Do You Look at a Blogger’s Description Box? {Discussion}

Discussion Post

We’re going to start today’s discussion post off with a story!

Now, I’m not going to mention who’s blog this happened on (because that would just be tacky, and she’s a very nice girl and I love her blog), but a comment that was made by somebody got me to thinking…do you look at a blogger’s description box?

About two months ago, I was reading a book review of Allegiant by Veronica Roth on somebody’s blog. Now, I’m sure that if you’ve read (or even heard of) this book, you know that there’s a HUGE spoiler-y spoiler thing that happens in this book. Well, in her review, the blogger talks in-depth about this spoiler…without any spoiler tags or warnings! 

So, being the conscientious friend and blogger that I am, I decided to leave a polite little comment saying that, while wasn’t spoiled (because I’ve read the book), I was worried that other people might stumble upon her review and end up being spoiled in a huge way because of the lack of spoiler tags.

In response, she commented back (very nicely), explaining that all of her reviews have spoilers, but she doesn’t include spoiler tags or headers for those posts because, in her description box (that little “about me” section that’s usually under a blogger’s picture in their sidebar) she warns people that her reviews will have spoilers.

Description Box

First of all…I think it’s totally fine that she wants to have spoilers in her reviews. Good for her! Personally, I don’t include spoilers in mine, but I do like reading spoiler-y reviews and totally respect her decision to write them.

But I’m sort of unsure about what I think of the whole “description box spoiler warning” thing.

Maybe it’s just me, and I’m sorry if this is not proper blogger etiquette or something, but I rarely read a blogger’s description box. If I do read it, it’s probably after I’ve been following you for a while, because I want to learn more about you. But I don’t read description boxes of a blogger if I’m trying to decide whether or not to follow them…I have other criteria for that (another post for another day!).

I’m sure that I actually have read most of the description boxes of the bloggers that I follow at one point or another, but I follow a lot of blogs. Unless we’re good bloggy friends or I visit your blog really often…to be honest, I probably don’t even remember your name. I hate saying that, but when you follow literally hundreds of blogs, it’s hard to keep them all straight. I make it a point to leave personal and thoughtful comments on almost every blog I follow, and I make an effort to include lots of links in my weekly wrap-ups, but to me, your content is how I recognize you…not by a name or information about you in your description box.

There are tons of bloggers that I do know things about…like I know Chiara is Australian and has beautiful hair, Kayla is a writer and a teacher, Jamie‘s husband is named Will, and Rachel‘s favorite musical artist is Demi Lovato (and on and on). But if I haven’t been following you for a while, or we don’t know each other that well, I usually don’t remember very much. I apologize for that if it is insulting or rude; I really do have the best intentions at heart…but I feel like it’s more important to follow a lot of blogs and spread the love around as much as possible, rather than follow 20 blogs and remember all of those bloggers’ names.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I feel like it’s probably a bad idea to warn people of spoilers in your description box. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who follows a lot of blogs or has trouble keeping bloggers straight. At some point…you will spoil somebody by accident because of that. And that’s such a shame. I also think it alienates new readers as well. What if somebody found your post from Twitter or a random link somewhere? The first thing they’re going to be doing is reading the post that they’re interested in…not looking at your description box. That’s just the truth.

What do you guys think… Do you have trouble keeping bloggers straight? Do you think it’s okay to have a general spoiler warning in the description box? Do you usually pay any attention to a blogger’s description box?

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33 responses to “Do You Look at a Blogger’s Description Box? {Discussion}

  1. I do agree. I hardly ever look at a blogger’s description box, unless I’d like to know more about the blogger. So if I do just stumble upon someone’s review, I wouldn’t have read their description box. Therefore, I do think that spoiler warnings should be written for every review. Sometimes I don’t want to read spoilers. So if I come across a review that has major spoilers without warning, I may choose to never visit that blog again.

    Interesting discussion.

  2. I can see her point. She feels as if she’s already stated her policy about spoilers and doesn’t want to repeat it. But I agree, I never check the description box. And I don’t know if I would remember every time I read her review that Sally always includes spoilers. I love to see a quick line at the beginning of reviews about spoilers just so I’m prepared.

    • Yeah, exactly! I can see her point, too…I just don’t think it’s really an effective way to do spoiler tags, so she should just probably prepare herself for the fact that she might have trouble accumulating readers and that she’ll probably have a problem with people getting annoyed at being spoiled. Thanks for the comment 🙂

  3. I definitely don’t read all of the description boxes for bloggers that I follow, because the majority of the posts I read come through my Feedly subscriptions. I only click through if I’m going to comment.

    That said, if a blog is going to be a spoiler blog, then I would know that before adding it to my Feedly. (For instance, I skip all Recaptains posts for books or series I haven’t read because spoilers are the point of that entire blog.)

    I’ve thought about how to correctly separate spoilers from the “safe” part of reviews, especially because I’ve got a new feature coming up soon that will have lots of spoilers. I think at least a warning at the top of the post would be appropriate, because Google searches could spoil a casual reader, and that’s not fun for anyone.

    • Yeah, I think that having a *contains spoilers* tag at the top of a spoiler-y post is pretty common practice, and works well to warn people about possible spoilers in a post.

      I don’t know if I would’ve known for sure that it was a spoiler blog before adding it to my feed, but that’s good that you make it a point to find out. If I was just casually glancing at her posts before getting a sense of whether I wanted to add it to my feed, I don’t think I would’ve necessarily realized that basically every review contains spoilers. But maybe I just do less research on a blog before adding it to my feed than you, haha.

  4. “Do you have trouble keeping bloggers straight? Do you think it’s okay to have a general spoiler warning in the description box? Do you usually pay any attention to a blogger’s description box?”

    I don’t usually have trouble getting bloggers straight because I’m the opposite…I would rather follow 20 bloggers and get to know them intimately than follow a whole bunch that I don’t know. I’ve met SO many wonderful people in this community (you included!), and I want to get to know them on a more personal level and build friendships with them. I’ve made a lot of really great friends that way!

    As far as reading description boxes…I usually don’t pay attention to them. They’re at the end of a post (usually), so they’re easy to miss. For most of the blogs I follow, I already know who they are, so I don’t feel the need to read it in the first place. If I’m just visiting a blog for the first time, I’m more likely to stalk their reviews and discussion posts to get a sense for who they are rather than reading a description box. I very rarely read About Me sections because I would rather get to know someone by engaging in a conversation.
    I hate spoilers, and I almost always put anything that can be considered a spoiler in a spoiler tag (unless it’s something that I personally wish I would have known going in and think that readers should be aware of before they start the book). I strongly disagree with stating that you don’t use spoiler tags in a description box. Maybe it’s my hatred of spoilers (if someone had spoiled the ending of Allegiant for me I would have been very angry!), but I think it’s pure laziness to not use a spoiler tag and be like, “well it says in my description that I don’t use them.” I think it’s disrespectful to your readers. But that’s just me. But, I also steer clear of reviews of books I haven’t read unless I don’t plan on reading them for a very long time to avoid that altogether!

    • Wow thanks for the long comment! 🙂

      I think it’s cool that you’re kind of the opposite of me. There are definitely all different styles of blogging out there, and different things work for different people. There are certain blogs for which I follow more religiously and make a concerted effort to get to know those people more. On Bloglovin’, I have two separate folders for book blogs — one for the majority of the blogs I follow and then one for the special ones that I really love. So I guess I think I fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Like you, I do have certain bloggers that I want to build friendships with and try to connect with on a deeper level than just following them. I just also follow a bunch of blogs that I’m not quite as committed to, and those are the ones where I have a little bit of trouble remember names/personal details. But I agree — my main reason for blogging is the community aspect. So I’m all about making friends with other bloggers. It’s just that I can’t exactly become BFFs with the hundreds of different bloggers that I follow, so I sort of have to pick and choose who I end up becoming actual friends with. But that’s how it works in real life, too! Just because we share a love of books doesn’t mean that I’m automatically going to become friends with every book blogger I happen to follow.

      I do the same thing — when I’m looking at a new blog that I’m not familiar with, the first thing I look at (rather than a description box or about me page) is what kind of content they post. I want to follow somebody who has the same taste (relatively) in books as I do and who posts a decent amount of non-review posts. Once I figure out if they meet that criteria, I don’t really care who they are because I like them already! And, like you said, I’ll end up getting to know them anyway through commenting.

      I also agree with your comment about the disrespect. To me, spoilers are really important…I don’t EVER want to be spoiled. On anything. So I probably would’ve felt pretty disrespected if I’d read that post without having already read the book. It’s a blogger’s responsibility to not spoil their readers, and I just feel like the whole description box thing doesn’t really cover your butt enough. If it were met, I would have them all over the place just to be extra nice! I would HATE it if somebody got accidentally spoiled on my blog — which is part of the reason why I pretty much never post spoilers — but it kind of came across as if she didn’t really care.

  5. I usually read the description box AFTER I’ve read the post. If I like the post then I want to know more about the blogger so that’s when I would read their about me box, so I would have totally gotten spoiled if it were me reading that post.

    You know it’s their blog, so at the end of the day they are allowed to do whatever they want but I do think that they are taking a big risk of losing readers.

    • Yeah I agree…everybody totally has the right to blog however they want to! But there’s definitely things that are going to either entice readers or turn them off.

      And I partly just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t crazy, haha! I didn’t know if maybe everybody else was reading description boxes all over the place and I’m the only one who kind of ignores them for the most part. But it’s good to know that it seems like everybody agrees with my opinion so far 🙂 Thanks for commenting, Lindsey!

  6. I wouldn’t feel horrid about not remembering names – honestly unless someone signs the bottom of every post I won’t remember their name either! I’d followed Looking for the Panacea for AGES before I figured out that there were two bloggers, and then figuring out their individual voice took me even longer. Now Nara and I talk all the time, because 99% of the time our opinions are exactly the same. But that took months for me to get there!

    Most other bloggers I just know by their theme, so if someone changes up headers or something… It’s like starting all over xD

    Oh, and I guess the original point of this: I rarely read about me boxes unless I want to personally know the blogger, instead of just their posts. So the whole “spoiler in the about section” thing is ridiculous – I’d be spoiled all the time!

    • I literally just found out that Looking for the Panacea has two bloggers, too. I always thought it was just Nara 😛 I feel like such an idiot haha.

      That’s a good point, too. I also have trouble adjusting to new themes. I know most bloggers by their blog title, too. Like I get WICKED confused when people do their weekly round ups of links and only put the blogger’s first name instead of doing “Looking for the Panacea posts…” or “Nara @ Looking for the Panacea posts…” because I have NO CLUE for a lot of them. And then, like, what if two bloggers have the same name?? I don’t get why people do that lol it’s so confusing. And it can’t just be me!

      Okay, good, I’m glad that I’m not the only one who doesn’t read those boxes. Thank you for thinking it’s ridiculous as well!

  7. The first thing I look at when going to someone’s blog is the blog posts. Not the description boxes. In fact… to de-clutter my template I have removed the description box and hope that if someone wants to learn more about me, they will go to my about me page. People usually know my name since it’s in my blog title but I really don’t know people’s names either. LOL! I think spoilers should always be marked but not everyone thinks that.

  8. The only thing I usually ever look at in description boxes is the photo, haha. Every once in a while I might read one in full, but it’s definitely the exception to the rule.

    Even if I had a marquee banner running that said some of my reviews contained spoilers, I would still feel obligated to indicate spoilers in my reviews. I’ve had books ruined because of spoilers and I would NEVER want to make someone feel the way I have felt because of that.

    And I wouldn’t feel too bad about not remember blogger’s names. Unless I’ve been following their blog for a while, I probably don’t know their name either! Haha

    • Yeah EXACTLY. Spoilers are a big freaking deal…I would feel awful if I ever did that to somebody, so adding extra extra spoiler warnings is always appreciated 🙂

      Haha I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t always remember everybody’s name!

  9. I do read the description box actually. I don’t, however, think that anyone should post anything spoiler-y without warning. I hate those kinds of posts. And I definitely find it difficult to remember everyone with all the thousands or millions out there.

  10. This is a great discussion, Miranda, thanks for bringing it up! I may not always read the box, but I ALWAYS look for it, because I like to know the blogger’s name and what they look like at the very least!

    That being said, I really don’t think I would expect anyone to read my box and I wouldn’t assume they did and not put any further spoiler warnings (or whatever the case may be) in each individual post where it might be a concern. =/

  11. I’m a bit of a mixture, sometimes I look at the description box and other times I don’t. Like you I am most interested in the quality of their blog posts first. 🙂 I do however find myself incredibly annoyed when people don’t use spoiler tags. I can understand why the blogger would do it, it would get frustrating and repetitive if they always wrote review with spoiler in but that would definitely put me off following a blog I think.

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  13. “I know Chiara is Australian and has beautiful hair” – heeheee I love this Miranda 😀 😀
    As for your post …
    I don’t really have trouble keeping bloggers straight unless they have REALLY similar blog titles (which has happened only once and now I know the difference :D). I follow ~150 blogs, but I don’t REALLY know them all. I have my blogs, though, that I comment on regularly, as well as those that I know on a more personal level. But that doesn’t prevent me from finding new blogs, or making a random comment on another blog. I want to find as many great blogs as I can! But I do like having my ‘I know these guys’ blogs, as well 😀
    WOOOOOAH NO. I don’t think that a spoiler warning in the description box is good enough. If I stumble across a blog post, I am going to read the post first, not the description box and therefore I don’t know that the blog is not spoiler free. I think there should definitely be warnings in a review, even if the blog is non-spoiler free. It’s just common courtesy, I think! And also because spoilers are evil.
    Hmmm. In general, I will only read an ‘about me’ page or description box AFTER I’ve been following the blog, and i want to get to know the blogger better!

  14. I do read description boxes although it almost never is the first thing I read. I look at the content of the blog and if I like it, then I take a look at who the blogger is. Still, I don’t think a spoiler warning belongs in the description box. It needs to be prominent before the post itself, so that newcomers to the blog are warned.

  15. Wow I’m not on board with that method. I only read a description box if I read the blog’s posts and decide I might want to follow. THEN I might read it (but often I don’t). I certainly don’t read it before I read the posts though! I think there needs to be a big, clear spoiler warning at the top of the post.

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  18. I don’t always read the ‘about me/this blog’ description box. But I guess I should. I do not want spoilers. None. I do think if a review has a spoiler there should be a warning in the post; maybe that’s more of a personal preference.

    • I think that it’s definitely a personal preference, but at the same time it’s still not fair to not warn your readers. I think that bloggers have somewhat of a responsibility to protect their readers from spoilers, and putting a spoiler warning on your posts is a good way to do that — it obviously would work better than the description box thing. It’s kind of like: I have a personal preference that people not be jerks. They can still be jerks if they want to be, but I think that people have a social responsibility to try not to be jerks whenever possible! 😛

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  20. Never heard of the blogger’s bio info being used as a disclaimer… that’s a new one! But I agree with you, to each their own! If she wants to include spoilers, that is her prerogative.

    • Yup! But it seems like most people who read this post thought that it was REALLY weird and agreed that it’s kinda not the best way to go about it, either :/ I just hope that none of her readers get accidentally spoiled! Spoilers are the worst, so that would suck.

      Thanks for the comment 🙂

  21. HI there! I hopped over here from Parajunkee’s link. I will usually read the “about” information after I’ve read the first (for me) post or two. I like getting to know the blogger. I also kind of hate spoilers and I probably would not be back to a blog that posts them a lot.

    That said, if I ran a blog where spoilers were the default, I would probably not want to repost the warning every single time. This blogger will attract the readers who don’t mind that and turn off the ones who do. Different strokes are all good, IMO. 🙂

    Now, I’m going to go find your “about” blurb and see what this blog is all about. 🙂

  22. Wow! That’s ridiculous! I don’t read them. Who does? Better yet, what about ME that I don’t even have an “About Me” box? LOL.

  23. I tend not to read sidebar content period xD Especially if I’m there for just a particular post or something. If we’ve talked a few times or I just automatically fall in love with a blog I’ll read EVERYTHING about them because I’m a stalker like that. Otherwise, nope. I think the only situation where it would be okay to not have a spoiler warning in every post was if it was maybe in large letters or red font like right under the header. And even then probably like 60% of people wouldn’t see it. *cough* me. It doesn’t take that much effort to copy and paste or enter “This review contain spoilers” each time. Great post!

    • “It doesn’t take that much effort to copy and paste or enter “This review contain spoilers” each time.”

      Exactly what I was thinking!! Thanks for comment 🙂 Glad you agree. I think that the large blurb or something under the header (or like how some people have those “Like my blog? Follow me on Bloglovin'” banners at the top, except with “beware of spoilers!” written there instead) would be absolutely fine. But this person had it written not even in caps. Just like “about me blah blah blah I love books blah blah blah and oh yeah I have spoilers in every post.” I think it’s just unrealistic to expect people to catch that before reading one of your posts, especially if they’re a new reader (but I’d even been following her for weeks before this happened!).

      • Yes, exactly like those banners! That would be perfect. Gosh, plus I don’t know the length but if it was long winded I would probably skim and miss her saying the spoiler thing anyway. You might as well put it in the footer or something at that point. It is unrealistic! I would be so frustrated if something was ruined for me that way.

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