How to irritate a blogger

Just getting something (else) off my chest.

True story: very early in my experience as a blogger I linked to a prominent journalist in health care, among other topics. Unknown to me at the time I violated a common courtesy in the blogosphere. With my link I was using the journalist’s credibility and freely-provided work to support my argument. That’s fine. But I didn’t actually name the individual. I think I wrote something like (though probably not exactly), “Support for this notion can be found elsewhere [link].”

To my surprise, the journalist wrote me to say that I should include his/her name if I’m going to use his/her work in my argument, even if only via a link. Just stating “elsewhere” is a bit dismissive and is poor “netiquette.” I didn’t know! But I do now. By the way, this was back when I was blogging anonymously on a personal finance blog (not this one). That the journalist bothered to contact me illustrates how seriously people take blogging ethics and norms.

Lately, I’ve begun to appreciate how that journalist may have felt. I’ve seen my work plagiarized and other more minor violations of this blog’s terms of reuse. Sometimes my words or those of co-bloggers are quoted without a link or the author’s name is misspelled (that’s just a mistake, but still bothersome). It’s really annoying! As time permits, and commensurate with the transgression and its degree of visibility, I track down bloggers and journalists and point such things out to them. Almost always they do the right thing. When they do, they are completely forgiven. I hold no grudges about honest and then corrected mistakes.

I am certain most who quote or reference this blog or its authors do not intend to irritate. The best way to demonstrate that is by a graceful recovery. I don’t mind my words being used elsewhere, nor do this blog’s other authors. That’s what they’re for. I just ask that they be done so according to the copyright to which we’re entitled (see also the footer of every page of this blog).

Enough on this. I feel better now.

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