Sunday, September 24, 2006

[Events] Hosting Etiquette

When hosting an online blogging event, I always try to make sure I visit and comment on the blog of every single entry I recieve. I feel very lucky when having the opportunity to host such an event and the very least I can do is to thank those that entered for their efforts.

But a lot of hosts don't seem to do this. Or they comment on a select number of the entries, but say nothing to the others.

What do you think about this?

Do you feel a little bit slighted if you join in an event and don't hear anything back from the host?

Do you think that I am being oversensitive and that a general thank you to everyone on the hosts blog is enough.

Or do you prefer a more personal touch?

Or do you prefer an email? Some people do this, but I always felt the comment was the best place to thank participants. Maybe I am wrong? But I think an email and comments are both equally acceptable forms of thanks accoring to the hosts preference.

Some new bloggers never even get a single comment despite their participation in an event. This is not a good welcome to the community in my opionion.

Please weigh in on this subject. What is your experience, what are your feelings?

This Post was written by sam from Becks & Posh


Anne said...

I totally agree with you Sam. I really like getting a comment from the host, and I like surfing around, noticing that the host took time to personally talk to all participants, too. I don't really notice when it doesn't happen, or at least not regularly, but I really appriciate the extra effort when it *does* happen. And I think comments are the perfect way to do it, since they're public.

Mae said...

I totally agree too. Some sort of feedback would be great. Especially to those who are new. After all, they are trying to make a mark in the foodblogging world and we should be more welcoming.

On the same note, i joined an event recently and did not hear from the host til my third email. Asking if they have received my entry since i never heard a reply to my email acknowledging receipt. Nothing about the event was posted in their blog apart from the 'opening' of the event and i was worried that i would be late in case there was something wrong with my email services.

Finally, i got an acknowledgement to my email with the words... "Yes, twice actually." In the past, the hosts had been great in collecting entries but this instance really surprised me. I don't mean to sound oversensitive but i thought the email was slightly rude and a little disconcerting. Had i received an acknowledgement email after the first email, i surely wouldn't have sent another one.

So to answer your question, Sam, yes. Definitely. An acknowledgement of some sort would be very nice. Email or comment from the host.

Pepper said...

There is the participation etiquette as well, which as a pretty new food blogger I am just beginning to get - you should mention you are part of the event, provide a link to the event, mention who is hosting, etc - some events spell this out and some do not. I like it when my post is described in the roundup, it doesn't matter to me if the host comments or not.

Barbara said...

As the originator of Hay Hay Its Donna Day I visit each entrant's post after the round up and leave a comment, if I haven't previously read the post and left a comment. I'm pretty sure all the hosts have left a comnment after receiving the entry from a participant.

David said...

I hosted an event a while back and got about 50 responses. Unfortunately a decent portion of them trickled in days and days after I wrote up and posted the round-up (which was a fair amount of work in itself.) But I did want to include them since they took the time to participate. So I had to go back, find their permalinks (some people just sent their URL's), write more html code, and re-enter them into the blog entry.

While yes, I think a message back of thanks is necessary, it could either be an email or a comment; going back to visit each site can take quite a bit of time, so either is appropriate.

Kalyn said...

I always try to comment on each and every person who enters Weekend Herb Blogging every week, but I wouldn't be surprised if I miss one once in a while. If I do it's never intentional.

I do have to say though, in defense of the hosts, that hosting an event takes A LOT of time and if people have a full time job (like me) sometimes leaving comments can't be as much of a priority as you'd like it to be. Thank goodness WHB is now a traveling event, but on the weekends when it's my turn it takes me sometimes as much as 5 hours to write it up if there are a lot of entries. That's probably no comparison to a huge event like the recent SHF where Alanna had more than 60 entries. I wouldn't ever take it personally if I got skipped with a comment because I know how easy it would be to miss people.

SaltShaker said...

For me, an e-mail acknowledging and/or thanking for the receipt of the entry is sufficient. I love it when the host takes the extra time to visit the site and leave a comment, but don't expect it. I really understand what Mae said above though, I've entered several events where I got no response from the host, and no way of knowing for sure that they got it. Thankfully, on inquiry, none have been as rude as whomever she dealt with.

Alicat said...

In past hosting events, I always sent out emails -- but for a select few participants, (and visited as many sites I could, time permitting) but, this was not enough for some peoples liking. They wanted a comment ontop of one or two emails that I had already sent thanking them.

At that point, I feel the participant is just being a crybaby about it and is expecting far too much when I've already gone out of my way to say thank you -- twice.

I think in general a lot of bloggers are expecting a bit too much from the people hosting the event. If we all had buckets of time to spend giving eloquent descriptions of entries, comments, emails, we'd run out of time for everything else.

I guess what I'm saying is, people in general need to try to be more understanding of the host and less sensitive. ;)

zorra said...

I apreciate if the host leaves a comment, but if it's a big event like SHF I understand if the host doesn't do it, as the writting of the round-up already takes hours.

sam said...

I certainly agree that the host should be able to choose email or comment and not have to do both. One thank you should be enough. I personally favour the comment but i am happy to receive an email too.

I think Ali is absolutely right - it is also good for participants to understand some things about hosting. As some people keep writing whilst you are trying to do the roundup "did you get my email, can you change this", and this doesn't make the host's already difficult job any easier.

And pepper makes an excellent point too - participation etiquette. In a recent event I hosted several entries made no mention of the event at all. I wrote to them and told them all i would not include them unless they edited their posts to include details of the event so that their readers would know what the event was all about.

I will prepare a post for FBS withsome more tips and guidelines about this as I have some ideas.

Andrew said...

Personally any type of acknowledgement is fine although I prefer a comment. But really the host should say something!

But they set a deadline for a reason on an event - most of the regular monthly events have set days that dont change much. I am now very tempted to refuse late entries. It is difficult enough coping with 40/50/60 entries.

Perhaps the host - all excited when they sign up to manage an event - doesnt quite realise the amount of work involved.

Mae said...

I would be very happy with just an email acknowledging receipt as too often, you're not sure if the email managed to get to the recipient and on time. I don't think this is too much to ask.

A quick and simple hit the reply button and type. "Thanks. Your entry has been received." It's totally up to the individual to be personal with their email or comment. And i totally agree, how can one possibly visit anything more than 20 sites let alone leave comments on all of them? This is sounding like work. :)

Events are supposed to be fun.

Cate said...

More often than not, I don't receive a comment or e-mail when I participate in an event. While it would be nice, some of the events are rather large, and I understand time is always short. Life happens.

As for me, I don't comment on all the entries I receive to ARF/5-A-Day or WDB, but I do respond to each and every e-mail I get, even if it is just "thanks." This way, people know I received the e-mail. It's a simple gesture really, and the least I can do.

Andrea said...

Sam, I think your idea of creating a post with etiquette suggestions for both the hosts and participants is a very good idea. As a participant in SHF and DMBLGIT, I've never expected a personal visit or comment from the host due to the sheer number of entries, but I do think that a host should give a quick courtesy response to each email entry.

Jennifer said...

Certainly, I understand that hosting an event is a ton of work, and I'm always grateful when a host takes the time just to write up the participants. Feedback in any form--email or especially comments--is really nice, and especially when I was new, made me feel welcome to the community.

I will say that I think consistency is nice too -- in an event I participated in as a very new blogger, I visited all of the entries after the round-up was posted, and the host had left comments on many of the contributors' sites, but not on mine. It made me feel like an outsider, like there was already this network of people established and perhaps I wasn't welcome. I'm sure that wasn't intended (and maybe it was a simple oversight), but as a new blogger, I interpreted it that way.

Julie said...

It clearly takes loads of time and effort to host an event. I think the host should acknowledge all the entries by responding to emails, and if they also leave comments that is just extra-nice. Responding to emails is easy and lets people know their entry has been received. If I were hosting and reading each entry post, I would leave a comment just because I've read the whole thing and I might as well comment on it. However, I don't think commenting should be required.

chrispy said...

As a new blogger, I appreciated the comments or at the least an email to know that things went through.

It was not until I have been having troubles with the HTML on my site that it hit me that I had not gotten comments on my SHF entries but upon looking at the round-ups realized that was a crazy expectation. I got email confirmation which was good enough.

I am starting to realize the effort put out by our lovely hosts. Thank you so much to all of you that give your time to host. Right now I would be totally scared and unprepared for that duty. It is great to get a comment when you don't recieve many, but time is something our busy world does not have much to spend. So Thanks again for your time.

thepassionatecook said...

I think hosting a foodblogging event should be all about community spirit, rather than a blogger trying to get away with investing minimal time whilst getting their name/URL out. So definitely send a personal message of some kind to the participants.
It is getting increasingly difficult to follow all the events, let alone participate in them all, and judging by how pleased I am when someone takes the time to email or comment, this should really be part of the deal for hosting an event.
and if you feel that it's too much work, then maybe someone else should get the chance to host ;-)

kathryn said...

However they do it (email, comment or including you in the round-up), there needs to be an acknowledgement of your entry (although I agree you should only need one). That's a basic courtesy and maybe the method could be mentioned in the participation etiquette.

While, I understand that hosting an event with 50+ entries is a big job (and I have no problem with the host enforcing hard deadlines), it's part of responsibility of being host to acknowledge everyone's entry. Without the entries, your event would be . . . a non-event. Having 50+ entries is a fabulous response, something to be proud of - it means your event has hit the spot and excited other bloggers, it's a well-loved and great event. But as the host, if you don't have the time to acknowledge everyone once, then maybe you shouldn't be hosting?

Plus, on a slightly seperate note - I'm still a newbie blogger, don't get a lot of comments and still get extraordinarily excited when someone does comment (that isn't my best friend or mum). But it's only really since having my own blog that I've "got" the importance of leaving a comment. It's nice to know you're being read, and that the words, thoughts and pictures you've spent time over are not just disappearing into the ether.

Rachael said...

I think an response is great and should be encouraged. Considering how often people get left out of a roundup (as happened to me with a recent IMBB and Im sure to you at one point) an email at the very least would make it obvious it was only an error and not an intentional slight...

We should all be aware at this point that hosting an event is a HUGE undertaking, and hopefully, it will always end up fun for all...

Thats the point, right?

kathryn said...

I've been thinking further after my comment above - isn't it basically about good manners (yes that old chestnut)? It's good manners for a host to acknowledge the participants and conversely, good manners for a participant to acknowledge the host (by linking to them in their post).

As with all parts of life, most people's manners are pretty good, they say please and thank you and will play fair. But there's always going to be a few, who don't do the right thing and are never going to get it.

Jeanne said...

When I host an event, I do try to respond to each participant via e-mail as I receive their entries, but sometimes it's late at night or I'm tired or I forget. But I ALWAYS leave a comment on each participant's post as I do the roundup and I hope that's good enough. It has on occasion happened that I have forgotten to include somebody in the roundup, but since EoMEoTE is such a flexible event, I am always happy to add in lost entries or latecomers as soon as my attention is drawn to them.

From a host's point of view, I do have a teensy gripe. As all hosts know, roundups take time. EoMEoTE roundups, although not the biggest event around, take loads of time because they are always written in the literary theme of the event (be that Dr Seuss, lmericks or tabloid headlines!). However, often the total number of comments on the roundup does not even equal the total number of participants. So some people can't aren't even bothering to come back, read the write-up and thank the host:-( This can make event hosting a thankless task in every sense of the word! Very disheartening.

I do agree with Sam that an etiquette guide for hosts and participants would be a great idea and I'd be happy to contribute. And I agree with Johanna, that these events are all about the community that we have formed as food bloggers. So let's all show some community spirit!

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