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The Etiquette of Linking

Posted By Darren Rowse 15th of April 2005 Writing Content 0 Comments

The hottest post on ProBlogger at the moment is Adsense Developing Fully Customizable Ads Blocks? due to it being picked up by a number of reputable blogs, forums and websites around the web. It is an illustration of what a ‘scoop’ (of sorts) can do for your ability to find new readers for your blog.

I’m always fascinated to follow the referral stats and trackbacks to the sources of those who are linking up to my posts to see what their take on a story is. In this case I’ve been surprised to see a number of blogs simply reposting my story virtually word for word. Some have been good enough to put quote marks around it others have not with some introductory comments – others have not. All have at least included a link back to the source.

I personally don’t mind being quoted (its part of what blogging is about) or even occasionally having one of my short posts posted in full – but recently have wondered if the art of linking up in an appropriate manner has been lost.

Here is what I consider to be etiquette when linking to a post that someone else has written:

• a link to the original source
• quotes being clearly marked as quotes – with at least quote marks, block quote formatting and/or posting in italics.
• I also think its good form (polite) to either have some sort of introductory remark or addition of your own opinion – either before or after the quote. I would qualify this by saying that on some blogs this is more appropriate than others. Many ‘news blogs’ do not take this approach as they are simply collating news on a topic. However if your blog is more of an opinion blog I think its a best practice to either add your own comment or opinion before or after your quotes. This is not only polite – it makes your post more useful to readers.
• If you want to republish a piece in full seek permission if its a longer piece.
• It is also polite to get the name of the person you’re quoting right (something at least four of those linking up this time have failed to do). So far the misspellings in this instance have been:

Darrne Rowse

Darren Rowae

Derryn Rowse

Darren Rouso

Oh – and for those wondering about pronunciation of Rowse – just say ‘House’ or ‘Mouse’ with an ‘R’ on front and you’ve got it.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. //smart-arse alert:

    So, interpretnig by your last para above literally, we’re to pronounce your name ‘Darren RMouse’ ? Got it! :-)

    //smart-arse comment (its Friday, i’m stretching).

    On topic however, Shel & Neville of For Immediate Release spoke more about the whole replicating posts issue in the FIR from 11/4… apparently its rife across PR/marketing blogs particularly ..

  2. Apologies, my typing is never quite as quick as my brain, corrected now (I’m guiltly of the Darrne spelling) Rouso is a pretty cool variation though, does this mean youre getting into acting?? :-)

  3. Oh – didn’t notice your spelling mistake Duncan. Someone else must have copied your post I think and just copied and pasted your typo in it.

    Yes – I’m thinking of changing my name to Darrne Rouso – and going for an oscar.

    Pascoe – hmmm…RMouse might not roll off the tongue quite right.

  4. See it that way: You receive links for your own spelling mistakes ;))

    I usually have my qoutes as blockquotes in html (too much blogs: I just wrote blogquotes …), they have a css for them and I link to the name. I most of the time only link the first name plus often do the title of the entry.

    Only rarely I do quote a bit and write nearly nothing, but link it.

    So I am one of the good girls? ;)

    (But I did know how to write proper usenet postings even without reading the faqs ..)

    For the part of fullquoting: I assume every western country has the same copyright laws on this where you are NOT allowed to make fullquotes. But then again, most of the people don’t have any clues about licencing etc …

  5. Actually the copyright situation is not that clear as many blogs operate under a Creative Commons license of some sort. In which case you may well be able to quote the entire post with whatever changes you chose to make. That depends on the exact variant of the license that the blogger uses.

  6. Carla says: 04/24/2005 at 8:36 am

    Oh, c’mon – they’re getting most of the letters of your name in there. :) Personally, I think Darrne RMouse is quite a swish sounding name! You have no idea what its like having a last name of “Jolley”. Mind you, my fiance has it worse – his name is _almost_ exactly the same as a famous horror author. I’m sure that everyone who makes some silly remark about his name in relation to the author thinks they’re the first one to point it out to him….

    Regarding the ‘creative commons’ license – its good sense to assume that unless there is a specific reference on the site stating the blog is under that license you should assume it isn’t. It really is that simple and that clear. So the assumption, regardless of the creation of a creative commons license, should be that everything is under copyright. If upon investigation the article you want isn’t – go for broke, but until then, you should assume you don’t have the right to just copy large portions of someone else’s work.

    I may be a smudge sensitive about this topic – several people have attempted to copy my entire spreadsheets site, including the associated blog at about.com. The whole excuse of “oh, but I assumed it would be creative commons…” just doesn’t wash with me anymore.

  7. If only blogging was like university… There’d be someone to kick out every person who didn’t reference their material…

  8. adding your site to my blog roll. nice article, realised I was following all this without actually knowing about it. Works on pure logic, doesnt it?

  9. […] If you want to learn more about blogging and link etiquette a great start is Darren Rowse at ProBlogger. […]

  10. Nothing is worse than a quote with your name mis-spelt. The tips are good. Makes both sides realize they are doing each other some good.

  11. I sure appreciate this post. As a new blogger I want to be fair to fellow bloggers when quoting them. This is a good standard for us to follow…so let’s do it!

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