Social Bookmarking Etiquette

People have been asking me a lot of questions about etiquette while social bookmarking. I thought I would play Miss Manners and share the code of conduct which I apply to myself while social bookmarking. I think this contributed to me becoming a top-ranked digger. These are dos and don’ts which you wont find in your social bookmarking site’s Terms of Use.

Do: Follow the Golden Rule

Treat other people as you wish to be treated. This is good advice in all aspects of life and social bookmarking is no exception. This mostly applies to comments. For instance, if you notice you are commenting on something submitted by someone who registered within the last couple of days, it would be nice to add a welcome message for them and some words of encouragement.

Don’t: Dupe

Don’t dupe. Ever. Submitting a duplicate of a story that is already in the queue splits the votes between the stories. This results in the story taking longer to get promoted which, in turn, degrades the efficiency of the system’s ability to aggregate up-to-the-minute news. Don’t submit a duplicate of a story that has already been removed from the queue because you think it is important enough to have another shot. Duping a story that has been removed from the queue because of its age or other reasons undermines the decisions or non-decisions of your community. No story is important enough to undermine your community. There will always be another hot story around the corner.

Do: Point Out Dupes

The sooner duplicate stories are pointed out, the sooner they can be prevented from hindering the original’s chances at being promoted to the front page. If you notice a duplicate submission, point it out and provide a link to the original submission.

Don’t: “Reported as Lame”

Commenting that you reported a story makes about as much sense as commenting that you voted for it. Other users do not need to know that you reported a story. If they want to know that stories are being reported, they can watch digg spy. The only people who need to know you reported a story are the site administrators (and the site itself which I am told is not actually a person).

Do: Thank Dupe-Spotters

Be appreciative of people who point out a duplicate story that you submitted. They have the best interest of the community, the system and the story in mind. Own up to your mistake by apologizing. This lets the community know that you also have its best interest in mind. Vote for the original, cut your losses and submit a new story.

Don’t: Comment Without R’ing TFA

You don’t want to look like you aren’t familiar with the subject you are commenting on, do you? You should always read the article you are commenting on before giving your 2 cents.

Do: Search Before Submitting

Search by keyword for to see if a story you would like to submit already exists on the site. If the story already exists, vote for the original. Even if searching for it means you will miss out on submitting a breaking story, it is worth it to preserve a high front page ratio and to prevent you from getting a reputation as a rampant dupe-submitter.

Don’t: Sign Comments

There is a reason why socially driven news sites do not provide a mechanism for automatically adding a signature to your comments. They want to keep the discussion relevant to the submission without clutter. Don’t add unrelated links into your comments. Don’t even sign them with your name. This is known as “comment-spam”.

Do: Report Bugs

Site administrators are extremely appreciative of people who report bugs or functional anomalies. Lucky for them, they don’t need testers because they have thousands of people constantly testing their applications.

Don’t: Question the Algorithm

Commenting on how unusual it is that something was promoted to the front page with only XX votes does not belong in a submission’s comment thread. If you suspect something has gone awry with the site’s promotion algorithm, you should contact the site’s support staff. In fact, don’t speculate on the promotion on algorithm at all.

Do: Report Abusive Users

Socially driven sites are always concerned with maintaining a positive social environment for their users. If you notice someone who is being abusive to other users, you should notify the site’s support staff so that they can deal with it appropriately.

Don’t: Spin

Don’t take a perfectly good story and put a title and description on it that spin it to support an agenda you have. Being creative or funny with titles and descriptions is awesome, but try to stay true to the subject of the story. Save the spin for the discussion thread.

Do: Socialize

There is a reason they call it “social” bookmarking. Add people with similar voting and submitting patterns to your friends list. Connect with these people via email and IM.

All of these came from experience. I’ve been guilty of doing all the above don’ts and had to figure out the dos.

Feel free to add your own dos and don’ts in the comments.

  • social bookmarking

    Hi Derek,

    It is to bad most people do not follow the advice and rule of treating people the way you want to be treated.

    I think if everyone did this the world (and the web) would be a much better place obviously.

    Great common sense post. I know it is from last year but I just recently stumbled upon it. In fact… I think I will “stumble” it as well.


  • Clive

    Is it poor etiquette to post something you yourself have written – self promotion? Self praise etc.

  • Social Media Etiquette Roundup: Understanding Cultural Norms « Community Organizer 2.0

    [...] Thoughtful guide to social bookmarking etiquette, in general: Social Bookmarking Etiquette [...]

  • Wedding photographer

    Excellent article. Correctly you write that nobody cancelled rules of a good form even on the Internet. And that some services of social bookmarks began to turn to a dustbin thanks to spamers.

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  • Barbara J Najera

    god bless your blog my friend :)

  • Getting Backlinks

    Good social bookmarking tips!

  • Funny News Stories

    Hi Derek…
    I notice daily that not all people treat other persons good or the same way they want to be treated but few people do this…
    Every man cares just for himself not for others surround him…
    I think by following these rules every thing is going to be Fine…
    Thanks for Advices…

  • penny stocks

    Great to have this “golden rule” to follow. This must be distributed to all bloggers and social network enthusiasts.

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  • Galapagos Cruises

    I hope many people will read this post…
    I'm glad that you post this list of good etiquette..
    Nice list..

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  • ITbaymarketing

    Thanks for sharing good points in the format like do and don't…I really like that and they are really helpful.
    Good job.

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  • Social Media Etiquette Roundup: Understanding Cultural Norms | Community Organizer 2.0

    [...] Thoughtful guide to social bookmarking etiquette, in general: Social Bookmarking Etiquette [...]

  • Mold Removal Miami Beach

    It is to bad most people do not follow the advice and rule of treating people the way you want to be treated. It is really sad.


    Really good tips, however I do believe content is key.

  • Mold Removal

    It is really very good post, but I do not see everything completely clear, especially for someone not involved in that topic.

  • Anonymous

    Very helpful tips to avoid errors. Building back links to your site is search engine optimization is the main thing to discuss with you all the important things. I use my website link to the social bookmarking and toward the back of the directory.

  • Jane Deas

    I really adore what you had to say. Keep going because you definitely bring a new voice to this subject.

  • Ecositebuilder

    This is the main reasons to join a
    social networking site many dump member of social networking site does not
    follow some rules and they tell social networking and bookmarking is useless as
    we have got only Nofollow link..

    Thanks for the effective post


  • Dana Aquirre

    I really like when individuals are expressing their opinion and thought. So I like the way you’re writing.

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