Every one who decides to blog has to start somewhere. This article explores the basic platforms and winds up picking MT, which won best blogging platform in the bloggies this year.
It then goes into some simple configurations for templates. For those of you who enjoy tinkering a bit, it looks at different features and provides help pages.
I don’t tinker, my experience setting up MT was a veritable nightmare. I break into a cold sweat when I open a template.
If I never tinker again, it will be too soon, so I get help from others. There are a lot of tech saavy bloggers out there who can translate this gooblygook into plain english.

However, what I found interesting was the blog courtesy section.

It’s a simple rule. Be polite.

Here is what this blogger says are some sins of blogging.

1) Not sending a TrackBack (or “ping”) if the author has that feature enabled. It’s enabled because they like to know who is linking to them. Oblige them.

2) Don’t display people’s email addresses. MovableType, for example, uses a person’s URL over their email address, and has an option for “anonymous” comments. Use it. If you’re emailed the comment, you can follow up via email with the poster, but the link from their attribution will be to their Web page.

3) Attribute your quotes with links. This one is common sense: nobody likes to have something they said plagiarized.

4) Link to PermaLinks when possible, not to a blog’s home page.

5) Don’t steal bandwidth. If someone has a nice picture, and you can legally put it on your site, do so. Otherwise, link to it but don’t include it in your blog. You are taking their bandwidth. Either put it on your own site or don’t include it in your page.

6) Don’t post private emails without permission. Mail on a mailing list with public archives? Fine. Private email sent to you? Not so fine. If you must, remove email addresses and other identifying information where possible. Also carefully consider posting the intimate details of other people’s lives. Your own are fine. This is common courtesy and isn’t blog-specific of course.

7) Some bloggers link to Amazon associate URLs to get a little income. I don’t care one way or the other, personally, but others do. Consider, at least, how people use the site. Is losing 100 readers worth the $2.12 you get from Amazon?

8) If your blog software supports a search feature, make it readily visible.

9) Avoid endlessly fiddling with your entries – editing, etc. – because in many news aggregators, this causes the entry to show up as “new” again. That’s annoying.

I learned a few things reading that. For example track back (which I don’t know how to use properly yet) and fiddling with your entries. I am the worst offender, simply because I find it easier to edit on the final page as opposed to my preview. I can see someone else’s typos and grammarical errors at one hundred paces, but I’m blithly blind to my own.
Now that I have XHML I’ll need to be more considerate about my editing techniques. And remember, not all bloggers use this type of sophisicated software, so maybe another suggestion could be, cut people with simpler platforms some slack.
Some of the best bloggers I read have great content, but simply cannot afford a whiz bang computer and all the blog bells and whistles.
And truthfully, I have what I have because of the kindness of others, not because I have the money or skills to maintain a great looking blog or keep this old computer functioning well.
Very qualified people have been very generous and I wouldn’t be blogging without the kindness of my tech, my designer and my top notch server guys. They have given copious amounts of their valuable time and expertise freely.

And there is another excellent piece of advice.

Even actors cannot stay in character 24/7. The few that can are a rare, rare breed. Odds are, you aren’t one of them.

Be yourself. It’s the easiest thing in the world once you get the hang of it. Say what want to say, how you want to say it, when you want to say it. If you agree, say so. If you don’t, say so. Support your arguments – advice that applies anywhere of course – and enjoy what you’re doing. Amuse yourself. People that share your interests will or won’t come.

If you were your only visitor, your blog should still be something you want to do.

Any other ideas on blogging etiquette? Comments are open.

Richard Hall at connexions is celebrating his birthday today. Hey, he’s pretty smart for a guy who just turned 40. Head over and give him a hard time.
Happy birthday!

And Richard Bott of looking back…looking forward is recovering from a respiratory and middle ear infection. If you’ve never had one, look up the word vertigo and think pain and not being able to get off a merry go round. Take a minute and give him an encouraging comment.

Posted by Bene Diction at March 15, 2003 05:18 AM


FYI for you, I had to save the image on my server for the Homestar Runner character quiz. Weird.

Class Dismissed! Hehe, I like that.