How To Avoid Stepping On Other Bloggers’ Toes

Every once in awhile we have something of a muss-up behind the scenes here at IFB: some weird but inevitable violation of inter-blogger ethics and all of those unwritten rules of community conduct that needs to be addressed before things get out of hand.  Most recently we had a pretty egregious case of plagiarism so I thought I’d take a couple minutes here to clear up some issues.

Plagiarism is Easy to Identify and It’s just as Easy to Avoid

There are a lot of fashion bloggers out there.  We all try to keep our content original but every once in awhile you’re going to end up stepping on one another’s content-related-toes.  Posts like, “Tips for Newbie Bloggers,” “10 Ways to Boost Your Traffic, “How to Keep Your Content Fresh,” etc etc are the sort of posts that have been written and rewritten ten thousand times.  It’s OK for you to look at previously written posts for ideas, but it is crucially important that you put your own personal spin on it and that you don’t, under any circumstances, plagiarize content directly from another source.  You are responsible for anything you write and in these panoptical days, if you choose to plagiarize content, then you will more than likely get caught and you are responsible for the consequences.  We all learned the rules of plagiarism way back in middle school and they’re easy enough to understand and abide by.

And the Same Goes for Photos…

There are plenty of Creative Commons Licensed photos out there: on Flickr, on Wikipedia, on Google.  If you can’t take your own photos don’t take someone else’s.  If you do take someone else’s photos be absolutely certain that you’ve credited both the source of the photo and the photographer who took the photo and do your best to link their names to their websites; also don’t bother trying to attach the photo to any commercial product and don’t, not ever, attempt to make any sort of profit by/from/through the use of the photo.  Make your credits clear and obvious to your readers.

Be Respectful and Fair

If you do get wronged and someone does start poaching your content don’t just attack them on your blog or on Twitter.  There’s no point in getting involved in a flame war on Twitter, Facebook, the IFB forums, or your blog’s comments; it’s puerile, petty, and totally unprofessional.  Your colleagues and readers will lose respect for you.  If you have an issue with another blogger taking your content, or if you are accused of it by a fellow blogger, keep it between yourselves; settle it by email, by phone, by anything other than bashing one another back and forth in a public forum.  If you do choose to take this approach then be certain that you’re being fair: get in touch with the person, allow them to give you a quote explaining their side of the story, and give them their fair say in your post.  Stick to the hard facts and let your readers make their decisions based on these facts.


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9 Responses

  1. Joey

    The third point is something I’ve been thinking about a lot. If I know for sure that someone is plagiarizing from all over the internet (it’s not hard to use Google), should I say anything? I’ve been keeping mum for months and immediately unfollowed this blogger when I found out. As you said, I thought it’d be petty to bring it up especially since she wasn’t plagiarizing from me so really, it’s not my business. However, do you think I should voice out?

  2. Ana

    I’d love to know a bit more about the photos:

    Since I’d like to start an art-featuring blog (à la form is void and Coilhouse, I wonder if someone from the ranks of wonderful IFB-er could solve my dilemma 🙂 .

    1. There is some art I found on tumblr and is completely uncredited.
    2. For some art I know who created it, but there isn’t a way to contact them and ask for permission.

    Everything is artwork, so the premise is that everything is copyrighted.

    Is it ok to post pictures just with links to the creator website (or, in the case of tumblr-found ones, post them and just say I don’t know the author)?

    • LUXCAT

      Ana –

      I have been running into this pretty recently, especially since I started using my tumblr more as an inspiration folder. Eventually, I’d like to go through my tumblr and find images that fit a certain blog post I have in mind but credit is so hard to find sometimes.. especially since some people change the links to their own tumblr to drive their traffic. I’ve had to scour the web the best I can to find to give credit but sometimes I’m not always successful. I have found that & are pretty popular sites where people grab images from and am usually able to track it down there.

      Hope you get this figured out & would love to check out your blog once you get it going. xx

      • Ana

        Thank you, Luxcat 🙂 !

        For that reason, I love tumblr-ers who give full credit. Love them!

        I know I’d be okay with being featured without being contacted first if credit and link were given, or simply suppluing the poster with info if there is none, but everybody is different and I can’t know how a particular artist feels on that subject.

        Aw, thanks again – I hope to get it running in February, when my master studies hopefully get a bit less hectic. I’ll keep you posted 🙂 .

  3. SabinaSabina

    thnx this is so valuable. I guess we all make mistakes and I had another bloggers talking about my blog in a public forum and I wish this would have happened in a private message. the comment -from my point of view-made me look bad:(