Tip #4: Set Standards Early
Your weblog is your domain on the web and is much like a newly formed friendship or relationship. In the beginning, you dictate how it looks, feels, and is perceived. It's important to set clear standards for how you will conduct yourself not only as a blogger, but also as a "host" if you ever intend to have an audience.
There are some good questions to ask yourself before you delve too deep: Will I use my real name? Will I discuss my personal life? Will I talk about my family members? If so, will I use their real names? Will I talk about my job or mention the company I work for? Will I use certain language or touch on certain subjects? Will I allow people to insult me in the comments?
All of these topics will come up at some point or another, so it's best to address them early on and then do your best to stick with the standards you set. It's easy to get caught up in the passion (okay this may be taking the relationship analogy too far) and forget about the standards you originally set way back in yesteryear of blog beginnings.
The standards you set should also be transferable to those who visit your site. I am a firm believer that the host sets the tone. If you don't use profanity, those who comment on your site won't use profanity (for the most part). Those who attempt it will at least feel guilty after the fact. There are always people who have no class and sometimes you have to get legalistic about it. I whipped up some commenter guidelines to inform the public of my standards. "Profanity" doesn't mean the same thing to everyone. Write it down. Make it plain. Don't be a jerk about it either.
I've never been very strict about people opposing my views. Compared to other bloggers, I've been very liberal (ew) in allowing people to call me a complete idiot on my own bandwidth. I do this because it ultimately makes them foolish. There is a line that can be crossed. Decide what that line is early and stick with it.