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If I Were the Blogging Police…

This guest post is by Karol K of ThemeFuse.

Is it just me, or do you ever find yourself in a situation when you just want to lock someone up for the things they’re doing either on their own blog or while commenting on other people’s blogs?

You know, moments when you wish you were the blogging police … anyone?

I do. Quite often actually. And I am by no means perfect myself. But you don’t have to be perfect to have an opinion, just like you don’t have to be a musician to be able to tell that you don’t like a song.

So even though I am not perfect, I’ll tell you what I’d do if I were the blogging police. The list isn’t long, thankfully, just a handful of points. When I’m done, though, I want to hear what you’d do if you were on my blogging police taskforce.

1. Lock people up for publishing lame list posts

A lame list post in one that makes you immediately think “how obvious can you get?!” This doesn’t happen that often nowadays, but when it does it strikes hard, with no warning.

A lame list post is one where every single thing on the list—every piece of advice—is just so utterly obvious that the only possible reason for writing such a post is not to forget about all that stuff. You know, it’s the personal-reference-file kind of a post.

I’m sorry, but if you’re writing a list post on blogging and it includes “care about your readers”, you need to think your post trough one more time, for everyone’s sake. Which brings me to…

2. Lock people up for saying “you need to publish quality content”

Somewhere in the world a unicorn dies every time someone uses this phrase in a blog post. This one piece of advice has been around forever. Everyone knows this by now. You really don’t need to say it.

But I’m sure you did. I know I’m guilty of this too. Thankfully, there’s no blogging police. (Nor do any unicorns actually die.)

3. The rule of “3 strikes and you’re out” for spammers

“You’re out”?! Does that mean “no more internet for you”? Well, some people should really get a lifetime Internet-access ban for spamming in comments. You know—comments like this:

Great post!” … submitted along with an anchored name of “web design san diego” or something.

Or:

I find your opinion quite interesting but the other day I stumbled upon a completely different advice from another blogger, I need to think that one through, thanks for posting.” … with a similarly search-optimized name. This is actually a clever piece of spam because it seems legitimate, but you can actually submit it below every blog post in the world, and it would sound equally relevant.

Imagine how much better the world would be if every spammer had only three chances, after which they’re gone forever.

4. Lock people up for saying that “doing what you love is the only way”

No, it’s not, and it shouldn’t be. I love sleeping, for example. Is anyone gonna pay me for that?

Okay, I don’t want to be that harsh, but just bear with me, and try to think of all the possible professions in the world—everything that needs to be done to make the world go round, including things like moving out the trash, cattle breeding, and being a politician.

The reality is that “doing what you love” is only one of many possible scenarios. You can create equally successful career out of “doing what you should do,” “doing what you’ve been taught to do,” and “doing what needs to be done.”

5. Lock people up for publishing “sorry I’ve been away” posts

This is what happens: someone hasn’t been blogging for a while, say a month or two. And then they come back and publish a “sorry I’ve been away” post.

The usual construction of such a post is a short explanation of why the person was away, and then there’s a promise that now everything will change and the person will be posting like there’s no tomorrow.

First of all, this never happens. Chances are that the person will forget about the blog again very soon.

Secondly, no one cares.

6. Lock up everybody who’s just too much of a nice guy

Does everyone has to act like such a nice guy? The blogging world goes deep here. For some reason, many people believe that you have to be nice to everybody all the time. Well, you don’t.

If you’re nice to everybody, how are you going to distinguish someone who you really feel you should be nice to—someone who’s really special? If you’re nice to everybody, then your being nice simply means nothing. Besides, people who are nice to everybody are boring! Lock ‘em up!

7. Give tickets for using clichés or words that are just too big

I love blogging. SkyrocketEngage your readers. You need to be an authority in your niche…

The list of clichés and needlessly big words used by bloggers every day has no end.

Clichés are just annoying. And using big words to emphasize your point is just stupid.

Do you really love blogging? Would you sit in your room and cry if you couldn’t blog anymore? Would you be depressed for a month if blogging had been taken away from you? Do you wake up every day imagining how happy you are with your blog, and then go to sleep in the evening dreaming all the nice things you’re going to do with your blog the next day?

If there’s at least one “no” in your answers to those questions, then you don’t love blogging, so don’t say you do. If you have all “yeses” … touché.

This concludes my blogging police wishes and dreams. What are yours? I’m sure there are some, if you take a minute to think about it. Of course, don’t treat this whole thing too seriously … but I would love to hear what you’d do if you were part of my blogging police taskforce. Share your pet hates in the comments!

Karol K. is a 20-something year old web 2.0 entrepreneur from Poland and a writer at ThemeFuse.com, where he shares various WordPress advice. Don’t forget to visit ThemeFuse to get your hands on some original WordPress themes (warning: no boring stuff like everyone else offers).

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Comments

  1. Hotdogman says:

    I would give this comment, posted on my blog last week, a ticket and ban the poster for life:

    “Negligence the truly amazing Flatlands which uses up north Tx or even the Panhandle is known as our prime Flatlands.”

    This was linked to some Texas tourism site, had nothing to do with the post, and barely makes sense at all!- License and registration, please.

  2. Carole Cohen says:

    Everything makes sense to me except ‘being too nice.’ If you mean don’t be afraid to disagree then I get it. Don’t be afraid to rant if the topic makes you feel that way? I would also add ‘don’t keep republishing other people’s material without adding any of your own input. Then it’s just a cover for an aggregate blog.

    • Karol K says:

      Exactly, fighting back is underrated these days. If someone is saying something you don’t agree with, why not let the world know about this… Thanks for commenting! :)

  3. DC says:

    Auto music, pop-ups and pink fonts on yellow backgrounds!

  4. Cool sense of humor and twist to a much needed discipline in blogging-ville! I hope all the “residents” read this and abide by it :-)

  5. Spelling and grammatical errors! There’s no excuse – there is spell check after all! There’s one on your post by the way – you have ‘trough’ instead of “through” :)

  6. Anne-Sophie says:

    I find your opinion quite interesting but the other day I stumbled upon a completely different advice from another blogger, I need to think that one through, thanks for posting…
    Just kidding.
    In all honesty, I really liked the post, Karol. Another thing that bloggers say way too often is: your content has to be UNIQUE. Your style has to be UNIQUE. Your message has to be UNIQUE.
    We all know that, thanks for pointing out the obvious.

    • Karol K says:

      “Good writers borrow, great writers steal.” – There’s nothing about being unique. :) (joke)

  7. Geoff says:

    Hey Karol, I hate the “sorry I’ve been away” post! Even worse is the post in advance that apologizes for a future vacation. Aside from me not really caring or wanting to read about excuses, its just ignorant to basically provide would be theives all over the country with an invitation that your house will be vacant.

    • Karol K says:

      I agree, the post apologizing in advance is even worse. I can truly see no rational reason for publishing such a thing. :)

  8. Jason Scott says:

    Most of these offences come as a result of trying so hard to please everyone, which we know can’t be done. I’m pretty sure many of us reading this post are guilty of a couple of misdemeanors. But, I’m not going to incriminate myself here by admitting to any of it. Let’s just say, I’ll try to flush any criminal blogging habits before you can catch me with the evidence.

    • Karol says:

      Sure, everyone is guilty of some of these. The only thing to do is to watch out so we don’t commit too much blogging crime.

  9. Hahaha nice thoughts. Funny and catchy heading..

    If I were the blogging police, I’ll lock those bloggers who often plagiarise the content of others. I’ll agree with your #2 and #4 points.

    People are always saying create best content (if possible maximize your blog with pillar content), but they least bothered about how to create it and promote in a right way especially for the newbies.

    I enjoyed reading your article Karol. Thanks for sharing your funny thoughts. :)

    • Karol says:

      I honestly hate all this “create great content” advice. Why do people say it like it’s in the Bible or something? … The gospel of blogging.

  10. If you own a blog you may find yourself in a war of words with the politically correct ego police. They may attack if you if you brag too much or have too many interesting things to say, or cool life experiences to talk about. Why? Well, much of this is juvenile behavior and other bloggers feel you are getting the attention that they want. It’s amazing how many bloggers display enormous amounts of unearned ego and then lambaste others who do the exact same thing.

    • Karol says:

      So I guess what we have to do is simply get on with what we’ve been doing. Nothing angers a troll more than being ignored ;)

  11. Saqib says:

    Really loved your point number 2 because I think when someone does a search on internet, he is not looking for quality article, great words or awesome quotes.He got some problem and now looking for help. So no matter how you’ve written, if you were successful in solving the problem, he just loved your blog, content and most importantly, YOU !

    • Karol says:

      The biggest problem with this, in my opinion, is this: Who gets to decide what is and what isn’t a piece of great quality content? It’s just content. Some people will find an article great, and some will be offended by it. You won’t please everybody.

  12. Dzulhelmee says:

    If I were the blogging police,
    I would lock up those pro big time blogger whom don’t write no more. They let the guest post do all the blogging for their blog. I mean that people are returning to read your blog to know what is going on with you and what is your latest moves not to read about others. Do you agree with me ? :p

  13. Kevin says:

    true, I often get such spammy comments. Because of this, I decided to close comments box in all of my blog. I don’t want to get any spammy comments, since my blog reader don’t care too much about comments.

    They only care about content. And honestly, most of commentator only wants to place their link and get link back. only few ones really want to say their idea.

    • Karol says:

      Closing comments might be the solution for you. Actually, there are some popular bloggers who went the same way and it didn’t impact their blogs in any bad way.

  14. Well, finally someone had to say that.

    • surgamata says:

      do not have to wait who will say it but sharing permasahan to find something meaningful in the blogging and also makes you appreciated

  15. Justin Mazza says:

    I loved reading this post Karol K. The list posts are so very common for guest blogging. Just remember that cream always rises to the top. Weak bloggers won’t make it very far in this world so don’t worry about them too much.

    • Karol says:

      For some reason people find list posts entertaining and easy to grasp. In most cases the points are not related to each other so you can stop reading at any point and take a break, so essentially, I like reading (and creating) them. That being said, there are still some obvious lists published every now and then :)

  16. Ryan Hanley says:

    I disagree with this statement…

    “Somewhere in the world a unicorn dies every time someone uses this phrase in a blog post. This one piece of advice has been around forever. Everyone knows this by now. You really don’t need to say it.”

    In #1 you say don’t publish lame list posts and in #2 you say don’t tell people to publish quality content… I think the discussion of what is quality content, how you can generate quality content and how to speak to your niche is a topic that people should discuss more!

    Just because a topic has been talked about for a while doesn’t mean it’s not worth the discussion and coming from a main street small business I can say from experience that most non-bloggers don’t have a clue what quality content is…

    I get your point but I think it’s a little Blogger-elitist…

    Otherwise a great concept post.

    Thanks

    Ryan H.

    • Karol says:

      I don’t mean that you shouldn’t talk about it, it’s just the phrase “create quality content” is widely overused, and rarely a specific advice follows. It’s like telling someone “earn more money” – it’s pointless unless you give some specific advice on how to do it.

  17. Ben Norman says:

    Most of those certainly resonate with me. My theory is that most people who are guilty of these points get away with it due to their audience not wasting as much of their lives online as I do and therefore haven’t seen these same things so much they want to scratch their own eyes out! I’ve taken to wearing goggles when I surf the web to remove the temptation….

  18. Raymond says:

    Someone sure didn’t wake up on the right side of the bed this morning.

  19. s0nicfreak says:

    I totally disagree with #4. There are people that love taking out the trash, cattle breeding, and being a politician. If the people that love those things do those jobs, the world will go around a whole lot smoother. There’s no reason to work a job you dislike. Do what makes you happy and then find a way to make money from it. You’ll be way more likely to stick to your job, show up on time every day, do it WELL, etc. if it’s what you love to do!

    • I strongly disagree with #4. Doing what you love has a strong bound with motivation. And.. as we all know, motivation is a desire to do something. Someone who loves what he/she does, will outperform those who don’t. And this is why many people abandon doing certain things.. they just don’t love them.

    • Karol says:

      For me, the whole “do what you love” thing is overrated. But I do respect your opinion, and I’m not here to convince anybody.

  20. Derek says:

    Love this blog post. The points about blog comments are very familiar. What’s sad is that you create a comment policy and it’s posted above the comment box and the person breaks every single rule in one post. I have a 2 strike policy for blog then it’s a ban.

    The quality comment one i agree with you. I just write whatever comes to mind and don’t care if it’s quality or not, it’s coming from the heart. (I do proofread it though) :P

    Going to send this blog post to my twitter peeps

  21. Dwayne@TWC says:

    HAHA! This post is hilarious, Karol. I can admit that I might be behind bars for a lame list post myself but that’s why I’m trying to stay a free man by making better ones. P.S. I love ThemeFuse themes.

  22. Obinna says:

    Ha, that means we would all be behind bars. Thanks to the gods of blogging you aint the blogging police.

  23. I also hate it when someone comments, on every post you publish, with “philosophy type questions”. I don’t mean the people who are really just asking normal questions, or people who are curious about something in your post – I mean the the ones who really spend a lot of time coming up with a question that will make them sound smart, and with no other purpose. They ask the classic “which came first, the chicken or the egg” type of question – come on, most of the readers don’t care for that! lol

    • Obinna says:

      Are you aware you did exactly that which you said hate? You just made the same philosophical conjectures.

      • Haha – Um, no I didn’t, but thank you for giving us the perfect example of “philosophical conjectures”, as you would say.

  24. Paris L. says:

    I guess we need to live with the netidiocracy. In the long run we can pray the search engines change their algorithms and filters with more human auditors.

  25. Not sure if a lot of bloggers will admit this but blogging is in fact a major exercise in building yourself up as an authority in a given niche. So, people listen to you, which makes you feel important.

  26. Tina says:

    Constant spouting of “love what you do” gets my dander up in any context, not just blogging. You know what most people love? Paying bills and eating every so often. Doing something that doesn’t eat away at your soul every hour on the clock is good enough for me. Anything more is a bonus.

    I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of giving spammers three chances. “Mark as spam” is pretty much one chance and you’re done with me.

    • Karol says:

      I’m talking about 3 chances before the final internet ban, not just a ban preventing from commenting on a given blog. :)

  27. Ellen says:

    If I were the blogging police I’d give this blog a ticket for recklessness. Most of teaching is repetition. We need to be reminded over and over of the basics or we’re liable to forget. That’s how human beings are. And there are some of us, me included, have been blogging for years, week in a week out, and need a break every 3 years or so. So I take my break and come back and resume my blogging schedule. There’s nothing wrong with that. And it’s a sad day when being a nice person is a bad thing. Doesn’t mean you can’t stand up for yourself, or say what’s on your mind, but there’s no reason to be a butthead in the process. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  28. Bryan Ring says:

    Do I dare comment here? Valid points, and I really do believe some bloggers write to reassure themselves. One can only imagine when writing that they are actually reading what they’ve written and saying….hmmmm, “I better do that”. We’ve all been there, just some are more polished than others.

    I especially love #7. My wife and family can testify, if they don’t see me right here(at the kitchen table) on this laptop, something is wrong.
    Did I claim to be great at blogging? NO. Still learning, and I know you said you don’t want to hear it, BUT…it is articles such as yours I learn from.

    Thanks Karol for telling how it should be.

    Bryan Ring~

  29. Gin says:

    I would think the Blog police would have to be one seriously large organization to handle the calls and complaints that would be coming in daily, hourly and by the minute! wow! it would be great if they could spot, stop and sweep away the content or scraping thieves. :) great post!

    • Karol says:

      You’re correct about this, it would be great if content scrapers were hunted down and put behind bars. :)

  30. Ashley says:

    So my question is, what’s the point of this post? Was it meant to be ironic, since you listed all the things people should be “locked up for?” Sorry, but, the quality of Problogger guest posts has been going down a lot recently. Haven’t said anything until now, because I’m one of those “nice people” listed above, and as well-intentioned as these bloggers are, which I appreciate, the overall quality of them has been decreasing. Some of the posts are still great, of course, but I’m really wondering about this one… (and I don’t mean to discredit the author either, I may have misconstrued the message or perhaps irony was the purpose.)

    • Frank says:

      I have mixed feelings about this one too… but you must admit that it was an interesting read.

      • Nester says:

        Oh I absolutely loved this post. I thought the sarcastic tone was fantastic and fun~a nice change from the routine post. Well done!

    • Karol says:

      Sarcastic tone and irony was the point here. Just a change from the usual serious advice. :)

  31. I definitely agree with not being too much of a nice guy.

    I recently just had an incident where I got a lot of flak for posting an unpopular opinion and I felt bad about all the hate I got but then I realised ‘no one wants to read posts of someone who sits on the fence and is sweeter than pie or do you want to read a post written by someone who is passionate and can explain their opinion with educated statements rather than backing down because the masses don’t support their views?

    I think people forget that not being constantly nice all the time doesn’t mean that you have to verbally abuse your readers but it doesn’t mean that you should be a total nice guy pushover either.

  32. Hi Karol,

    Some good points here.

    Walk the path less taken. But do what works, too. Some of these words, strategies, etc, work quite well. Which is why rich, successful bloggers follow the herd in some respects.

    But speak your own voice. This is tricky. Some are so conditioned that they believe their voice is their own, when it’s in fact Darren’s here at PB, or some other successful blogger. Learn from the pro’s but do not copy, or you risk losing your voice, which makes you mediocre.

    On the flip side, using some of the techniques you mention brings my posts and articles to the first page of google, bing and yahoo. Be careful what annoys you. It might just work better than you could ever imagine.

    I resisted all types of stuff for a while, then I checked out the first page of google, saw what worked, and put out similar content with some push-button keywords, and ranked quite well. Usually, what annoys us contains some type of truth we resist. When we learn to embrace instead of resist, we learn a valuable lesson.

    I became more successful when I became annoyed less, and learned more. Because being annoyed says everything about you and nothing about the source of annoyance…you are the perceiver who creates the experience.

    Thanks for sharing your insight Karol.

    Ryan

    • Karol says:

      You bring some really valid points, I have to agree. And I don’t have much in my defense, but we do need to think through our definition of success. I mean, just because something ranks good in Google, is it really a proof that it should be done?

  33. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you Karol for this. I read it as a younger woman bitching and suddenly found out it was written by a man. How honest (I don’t need to write this blog post now) and how refreshing. A man that had enough. We all had enough.
    Maybe blogging is indeed a personal development tool that once and for all hammer the messages home: No, we are not interested in you. We are interested in yout content. Quality content if you don’t mind. Self-important musings are only welcome if you are on the verge of being put up in a mental institution for impersonating someone genial.

  34. Pete@News says:

    But you could also get locked for using “touché”. :)

    OK, if there’s a blogging police that goes by these rules, then everyone must have been locked up one time or the other. Great Post, though!

  35. Ferb says:

    I think so far you have received many kinds of spam comments and it’s overwhelming you to actually approved them. I love everyone’s to come to my blog besides spammers. People’s create blogs might plan to make money but spammer’s really make you have to pay more for them.

    There is no boring of being to nice others. If I can distinguish who I should be nice to, then I will be nice to everyone.

  36. Annie Andre says:

    yes some things on this list are annoying but, not all blog posts have you in mind as their target market. For example, sometimes what’s obvious to you isn’t so obvious to other people and that’s why it’s getting written about.
    I was reminded of this the other day when someone posted a question about “where does the post go when i hit publish?” I just never fathomed that this would be an obvious question. And some people actually think that if they just write things that people will come and read it. There are too many examples of this around the web. I think we all forget just how much knowledge we have in our heads and assume everyone else is at the same level.

    Maybe what you mean to say is that you should write for your audience and don’t state the obvious.
    p.s.
    this is me not agreeing with you. :) other than that. good job on the article.

  37. Corinne Edwards says:

    Dear Karol -

    The long comments which say nothing is my pet peeve because the spam filters do not catch them. They look legitimate.

    Like -

    “I”ve been searching for this information for a long time. You can be sure I’ll be back and I will tell people about your blog. So many interesting articles. I have spent the weekend reading them and I just can’t stop.”

    Then they post that same comment over and over.

    BAM. GONE. But it takes time to spam them. Finally, I block their IP.

    • Karol K says:

      I have a simple solution to this. Well, I don’t mean that it’s always 100% accurate, but anyway. If I see a comment that doesn’t mention the post’s topic in any way, like the one you’ve given as an example, then I mark it as spam.

  38. Frank says:

    Regardless of the “correctness” of this post, it is one that provokes me to comment… About the quality of the posts going down, as one commenter mentioned… I would not know. With this particular post, I opened the email instead of deleting it for the first time in months purely for entertainment value. We don’t primarily watch movies because we intend to follow the advice therein.

  39. Karol

    The following section is brilliant, true, and can be directly applied.

    ” … Do you really love blogging? Would you sit in your room and cry if you couldn’t blog anymore? Would you be depressed for a month if blogging had been taken away from you? Do you wake up every day imagining how happy you are with your blog, and then go to sleep in the evening dreaming all the nice things you’re going to do with your blog the next day?

    If there’s at least one “no” in your answers to those questions, then you don’t love blogging, so don’t say you do. If you have all “yeses” … touché….”

    Basically this is the real secret. My blog goes live soon Karol, and your article is a healthy reminder to stay with what spins my wheels.

    Plus you struck a nerve with “don’t always be a ‘nice guy’” Hmmm. I’ll need a thicker skin.

    Jonathan

  40. Joi says:

    Truth be told, I’m always far too busy trying to police myself and grow as a writer and blogger to worry about what other bloggers are doing. I keep myself pretty busy!

  41. Kathy Roeth says:

    I’ll take the cattle breeding over being a politician. Any day! Well, your post got me to read it twice, share it, and comment – that’s saying a lot. Fun presentation of your thoughts. Enjoyed it, and I would like to enlist the Blog Patrol to track down all those varmits who put music on their blogs. ****argh****

  42. Rahul Singh says:

    Hi Karol,

    Nice post. Its always refreshing to see someone who has a different point of view from yours.

    Just want to share my experience about what you call as “Lame List Posts”. I am new to the world of Blogging and for starters like me even the most obvious points have proved to be helpful sometimes. Maybe they sound so obvious to you because you have read such lists hundreds of times.
    But someone has to write these kind of lists so that people like me don’t make the same obvious mistakes that they made. Sometimes we need to read the same content again and again in order to get the message.

    Also, i don’t think there is anything wrong in being nice to everyone. On the contrary i feel that you should be nice to everyone unless they have offended you by using some inappropriate language or some other way.

    Just 2 bits of opinion from someone who knows 2 bits about blogging.

  43. Out of all of those its the spammers that bother me…

  44. This post is hilarious and I’m confident that I’d get a ticket at some point.

    My ticket would go to the blogger who shows me an ad before they show me their post. I recently clicked on a compelling title. I didn’t care about the misspellings, because the title made me wonder….and then I get a full page ad that I had to click through to get to the post. I didn’t bother. I was behind on blog reading by 200 posts.

  45. Marcie says:

    This is too funny. And if you need an assistant officer, hire me.

  46. Mentor Mala says:

    Great post. I saw another post similar to this one on another site… Just kidding. I loved it. Each of us has thought about those points but never really said them at least out loud. Thank you.

  47. It’s one thing to spam me, but if your spam comment contains criticism of my blog I will hunt you down. My contribution to the list is non-stop giveaways. Show me some content! I don’t want to win a box of raisins!

  48. Number two resonated with me. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard this yet, well established bloggers are flogging this dead horse like it’s the last content idea they’re ever going to have. Pisses me off. It’s like every blogger thinks they can just poop out some new content raving about “quality content” or “being authentic.” It’s such shallow advice, and we “got it” so long ago it’s shaming yourself to even mention it. I’m tempted to hit the unsubscribe button every time I see a headline “quality content” in my RSS feed.

  49. Glynis Jolly says:

    Hi Karol

    I grinned reading your list here. I agree with you on all points. I especially hate the obvious lists and the ‘sorry been away post.

    However, when I have been away, I do explain why with a short little paragraph at the end of that 1st post when I come back. I think it helps keep subscribers.

  50. Lee Emerson says:

    Another one for tour list- Bloggers shouldn’t preach to other bloggers about how to blog!