Found an interesting article about cats that you want to share with us? Awesome! We want to know all about it! As with everything in life, there's a right way to do this and also "not so right" ways.
Here's a quick guide that explains sharing practices in our community: the good, the not-so-good and the kind that gets deleted by moderators.
Not in the mood for a long read? Here it is in a nutshell:
1. Don't refer people to a website that you're connected with in any way (that's considered spam).
2. Try to link to articles on our site whenever possible instead of other websites.
3. Only quote 2-3 lines from another resource, add your own summary and link back to the source.
There's a huge variety of online resources out there so we get TCS members who share any of the following:
- News articles
- Cat care articles
- Blog posts
- Scientific studies
- Poems and stories
- Photos & videos
- Other social groups and resources
Basically, if you found it outside of TCS, you should keep on reading to see what rules, guidelines and netiquette practices may apply.
What can be wrong with sharing something I found on another website?
Depending on what and how you share, there can be any number of potential problems. Most people think this is all about copyright issues. It can be, but it certainly isn't limited to copyright.
1. Search engine optimization.
Search engines like Google like fresh original content. If you copy and paste a large chunk of text, Google recognizes it as coming from another website and flags it as a duplicate content. In the best-case scenario, one of the pages gets penalized and doesn't show up in searches. If this happens too often, Google can penalize an entire website for delivering duplicate content. Even if you attribute the content to the source and link back, that would still carry a duplicate content penalty.
2. Driving members and visitors away from the site.
TheCatSite includes an extensive library of cat care articles with hundreds of guides about feline health, behavior and general care. We also have forums with literally millions of posts made by members over the years, covering every possible aspect of caring for our cats. We work very hard on bringing visitors to the site and hope that you can help them find all the information they need on the spot.
Please don't send people away when valid information on the topic can be found right here on the site. Are we missing a resource on some topic? Send me a PM and suggest that as a topic for an article!
3. Self-promotion (spam)
This one is easy. Don't use the forums as a platform for promoting a website/business that you own, work for or are affiliated with. Our moderators are really good at sniffing out spam, so it's a great way to get yourself permanently banned from this site. You can promote your business here in a legitimate way, so please take a few minutes to read this: So You Want To Promote Your Service Product Or Website Here
4. Copyright issues.
While there are ways to quote from other resources that fall under the rules for "fair use", it's not always simple. You can still be sued and a court of law will need to decide whether that was a fair use or not. You are legally liable for what you post, so you will not be exempt just because it was "on the internet" and you could be legally liable for any copyright violations.
Now that we know what can go wrong with sharing something you found on the web, let's see how this can actually be done in a way that's safe, productive and helpful.
How to share things in a responsible and effective way
Found something cool that you think others on TCS may like? Excellent! Before you post it in a new thread or post, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Is this your own website, or one that you're affiliated with in any way?
If so, you probably should not be talking about it on the forums or linking to it. It could get you permanently banned for spam. If you're not sure, check with a moderator before posting.
2. Is there a resource here on TheCatSite.com that offers the same kind of information?
If possible, always link to one of our articles. Use the search function and narrow down your search to articles.
Still want to share? Find the right forum for it and use the following guidelines:
1. Credit the source by mentioning its name and linking back to it.
2. When quoting, limit yourself to no more than 3-4 lines of text. Even if you own the copyright to the text yourself, we want to avoid duplicate content penalties.
3. Provide your own summary of the source.
This diminishes the risk for duplicate content penalties and also provides members with a general idea of what this is all about. This way they can make an informed decision on whether to click through or not. If there is graphic or objectionable material in that source, please provide an appropriate warning as well.
4. Offer your own views and opinions.
Encourage discussion and mutual learning by offering your own take on the subject matter. We want to know what you're thinking so we can respond with our own views.
Please do share on the boards! We are here to learn more about and celebrate our love for cats. News items, studies and even blog posts and articles can help us with that. Don't quote too much, abide by the copyright laws and offer your own synopsis along with your views and you'll be contributing great content to the community.
Don't forget to share content from TCS elsewhere! We offer tools for quickly sharing threads and articles on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and even in email. Sharing is caring, so thank you in advance for caring and for being a contributing member of our community!
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