Blog Sins

Thoughts come together, and the hybridization of your thoughts give rise to new ideas.  Here are the thoughts:

  • I have this session called “T-SQL Code Sins”, where I talk about “the worst things we do to SQL code, and why”. 
  • Last night I was talking about blogging with several SQL bloggers, and one guy who was about to start.
  • Today, I ran into a pet peeve yet again on a blog.

I hereby present:

Blog Sins

The things you do on your blog that make me close the browser.


We’ve talked about this again and again (Brent Ozar dedicated an entire week to it), and it’s the number one all time blog sin: Posting content that’s not yours, without explicit permission.  That’s BAD, mm’kay?  If you didn’t write it, and you didn’t ask, don’t post it.

So how do you quote from a blog on your blog? Bloggers want our material out there, sure, but there’s a very clear line between quoting (which requires attribution), and stealing.  To quote, use a small piece of the post (when in doubt, ask!), be sure it’s clearly marked as a quote, attribute to the author, and link back to the article. Like this:

In Brent Ozar’s article How to Take Action When Your Content is Plagiarized, he states: “As long as the copyright holders notify the ISP and the ISP reacts appropriately, then the ISP is not liable for the copyright infringement. Only the plagiarist is liable.”

No Identity

Brands are good. I’ve talked about branding before, and I got a bunch of other people to blog about branding. It’s great to be known as the MidnightDBAs, or the SQL Chicken, or the SQL Rockstar.  But I also need to know who you are.

Put your name on your blog.
A little “About” section would be nice, too.

Tell me who you are, so I don’t have to continually refer to you as “SQL Watersnake”. So I know who you are if we meet at a conference.  So I know where you are in the SQL world – are you into BI? On the SQL Server tools team? A newbie trying to learn SSAS? An internals guru? Just give me a hint…

No Contact

No comment forms? No Twitter handle? No contact form? No email, for Codd’s sake??  Don’t make me leap through this internet and throttle you…

No Personality

Technical content doesn’t have to be dry. It doesn’t have to be a laugh riot, either.  But your blog should sound like you.  Leave the formal, personality-less writing to SQL Server Books Online, where it’s appropriate. You’re writing about your perspective on techie topics…you’re not rewriting the product manual.

There are more blog sins out there, oh yes there are. You yourself probably have a number of peeves that make you crazy-crackers…spellcheck? Grammatical issues?  Poor thought flow?  You tell me: What are those peeves?

Happy days,
Jen McCown

6 thoughts on “Blog Sins”

  1. Oh, this is a super easy one!


    My biggest peeve – especially when reviewing technical content. How do I know WHEN this was written? Plus, the added sin of not talking about what version of said technology you are referencing. At least have a tag or something for pete’s sake! (and mine, thankyouverymuch)

  2. “For Codd’s sake” <== Hahaha

    My best pet peeve in this list is "No Identity" followed closely by "No Contact". It noticed it painfully when I was writing up a T-SQL Tuesday followup. And I suspect that the timing of these peeves of yours isn't a coincidence.
    I remember finding names for 90% and then going on a scavenging hunt. Now, I don't mind solving puzzles and scavenger hunting, but I like to pick the time.

    – Michael J. Swart

  3. Wendy, I’m surprised…I guess I just assumed that all (or at least most) blogging engines dated posts automagically!

    Michael, No, it’s no coincidence. I think I did finally end up just calling one or two people by whatever their blog was called this time around. But it drives me nuts regardless…”SQL Shoelace? That’s great, but WHO THE FRAK ARE YOU?!?!?” I have enough trouble remembering names in the first place, don’t make me hunt for them…

  4. Here’s one that caught me off guard the other day:

    If you have comments turned on for you blog and someone takes the time to post a thoughtful, content-packed response, don’t send them an e-mail asking them to not spam their blogs by providing their blog link on the comment form.

    If you don’t want people to provide a link to their own blog on the form field, just don’t collect or display that information on your blog.

    If you don’t like any comments on your blog, turn them off – don’t offer them.

  5. Heh, actually, every time I type in my blog address in the “Website” field when placing a comment, becuase for some reason, I feel like I’m being a little bit like a dirty spammer. I mean, obviously that’s what it’s there for, but I still feel like I’m piggybacking on the popularity of the site I’m posting at.

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