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All About Blogging: Dealing With Blogging Annoyances

Irked Mon­ster, Ottawa, August 2011

Over­all, I find blog­ging very reward­ing: it’s a chance to develop or pol­ish writ­ing skills, to build a com­mu­nity around a theme and to con­nect with peo­ple all over the world. Praise is nice too—who doesn’t like a pat in the back?—and you will gen­er­ally receive unex­pected pos­i­tive feedback.

Yet, some lit­tle things can irk you. These blog­ging annoy­ances are every­where and you’d bet­ter start to learn how to deal with them to keep your sanity.

Here are four annoy­ances you will prob­a­bly come across.

Spam — 88,155 spam com­ments and count­ing. That’s how much spam I got since I move to Word­Press in 2007. I’m at war against spam: I value com­ments and I hate to see junk mail get­ting through valu­able input. Luck­ily, Akismet blocks 99% of spam com­ments I receive, I just have to go through the spam queue once in a while to make sure no legit com­ment was flagged by mis­take. Pro­tect­ing your blog from spam is impor­tant: when­ever I see spam lost among com­ments, I can’t help think­ing that the blog is aban­doned or that the author doesn’t give a damn about it anymore.

Copy­right issues — Some blog­gers put vaguely threat­en­ing notes indi­cat­ing they own copy­right over their mate­ri­als. Oth­ers put water­marks all over their pic­tures and resize it such a way that you can barely see them—but hey, at least they won’t be stolen, right? Unfor­tu­nately, it doesn’t quite work like that. A lot of peo­ple tend to think that online con­tent (designs, arti­cles, pic­tures) is free and avail­able for use. Most of the time, con­tact­ing the offend­ing web­site to explain that your work is being used with­out per­mis­sion and that you want to have it remove ASAP is enough. If this doesn’t work, you can con­tact the plat­form on which your work appears (Blog­ger, Word­Press, Flickr etc.). Tip: to find if some of your pic­tures have been stolen, you can use Tin­Eye, a reverse image search.

Silly and out­ra­geous requests — I encour­age peo­ple to con­tact me if they have any ques­tion and I reg­u­larly receive emails regard­ing to life in Canada, immi­gra­tion, travel or pho­tog­ra­phy. But I also get what I call the “WTF Ques­tions”. Like this guy who wanted me to email him my old filled in immi­gra­tion forms so that he could just copy them. I mean, of course Mr. I-have-no-idea-who-you-are, you’re wel­come to have a look at all my per­sonal infor­ma­tion, includ­ing my bank­ing infor­ma­tion, social insur­ance num­ber and the copies of all my IDs! And then there are always enter­tain­ing requests. For instance, this is the story of a food blog­ger who was invited to a culi­nary trade show in Italy. The catch? She had to develop a recipe, pro­mote the event and pay for her own air­fare from the U.S to Italy! A lot of com­pa­nies or mar­ket­ing firms con­tact blog­gers with pretty out­ra­geous requests and use the “good pub­lic­ity” angle. The best way to deal with these requests is to pause before click­ing on the reply but­ton. Turn insult into oppor­tu­nity and explain why work­ing for free isn’t going to hap­pen. Hope­fully the com­pany will get the message.

Hate mail and trolls — Well, let’s face it, some­times peo­ple do not get the mes­sage (see above). No mat­ter how right or polite you are, you may receive unpleas­ant emails. The best way to deal with these is to hit delete, oth­er­wise you’ll be feed­ing the trolls. Don’t get upset over such emails or com­ments: there is a bunch of anony­mous out there who just love lash­ing out in a very passive-aggressive kind of way. Over the years, I’ve got­ten com­ments pick­ing on my Eng­lish, accus­ing me of being a fake Canadian/French because I have dual cit­i­zen­ship, I’ve been called a trai­tor by some French-speakers unhappy to see me blog in Eng­lish etc. Don’t get upset over it and cheer up by check­ing out Pas­sive Aggres­sive Notes or My Favorite Hate Mail—you’ll see, you’re not the only one deal­ing with weird strangers!

Have you expe­ri­enced any blog­ging annoy­ances? How did you deal with it?

19 comments

  1. Hey so far so good for me really but do receive spam com­ments and ini­tially I did not delete it out but my blog pal Tor advised me to do that which I did.

    I sup­pose there are peo­ple out there who are ‘jeal­ous’ of one blog’s success.

  2. I am SO happy that Word­Press blocks out all the spam because man it gets crazy sometimes!

    And trolls/stalkers are really just pathetic losers who hide behind their com­put­ers. It really is good advice not to pay them any mind and just hit delete! :)

  3. Very, very early on in my blog­ging (2002) I posted a photo of a woman with crazy fash­ion sense and I had one com­menter tell me off about it.

    There’s a woman in the Czech Repub­lic whose com­ments are always neg­a­tive. I really don’t know why she reads my blog in the first place if she finds it only wor­thy of crit­i­cism, but I always let her com­ments through.

    My post with the most com­ments (40 as of now) is about Aza­lea Trail Maids in Mobile, Alabama. I have never been to Mobile, nor did I take the photo — a friend of mine did. The post was writ­ten in March 2005 and it only has the photo and about four sen­tences, but it’s sparked such an out­cry among the Trail Maids that it gets hits every sin­gle day and the occa­sional harsh out­burst from a for­mer or cur­rent Trail Maid.

    A guy accused me of steal­ing a photo of a kid­nap­per from a 1940s-era news­pa­per, when the photo was mine in the first place and edited to sepia to look vintage.

    In the early years a Ger­man com­pany asked for that very same vintage-looking photo for their online gam­bling game, but wouldn’t pay for it.

    Also in those early years a Seat­tle com­pany tried to get a surf­ing photo I shot in Tofino, BC, but wouldn’t pay for it.

    The list goes on, but my blog­ging expe­ri­ences of 9+ years have been over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive with very rare blips of neg­a­tive. I don’t get trolls, just a lot of spam that usu­ally gets fil­tered out (is it just me or has Akismet really missed a ton of spam this month??), so I can’t really complain.

    • Thanks for shar­ing! Glad to see I’m not the only one deal­ing with crazy requests.

      I recently turned down an offer to use my pic­tures taken in Paris for an iphone app. The per­son wanted me to give the pic­tures away for free for a credit but the appli­ca­tion was a paid one. Ahem… no? To his credit, the guy per­fectly under­stood my point. Why would I give my work away for free for com­mer­cial use?

      And yes, Akismet behaved weirdly lately. It missed spam a lot and marked legit­i­mate com­ments as spam!

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