Blogging About Blogging

Earlier today I linked to the Curator’s Code crap — actually I linked to The Loop’s take on it because I agree with Dalrymple:

How about just stop stealing other people’s shit.

I have never been excited that someone gave me a via link. Often people ask if I want one when I share something with them via DM or iChat — I usually say “I don’t care.”

Because I don’t care.

I think the curator’s code deal is pretty stupid and inconsequential, but Marco Arment brings up an interesting point:

The real problem is that these posts replace the need for the source link.

Sites that do this can call this practice whatever they want. Often, it’s called aggregation, or simply reporting. There’s a continuum between 100% original reporting and zero value being added to the source content, but I don’t think I’m being unnecessarily inflammatory by labeling the posts on the far end of the continuum as rewriting.

I absolutely hate the way The Verge cites posts — so much so I can’t read the site. Rewriting is the true problem — not adding in more via attribution. The problem I face is when I write a post like this that is somewhere between a linked list post and an article post — on these types of posts I try to make source links really long, more than a few words. That seems decent enough to me.

I tend to find the people who whine about via attribution to fall under two categories (in general, as always, there are exceptions):

  1. News breakers. These are the guys that break news and are truly the source of the news.
  2. Small sites that linked to something and believe that a larger site got that link from them.

I totally agree with the first and the second — well I have been there, but let me share a secret: via attribution links don’t give you very much traffic and certainly not lasting readership.

I try to stay away from these debates, because blogging about blogging isn’t really interesting to anyone but bloggers. But I decided to write about this to state why/when I use such attribution.

I use via attribution when it feels right.

There’s no set rule and often I don’t remember where I found the link to begin with so I can’t put attribution on links that I sometimes wish to. Oh well: do what feels right.

Originally posted for members on: March 12, 2012
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