Sunday, October 15, 2006

[Blog Content] Personal guidelines for posting

Slashfood recently posted about the guidelines that Food Writers stick to when writing their articles, and I thought it would be an interesting conversation to take up here. More to the point, Nic posed the question of what we, as food bloggers have as guidelines when posting. I have three particular points that I try to stick to when writing. They are:

- Not writing anything too negative including restaurant reviews or recipes I didn't particularly like
- Try to post newer recipes that I've never cooked before, or new cuisines (although I've never stated this on my blog, it's my way of keeping passionate and interested)
- Not to post other food bloggers recipes that they have posted in the last 6 months. If older than 6 months, I will post but also give credit.

Trying to stick to these guidelines recently put me in a bit of a dilemna, specifically about negativity, which I think (hope) I came out on top of. But it wasn't easy and I had to think about it for a good couple of days before coming to a conclusion. I'd really be interested in hearing other peoples guidelines or 'rules' for when they post.


This Post was written by Bonnie from Daydream delicious....

8 comments:

Catherine said...

I think personal guidelines depend on why you write your blog. My blog is about promoting healthy and delicious vegetarian food. So I don't write about non-vegetarian food.
I'll write a negative review of a product - so far, I think they've all been faux meats - to help people avoid spending their hard-earned money on something I think will strongly disappoint.

I've ended up not posting negative restaurant reviews I've written. I try to avoid negative posts generally.

I think its flattering to post about another blogger's posted recipe that I tried and really liked and I occasionally do this. I think this gets esp. interesting when people do variations of each other recipes - I love that! I've really enjoyed it when other's have done variants of my recipes. I'm not sure I understand the concern there.

That said, I wouldn't post about a blogger's recipe I tried and didn't like.

My other rule is to write in PG13 style.

kathryn said...

I agree with Catherine that guidelines depend very much on why you're blogging. I'm a naturopath and so write about food from a health perspective. As such, I actually think it's important to be critical of some food products and companies. I always give extensive reasons for my criticism and they're always health based - I wouldn't criticise a product just because I didn't like it.

I don't post criticism of recipes though. If I think it's a dud recipe, I just wouldn't write about it.

I'm still a fairly new blogger and haven't yet been in the situation where I've wanted to post about someone else's recipe. As long as this was credited and there was a trackback link, I would have thought it was okay, but am interested to hear other bloggers' perspectives - maybe I'm missing something here?

I don't post much about eating out, it's not my purpose and there are other really good restaurant reviewing blogs in Sydney.

Columbus Foodie said...

It's difficult to please everyone all of the time - I get conflicting feedback all the time: a request for more pictures from one person, a request for less from another, for example. In the end, I try to stay true to myself, without being negative.

On the other hand, I'm human - just this past week I went into a rant about something another blogger posted that really offended me, but I've always been pretty outspoken.

I guess it all comes down to whether you're writing for yourself or for a certain audience. I write for myself, and invite others to come with me on my culinary journey, hopefully by relating to something I write.

And I don't get offended if someone makes one of my recipes or posts about it, even if their review of my recipe is negative. There's no such thing as totally negative feedback, IMHO. Maybe they can offer a suggestion that can make the dish better, and I'm all for improvment of my skills.

Bonnie said...

I certainly do not mind one bit if someone else posts my recipes and experiments and develops them, I think it's a really good resource for me to see that. I think my point about blogging someone else's recipes is similar to my second point, about keeping new recipes and cuisines that I'm trying out in the forefront. I would much rather try out the recipe and use the comments to give feedback on their recipes. Also, I've noticed that if I'm looking for a certain recipe, I'd much rather search in the archives of blogs and if I'm to then use the recipe and post about it, it will almost revive their archived post, which I think, in some ways is better than using one of their posts from the front page.

paul said...

Just last week I had a dilemma about negative restaurant reviews. At a local Thai place that I really wanted to like (everybody else in town likes it), I got several (as in more than four) long hairs in my panang. Unfortunately I didn't notice them 'til I got pretty far into it. In my shot of the dish you can see one. They were extremely apologetic - me nor my tablemate didn't pay for anything. I won't post about it, but that's the sort of thing I will mention to every foodie I know in town. And I have proof! I'd love to give them another chance, but I don't think I'll be able be comfortable about putting anything in my mouth from that kitchen again. Do they deserve to have the fact that there's hair in their food be high up on a Google search for them? Damn right they deserve it, but I can't bring myself to do that either.

One thing I won't do is post about it without mentioning the name of the place, because then every Thai place in town becomes suspect in the eyes of my readers.

As for negative recipes, I think it's important to learn from mistakes, so if I did something wrong in a recipe I won't hesitate to post it, especially if it's something like an experiment or additional ingredient that mucked up an existing recipe. Knowledge about what not to do is as important as what to do. If it just flopped, wasn't interesting, or wasn't photogenic, I just forget about it.

As for posting other bloggers recipes, if I see one that inspires me enough to try it, I'll post it right away. Of course they get credit. But I'm one of those that considers recipes inspiration, not steadfast instructions, so it's less like copying.

I often link to news stories about food that I've seen on other blogs. In the 'classic' weblog form it's perfectly okay to do that. I should give a little 'via' link more often though. You shouldn't feel like everyone has seen that link or that recipe on that 'uber-bloggers' page, because everyone hasn't.

As for guidlines:

PG13
Write as if my mother reads my blog (and she does)
Don't post just for the sake of posting. Have something worthwhile.
Be as brief as possible. Unlike this post.

Tery Spataro said...

It's important to represent an honest opinion when reviewing a restaurant. I know our readers at Daily Eats, appreciates that. If the experience at a restaurant was anything but stellar that should written about as such. If any food experience doesn’t measure up to expectations then it should be discussed.

I found reading Ruth Reichl's "Garlic and Sapphire's" more helpful with my writing. After all she is an outstanding food critic!

linda said...

My guidelines?
Honesty
Credit where credit is due.
And in the vein of another commenter, write like my grandmother is reading. Because she does.

Peter Cherches said...

I have no problems writing a scathingly negative restaurant review, and I have, explaining that one reason I wouldn't want to write for a publication is that I wouldn't feel free to be as brutally honest. My blog represents only me, and if someplace is pretentious, ridiculous, rude, clueless, etc, I'm happy to point it out. I also wrote a totally negative piece about stupid restaurant websites recently.

Without the brutally honest pans, I don't think my glowing raves would carry as much weight.