Site-Wide Activity Forums Support and Feedback How do I comment about blog standards without being a bully?

17 replies, 11 voices Last updated by  Xavier 7 years, 1 month ago
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  • #7758

    Robert Godden

    As many here know, I tend to speak my mind

    Someone on Tea Trade has posted a blog that I think has no place on here. I’ve added a comment, but I imagine that comment will not be published.

    The so-called “blog post” is four links to Biblical passages. But this is not about the Bible.

    My own beliefs are not relevant but I’ll declare them here- in case you don’t know – I am an atheist and I believe the Bible is a document that adds almost nothing to history due to its stupendous inaccuracies and has had very little effect except as fuel for hatred. These beliefs are sufficient for me to wait 24 hours after reading the “blog post” to really get a handle on my reasoning.

    I don’t think there is any place for a post such as this on Tea Trade.

    It’s spam. And worse. It’s spam that isn’t about Tea.

    It’s fair to say that I’m possibly the worst person here when it comes to blogs that are 99% nonsense, invective or hype and 1% tea. But I think it’s my duty to have that 1% tea. Or post somewhere else.
    Below is the comment I wrote on the post in question. It’s awaiting moderation. I’m not holding my breath.
    I post it here to invite you all to tell me I’m wrong. Tell me posting just 4 links is an acceptable entry. Tell me that once you add God you can change the rules. Tell me to mind my own business.
    Tell me that tea is optional

    Here’s the comment:-
    Let leave aside my personal beliefs from this. I see no difference in spreading this nonsense as spreading a series of reviews of a new car, details of how vitamin X cured your baldness or breathlessly telling us all we can make $5353.67 per week working from home stuffing bacon into tin foil packaging.
    It’s not a post, it’s a series of links to propaganda.
    At first, I assumed it was some sort of hack into your account, but if it was, I believe you would have removed it by now.
    The name of this site is “Tea Trade” Get the hint. Until somebody invents biblical passages that directly relate to tea (Hopefully ‘thou shall’ rather than “thou shalt not)’ then I think you need to keep this stuff to yourself or find a social marketplace for bible quotes.

    Mod note: changed thread title to reflect author’s original intent

  • #7759

    Anonymous @

    It is published and I honestly don’t care if you like it or not, I post about tea and what’s important to me on my “so called blog” and if you don’t like it you simply don’t have to read it, simple as that.

  • #7760

    Robert Godden

    Let’s just be clear : I never used the phrase “So called blog” – I like your blog. I referred to this entry as a ” so called blog post”. That’s because you have not posted a single word, just a series of links.
    And did I anyway dispute your right to have this stuff be important to you? I just asked what it had to do with tea. Many of us here regularly post about non-tea related stuff. Just not here.
    I don’t get why you would dilute your tea blog with this stuff.
    Had you suggested tea to be drunk whilst considering the inherent message in each passage, I would have cheered you on.

  • #7761

    Anonymous @

    lol, like I said in my reply on My blog some folks just aren’t happy unless they have something to complain about, I’m not going to argue with you I’ll just post what I feel and you don’t have to read it if you don’t want to, This post of your has nothing to do with tea itself just hatred. God loves you too.

  • #7762

    Robert Godden

    You’re accusing me of hatred? Oh dear.

  • #7763


    I would not say that this is a post about hate, but a post about the limits of the blogs on If there is something to complain about this post it might be that it is in “all about tea” and not in “support and feedback”. But I don’t care about that.

    Although I don’t care about incidental non-tea blogs, sometimes even welcome them I have to fully agree with thedevotea’s first post. The blog post might not be intended as non-tea spam it does feel like it.

    But it is not for me to decide, just to add my two cents. But I do think that this is a good moment to think about the limits of non-tea blogs.

  • #7764

    Anonymous @

    Just curious-
    Are you okay with the guy who posted a review of the Blackalicious album earlier today?

    If we have guidelines about what we can and cannot blog about perhaps someone should give this information out, especially to the newbies.

    I do understand wanting the posts to be mostly about tea (this is a tea site, after all).

    Amy oh

  • #7765


    That’s not cricket… 

     Here is the official stance about blog content on Tea Trade:

    We [Tea Trade] have no editorial interest in controlling the blogs hosted on the network. The only requirement is that they be occasionally about tea.

    Pretty simple yes? It’s also rather vague, and somewhat outdated. I wrote it over a year ago before the culture of the network was fully in place and now it is. It has evolved into a polite culture. An old friend of mine once said that, “There are two things one does not talk about in polite company, religion and politics.” That said, blogs here a personally owned – but, this is a tea network whose primary purpose is to promote tea and provide a venue for folks to talk about tea and its connection to life. That means, generally, that there is no reasonable topic that is off-limits, but I’ll come back to that because this is not a discussion about religion. This is a discussion about blogging. 

     What makes a good blog post? 
    As a manager for a blogging network, I spend a great deal of time researching best practices in blogging. This is both hard and interesting, because there are tons and tons of opinions and ideas about what makes a good blog post. One thing we have to remember is that, while blogs are personal, they are not Facebook and Twitter, they are the place where you, the writer get to dominate the conversation. If you already control the conversation, why do so in a way that makes you look bad?
    This is taken from one of the better posts on that topic I’ve seen: 
    • A good, snappy title. An interesting title pulls people in. Titles are like newspaper headlines they capture interest and invite people to read. 
    • Good content. Well-written, easy-to-read, informative, interesting, thought-provoking – all those things and more. Blogging is about creating and sharing, your ideas and thoughts in way that is packaged to invite others. 
    • Controversial content always draws a crowd. Tea Trade has been home to controversy before, we don’t mind it – but this is polite company. 
    • Use pictures. They help inform and illustrate. Whether you take yourself, or buy stock photos for a dollar. Pictures a make blog posts more interesting, though some people do very well without images. 
    • Hyperlinks. Useful links help deepen the value of your content and invite your reader to explore beyond what you are doing, talking and writing about. A note about links: never, ever post a raw link in a blog post (unless it is for a very specific reason), because raw links are computer language, not human language. For example, the best way to talk about the world’s best tea website is to mask the link using text. We offer our bloggers the most sophisticated blogging platform on the planet, making use of the tools it offers makes for a better blog post. 

    Yes, @thedevotea as @amyoh pointed out, tea is optional (but not in every post, this is a tea network). An occasional religious oriented blog post by @tommythetoad is as welcome as a music review by @hiphopteashop because the greater conversation here is how we all connect tea with our lives. @xavier does it through business analytics and economics, @libertea does it through a passion to drink every tea in the known world, @jopj does it through dance, art and beauty. All are equally relevant. 

    My personal look at this as the owner of the network… 
    As the network owner, I want all the blogs around here to represent good, quality tea-related writing and information – part of my duties here is to cultivate bloggers when needed and help move them in the direction of blogging with power, influence and with content that draws people in, informs and delights them about the world of tea. I enjoy seeing how the many different bloggers we have chose to connect with and make tea part of their life while finding interesting ways to communicate that connection to the public. However, blogging is a lot like marketing. If you have something to say, find an interesting way to say it. 
    That said, I agree with this statement:

    Had you suggested tea to be drunk whilst considering the inherent message in each passage, I would have cheered you on.

    I also agree (based on my experience as a blogger, and informed by thoughts about what makes a good blog post) that 4 raw links in a blog post is not a good post. The appearance it gives is spam, and one risks being called out on it. The place for that is Facebook, or Twitter. This is not because I take blogging seriously, it is because because I see blogging as an art form. It is writing, based around the word, it is how we express our ideas, thoughts and opinions. 

     I am taking the advice that @bram has to offer and moving this thread to Support and Feedback. In future, I would ask that posts that are suspect that members report them to me with their thoughts before anything public. I want to keep this place civil. 
    Any further input about this is welcome, however, I do intend to lock this thread in about 24 hours (sooner if anyone if anyone goes completely of the rails) – have your say if you like.

  • #7766

    Robert Godden

    Thanks Amy (and I enjoyed your own blog earlier)

    Firstly, I guess if I was a normal sort of person, the topic would have read ” Should all of our blogs mention tea?” “Is it ok to just compile a list of links with no genuine work or contribution form the author” “And if I call someone out on this, am I staunchly defending the quality standards of Tea Trade or just being a belligerent cranky idiot?”
    Thank you understanding that is what I meant, or at least seeking clarity.

    I don’t believe there are really any standards, or if there are they are hidden in the terms of service, in which case they might as well not exist. Who the hell reads those?

    So to answer your first question last: Not really!

    I’m a big fan of the album review guy . I’d like to do some joint projects with Simon. I like. But I have partially the same problem with his post.
    It’s witty, original and he’s made an effort, for that, full marks. Bu
    t no tea? It’s me being fussy, I know, but if he’d just added. “Best listened to with an Earl Grey” I’d be 100% behind the post. Even though he mentions Hip Hop in his site title AND his post title clearly indicates what it is, I think he should lift his game.
    And just in case someone thinks it’s personal preference, I might point out I have one Bible but no hip hop albums. I’ve never bought a hop hop album. I wish the whole genre had never existed, just so as I wouldn’t have to have accidentally overheard some from time to time. I wouldn’t even steal a hip-hop album from a hotel room, which is how I got my Bible (but hey, it specifically mentions ” let he who is without sin cast the first stone”)

  • #7769


    I think a blog is a private space, as long as it’s not against rules. So I think any critique or suggestions should start from rules, not from the specific blog. But I don’t see any necessity of modifying rules either (but I have to admit I didn’t think hard 😳 ) I feel posting whatever links, even commercial advertising links, on ones blog, it’s probably a bad idea, but even that, I wouldn’t call it a spam. It’s very different from posting commercial or religion links on a forum.

    As for whether it’s tea relevant, it’s very hard to say what’s relevant, what’s not. I didn’t see any tea relevance in the bible blog post, but who knows, maybe the blogger sees tea in it, or maybe it’s what he likes to read when drinking tea 😉 I wouldn’t join him (I’ve never read more than 1 page of the bible yet 😳 ) but I would say, let him be.

    Besides, I know many people who only run single blog (some run multiple active blogs for multiple topics and I don’t know how they did it! :mrgreen: ). I feel the more one is committed to his blog, the more one tends to stuff whatever none-tea topics important to him in the blog. Sometimes, it’s not a dilution of contents, but rather a sign of commitment. If somebody has a tea blog, and has the tendency to record a lot of things on it, tea or none-tea, I think it’s a good thing, and better than if he didn’t have the enthusiasm to maintain the tea blog.

  • #7770


    @libertea does it through a passion to drink every tea in the known world

    OMG … I think Peter has figured me out. I did not realize I was so transparent.

    Oh… sorry to have interrupted the topic at hand… back to the discussion. 🙂

  • #7772


    First of all, just the thought that this thread will soon be locked has sent me scrambling to have my say. Let’s see if I can do my little part to get it shut down.

    As if I even had that in me. Really.

    I’ve always veered as far from tea as one can possibly manage and still make it about tea. It’s an envelope I like pushing. Very much so. Even though I like blogging about various other things elsewhere, I find it a personal challenge to pull other themes and ideas into the conversation about this often brown and delicious liquid.

    Having said that…if I really thought someone was waiting on the sidelines to decide what was kosher, I’d be perplexed and even a bit irritated.

    Personally, Robert is one of my favourite bloggers (and people) here on Tea Trade. I wish I knew Tommy better, but there’s thankfully more time for that.

    The thing is that when things similar to this have come up, I’ve done all I can to stay out of it. Above the fray, as it were. Weirdly, I’m in a position here to say something that maybe others feel they can’t or shouldn’t.

    Please be nice to one another. If you feel the standards of tea blogging need to be upheld, go uphold them on your blog and mind your own business. Are there situations where a page needs to be moderated or scrutinised?


    I’m really grateful that that’s not my concern. We care about this community. It’s something we’ll fight for and disagree about. But don’t be a jerk. It’s less than becoming.

  • #7773

    Anonymous @

    Interesting conversation 😉 some good advice on blogging. I am new to this “blogging” thing. I am still working on mine and I agree with Peter, it is a work of “art” a part of me so I want it to come out as me, not something I am not. I am now a little hesitant because my blog will not always be about tea, although my intent is to mention tea and tea experiences as much as possible. Ultimately, I want people to enjoy my blog, get some information, and laugh!

  • #7774


    @tarastyme: just blog. You now have an excellent example of how not to do it and several suggestions of how to write a proper blog post. Learn from it. Success, have fun and good tea.

  • #7776

    Anonymous @

    bram said:
    @tarastyme: just blog. You now have an excellent example of how not to do it and several suggestions of how to write a proper blog post. Learn from it. Success, have fun and good tea.

    thanks Bram! i have actually just done my blog but working on the look of it. when i first started i took the wrong approach (in my opinion) and made it a “research paper”. i have been writing research papers and doing government documentation for the past 20 years so trying to “break bad habits”. I want to have fun! it is why i started doing all of this in the first place. and no matter what always have good tea!

  • #7777


    I think @peter put it very well. I don’t have much to add. I suspect @thedevotea‘s crossed with Peter’s. We don’t do blog policing here, if you talk about music, religion, art, that’s all fine it’s your blog. I think that Robert thought that links only was a bit meagre. Only posting links isn’t really a post. I don’t want to analyze different people’s blog content here, so I’m not going to go into who posts what, and what percentage is about tea. I don’t want any more names thrown into the teapot. I think that our blogs are essentially tea blogs, but if you attract an audience to tea, through for example a music message, a theatrical arts message, then good. No writer on here never mentions tea. Do they only talk about tea? Not necessarily. I welcome the diversity.
    I do feel we are very much a community, and I want to foster this community spirit. We should think about how we best achieve this. How to best welcome new members, how to support each other, how to be there for each other through good times and bad. Tea is a welcoming drink. Tea Trade is too.

  • #7784


    Thanks for everyone’s input on this topic.

    I think it has turned into a rather fruitful discussion. I’m not going to lock the thread (there is no point in locking it since the discussion is appropriate). I’ll be leaving it open.

  • #7793


    @tarastyme just summarize your research papers 😉

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