StumbleUpon Etiquette Faux Pas, Tips & Resources

StumbleUpon can be a great tool for sharing websites with your friends and also driving traffic to your own website. But with its share to all option, it can also be an easily abused tool which will ultimately drive users bonkers. Here are some big no-no’s when it comes to StumbleUpon etiquette, along with some StumbleUpon tips and resources to make your Stumbling experience rewarding.

StumbleUpon Etiquette Faux Pas

Worried about losing your StumbleUpon friends? Here are some things that lead to people removing StumbleUpon users from their friends list.

  • Sending Too Many Shares

    StumbleUpon users will agree that one of the biggest reasons they will remove you from their friend’s list is because of too many shares. When you are sending people 10 – 15 pages at a time, that is just overdoing it. And if it’s almost all from the same site, it also makes you look like a spammer. The exception to this rule is the people who share a variety (not all from one site) of meaningful, valuable content. I think most people can determine if what they are sending is helpful to everyone they are sending it too.

  • Repeating Shares

    There are times when sending an article more than once is ok, such as an older article that has gained new value because of current affairs (such as an article on a virus from two to three months ago that is making a comeback) or a great resource post that you think new members of your StumbleUpon community may enjoy, assuming you just recently added a significant number of people to your friends list. But when you share the same website or page over and over again, then it is overkill and likely to annoy your friends. Chances are, if they did not Stumble it the first five times, they do not want to. Seeing it an additional 10 more times is not going to reverse this decision.

  • Creating Multiple Users to Share the Same Things

    Some users try to avoid looking like spammers by creating multiple users to send lots of shares or repeat shares. But it’s pretty blatantly obvious when I get the same things from three “different” users. There is a noticeable difference between a good page that two or three friends find and share on the same day, and a page that is shared by three users, one right after the other, with the same description. Especially by three users who use the same naming scheme like Diasy4Lite, Pansy4Color, and Rose4Love (not real users as of when I wrote this post, but just to show my point).

  • Expecting/Demanding Reciprocation

    For a member to keep their StumbleUpon favorites valuable, both to themselves and others that are looking for great sites, they simply cannot thumb up and review everything that comes their way. You shouldn’t get frustrated because a poet isn’t thumbing up your technical articles, or a car enthusiast isn’t thumbing up your cell phone review. Pushing the matter and getting upset with someone, or sending messages implying that I did this for you, you should do this for me in return is likely going to result in the loss of a StumbleUpon friend.

    Also, just because you don’t receive a reply to your share doesn’t mean that someone didn’t like it. I know that I thumb up lots of shares, but don’t always get back to the sender, especially when I started almost every day with a red 99 in my toolbar. Sometimes I have just enough time to read, thumb up, Tweet it, then move on. I like to show my appreciation for the best shares publicly in the weekly Fetching Friday posts instead.

  • Pushing for Promotion on Other Social Networks

    While I don’t mind the occasional link directly to Digg for a specific page, sometimes I receive several shares, one right after the other, ultimately to the same page – one share for the page itself, one to the page on Digg, one to the page on Reddit, one to the page on a social network I never heard of, and so on. This goes back to the above no-no’s of sending too many shares and repeating shares.

    The best way, if you must push for social promotion on multiple sites, is to make social promotion easy on your site. Share the link to the original page and politely ask that friends Stumble, Digg, Reddit, etc. in the optional personal message box. On the page itself, make sure there are user friendly social bookmarking buttons. Or create a mailing list of people that are willing to exchange social promotion emails with you for a variety of networks. Also, make social promotion on other sites easier for yourself by using browser bookmarklets for social bookmarking & link sharing.

Consequences of StumbleUpon Etiquette Faux Pas

If you’re not too concerned about what others think about you and your sharing habits and losing friends, you may be concerned about getting banned by StumbleUpon. I don’t agree with all of StumbleUpon’s reasoning to ban users, or how good users may have to change their Stumbling habits in order to not get banned (discussed in an article on how not to get banned on StumbleUpon). But I do agree that there has been some abuse of the system, and those that are blatantly spamming should be banned in some way to keep the community user-friendly and valuable to everyone.

What does it mean to be banned? Basically, your thumbs up will not be valuable, and anything you discover will not show you as the discoverer.

StumbleUpon Tips

Here are some tips to make your StumbleUpon experience more rewarding.

  • Cleaning Up Your Community & Experience

    StumbleUpon users shouldn’t have to feel like they need to leave the community because they are overloaded with shares, especially spammy ones. What I have started to do is, while going through my shares for the day, if I receive several from one person in a row, I will check out their profile. If everything in their favorites is from one site, or looks like nothing but bad neighborhood links (porn, online pharmacies, etc.), I remove them from my friend’s list. Sure it takes a bit of time at that moment, but it saves me from having to go through page after page of daily spam-shares, and makes me less likely to miss a good one from a valuable friend due to a full inbox.

    The best, though not always full proof, way to prevent spammers from hitting your StumbleUpon toolbar is to review users before you add them as friends. Again, if their favorites are all from one site or multiple bad sites, you can almost always assume they are a spammer.

  • Tagging Stumbles

    Since you can’t search through your own Stumbles (not as far as I know of at least), the next best way to be able to find useful Stumbles later on is to tag them. I was lazy about tagging, unless someone specifically asked, but I have found my StumbleUpon favorites more beneficial with proper tagging. For example, I do a lot of searching for the perfect WordPress themes for my freelance WordPress customizations . When I Stumble theme collections for future reference, I tag them with wordpress-themes so I can find my favorite sites easily.

  • The Thesis Theme & StumbleUpon Thumbnails

    When I changed over to the Thesis theme, I noticed that, since I don’t usually add images to my posts, my post thumbnails on StumbleUpon would be default images from the Thesis multimedia box, even though I have my multimedia box disabled. To fix this issue, when I create a post, I add an image URL to the Multimedia Box Options > Multimedia Box Image. This way, most of the time at least, an image of my choosing will show up as the StumbleUpon thumbnail instead.

StumbleUpon Resources

Here are some recent articles with more valuable StumbleUpon tips, tricks, tools and more.

Your Thoughts

Are you a StumbleUpon user? Do you have anything to add on ways not to abuse the StumbleUpon system, or ways to add more value to it? Have you almost given up on StumbleUpon because of sharing abuse? Has someone accused you of being a StumbleUpon abuser/spammer?

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  1. says

    Very clear, concise and right on target. I’m taking a break from using the stumble upon share feature myself because I admit I got lazy there and started just thumbing stuff up to clear that nagging number out of my toolbar. The article that you linked did serve as a wake up call and made me realize I wasn’t doing anyone any favors, least of all myself.

    So, for the next month or two, I’m only thumbing up great things from sites I don’t ever remember thumbing up before and getting my SU mojo back.

  2. says

    I totally agree to your opinion and I think that if you respect your friends and share valuable information you will attract more attention than spamming – quantity isn’t the real factor here.

    I think what many don’t understand here is that most people, including also us bloggers, don’t network just to promote their content, but also because it is useful, interesting and brings value.

  3. says

    Great guide on how to use StumbleUpon. I am guilty of one or two of the topics above, but I try to share one or at most two different articles from the same domain.

  4. says

    @Tracy: I get a little lazy and just thumb up things. I wish I had more time for the reviews. I look at thumbing up articles as the ones I want to be able to share on my Friday posts, or because I think they would be valuable to myself and others in the future. I think if you keep that in mind when thumbing up items, you will be only thumbing up the good ones.

    @Maris: I’d say that I have more valuable, quality friends than spammers. It’s just funny that it only takes two or three spammers out of hundreds of friends to jam your inbox and make it feel like all you are getting some days is spam, which is why I decided to write this. There is a lot more value on StumbleUpon than spam, and once you weed out the offenders, then you really can focus on the great stuff!

    @Frank: I don’t consider you guilty of any of the faux pas. You’re a quality Stumbler in my opinion! :)

  5. says

    Thanks for the great advice. It should all be paid attention to. What’s funny is that I never knew how to use “share all” until I read about it a few weeks ago here. It was so easy that I used it a little more than I should have. I don’t plan to use it anymore. Since I’ve increased my writing because of having multiple sites, I’m trying to break up my shares and only send each article to less than half of my stumble friends so that I don’t overwhelm anyone.

  6. says

    Thanks for these tips. I am pretty new to social media and know how important it is to introduce yourself slowly but surely into such communities.

    On a slightly un-related note, do you know how I can get the SU toolbar to stop forwarding me to random sites when I give a page a thumb’s up?

  7. says

    Nothing less than perfect as usual Kristi, I really haven’t been using Stumble Upon very long and only tried it because of John Sullivan. At least now I know how not to make my Stumble Upon friends angry. Stumbled ­čśë

  8. says

    Stumbled and I see Frank fessing up LOL :)
    I also have been careful with the send to all button/share I try to do other peoples also
    as I hope you know or will after I get done clicking
    It’s a real turn off when you check out someones submissions on any site and it’s 100% theres. Sure we all love to promote our own but I like to Mix it up :)
    Nice article Kristi and thanks for being an awesome person Peace
    Off to downtown to a tweet up hope it’s FUN :)

  9. BunnygotBlog says

    Hi Kristi,

    I agree StumbleUpon has been abused by many lately. I click away and thumbs down it but they still find their way back the next morning. It is ridiculous. I have had as many as 10 articles from the same author asking me to stumble and review.
    It is great that you have written a terrific article to inform everyone.
    Great JOB !

  10. says

    I know the other article that you refer to and I have commented on it (right after your comment there actually.) I am a bit dismayed by the info in that article.

    Where did that article’s author get the info?

    How can the veracity of that article’s info be verified or trusted at all?

    The whole concept of banning or ghost banning SU users who are legitimately thumbing up articles that they find interesting seems contrary to the entire concept of the system.

    I often thumb up many articles which I never share. I don’t like to overload people with too many shares and I figure that my friends will occasionally visit my stumble site and see what I have discovered. The ones I do share I feel have compelling info, are really funny, or possess some other quality that makes me want to share them. I too have been reviewing my list of friends and removing those who send the same (or might as well be the same) post time and time again. I understand when someone is unsure of whether their stumble was sent and send it again with some type of ‘sorry if you have already received this…’ The key to that scenario is that is happens rarely. I really don’t mind if someone sends different articles on different topics from the same site, I often submit what I feel are really diverse articles from a real estate network.

    Everyone has their own way to utilize stumble and that is as I believe it should be. I would imagine that each of use have our own definitions of spam and how to recognize it. As adults we can simply choose to not thumb those post up, and if it is a real issue remove the ‘spammer’ from our friends list.

    This is just my take on this issue and appreciate the chance you have provided to further this discussion.

  11. says

    Hey Kristi, it’s articles like this that make me wish I could speed read like my my mate Mitch ­čśÇ Still it was worth the effort. I don’t stumble as often as I should, but when I do I make sure it’s worthwhile which this one was.

  12. says

    Funny enough, I literally just starting getting into StumbleUpon last night. Luckily I haven’t had the time to develop any bad habits, but these are great suggestions that came at a perfect time…Thanks for the tips!

  13. says

    Hi Kristi-
    These tips are good common sense that so many people lack. Every single one of these tips can also be applicable for how to use Twitter.
    It’s all about being empathetic and caring about others. Putting ourselves in other people’s shoes. The other day I was not feeling well and had not seen someone tweet me. The next day I saw it but I guess she got upset with me simply because I did not respond to her immediately. (I didn’t because I hadn’t seen her tweet)- so she just unfollowed me.
    I had personally had entire tweet conversations with her so I confess I kind of felt hurt that she didn’t even wait to understand before unfollowing me. I tried to tweet her again but she didn’t answer :-(
    Anyways I’m saying this to tell you that I agree to the point in your article about demanding reciprocation. We shouldn’t demand things from others- we should just be kind and let it all naturally play out.
    By the way > great tip about the Thesis thumbnail image. I’m thinking of buying Thesis because of it’s ease of functionality so that’s good to know.
    All the best,
    .-= Eren Mckay┬┤s last blog ..End clutter & discover how to organize office files =-.

  14. says

    I was meant to do a post about stumbling ethics but Kristi you’ve made this one perfectly clear that I have to stumble this instead. :-) Part of the joy of being on SU is get to read so many great sites and suggestions from friends, but there are times that getting too much SU pages in a time is a bit overwhelming. You’re right on that, and I’m glad this has been pointed out. There’s a limit to the quantity or else it may deteriorate the person’s reputation in SU. I would still review on SU if I can. I’m just glad the SU toolbar made it all possible.

    Social/Blogging Tracker
    .-= Ching Ya┬┤s last blog ..12 Ways To Reveal Suspicious Shortened URLs! =-.

  15. Mick Rogers says

    There are also other annoyances on Stumble like folk wanting to be friends but do not permit messaging…I ignore those…I never used to but do now…also when one shares message after message their share box is always full one friend confessed she had 500 when in a round about manner I managed to contact her. instead of sharing why not subscribe!!
    I have just sent this site using the share feature to all offenders who demand blatantly to thumb review and digg it..I sent a message saying read my comment

  16. says

    Hi Kristi,

    It’s my first time to read an article about StumbleUpon etiquette. This will be helpful to me and to many stublembers out there. I have not yet utilize the site fully. but this article will help me using it the right way. Thanks for the share.

  17. says

    Wow I wanted to tell you something so you will have an idea of just how powerful your blog is and how respected your blogging is becoming.
    As I’m sure you may of heard and this was so exciting that I’m actually here telling YOU this instead of working on my own post which I will do NEXT :) and mention YOU again as part of the adventure.
    So I went to downtown San Antonio for a marketers,bloggers, twitter LOL meet up and it was awesome. A bunch of totally awesome talented people. So I was talking with this guy who owns 3 businesses and I’m not GAY but he was gorgeous and smart and NICE :) A younger version of me but he was like 6’3″ anyway I said oh you just switched to Thesis?
    ME: Oh you should check out my friend’s site she is smart COOL and good people and writes about the theme sometimes.
    Him: Oh yeah what’s the site?
    Him: Dude I know that site I have been there and it’s awesome” QUOTE :)
    So now on this whole planet with all these sites and people You stand out KID :)
    I wasn’t surprised when he mentioned it ­čśë
    Off to write up some about it PEACE
    PS I see Eren has come by I have a crush on her now but I only got over mine for you when the wedding pics were online LOL :)
    Love you like a virtual sister
    PSS I also was thinking how it would be for you two to have 1 blog
    I dare imagine how powerful that site would be I’ll buy the domain and host it ­čśë
    PSSS Serious though it’s always nice to see our nice group of real friends expand.
    Thanks for supporting me and my blog
    .-= John Sullivan┬┤s last blog ..So you want to be King ? =-.

  18. says

    Kristi, I read the post that you are referring to and I sat around scratching my head for a long time. For someone to blatantly state that “SU had to take this action” makes me wonder where the author is getting their information.

    Your article comes in the form of tips and I think adds value to the community. It is not a must and there is no threat of banning someone because you thumb up your friends page.

    With that said, i think that SU needs to come out and state their stance clearly and not hide behind what may or may not be.
    .-= Danny Thornton┬┤s last blog ..Betina’s Austin Texas Real Estate Blog wrote a new blog post: Looking for local dog friendly establishments in Austin?? I have several right here for you & your best friend. =-.

  19. says

    Thanks for the great information. I read the same article, and I’m still not clear on “ghost banning.” In fact, that article was the first one that I’ve read that even mentions it. I admit, I did double-check a couple of my recent discoveries to make sure they showed up as mine!

    Also, I’ve heard that it’s not good to discover your own site, so I try to avoid doing it. However, I wonder if the discoverer really tags it correctly, which is another problem. What does everyone else do? Discover your own or trust someone else to?
    .-= Joanie┬┤s last blog ..Publishing your short fiction =-.

  20. says

    Hey Kristi, what you have written resonates with me as a SU user. I feel that SU, along with many social networking sites are now flooded by a lot of spam. For SU, I’m more cautious about accepting new friends now. If anyone gives me more than 1 share in 1-2 days, I’ll unfriend the person, which is an unfortunate measure to prevent flooding of my SU toolbar.
    .-= Celes |┬┤s last blog ..Declutter Your Home in 8 Easy-to-follow Steps =-.

  21. says

    Very good tips on SU! I actually just registered @ StumbledUpon just minutes ago and your article is my 2nd StumbledUpon thumbs up! I can’t see at the moment how to add you to my SU friends list but I will keep on looking. Thanks for the tips Kristi.

    .-= MichaelR@VoIP and Tech Blog┬┤s last blog ..Submit Your ATA Model, Let Us Help! =-.

  22. says

    Straighforward to the point, Kristi. I wasn’t aware about that multi-user accounts, which makes me wonder about the tendency for some people to trick the systems! #UGH #Fail

    O.K. It’s a comment not a tweet to use the hash ­čśÇ
    .-= Hicham┬┤s last blog ..Tunnel Vision! =-.

  23. says

    Amen to this post Kikolani. You really struck some chords on this one. Two of my pet peaves. Expecting/Demanding Reciprocation Pushing for Promotion on Other Social Networks I have been aggressively unfriending people for these two things specifically.
    .-= Gerald Weber┬┤s last blog ..Louie Baur:How To Be a Power Digger =-.

  24. says

    I have decided that I can do without Stumble and Twitter traffic. The reason is simple. This traffic bounces 100% of the time and no one has ever left a comment saying that they found our blog through these sites. I am looking for traffic that wants to be part of the blogs conversations or that needs, wants, and desires our services.

    I am a big fan of social media sites that send quality traffic… I just haven’t found many!
    .-= Boris@ Niche SEO┬┤s last blog ..How Would You Like To Acquire A Free Do Follow Link From Google? =-.

  25. says

    Congrats! on producing such a comprehensive post that I will be sharing with many others. Part of the enjoyment I get from being a stumbler is being referred to so many great sites I never would have found on my own. However, as my health has been seriously compromised this summer I have found it very difficult to sign in daily, and when I do I’m feeling discouraged to see that I have 99 referrals times. I was one of the few who expressed concern when the the “share” feature was introduced. My concern was that it could become a spamming tool. Luckily, my stumble friends seem to be using it very selectively because if they weren’t I would be overwhelmed with referrals.
    .-= timethief┬┤s last blog ..CSS Resources for Bloggers =-.

  26. says

    An excellent collection of Do’s, Dont’s and Tips. Besides being a great way to get exposed to quality web content, StumbleUpon is also a very useful/powerful social media tool.

    While many of the etiquette items should be common sense or common courtesy, they don’t seem to register with everyone. This post should be required reading for everyone signing up for an SU account.
    .-= Mike McEvoy┬┤s last blog ..7 Reasons Netbook Computers are great for students =-.

  27. says

    Yeah, stumble upon is a great place to network, and share useful content among fellow bloggers but it gets irritating when you start getting so many repetitious spammy links on the toolbar. People always find some way to spam though. You pointed out some great points on this article, which are very helpful. Thanks Kristi!
    .-= RWH @ Reliable Web Hosting┬┤s last blog ..Top 3 Reasons Why You Need a Reliable Web Host =-.

  28. says

    Stumbleupon is such an interesting beast. There are some people that share every single blog post – even some that are just a really mediocre photograph. No joke I don’t even see the point of putting something like that up on there and then sharing it.

    I think sharing is fine but it’s true that you don’t want to go overboard.

    I am going to make a bit more effort with tagging the stumbles. Never know when you will want to go back and look for things. Thanks for this info as I’ve been revisiting stumbleupon lately to see if I can increase some foot traffic (even though everywhere says that the traffic is useless)
    Scott Webb just posted Mobile Photography- Clarity Affords Focus to Play