1. What are the 'unwritten rules' about coping content that we bloggers should all abide by?
Credit. Credit. Credit. If you find a fabulous idea, bookmark and give credit to the sources. It doesn't hurt to toss a little hyperlink leading back to your source. You wouldn't yank quotes for a paper without proper credit - same thing with fashion.
2. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. But when it a post imitation and when is it copying?
The fashion blog world has introduced me to many new forms of style. I've found things I'm deeply in fashion-love with. I would have never progressed in my style without trying out different things and learning from the experience. I infrequently do "Inspired by Blogger" posts where I attempt to directly draw inspiration from a specific outfit.
I think it's petty to consider fashion copying. I grew up with some very petty "friends" who would try to keep me and each other from "copying" "their" music. By that I mean, my friends would find awesome bands and try to talk and name drop about their favorite music, but refuse to actually introduce you to it. Bands wouldn't be big and popular if not for the fans. Same thing for fashion companies. They would not exist without the clients. Taking it one step further, why even have a fashion blog if not to share your love of a designer or brand and how it works within your style?
3. Taking another blogger's idea (perhaps for an outfit, or DIY tutorial) is pretty common in the blogging world. Do you think it is necessary to credit the original source?
Yes!YES! Like I said above, give credit where credit is due. I think for a tutorial, link to the original source. If you have a different way of doing it, then make the tutorial yourself but credit the original idea.
I found LinkedIn on numerous other blogs. It's a great way to let people checking out the blog to see older posts. I noticed more people added the widget after I did - that's an area that I believe doesn't receive crediting for the idea of use. I know many people use wibiya toolbar. I didn't prefer it, but if I did.. well that's a program created for bloggers and the only credit due is to the creators of it.
4. How have you improved your blog by comparing it to other bloggers? Have you made changes due to something you have seen others doing?
Absolutely. I worked my blog layout based on what I liked about other blogger's layouts. I took what I found to be the easiest interface and tagging system. I've taken advice on picture taking. I'm learning to narrow my perspective on the blog. At least I'm trying.
5. Have you ever had one of your posts copied by another blogger or publication? How did you handle the situation?
If this is copied in a sense of straight up taken from my blog? I have not had that happen. I have had other bloggers mention me or credit me for idea usage but in those cases I am beyond flattered. A good percentage of my blog traffic is from other blogger's referral through either their posts or their blogroll.
If someone lifted my content to claim it was them - I'd call them out on it, but if someone wanted to use my pictures or posts as a linked and credited reference I have no problem with that.