Should Bloggers Police Other Bloggers?

My good friend Niri wrote a blog post yesterday entitled “7 Ways to Annoy Your Friends in Social Media” that perfectly captured the basics of blogging and social media etiquette.  Articles like this one are not only a fabulous resource for newbie bloggers who are green to social media manners, but provide a reminder to veteran bloggers who should know better.  If I could add anything to Niri’s fabulous list, it would be to help other bloggers, but stop policing.

You know who I speak of.  The blogger who hovers, just waiting for another blogger to make a mistake so they can call it out. The blogger who also assumes a blogger’s intentions are bad and runs with it without speaking to the blogger directly.  Don’t get me wrong, I understand and support truly helping bloggers, even when they mess up.  I wouldn’t have a community doing just that if I didn’t feel strongly about it. If I see a typo on a friend’s post, I’ll tell them and I hope they’d do the same for me.  However, there is a fine line between helping and policing, and that line is often crossed.

I posted this question, “I’m writing a piece on bloggers policing other bloggers on rules, etiquette, etc. Have thoughts you’d like me to share in my post?” on my Facebook page today to gather the community’s thoughts. Here are some of the responses:

Gwenn Schurgin O’Keeffe also suggested a blog code of ethics for mom bloggers, similar to what the blog health care blog of ethics has in place for keeping health bloggers in check.  A blog code of ethics seems very similar to the Blog with Integrity movement which does have the right idea, but code of ethics or not, bloggers will still engage in inappropriate behavior if they feel compelled to. There will always be bad seeds no matter how many rules and regulations are posted online, and is it really our duty as bloggers to go around policing it anyway?

My suggestion is this: stop policing bloggers and lead by example.  We are bloggers, after all, so why not use our blogs as sounding boards for topics such as the FTC, etiquette, appropriate manners, and other rules/opinions instead of listing everything that Blogger A is doing wrong.  If you think you know best, then act the best and people will notice.  Do not become so consumed with what other bloggers are doing or you’ll forget who YOU are.

Please share your thoughts below.