Armchair BEA, Day 4: Ethics in Blogging

Image credit: Nina of Nina Reads
Hey all, this year I am participating in Armchair BEA which is a virtual convention for book bloggers who cannot attend the Book Expo America and the Book Blogger Convention in New York. Below I have selected five questions that give more insight on me!
Ethics in Blogging

The internet is a wonderful display of intellectual work ranging from Epic Rap Battles between historic figures to reviews gushing about about books. With this influx of other's ideas comes great responsibility. Here are some thoughts (my opinions) to consider:


1. Don't plagiarize. Like duh. There are many times the ideas of someone else are so creative that they leave you thinking "now why didn't I think of that"? For some, plagiarizing is no big deal, so the "copy and paste" function (and some tweaking, mind you) is nothing of great concern - no matter how big or small their readership is. You all know this , but it still happens. We have seen it happen. Avoid it like the plague.


2. Provide sources to images and "trigger posts". If another article has inspired to you write on a subject matter, and you share very similar opinions, it is great to highlight the original source, especially if posting times are close to each other. Images also need to be credited to their owners. If you cannot link to the owner's actual site, link to the website you found the image on. Whether an SNL gif, or an infographic, if the image is not yours you must post a link to its origin. An absent link denotes your ownership and creation.


3. Do not redistribute digital review copies. It takes money, time and mental work to write a book. When an author sends you a review copy, it is only for you. Even if the book was the best you ever read and you gave it a glowing review, that doesn't mean you can share it with who you want. Even letting someone use your account information to access a book is unethical. If you feel like sharing a book, gift a copy. Nothing says you love a book than legally sharing it with author's. Or building a shrine for it. Or selling your first-born for a limited copy. UPDATE: Jessica from Literary, etc mentioned in her comment below that: "it's important to note too that if you're part of a multi-member blog, it's not okay to share that one ARC you received for review and distribute it to all members of your blog to read on their own time unless you have permission from the publisher or author." This is so true! Thanks for pointing that out, Jessica!


4. Don't sell ARCs. Or pay for them. An ARC always come with the instruction to not sell it. ARCs are expensive to make and to send out. Selling ARCs on eBay, Amazon and other sites is against the publisher's rights. I wish marketplace websites would emphasize this more, but it is not happening. If you ever receive an ARC from one of these sites, and you feel lucky, something is out of place (your ethics?) Get mad. Politely inform the marketplace of the incident. Ask for a refund. It hurts me seeing ARCs sold.


5. Don't try to pass a book you didn't completely finish or understand as a normal, non-DNF review Sometimes you do not need to finish a book in its entirety to comprehensively explain your feelings about it. Sometimes you can skim through the ending, and still have an overall reaction to it. I have seen it many a time. However, there are times it is obvious that a reviewer has no idea what the book was about. Once I read a very problematic book, yet another reviewer who completely abhorred it, mentioned a genre element that was not present at all (alongside misspelled character names). I immediately realized that she was trying to fake a full review after barely reading the book or understanding it. That is being duplicitous - a very unfair action to do to your readers. This is why DNF and micro-reviews exist.


6. Give credit to meme creators I would have expected this to be a minor issue, but I am noticing an increase in uncredited memes. All book blog memes that I have seen require a mention of the creator. If you are not the creator of In My Mailbox (which has recently been passed down to another blog) or whatever other meme, it's required that you credit the host. Remember, it was not your idea.


7. Have a clear, distinct review policy. A review policy is extremely important! Yes, it is great to know what genres you prefer to review, but what is your clause on accepted books? Do you promise to review them? Or are reviews not guaranteed? Or how about handling review requests? Do you ignore the ones you are not interested in? Or do you notify the author that you cannot accept their book? Whatever review quirks you have, whether it be the submission process or format preferences - be sure to clearly state them in your review policy. These are serious jumbles of text - they are like your blog laws! They dictate one of the most important aspects of your blog! You want authors to know exactly what will happen. Unless they choose not to read it, of course.


8. Don't be a snob! I am just adding this tip after seeing Charlotte mention it on Gypsy Reviews! I  had to unfollow some bloggers who obviously had a superior air to them. I always tried to interact with them, and they left me there in the dust. Yes, your blog may be successful, but you are not a celebrity. Everyone has the right to ignore people no doubt, but if you like to exercise it in the blogging world, especially on social media where followers are more comfortable, then blogging is probably not for you. Interaction should not be reserved for a select few. It only makes you look like a snob. Be nice to your fans! Aren't they one the big reasons you do what you do? Or are you just planning to request ARCs with "numbers"? I'm more than a statistic. Whew. I think that's enough for this topic! Hope my tips are helpful!