coming for the content, not the looks. I write reviews because I love books and want to share good books with others, why make life more stressful than necessary? Do not steal other people's stuff, it is rude. Give credit where credit is due and enjoy blogging.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's a long list!

I bet a lot of bloggers do some of these things and don't realize that it is bothering other people. Well, except some of those things are pretty obviously wrong.

I am going to always try my best to be polite to everyone I meet online.

April said...

Very interesting post with several points brought up worth discussing. The aspect of blacklisting seems rather harsh. I would just hope that if someone comes across a meme, feature or some related event/post that is similar to someone else's that it would be handled in a nice way. After all, with the hundreds of book bloggers out there, people are going to have similar ideas and possibly not realize that someone else is doing something like they are doing. If it is blatant out and out copying, that is one thing, but duplicates are not uncommon when there are so many people blogging about books, reading, and similar ideas and topics.

Lauren said...

This post is really interesting, but I have to say I'm surprised by some of the things that people get worked up over. For example, people linking to their post in my comments section? I'm with you on this one. As long the person doing this is a book blogger and not some spammer selling blue pills or whatever, it honestly wouldn't occur to me to be annoyed by this.

Also, since I've been blogging I've had a few people email me asking me if I'd mind linking to their contest or adding them to my blog roll. Again, this doesn't bother me at *all*. They've been very sweet about it and I like helping people out. I guess if my blog was hugely popular and I got tons of these requests maybe it'd get old, but as long as the person is polite I kind of like the fact that they're brave enough to ask.

bermudaonion said...

I think it's important to let stuff go. First of all everyone has different ideas of what's acceptable and what's not (except for plagiarism, of course)and I think sometimes things come across differently than they were intended.

bookmagic said...

I really dislike these kind of posts. They can always end up hurting someone's feelings. The name alone suggests there will be hurtful comments instead of something neutral.

There are so many blogs and so many meme's and features. I read only a small portion, if I started meme's or a feature I could do something that is being done and not know unless someone told me.
Even then I might not care. Maybe I don't respect a certain blogger and wouldn't want to participate in their meme but like the idea.

I think it is easier to live and let live than bitch and say you are going to live and let live.

Unknown said...

I think it's important to remember that while some people are guilty of some of these items, and (I would hope) may be unaware of their trespasses, there is no anti-bookblogger person out there sitting at their keyboard committing all of these sins on a daily basis.

Yes, this is a long list, and one we can all learn from as a guide of how NOT to blog. That being said, new book bloggers join our ranks daily. Let's welcome them and guide them without scaring the bejeezus out of them.

I think the best rule of thumb is common sense and common courtesy.

Thanks, Lenore!

Janeen said...

Interesting read, and I enjoyed reading the comments. I do not blog, just read/follow a bunch of book blogs.

I will say it does not bother me in the least when people use the publisher's summary. I love to read in depth opinions and analysis instead of plot description, so I'm happy for bloggers to use the existing text and spend their time on the review part of the review. As for not crediting it, that doesn't bother me either. To me, that text seems like publicity material, in the spirit of a press release. I work for an arts non-profit, and we would never be upset to see our press release text self-populating the internet (or marketing-approved descriptions of the books we publish surfacing on blogs, for that matter). mmv

Amanda said...

Whilst this was an entertaining read, I'm not a big fan of these kinds of posts. I wrote one a while back and now I've buried it.

I decided it was petty and detracted from what I'm doing with my blog: helping book bloggers to blog better.

The message for me is: I'll stick to my thing and you stick to yours - after all it's MY blog.

I want people to visit and leave links to their blogs and posts. Anyone is welcome. It's public.

And if I don't like a book or an author's work, I am going to say so. Loudly: Robert Jordan, Eat Pray Love, Pride and Predjudice... I hated em!

Chioma said...

Coincidence that this post comes up right after I just decided to stop following a blog that I have been following for not so long actually. One of my pet peeves is when someone uses every chance they get to bash twilight or compare the twilight series in every single post they have. Okay some people love it some hate it, but isnt it that way for all books. If you dont like it, then say it and be done with it. I mean why promote something you hate so much by advertising it on your blog whenever something twiligt related comes out just to bash it. There is no reason for someone's whole review system to be a compare and contrast essay between that book and Twilight. It just gets on my nerves and gets boring and anoying, just a thought!!! Great Post!!!

Donna (Bites) said...

The only thing that really bothers be about blogs are those that every time I see their post in my feed, it's for another contest and another contest and another contest. In my eyes it makes it look like that's all they do is have contests, possibly as a means to drive traffic or get followers and it's rare that I see other content. Other than that, I really don't have much.

Kelly Jensen said...

You got most of what irks me, but the two biggest are....

1. NEVER writing your own summaries. I can go to GoodReads or Amazon or the library catalog for that. I get so much more out of a review when the reviewer gives their OWN summary. It gives a totally personal perspective and reading, rather than simply what the publisher wants to share.

2. Getting review books and never reviewing them. I dislike the "book bloggers" who never post reviews...or only do what I dislike in #1 :(

Kelly Jensen said...

And I committed the blogger sin of not reading other comments before believing I offered something new and insightful. HA.

lanna-lovely said...

@Kelly J...

I never write my own summaries and probably never will.

Really, I could not do a book justice by writing a summary of it - summarizing is just not something I'm good at, I ramble a lot and I'm not good at explaining a whole book in just a few paragraphs (I write, not professionally or anything, but I write and I can't even write summaries for my own stories).

Professionals write the summaries that go on the backs of books and all that, it's their job, it's what they're good at. I review books, I don't write summaries. (And really, if I did write a summary for my story and it got published some day then a book reviewer wrote their own, I'd be a little offended that they didn't use the one that myself/the publishers came up with.)

The only reason I include summaries along with my reviews is because if someone hasn't heard of the book before, it's just more convenient for them to have the summary right there to know what the book is about before reading my review of it. And it's more convenient than linking to a summary.

I'm going to start crediting my summary sources because I wasn't aware that bothered people - I never took credit for writing the summaries, I stated before that my summaries are from Amazon or Shelfari or wherever, but sometimes I'd forget.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that not liking a blog because they never write their own summaries is a little unfair, because we're book reviewers (who are doing this for fun, because we love books, we don't get paid to do it), we write reviews, not summaries.

Kelly Jensen said...

@Lanna: Fair points. I guess my pet peeve with it comes from the fact that I think a lot of bloggers could write the summary within the review. I'm coming at it from the perspective of a book blog reader, where I see the same summaries over and over (and, ha, I never once thought about the crediting issue since I always assumed it was from GR or Amazon). I guess it's like someone else said: do we blog for ourselves or for an audience? If blogging for an audience, I think a summary can work. For ourselves? Maybe then too....but I guess the issue for me is that it doesn't distinguish book bloggers from one another for me. In reviewing books you are, in fact, offering something of a summary anyway, aren't you?

lanna-lovely said...

@Kelly J...

It's funny, the thing you like is actually one of MY pet peeves - just shows how people are into different things. It bothers me when I see someone write a review of a book and they basically just rehash the plot because if I want to know what the book is about then I read the summary (which is approved by the publishers and author usually), I read reviews because I want to know what someone liked and didn't like about it and whether they'd recommend it.

A review and a summary are different like that... a summary is what a story is about, the review is an opinion of the story.

Really, the summary of the book stays the same - even if the blogger writes their own summary of a book, it's still the same book about the same subject and characters, they're just twisting the words around to make the summary their own. The opinions however, those are unique to each blogger... you could read two reviews on the same book, one positive and the other negative - the book is the same, the summary is relatively the same but the opinions are polar opposites.

I book blog because I enjoy it - but I want to recommend books to people too, so I include summaries because even though I blog because it's something *I* enjoy and something I do for myself, the fact there is an audience makes it more enjoyable... I like knowing that my review could maybe convince someone to read a book that I loved. So I include summaries because I'm aware the audience is there, but even if no one read my blog I'd still blog and I'd still include the summaries in the off chance that someone would stumble across my blog and read the reviews.

Also, my summaries of books would honestly not even come close to doing a book justice and the more I like a book, the more difficult it would be to give a good summary of it - explaining the plot and explaining what I liked about the book are two entirely different things (I mean, really, look at the length of my replies to you - I ramble. A lot. Can you imagine me trying to summarize an entire book?).

Lenore Appelhans said...

Jeanne - I would to, actually. Maybe they think the commenter is self-promoting on their space? Like if someone put a billboard up in your house everytime they came over?

Lenore Appelhans said...

Jennifer - I, too, was surprised by this list, as many things I see as a personal preference. I did find it instructional, but I think your attitude is the right one - to each their own. It's a message the bloggers with the pettier of the pet peeves should take with them.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Melina - Politeness is key!

Kathy - I totally agree about letting things go! That was the purpose of this post.

BookMagic & Amanda - My intention was not to offend anyone who reads this but rather show them what kind of things annoy other bloggers. Not all of them are justified in my opinion and I stated that. My intention was more to try to suck the poison out of the wound so we can all move on. Sometimes it needs to be done, even if it is uncomfortable. I dislike it too, and generally would NOT post this kind of discussion if the whole Book Bloggers Behaving Badly series didn't sort of fall into my lap. I hope I never have to post another one! I'd love to keep the focus on the books and leave the drama all behind, believe me.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Oh and Amanda - there's a difference between saying "I hate P&P" and saying "Everything that Jane Austen wrote was crap and she should have never been born."

Amanda said...

Hi Lenore,

No worries (I'm Australian - so I'm allowed to say that! It means: no problems!). It's just my humble opinion :)

I like to remind myself every time I post a comment that the person on the other end is a person... not just some machine code!

As an aside, I'm an anthropologist. I'm having an interesting discussion with another Australian blogger about the contemporary cultural interpretations of P&P: particularly how it's been uptaken and interpreted by Gen-X women.

I'm thinking of writing a journal article about it because there's some really meaty stuff there - and because it's also a bit of fun.

Kate at Read This Book! said...

Great post as usual Lenore! I don't comment much on blogs because the my schedule is so overwhelming. But I try my best to comment as often as I can. :] You brought up some good points in this post!

Becca said...

Wow. I can't believe people do all this stuff!

Picture Book Place said...

I'm new to this book blogging thing, so this was very helpful to me. Thank you!

nomadreader said...

I think the one thing missing is intention. Many of these sins are unintentional (and we may not all agree on some). For example, I don't mind when people leave links in the comments if they're referencing something related (a cool guest post by the author of the review they're commenting on, for example). It's easier to click a link than search a blog. Leaving links to the blog as a whole on an unrelated post? Annoying. All sins are not the same, but let's also acknowledge we don't all agree on what the sins are (yes, I got scolded for not having inner and outer envelopes on wedding invitations, something I think is unnecessarily formal). Ultimately, if something a blogger is doing annoys you, tell them. Chances are, book bloggers are intentionally pissing you off. A little advice on the sometimes inconsistent blogging code of conduct would be nice.

Kathleen said...

Interesting post and comments. The only one I do is post publisher summaries. I didn't even think that I should be crediting them and I will try to from now on.

However I don't fully understand the ones who feel we should not use the summaries at all. Isn't that what they are there for? My summary wouldn't be very good.

As for seeing the same summary over and over, if you are reading a few reviews of the same book, why would you read the summary again anyways? I include a summary in case someone wants a quick description without reading the whole review. If I describe the book within the review, they can't get a quick summary of it. If I don't want to read a summary, I skip it and go straight to the review.

I would recommend you put the preface of "Summary:" though.

On a lighter note:

"I've not seen another book blog blogging about book bloggers." - lanna-lovely

Wow is that ever a tongue twister!

Lana said...

It never occurred to me that it might bother some people when I leave links to my blog in their comments. When I write reviews, I like to link to others' reviews at the bottom - and once I've done so, I leave comments on the relevant review posts with a link back to mine (and a comment about their review, of course).

I like to know when others have linked me, so I assumed others would be interested as well. I too, wonder why people don't like links in their comments...

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Hey, Lenore! I dropped into this post completely unaware that you'd linked to Win a Book -- and HUGE thanks for doing so, too. Man, that made my day!!!

You deserve a huge gold star for that (highly welcome) unsolicited plug.

Kathy (mommysreading) said...

Thank you for this post and all of the links you put in there. I followed most of them and read the discussions included. At first I freaked out, racked my briain wondering if I had done any of these things. I don't think that I have, except for the publisher summary thing. But, I will keep these things in mind as I post and comment in the future.