Dmitriy over at HealthVoices just posted about the medical blog aggregating “debate”. In case you’re not aware, HealthVoices is both a medical blog content aggregator and a blogging community where medical bloggers can get national recoginition for their writing.
I met Dmitriy at HIMSS and I was impressed by his knowledge, dedication to the medical community, and his innovative ideas about how something like HealthVoices could help physicians and other healthcare providers get messages out to patients and citizens. Dmitriy is a pretty nice guy so I was quite surprised at the “lynch mob” mentality (his words) that other bloggers seem to have about him aggregating not only links but actual postings from their blogs. I’m a little disappointed by how he’s publicly being chastised and how he’s being treated by some members of the blogosphere.
Now, I’m a blogger (i write several including this one) and I personally don’t like aggregators publishing my entire post but I do want them to publish my links. Although I feel strongly about it, I think the approach that Barbados Butterfly took in her complaint started a public fight that needn’t have been one. While I agree with Barbados Butterfly’s points, it was handled publicly which makes Dmitriy look like a villain when what he’s doing is trying to serve the community.
Fellow bloggers: if you find someone on the Internet doing something that you don’t like, please don’t take it public until you’ve tried to resolve the issue privately. Regardless of how egregious you think the offense is, it’s possible that another fellow blogger or site manager may have a different opinion and is willing to rectify your complaint quickly and quietly. Always try and resolve the problem via private e-mail first, see what the response is, and then if you need help from the community to resolve your grievance even have some fellow bloggers send email to threaten action. If Dmitriy was approached properly, I think he would have changed the policy and posted about the policy change along with the reasons (requests from the community). It would have been quick and painless for everyone.
By making all grievances public it makes us bloggers look like we are a bunch of cry babies that throw tantrums; and, it makes it more difficult to be taken seriously. I talk to many PR people who are afraid of sharing things with us sometimes because they think nothing is private. When I was at HIMSS I was wearing a “I’m a blogger” button so that everyone knew I was a blogger. Many of them would immediately stop talking or carefully choosing their words as soon as they find out they were speaking to a blogger. I assured them that before I wrote anything about anyone I ask permission because it’s the right thing to do. The blogosphere is not a different world: regular rules of etiquette do apply.
Quick note to Barbados Butterfly: you were 100% right that you should decide whether your posts are published or not and in the absence of any information Dmitriy probably shouldn’t have published your posts. But, since I know Dmitriy I think he’s been raked over the coals needlessly for what you believe to be a mistake he made (he would have easily corrected had he been approached about it privately).