Blog Cross Posting and Multiple Postings

What are the norms about whether you can manually post the same blog post more than once on the same blog or multiple times on other blogs or other media, such as newspapers?

There has been much fair criticism about cross-posing automatically, especially given the varying platforms of different social media.  But while there seems to be acceptance of manual cross-posting, it too comes in for criticism when done excessively just to get out there.

When is it too much or too little?  It seems that, as a general rule, it ought always be okay to re-post when bloggers at another site (or in another forum) invite the re-posting.  They predict another group of readers will find it valuable.

It also seems reasonable to ask, when being invited to post as a guest elsewhere, to be allowed to re-post on your own blog.  It may be fair in either case for a site to negotiate for a limited period of exclusivity, such as two weeks.

A more contextual approach would compare the probable audiences on different blogs.  If readership overlaps substantially, it imposes too great a tax on readers to cross-post.  But cross-posting across different blogs (or other media) with varied readership makes sense all around, to enhance each outlet, to distribute the ideas widely, and to offer readers more.

That leaves re-posting on the same blog.   This is usually done by “moving something to the front” and seems most acceptable when the content concerns something seeking reader reaction, such as a survey.  Otherwise, I’m not so sure about this practice.

We always feel as if some of our best blog posts are posted, contribute fleetingly, and then disappear.   But re-posting does not seem to be the answer.   The better way? Continue to write and expand on a topic, linking to the older posts, and trying to move the conversation along.

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4 Responses

  1. Ken Rhodes says:

    ” If readership overlaps substantially, it imposes too great a tax on readers to cross-post.”

    I think this concern is overstated.

    If I see a post on one blog that I already red on another, what it costs me is the time it takes to read the first couple of sentences, remark to myself “Oh yeah, I remember that one,” and click on the next post. A very small tax levy.

    In exchange for that VERY small payment by the readers of both blogs, the readers of only one get the larger benefit of seeing the subject post.

  2. I agree with the guidelines mentioned in the post. More people should follow them. I’ve been very surprised by the number of times Opinio Juris has received a submission, posted it, and then found the same post on one or two other international-law blogs. Each time, upon being queried, the author has said that he or she had no idea it was unacceptable to submit the same post to multiple blogs. I personally find that baffling — no academic would ever think it’s okay to publish the same article in multiple journals. Blogs are no different.

  3. Howard Wasserman says:

    I received this criticism during my guest stint here last fall. I defended it by pointing out that cross-posting was the only way to fulfill my commitments to my Prawfs home and to my CoOp visit. The alternative–post at one, link at the other–did not, IMHO, fulfill my obligations to either site.

    And although I did not say this at the time, I agree with Ken’s point–it is not really so taxing or burdensome for a reader to have to scroll past a post she already read at the other blog. It was suggested that this makes readers not want to visit either blog, which seemed overstated, to say the least.

  4. I cross-post at Ratio Juris and Religious Left Law (somtimes even to the Literary Table as well!), having informed those who run the latter blog I would do so when I was invited to join (although I don’t cross-post everything). Very few people, it seems, read either blog, and I have no qualms whatsoever about cross-posting. And I occasionally resurrect an old post to re-write (and improve), as I’m doing now for something on Jain logic and the comparative study of worldviews. In short, I’m with Howard on this one.