August 25, 2004 at 11:08 AM
There is something to be said about the lack of credit blogs and community news sites give to their sources. Make no mistake, Digital Web Magazine is a firm believer in the code of Weblog Ethics and follows those guidelines religiously. What is very interesting is the number of blogs and sites out there who clearly gathered there information from one source yet never mention, credit, or otherwise show any form of recognition for the source in which they were received. You will noticed that we have covered this before and even shown how it can aid in the findability of information. It makes me wonder why credit isn't given, even if the source is not the original source. Perhaps there is a fear that others will discover that the content isn't original? Maybe they fear traffic will shift from their sites to the source's site? Anyway, these people know full well who they are and I encourage them to give credit where credit is due. After all, someone spent their hard earned time to find that information, it would be only fair to give them credit. Oh, and for the record, I am not talking about just material used from Digital Web Magazine, I am talking about material used from all sites and blogs.
Maybe they don't want to acknowledge they read certain sites? :-) However, I guess it is sometimes quite difficult to find out if people found a certain resource by your website. If you follow some weblogs (most people who have weblogs and post resources do, I guess) you often get the same information from different sites, you might even follow the weblog in question and in that case I normally don't give anyone credit. (Unless they have something interesting to say.)
I have two different kinds of entries: My blog and furl. At my blog, I write about things and comment them; furl is mainly a linkdump. But generally, I do link to the page where I get the information from, even if it means quoting from the original site but linking to 'my source'. Reading ~700 Feeds, it might happen, that I notice a link for the second or seventh time reading the feeds till it finally grabs my attention - last entry wins. Or I do blog something with a credit even though I do read the original source - I do not read all feeds every day, some feeds get more attention then others. And sometimes I do get things via Mail or Irc as links - and you don't get a link via Irc "look at page a which I got through page b" :o)
I for one am guilty of this. I reposted a DW link on my sideblog yesterday without credit. My reason for not giving credit was that I hadn't figured out how to do that with Textpattern (the CMS I use for my blog - I've only been running the sideblog a couple of days), and I didn't really give the matter proper thought. That was lax of me, and a little rude. So I've figured out how to do it and added the credit. Please accept my apologies, and thanks for the wake-up call.
Anne: See but then I have to ask, where did you fist discover it? Or at least, what site actually made you read the source and want to blog it? Anne (2nd post): Great minds think alike :) Nicole: Good point, I always link to the "first" place I saw it. The blog posts about things that don't have that "from" link in them are always found first hand by reading the RSS feed of the site that published it (which I link directly into the publication), or by email, etc, in which case I give the person who emailed me credit. drew: Well, wow, thanks for being so honest. Though to be honest in return, when I authored this post I didn't have one person in mind that I was writing about, and certainly your site never crossed my mind. As far as "how" to credit, all you have to do is simply add this text to the end of your blog post's text: [from Some Site Name] Your blogging tool doesn't need to have a special field or functionality for this.
Nick: My practical problem was that I was using the description of the link as the title attribute for the link too. If I were to add an anchor into the description it would have all gone pear-shaped. After digging around in the source, the easiest solution was to just stop outputting a title attribute for the links. I could then use HTML in the description without consequence. A little loss of functionality for a gain in etiquette is a trade I'm more than willing to make.
Drew: Ahh, I follow what you're saying. I tested Textpattern for a short bit but I currently don't use it on any of my sites. I think what you are taking about is your side blog in specific... this is quite a bit more complicated than crediting a standard blog post... though it would be interesting to explore possible solutions as a lot of people only use side blogs to link stuff anymore. Feel free to post your findings in detail on your own site or here... I am sure it will be of value.
Long time listener, first time caller. Two reasons I don't always give attribution: firstly, like Nicole, I have a separate linkdump where absolutely no commentary is offered--just a list of links, quickly assembled. Giving attribution would about double my post time, because I use a bookmarklet to post, and rarely alter the mark-up. Secondly, I know that half the links I pick up on were not original discoveries anyway. This has more to do with the nature of the weblogs I frequent than laziness on my part. One footnote: my weblog is hidden from bots, I have no readership, and all the links I post are mainly for the one web-challenged friend I have that reads my site. I like it that way. So there ya go.
Nice post, Nick. It inspired me to (finally) write about something I've been mulling over for a while: Tracking the Spread of Ideas. I'd be interested in your thoughts on the idea to make that "via" relationship more explicit and programmatic. Would it be useful? (I'm not sure myself -- it would take wide adoption from the community to make it worthwhile)
Mmmh, come to think of it, I dunno, maybe I belong to the 'you-know-who-you-are' as well. I have a news aggregator and gather info from it, and sometimes I *do* post either b-links or longer blog entries on what I read, and most of the time forget where it comes from (the trouble with being subscribed to 50+ feeds), which is exactly the same problem as Nicole. I'll try to be more careful, promise.
Derek: Wow, very good post there. I think it could be extreamly useful. I was hoping this is where "XFN meets Technorati" (or some variation there of) would take us... but as we know both of those technologies are incomplete when it comes to the tracking of information. Anyway, if someone can code it, I can help architect it. :)
To be ethical you must cite where you've gotten your information. I do this religiously, but sometimes you see something so many places... Using the bookmarklet makes it easier to cite because it automatically includes the URL. I've been on sites and seen my exact wording and I'm never sure if it's a coincidence or copying.
Christina: So why not cite the first site you saw the link at? I am not trying to pick on you Christina, many people have commented on this thread in the same exact light you just did, but I have to wonder why people are just letting it slide like it's no big deal; "oh, I saw that on the associated press news feed, MSNBC, and on CNN, so I guess I don't need to credit the source, right?" ...of course I am exaggerating here, but my point remains the same.
I have a linkblog, and am careful to give credit to the first source where I found a link. I send trackbacks where possible, and am able to use a bookmarklet for all this without a problem. If you are decent at HTML and put some work into it, this is not difficult. You just define the "extended" field as your "via" link. I did need to install a plug-in to MT in order to be able to add comments to each link along with the link credit. The plus is calledEntry Summary and is very easy to use. I am willing to share my link template - if you give me credit. ;)
Nick, you misunderstood me. I will always cite. To print, to the first place I saw it, to a search string that will show all the places it's posted, etc. If I can't find it again, I don't blog it.
If anyone is adding "via" credits to their linkblog by hand in Movable Type, I posted directions and code for a link blog template that includes an automatic "via" link and will work with a bookmarklet.
Christina: Ahh, I see now. Well, I donno if I agree about simply not posting if you can't find the source. I do think the idea of posting a link to maybe technorati or soemthing may work well if you don't remember where your first saw it. katieweb: great work and thanks for the link! Though there is a HTML error in the link in your blog post.
Thanks for pointing that out Nick - the link is fixed now.